Respect is a Two-way Street

And these children that you spit on

As they try to change their worlds

Are immune to your consultations

They’re quite aware of what they’re going through

I looked at a large collection of images and this one really spoke to me.

You can not build (peace) with a (gun)

I took a screen shot on my iPad to share the image. I am aware it is likely a copy-writed image and thus my reason for sharing the entire screen and also the link to the post. I share it honoring the children, teens and young adults who marched out of school and made posters and spoke. I share it so their voices can be heard. ( the image disappears when I save)

Here is the link to the image: March 14 School Walkout

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

(Turn and face the strange)

Ch-ch-changes

Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

(Turn and face the strange)

Ch-ch-changes

Where’s your shame

You’ve left us up to our necks in it

Time may change me

But you can’t trace time

David Bowie’s powerful words in the song, Changes have always inspired me.

Today in our present climate and given that I am raising three children of this “millennial generation”, and after reading posts and watching videos from the March 14, 2018 National School Walk Out Protests, I realized I needed to write about respect.

Respect

I watched this video from Facebook shared by IJR Blue Presents

And then I participated in some discussion about this post.

And I wrote this in the comments on the post on my wall:

This person is our future. He is the future that I want to see in America. He is he kind of person I would love to see in political office. The voices of our youth have power. They see the world as it is, and without clouded vision of politics, agendas, special interests, and propaganda. We need to listen to them. They have great wisdom. This speech is so inspiring to me and brings me hope because THIS is the AMERICA that I can be proud of.

I read many comments calling the youth of today stupid and many people brought up the incidents of teens eating Tide Pods.

And my reply:

Teens of All generations do stupid things- but not all teens engage in the stupid behavior of eating tide pods. When I was a teen- they sniffed rubber cement- highly toxic. And I am sure you can think of stupid things you saw other teens do when you were growing up. Let’s stop bashing this generation of teens. I know MANY awesome teens/ young adults- 2 live at my house and are amazing people. And many of them inspire me with their wisdom and passion. We need to respect our youth in order to change our future and theirs….

and then I read this comment by another person:

A culture of spoiled brats raised their kids to be bigger spoiled brats, etc…now we are in danger of spoiled brats just popping up and shooting people anywhere. No better reason to arm ones self and remain that way. To hell with spoiled brats. God bless those who didn’t make and support the creation of spoiled brats! Where are the parents of the kids skipping school? Are they being disciplined for truancy? What the hell happened to justice? Doctors, cars, drugs, and cellular phones EACH KILL more children in a year than people with guns do. So many are thinking with their maternal/paternal instincts……but they are to too stupid to teach their kids that we don’t eat tide pods. SHAME ON PARENTS AND TEACHERS WHO CREATED AND SUPPORTED THE CREATION OF SPOILED BRATS! LACK OF DISCIPLINE IS CHILD ABUSE YOU IDIOTS! SMH

RESPECT

The key to changing our future is respecting our children, respecting our teens, respecting our youth.

Respect is a two way street.

The best way to teach respect to children is to RESPECT THEM!

I feel like I could say that one million times and it would not be enough.

Every generation blames the next generation….

Billy Joel sings it so well:

We didn’t start the fire

It was always burning

Since the world’s been turning

We didn’t start the fire

No, we didn’t light it

But we tried to fight it

We need to stop blaming and take responsibility for ourselves and our choices.

As a parent of three children who are now 20, 16, and 9, I feel the most important thing we can do for our children is respect and love them and accept them for who they are.

I am raising independent thinkers who have the freedom to learn in a way that works for them and in an environment of support, love, and respect.

We have had more than our share of challenges along our life journey including financial struggles. Yet we power on, we continue living, we ask the tough questions and do the research and seek support, advice and guidance.

I have made mistakes as a parent, as a person. I am human.

We are all human.

I am a spiritual being having a human experience. Part of that experience is making mistakes. Mistakes are a big part of learning.

I am NOT a perfect parent.

My goal is NOT to raise perfect children.

