You would never expect me to say freedom is a little thing, would you?
For many parents, children, grandparents and even for their advocates, freedom to speak and freedom to protect are rights that we can lose, even right here in the U.S.A. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work, so we’re not prepared for it when this happens.
It’s not the best news to share that this is happening to us, no matter what we have going for us, no matter where we live or how innocent or good we are. We just don’t talk about it openly, and typically because we’re told not to… But when this silencing of parents and children happens…to avoid exposure and reporting of misconduct…what you see from the outside is a look of confusion, shock, depression or something you might say is off, but whatever it is, you want no part of it!
So I appreciate little things like being able to take rides on any open road, to open windows and to feel the cool air, and to enjoy kids waving their arms and singing loudly. They should always have this freedom to be kids and to be unencumbered with news of the challenges we adults face.
If you know how to make this easier for them…and have the means to support families in protecting these freedoms and the childhood pleasures most of us have taken for granted, please use your voice.
Help us keep the freedoms of childhood as they should be — building blocks for a healthy life.
Please connect with me here and off-line if you have ideas you’d like to share!
We often look for someone or something to be “perfect” before we focus on seeing inspiration or to follow someone’s lead.
This Dolphin Tale movie is one I’ve held dear since first seeing it, and the sequel was even better than the original movie. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!
First, get to know the true story…
In my world I see many people being held back by something physical or emotional, and learned that it helps me do better for myself as I take the time to figure out what children need, or what their parents need…and it always comes back ten-fold.
So this film validates how I feel, and that is that it is worth investing in others, and helping more people get the message. You won’t know the difference you can make for others, and for yourself, until you really let go, and DIVE in!
See what is possible, and go for it!
While you’re at it, follow and share the inspiration found here: @CMAHope @WinterDolphin @dolphintale @ CMAquarium
This name comes from the hundreds – really thousands – of parents and children being treated as throwaways by certain court and agency professionals who lack empathy and disregard the needs of children. The trauma being caused by failures to uphold laws and professional duty to clients is staggering, but it can be addressed and stopped, if you dare to ask how.
Are you paying attention to the news stories revealing how difficult it is for children to receive protection?
CBS Atlanta excerpt:
“Ruby Moore is the executive director of the Georgia Advocacy Group, a nonprofit organization that works with and for people with mental and/or physical disabilities. Moore said she is outraged that a Fulton County judge ruled Melanie Pickens cannot be prosecuted on child abuse charges.”
I spend a lot of time with professionals, especially in the healthcare community, looking at why so many children are struggling especially when the family has the resources and desire to avoid it.
You know how much I talk about the “needs of children” right? Well, I was almost beside myself when I saw that special needs children, who can’t speak for themselves to report abuse, were being disregarded as victims because the judge was more concerned with using an immunity rule for teachers.
So, yes, the professionals I work with are delving into that issue. If you have anything to contribute to this story and the application of the immunity rule, please let me know? You can connect with me on LinkedIn or email via My Advocate Center’s contact page.
Considering messages given to us as parents, and to our kids:
Aren’t you thankful that you don’t have to be perfect?
Has anyone told you that you DO have to be perfect in order to be worthy of their support, or of being believed?
Many of us grew up understanding that if we were “worthy” or “good enough” we would get the validation, time or support that we craved. We missed out on something and became vulnerable as we went out into the world searching for what we felt we needed that was not given to us as children.
As adults many of us struggle with having love withheld – unconditional love – in marriages and relationships. We might also struggle with an employer who withholds positive feedback or makes us feel like we somehow don’t measure up. We feel the sting of missed opportunities or of a betrayal.
Being told that you don’t measure up, and therefore are not entitled to support – or that you are not worthy of being believed or even protected – is a tactic that we hopefully learn to recognize as we get older.
But this tactic only works for as long as we allow it to work.
Once we get it that we really do NOT need to be perfect, or to be exactly as someone else dictates to us, we can claim our worth. We can expect to be treated better by those around us.
This is the phase I’m in with my children; helping them see that their value is not attached to their grades or to their level of sports competition, or to which friends they have or don’t have.
This is also a common theme with so many parents who talk to me about what they are facing as they work through conflict with each other and with family court professionals.
The rest of this note is for the many parents who are expressing to me or to My Advocate Center’s team that they are being told, “You are so flawed that you can’t expect any better in this situation.” They are hearing these comments directed at them as decisions are being made about parenting time and parenting rights.
Apparently you must be “perfect” to be allowed to make decisions about the care of your child, or to be allowed to freely nurture and give to your child. Certain professionals claim authority and claim that in their perfect wisdom that they can tell you – the parent – that you do not measure up somehow, and that you must be fearful and in some cases be prepared to BUY time with your children.
Of course, no one is showing these parents what “perfect” looks like. And parents in most cases are not given the chance improve upon their alleged shortcomings before finding out they’ve lost everything. Many are not even allowed to see the results of their evaluations and tests to learn what their actual flaws and faults are…when those things are being used to take away CHILDREN.
No, it’s not right how these parents are being treated – and it’s not right what is being done to their children in the process.
