I Welcome Advice from People without Kids!

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I had a kid later in life, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t around kids. I have nieces and nephews, god kids, and tons of little cousins. There’s literally a kid born in our family every couple of months. For some reason, even when I’m out in public, kids seem to be drawn to me and tell me just about everything. One thing I learned, being surrounded by kids, is if they trust you, they will open up to you. They will tell you about their fears, dreams, and bodily functions. Most of the time, all they want is someone to listen, give them some time, and pay just a little attention to them.

I am an observer by nature. I’m that person who sits back and watches what’s not being said. I watch for clues or gestures. When someone is talking to me, I listen to what they are not saying. I listen to their body language. This has helped me be a great aunt, cousin, and godmother. My young family members felt comfortable coming to me, even though I had no kids of my own. They said I made them feel safe and not judged. That meant so much to me. Even their parents would come to me with concerns about their kids. Not because I was this wonderful parent, but because I was a great listener and observer. I was the person who see the things they didn’t see. I was the person with whom their kids shared their thoughts and they respected me for it. And, I was a kid, so I was a kid of understand how kids think.

As a parent, I don’t know everything about my child, and I never will. I will never say what my child will or won’t do, when they are not with me, because I know kids act differently when they are not with their parents. I know my child will not tell me everything and I will never completely know what is going on with them. This is why I welcome advice from non-parents who spend time with my kids. People who observe things I may miss, because I spend so much time with them, I may overlook small things.  Those small things, may turn out to be big things. I welcome the advice because they may say something that will help me be a better parent. Maybe they have some insight as to why my child may be acting or feeling a certain way. Maybe they struggled with the same thing as a child and have guidance that could help make my life easier.

It takes a village to raise a child and in that village there are childless people. Being childless does not make your opinion invalid. Being childless does not mean you can’t identify problems or issues that arise in children or families. Most childless people I know have parented a child in some way. I will never mark someone’s opinion as invalid because they have not had kids. With any information I am given, I take what I need and leave the rest. As a parent, it is my responsibility to do what is best for my child, and sometimes what is best is to listen to someone who may not be a parent.

 

 

 

 

Healing the Village and Community

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Our village is hurting. It’s crying out for help. We are experiencing grief, depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. This leads to isolation and lack of communication. The village used to be a place where people could come to get information, education, rights of passages, and love. Now, it offers no words of encouragement, wisdom, or support.

There was a time when we all came together to do what is best for the community, for its people. To help look after each other, to feed the hungry, and support the dreams of the youth. There was a time when kids could approach the elders and get words of wisdom, but now they offer words of dread. There was a time when the hungry could go to corner store or the neighborhood grandmother and be offered food and comforting words, now he is turned away with words filled with hurt and hate. We used to look out for each other, now we turn a blind eye to the destruction of the community. We stopped communicating and now we’re deaf to the screams for help.

For so long, we’ve convinced ourselves we’re immune to the diseases and illnesses of the outside world. We’ve falsely believed depression, anxiety, and mental illness didn’t live in our homes. People laughed at the child, who showed signs of mental illness, for acting a little different. Instead of offering help, we offered ridicule. We protected the uncle, who molested the family members- telling everyone he was just being friendly. We allowed him, and others like him, to shatter the innocence and joy of youth. Instead of giving them justice, we gave them indifference. Instead of giving the one with big dreams the tools and wisdom to reach those dreams, we gave him negativity and doubt while laughing at his aspirations.

We are failing our community because we are scared to admit we need help and to get help. We’re afraid to communicate for fear of judgement and ridicule. The world we live in shames us for admitting we need help, have struggles, and for being less than perfect. We’ve built a mirage that life is always about being bigger, better, faster, flashier, more, more, more… We’ve no longer appreciate the little things in life, the small comforts, and gestures of love and hope.

The village has tried, for so long, to hide its hurt and pain behind this illusion and now it’s rearing its ugly head with a vengeance. The village is no longer able to care for and love the youth, because we don’t know how to care for and love ourselves. Love, wisdom, fun, and fellowship are no longer valued in the community. The sad part is, we know help is there, we’re just scared to seek it. How can we heal if we can’t admit we need help? How can give the youth hope for the future, when we can’t admit and get help for the hopelessness of the present? In order to heal, the village must admit it is sick. In order to heal, we must raise our voices and ask for help. Until we are able to do this, we will continue to suffer in silence.

Fall Harvest

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In farming, fall harvest is a time for gathering the crops from the seeds planted in late summer. In life, fall harvest is a time for reaping the rewards for seeds planted earlier in the year.

Earlier in the year,  we made wishes and planted seeds of hopes and dreams in hopes of seeing them manifest later in the year.  Now, the time has come to reap the benefits of those seeds and the energy we’ve put into tending the garden. Now is the time to collect on those dreams, hopes, and wishes.  Maybe you wishes for better health, more friends, abundance in finance, or a new home.  Some might of dreamed of a relaxing vacation, passing exams, or an addition to the family.

I look back on the seeds I planted, earlier this year, and I can see the rewards of those seeds.  I wanted to spend more time with my daughter, travel, and grow spiritually.  I wanted a new job in a career loved and an increase in finance.  Well, I am now homeschooling my little one and we have been on several vacations, which included her getting her first stamp in her passport.  I have definitely grown spiritually.  I started my own business and nonprofit.  My finances are not where I want them to be but I know with time and patience they will get there.

See, the thing about the harvest is not all your seeds will grow and, sometimes, it may seems like there’s nothing there. But, if you look closely, you can find something to gather. Some hope or wish that surprisingly came true, no matter how big or small.  Or, some dream that is taking off, even if it’s just in the beginning stages.  Be proud of the energy and effort you’ve put into tending your garden and happily reap your rewards.

 

Going Home… Part 1

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Today, I decided to visit my grandparents land to take some nature pictures.  I visited my great-grandmother’s house and my grandfather’s house.

My great-grandmother’s family has over 100 acres of land and I had not visited it in years.  In my mind, it was still this beautiful big field filled with apple trees, strawberry vines, pecan and plum trees.  I remember spending hours playing with and feeding the horses.  I remember my great- grandmother teaching her grand kids how to make brooms from straw, gather water from the well, and hang clothes on the line. I also remember her putting frogs in our arms and scaring us.

When it was time to eat, she would make the best biscuits in the wood burning stove.  Afterwards, she sat us down and taught us to make quits.  Even though she didn’t have much, she made sure we were never cold or hungry.

I drove up to the hill hoping to see the house I slept in as a kid.  The yard I use to sweep with straw brooms.  The apple, plum, and pecan trees.  In my heart, I wanted to see my great-grandmother, standing in the yard, waving as I pulled up.

The reality is, there is no more house, the yard is over grown, and all the fruit and nut trees are gone.    Piles of old weathered wood is all that’s left of the house.  Rotting limbs are the only remains of the trees I used to climb.   An overgrown yard replaces the green grass, where I used to run and play with my cousins.  There is no more grandma’s house, only the memories of what once was.

As I stood there downing in memories, I heard a sound in the woods.  I saw movement and a little bit of my childhood came back.  Just like when I was a kid, there stood the horses.  I spent time getting to know my new friends, petting them, and feeding them.  I felt like a kid again. I felt like I was home.

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