Tag Archives: Change

If only…

If only there could be a conversation, rather than a debate about gun control. Let’s take the politics out of the conversation. Instead of having talking points designed to “stir up the base” what if both sides just took a moment and created a dialogue. If only we took out the extremes and found the middle ground. Imagine instead of reading this:

Pro-Gun Control: The NRA is killing your children and we must ban all guns
Anti-Gun Control: The Liberals are taking your guns and your children will be killed

Neither statement is true, in my opinion.  The Pro/Anti monikers could be interchangeable with Anti-Gun and Pro-Gun ownership.  Let’s take off the labels and consider instead the conversation went like this:

Person: I’m concerned about the amount of gun violence in our country. I feel there must be something we can do, as a society, to make our homes/schools/towns safer.
Person: I’m concerned about that as well (aside–who wouldn’t be?).

Imagine how the conversation would progress if we started as common stakeholders in our community’s safety? Continue reading

When children are denied an education

There are 62 Million girls around the world who are not in school.  Think of that for a moment. In this country we take education as a right, something a lot of us take for granted. We believe that all should have access to preschool through high school.  There are many of us who believe college should be included in that matrix.  Yet world-wide there are 62 million girls who have no access to education. They are illiterate, uneducated and financially dependent on others. Education is a known factor in advancement yet is denied to young woman around the world. Sometimes through circumstance, most often by men who fear the change women challenge the world to undertake.

A girl without access to reading, writing and arithmetic is more likely to end up in an abusive relationship, motherhood before she is emotionally ready and in poverty.  Want to stop terrorism? Educate the poor, the disenfranchised and the children of the world. Let them understand that the world is more what they see out their window. Malala proved that one girl’s education can give voice to a movement of change. Once their minds are awoken, young women’s voices cannot be silenced. They become mothers who will impart the importance of education to their offspring.

With access to education, young women across the globe will affect change. This is not just women in underdeveloped countries, but here at home.  According to PEW Research only 63% of US high school women go on to secondary education. Some of the 37% decide not to go further because they go into trade, the military or for whatever reason decide not to go to college.  I am willing to bet that out of the 37% of high school girls do not go to college due to circumstance. Looking at colleges is not a financial undertaking most of us can afford nor have the credit rating to achieve. If your parent did not go to college, you are less likely to see the value a college education can be to your life.  Children of lower-income single-mothers are less likely to have the opportunities for higher education. A recent study showed that 100% of former welfare recipients that receive a four-year degree and 82% of welfare recipients who received a 2-year degree stopped relying on welfare support.

In 2013 our country had 10.9 million school age children living in poverty.  Unsurprisingly, 40% of US children living in poverty are unprepared for school.  A staggering 31% of US children without a high school diploma will continue to live in poverty. Compared to just 20 years ago, the rate of children living in poverty has increased and the gap of income inequality continues to grow. Their children will repeat the cycle, unless change is made and education becomes a priority.

Education breeds personal power. If we want to see more women CEOs, leaders and Heads of State we need to educate them. Not in our own backyard, but in every back yard. I do not want women to overtake men; I want women to work alongside them. Equal partners effecting real change to leave this world a better place then we found it.  Advances in science, economies, living conditions and education benefit all of society. We need to stand with the United Nation’s stance that education is a human right and a “driving force of human development”.

When our youth are educated homicides are decreased, crime is lessened, reduces infant mortality and teenage pregnancy. Famine and world hunger can be alleviated. Terrorism loses its footing when those being suppressed are educated on how to make their voices resonate across the lands.

The US Peace Corps is collaborating with USAID and the First Lady to work together in educating girls, one girl at a time, through grassroots efforts. Volunteers committed to teaching all children. They understand that with education comes change, and maybe peace.  It’s time to get the facts and be clear: education should be a fundamental right of every child. To learn more about the initiative Let Girls Learn please visit their website at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/letgirlslearn

Just admit it, you messed up

I admit to not watching the Miss America pageant. I did however watch the following clip that was all over my Facebook feed the next morning.

I applauded this woman, who showed that beauty is more than skin deep. That she gave a two minute oral presentation, without cue cards or fanfare about her talent amazed me. My first thought was, YES! This is what a 21st century Miss America pageant should be promoting. Brains and beauty.

Listening to Miss Colorado’s talent made me remember how lucky we have been in Bridget’s life. The nurses who have shown her love, affection and comfort. The nurses who alerted the doctor (who was at home asleep) that Bridget was in distress. The nurse who held me as I broke in the NICU (and many times after that). The nurse who explained in terms I understood what was going on after Bridget’s surgery (when the doctor had left with her stethoscope) and how to care for my child whose spinal chord had just been operated on. The nurse who told me (each and every time) that no question/concern was trivial.

Then The View happened. First they mocked Miss Colorado for “reading her e-mails” and wearing a doctor’s stethoscope. Anyone who works in healthcare knows that a physician never has a stethoscope. If you see one around a doctor’s neck the most likely explanation is he stole borrowed it from a nurse. Second, instead of giving an apology to Miss Colorado (and nurses as a whole) their “apology” was that their comments were misconstrued.

Here is where the View went wrong: instead of making a joke they should have used that moment to encourage women everywhere to be more than a pretty face. The hosts should have highlighted Miss Colorado’s performance to demonstrate that other talents are cool (I for one would love to be able to play the violin) but those talents may not change society.  Miss Colorado’s talent has immediate impact on the world around us.  Little beauty queens may decide to take up one of the noblest professions. Girls at home saw a gorgeous woman who was more the the pageant.  Miss Colorado showed young women how a true professional looks: not only can she rock a bathing suit she can save a life.

Both are important.  Self-confidence, just like beauty, comes from within. Miss Colorado showed young women everywhere not to judge a person’s worth by first look. As the mom of a tween I look for women, strong women, who I can point out as role models. Not the Disney pop-tarts, not the child stars that grow up and forget their true fan base. I look for women who are changing the world; with their voice, their determination and their willingness to be different. I want her to see women who are not conforming to the standard, but challenging it.

Maybe the View could learn something from her, if only they did more than look.

The Last Workshop

Part of Bridget’s program at school involves monthly workshops. An afternoon every month where all of her educational support personnel, the head of her SPED program, her preschool teacher, speech therapist and occupational therapist meet and go over every one of Bridget’s programs. Parents are encouraged to attend so we can follow through with the therapies at home. It also is a time for them to learn what behavior we are seeing at home and vice versa.  Continue reading

1000 Speak, well more really

About a month ago two bloggers had this idea: to flood the internet with stories of compassion. To battle back the dark news, the horror of this world and show that there is still good to be had. The date was chosen, Feb 20th and the rallying cry was heard: Let’s get 1,000 bloggers to talk about compassion.

They didn’t get 1,000 bloggers though.

Continue reading

Losing Innocence

I knew 5th grade would be tough. I expected her to grow-up a little more. I expected her to gain some independence, start moving away from Barbies and Fairies to explore more of real-life heroes.

I expected this to change due to society. From her friends and classmates who seem to be growing up so much quicker than she seems to be. I did not expect her to lose the shine of innocence doing a Social Studies Project. Continue reading