There is no “win” in this for the children, only for the professionals holding these families captive and able to control time, decision-making and all of the family’s financial resources.
And just imagine how the kids feel seeing their parents under this much stress? If a parent is beaten down and made to believe they are not worthy, and have no rights and no chance, what do you think this does to a child’s peace of mind, sense of self-worth and stability?
I can confirm for you that it is just BAD all around. And completely unnecessary – – and preventable.
So let’s go back to the initial concept here: if you are worthy enough to be allowed to parent your child, then say so. Act like it. If your child is worthy of having your love, time, nurturing and financial support, then say so. Act like it.
If you are worthy of being believed and supported, say so. Then act like it. Send the right message to your kids by saying, “I am worthy of the best treatment, and therefore so are YOU.”
If the people around you – especially those who are working for YOU and who are hired to help protect your children and your rights – do not say so or if they do not act like they believe this, then why would you keep them around?
Aren’t you and your children worthy of getting what you need? Please let me know if you still need help getting to that answer by emailing me through MyAdvocateCenter.com.
Have you heard the saying, “It takes a Village to raise a child?”
If you’re a kid then maybe you have not heard this – but I’d like for you to think about it for a minute:
This is an idea that many people believe to be true. This is because we all believe that you – our children – are our most important purpose in life.
NOTHING is more important than your well-being. You matter, and you matter BIG time!
We adults have to work together to help you grow up strong, healthy and able to enjoy life and all that is wonderful about you, and about our world. You deserve to feel safe and secure, and to be peaceful in your surroundings, and you deserve the best that your parents and family can give you.
I really believe this is true, and this is my commitment to YOU. I say this for my children, for their friends and for all of you who are reading this on my website and blog.
If you are reading this, chances are that you are struggling with some challenge in your life that is really hard for you to overcome by yourself. And you shouldn’t feel like you have to do this on your own…we adults have responsibility for helping you through these things.
You need people to believe you, believe in your right to be free and healthy, and you need people who will speak up on your behalf. So here goes:
If someone is getting in the way of your rights, we adults and advocates and especially parents need to know about it. If someone is hurting you in ANY way, we need you to be strong and tell us. It’s the only way we can handle the people who are hurting you – and it is the only way we can help you.
You are very brave. So know that I and our “village” recognize that, and are here to support you. You are NOT alone.
And even if someone has disappointed you in the past when you’ve asked for help, please know that it is ok to feel disappointed and to even be angry at someone who didn’t follow through and help you. Even though that felt bad, and you may be worried that someone else will disappoint you, I want you to try this again.
I do know that this is hard, and that when you’ve been hurt it is easier to stay quiet and to give in to shame and fear than it is to speak up and ask for help. Just know that we can work through that, ok?
It is your right to be supported and helped through this. So please ask your parent or another adult you trust to let me know how I can help you and them.
Who am I?
I am a Mother – one who has worked hard to help my own children overcome fear, worry and sadness. There were people who got in my way and caused my children to hurt a lot. So we know how you feel, and how your parents feel. My children are healthy and happy now, so if I can help them…then I can help YOU. (No, I don’t do this alone; there are lots of great people here who want to help you! It’s important to know I do this because I’m a good PARENT. I work with both mothers and fathers to help kids get what they need. Sometimes parents need help…so let’s see what we can do for them, too, ok?)
I am an Advocate – this means I work in our community to help others see what they need to do, helping them to do it BETTER, so that you can get what you need. Does that make sense?
I am a COACH! This is my JOB. I lift other people up and make them stronger, so that we can all make things better for you – our kids. If you have P.E. at school, or know about sports, you know about coaches, right? I love coaching kids! It’s my favorite thing to do…so think of me as someone who can help you do better in this challenging “game” that you want to win.
Did you know … there are many people here who want to help you? Leaders in our business community, in our schools, at our hospitals and in our neighborhoods…all who want to work to see you get what you need!
So if this feels right to you – and you can help me help YOU – ask an adult to help you get in touch with me.
Why do I do much of what I do as an advocate and mother?
Because decisions and actions in our community are having a negative impact on the health of children.
How do I know? Because I lived through watching my own children suffer unnecessarily while having the right help withheld from them – intentionally and with dishonesty – by certain members of our family court system.
The best gift we can give children this holiday season would be to step up and help resolve the confusion and uncertainty for them as their parents transition through conflict. There are several reasonable ways to do this, which we’ll be addressing in the coming months on our radio show.
As a parent can you imagine much worse than seeing that your children need help, and not being able to give it to them?
Having your hands tied…while being lied to and made to believe that you have no choice but to let your own child suffer…when you could be providing needed care, nurturing, and psychological or medical treatment — things are ARE within your reach. You don’t have to be a parent to imagine how terrifying or traumatic this might be… You just have to be human and breathing… And, YES, this is happening a lot, right in your own backyard.
Please ask WHY anyone would intentionally prevent a loving parent from protecting or providing treatment for their child. Does this make any sense?
Since resolving my own conflict and gaining perspective on the family court arena, I’ve seen countless numbers of children having their health needs – including physical and emotional health – ignored and have even seen treatment withheld and denied when the diagnosis and financial resources were available.