I am a work in progress and continue to challenge myself and learn and grow and evolve, as a person and as a parent.

I allow my children to make their own choices in life and that includes making their own mistakes. I provide them with the support and guidance they need living in 21st century America. I am here to facilitate their learning and serve as a guide on their life journey.

I respect my children and their individuality, their interests, and their life desires.

I DO MY BEST to respect them in my actions and words. Like I said before, I am human.

I am raising “my children”, these young humans who are a part of my life journey, with the values of respect, compassion, kindness, and honesty.

These children are not “mine”, they are not my property. They are human beings the same as any grown adult is a human being and they deserve the same respect you would give your co-worker or your friend.

The next time your child spills or breaks something, before you respond (or even after), STOP, and ask yourself,

“Would I respond/ have responded that way if my best friend had broken my favorite vase?; or made that same mistake that our child just did?”

“Would I respond/ have responded that way if my co-worker or my boss spilled coffee? Or did what my child just did?”

It may sound cliche, our children are our future.

We need to allow our children to build their own future.

We need to allow our children to express themselves and provide them the opportunity to be the grandest version of themselves.

We need to work alongside our children,, guide, support and respect them.

Listen to them.

Our children are born to us with great inner wisdom and love and trust and express that until we “beat it out of them” or teach them hate, anger, fear and doubt.

We need to listen to our children.

They have great wisdom for they are closer to God/ spirit/ Universe…less burdened with “life baggage”. (Fill in your own belief system)

Maybe if we stop and look at children in a new light, and treat them with respect.

And stop blaming them or their parents…STOP the BLAME!

Point the finger back at ourselves and see how we can be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Maybe then… we can help make real change happen and help our children make a better world for their future.

Billy Joel sings of the many issues and problems over multiple generations in his song, We Didn’t Start the Fire. See the full lyrics here.

He wrote the song in response to a teen telling him back in 1989 how tough it is to be a kid now compared to Billy growing up in the 1950s. I have taken poetic license and use this song to imply that there are always going to be challenges in the world and there always have been controversies and big problems. And to speak to adults complaining about “kids today”.

Kids today are amazing, empowered, intelligent, insightful, truthful and motivated.

….Until we teach them that they are not.

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again

Moonshot, Woodstockand honesty. , Watergate, punk rock

Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline

Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide

Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz

Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law

Rock and Roller Cola wars, I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the fire

It was always burning

Since the world’s been turning

We didn’t start the fire

But when we are gone

It will still burn on and on and on and on

And on and on and on and on…

We didn’t start the fire

It was always burning

Since the world’s been turning

We didn’t start the fire

No, we didn’t light it

But we tried to fight it

Much thanks and gratitude to:

Azlyrics, Billy Joel, David Bowie, IJR Blue Presents, Chicago Tribune, Facebook and all the people I quoted and those who responded to me

Mommy (Parent) Guilt: “Shoulding on myself”

I first posted this on my Ginaslifejourney Blog.

I share it here now as well.

A parents, we all deal with guilt and worry.

“Did something I do cause my child to have these issues?”

Is it all my fault?

I should have…

I should have worked more hours when i was pregnant with baby number 3.

I should have returned to work sooner after he was born in January 2009.

I should have worked more and saved more while I was pregnant.

I should have returned to work sooner so our debt didn’t grow so much.

I should have known to move money from our tax rebate to pay down our home equity line of credit after my husband had a massive heart attack so that Medicaid would have kicked in sooner, rather than exhausting all that money we had from me working extra hours and our tax rebate. (Deep breath)

The social worker should have told me the rules…

Someone should have told me that Medicaid says if you have more than $3000 in assesses (savings, checking, cash), then you wont; qualify for Medicaid…until that money is gone…

I should have applied for food stamps once we did qualify for Medicaid

I began the application several times, I should have finished it and sent it in.

I should have gotten more help then we would have less debt.

I should have done so many things….

I should have reached out for help sooner when my daughter showed signs of separation anxiety and other issues when I was pregnant with our third child.