This is child abuse and neglect, goes against the law, and in too many cases it is happening simply because of greed… and to reward foul play in a legal setting. I’m asking you to look at this and decide where and when you can help. It’s time.
This issue is like a cancer in our society, only we don’t know until it happens to us, and usually by the time we realize what has happened and what or why it is being done, it is too late to stop it from happening.
If you are offended by this notion, that this is going on, then I’ve done my job with this post. But the bigger need is for you not to turn away from it but rather decide where you can lend your voice or resources or connections to help #MakeaDifference.
I’d appreciate your support – and these kids really need you. Let’s see what we can do to ensure that your kids, your grandchildren, or your friends’ and neighbors’ kids don’t feel the impact of this problem. It “takes a village,” remember?
There is more to what I do than challenging certain professionals around their poor judgment and lack of loyalty and honesty; this is about challenging more parents to recover faster from conflict, to take a look around and to really see how you can use what you’ve learned – and what you’ve earned. Get out of your own situation, and find someone else to help.
If you’ve followed me in social media you know that I sometimes serve as a voice for families dealing with pediatric cancer. My own children are involved because we are all so thankful that we are healthy and have the lives and privileges that we do, so we give back by uplifting other families and raising awareness for this issue. We need greater funding for #PediatricCancer. We need more heroes! #YoungHeroes4KidsCancer (Stay tuned as we head toward March 2015 and the next St. Baldrick’s event in Atlanta/SandySprings.)
More success stories are needed to show what happens when we rally behind kids and give them what they need to overcome challenges. Check out Briana Hudson on Facebook to see what I mean! #YoungHeroesLeague This girl and her family are making big things happen. She is one of my heroes!
Follow My Advocate Center to support us as we work to help families transition through and out of conflict, and as we advocate for policy changes that will make the legal process safer for families. If we can #ImproveFamilyLaw then we have a better chance of letting kids receive the best that BOTH parents have to offer. There is just no valid reason to do anything different and our laws support this mission.
Follow People Against Childhood Cancer if you want to learn more about how to help children that way. Cancer in every form is AWFUL and deserves your attention, commitment, resources and your voice. Please do what you can while praying this doesn’t touch your own family, neighborhood, church, business or school.
Above all, be grateful and be inspired to do more with what you have.
How does your mind react when you read, “Counts are coming up”?
When you are missing the right perspective in your life, just go to a fund-raiser for kids with cancer or volunteer to help out a family in need. Read about what Rally Foundation is doing with kids and athletes, how remarkable St. Baldrick’s Foundation is with their crazy-fun head-shaving events, or find others like them.
Subscribe to a blog about a particular child, and learn more on Caring Bridge. The little boy who taught me and my children about the journey families go through with pediatric cancer was Augustus, better known as Gus, and referred to by many as “Mighty Gus.”
Since I started this post a couple of years ago, Gus took a turn for the worse and his family had to let him go. It was one of the toughest things I’ve experienced, and my experience was only from a distance and over time. He touched our lives and that of many others, and his parents are examples of how to manage under stress and through grief. And then there are the medical bills.
Think about what is really a big deal in your world…and consider that your bad day or month isn’t such a big deal after all, is it?
Of course you know someone who has it worse than you do; we all do. But sometimes they fall from your mind or you just think there isn’t much you can do for them that will make a difference? That isn’t the case when you get involved and start to care about any of the children around us who are struggling for their lives, fighting cancer, hoping for new treatments and for cures.
Can you think of one of the worst times in your life? …I can. In that moment, I consoled myself by saying, “Well, I’ve never been this scared, or this exhausted…but my CHILD does not have CANCER. So these things I can handle – they are temporary – and we will recover.” Yes, I actually said out loud, “My child does not have cancer, and I’m so grateful.”
Then I met Gus. I learned from his mother and her supporters. Gus battled cancer. Gus had a lot of friends who have cancer, and every little bit you can give does make a difference for them. Each of them is Mighty in his/her own way, and their parents/caregivers will stop you in your tracks, causing you to realize just how strong we are when we have to be for the sake of a child.
Talk: I didn’t hear about pediatric cancer and THEN think that my life wasn’t so bad. I knew to contrast these challenges with our own because of spending so much time in pediatric hospitals and in specialists’ offices. This awareness came from my own experiences in mothering preemie twins, and from doing hospital volunteer work. But not everyone has reason to come across the reality for these young patients. It has to be revealed, and then spelled out to the average person who is super busy, dealing with their own challenges, more interested in what they are having for dinner, or cursing the traffic.
Awareness is key, and I’m asking that YOU not rely on others to do the sharing.
Please pick an organization AND a child – learn – and share. Give, of course, when you can.
St. Baldricks and Rally Foundation are creating many more Heroes in the Fight against Pediatric Cancer, and my son Jack is one of them. I’m so proud of him for choosing to be an ambassador in this, and his fund-raising page is just one example of how you can help. You will see a photo gallery showing more about his experience, and see that he is having fun while contributing. You may even note what this has done for his confidence; he is truly inspired and I believe you will be, too.