I should have realized it was something more than just me being pregnant.

I should have gotten her help sooner so that her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, her anxiety disorder, her mental illness did not become so extreme and severe…

I should have gotten her on medication sooner…

I should have listened to my friend who suggested it might be OCD when it was mild.

I should have gotten her to a therapist sooner.

I should have researched OCD sooner, when my friend brought it up.

I should have listened..

I should have gotten her help sooner so she did not have to suffer so much.

I should have gotten my youngest help sooner when he showed signs of anxiety and OCD from at least age 2.

I should have countered when the therapist said, “I don’t think it is OCD”

I should have completed the paperwork even though it took 6 months to get it from the Development and Behavioral Pediatrician

I should have gotten him in sooner and not waited as long as I did.

I should have taken him to a mental health place sooner to get him help, medication.

I should not have had so much fear about giving my kids medication…I should have found more support when I knew that was needed.

Going to the psychiatrist should have been paid for by Medicaid.

Medicaid should have qualified people to treat my children and I should have access to finding the resources without having to jump through a million hoops and experience unqualified people and ill equipped facilities and services.

My children should be able to go to the specialists they need because of their illness even though they have government assisted health insurance.

I work in health care, I should have better health insurance.

I have a bachelors of science degree in Occupational Therapy and training in mental health care, I should be treated with respect when the people from Medicaid speak to me.

Everyone should be treated with respect no matter what their educational level.

I should be able to access information about my health insurance and services for my children even though it is government assisted.

I have paid into the system since I was 15 1/2 years old and so now that I need these services, I should receive them, if I qualify.

I shouldn’t have to jump through crazy hoops because my income varies from month to month and so does my 20 year old son’s income.

My 20 year old son’s income SHOULD NOT count toward our household income for the healthcare market place and definitely not for qualifying my younger children for Medicaid or NC health choice. My 20 year old son who purchased his own car, pays for his own insurance, and pays to attend community college part time all with his own hard earned money. (Deep breath)

I should have listened to my gut when I realized even though their Dad had survived, that my three kids had gone through a traumatic experience and would need some counseling and help…

Survivors guilt…but he lived, there is no help when your husband lives…

I should have listened to myself because I knew that experience was traumatic for all of us.

I should have let go of “survivors guilt” because he lived and our friends who lost husbands to heart attacks that same year, did not survive. “I should be grateful that he lived.”

I should on myself and others have should upon me….

And I should on other people.

It is really a bad habit and not helpful to anyone.

I should have filled out the special forms and jumped through the hoops to see if my son could qualify for grants for college costs, because they decided to use the same year for 3or 4 semesters to look at our income, the year we took out $65,000 from IRA money to pay down debt.

I should have worked more hours.

I should have been a better mom so my children wouldn’t have mental illness.

I should have been a better me so I wouldn’t have mental illness.

I should have done something different to prevent mental illness?

Is that really possible?

Do parents of kids who have cancer ask themselves this question?

Maybe they do, Maybe they don’t.

I shouldn’t have to wonder about this.

My kids friends and their parents should have been there more for my daughter when she was crippled with mental illness, with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Depression.

They should have given her the love and support she needed just like they would have done if she had cancer.

WE SHOULD LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE MENTAL ILLNESS IS TREATED THE SAME AS OTHER ILLNESSES, PHYSICAL ILLNESSES WHICH ARE MORE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE IN AMERICAN SOCIETY.

Mental illness SHOULD be classified the same as other illness because they last time I looked, my head and brain are attached to my body.

We need to stop shoulding on ourselves and on others

We need to embrace where we are now and make the best choices we can in the moment and realize we can not go back in time (not yet) and change the past. What is done is behind us and we must keep moving forward.

We need to stop judging other people and their choices and instead come from love to reach out to and help others with respect and kindness.

I give you this challenge today…

Pay attention to how often you SHOULD on yourself or on someone else.

We are often our worst critic and as moms, as parents, we are our own worse saboteur.

Love yourself and respect yourself first.

Only then can you love and respect others.


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