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When It Comes to Resistance, Criticize Behavior, Not People

Politics, Relationships
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Everyday social media is flooded with personal attacks for having expressed an opinion contrary to their own. And since the presidential campaign, it seems like these occurrences have increased. There have been a lot of assumptions about why people voted for Trump, many deeming our compatriots as racists. Likewise, some conservatives have argued the ludicrousy of women marching so they can “kill their babies.” None of this is productive nor is it true. And it is ALL offensive. And not only do I intellectually recognize it as being offensive, I FEEL offended.

 

So here’s the thing…it is possible to critique ideas and actions without criticizing people. And now that it can no longer be ignored that our society is, in many instances, deeply divided, I can’t help but bring attention to the vitriolic manner in which some of us have chosen to express ourselves. Read more.

 

 

A National Tragedy: The Election of Donald Trump Through My Child’s Eyes

What's New

Be encouraged. That is very first thing I said to my 14 year old daughter the morning after the election because I already knew the answer to my usual question: “Are you okay?,” was a resounding, “No”. She wasn’t okay. She had already cried a couple of weeks ago as a result of the intolerance that Trump espoused, the anger he displayed, and the fear he infused into American politics and society. Never before has there been more attention and concern around the impact of a presidential election on our children.

Why? Divisiveness, intolerance, fear and hate have been ratcheted up so much that it hard to see a way out. And it’s not just adults that get that the idea of “othering” and our throwaway culture.

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“Fighting for What’s Right is Worth It:” The Immediate Aftermath of the 2016 Presidential Election

Politics, What's New

So last night at work I said to my coworkers, “Regardless of the results of the presidential election, I am going to be at peace and maintain my joy.” And let’s just say that they looked at me like I was crazy. Actually, some of them almost said as much but this is what I know…the power of the people and the power of love will always be more compelling than fear and hate. And my joy and peace of mind rest on the two simple facts.

That said, I definitely don’t agree with Trump, nor do I like  what he stands for. I’m hurting and disappointed too. Look, a man that has incited fear in the hearts of Americans and foreigner alike, young and old, men and women, Christian and Muslim, poor and rich just became our leader elect. And that means that I, like many others, feel disappointed, sad, and most importantly fearful. And we need to feel every emotion that comes flooding in…but I won’t be overwhelmed by that fear and implore you to resist the urge to let these emotions rule you. Because becoming overwhelmed by fear is only going to result in frustration which is more than likely going to lead to a few dismal options: flight (as many have suggested moving to Canada), freeze (and apathy will set in) or fight (which if fighting out of anger will only make matters worse).

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If the Shoe Fits…!: Life of Comfort vs. The Life You Love

What's New

“This is not the life I thought I would be living.”

Have you ever said that to yourself?

Maybe it’s because you always thought you’d be further along in life. Or because you still feel unfulfilled even though you have achieved the goals you hoped you would.

Sometimes we don’t even realize that there are parts of our lives that make us feel discontented because, at some point, the routine of our lives takes over and we find ourselves in autopilot. We go through our day completing all of the necessary tasks, checking all of the boxes only to feel physically exhausted and emotionally drained by the end of it.

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Do You Want a Leader or a Bully?: Last Minute Considerations for the 2016 Presidential Election

Politics, What's New
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Over the years, I have always noticed how political commentators have evoked the image and behavior of children when criticizing their opponents. As soon as someone from the opposing political party acts in a manner deemed as irrational or immature, they are quick to call them “childish.” But never before has one candidate been likened to a child more than Donald Trump.

And interestingly enough, no other candidate has likely ever been described as a bully more than Trump either. The use of both terms, childish and bully, represent not just an interesting choice of words but a style of asserting one’s power that conjures up of images of negativity, immaturity, pettiness, and irrationality. And while I take great issue with Trump being called childish (and have discussed it previously), I think the term bully describes his behavior pretty accurately.

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Throw Away or Heal?: Young, Black, and Male in America

What's New, Youth
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Terrence Ca’Pre Henderson. You read that name and I know it means nothing to you. He is a relatively unknown person from Newport News, Virginia. That said, the majority of people living in Newport News wouldn’t know him either. Heck, even I don’t know him. I have never personally met him yet he means something to me.

He is the person that inspired me to act. For me, it was his story that epitomized the huge gaping holes that our society has in its care for young people.  For me, his story also highlighted the depth and extensive nature of American society’s throwaway culture. And it spoke in such a loud and disturbing voice that I had no choice but to do something. His story was publicized in the Daily Press, a local newspaper whose readership covers the Virginia Peninsula, over the course of a couple weeks in December 2006.

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Just A Child: Expressivity & Authenticity-Part 2

Relationships, What's New, Youth
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Expressivity & Authenticity-Childish Qualities Series

Go to Part 1

So how many times have you not expressed what was on your heart for fear of being hurt, being denied your hopes and dreams, or rejected? The things we do to protect ourselves from hurt, not even thinking that if we don’t SAY what we’re thinking and feeling we will NEVER get what we want. Because expressing your thoughts and feelings is the first action needed to put the ball in play. But ironically I think that society actually conditions us not to speak more than we are encouraged to speak. And this is noteworthy, particularly since the primary purpose of our ability to communicate is truth-telling. And we can’t tell the truth if we don’t speak. But our speech is often paralyzed by fear.

 

I recently had a conversation with my daughter about what she felt she needed and wanted. As she spoke the desires of her heart, despair immediately ushered in as she thought about the situation at hand. And to tell the truth, it came over me as well, because sometimes fear takes hold of you and convinces you that there’s no way out of a situation and you’ll never get what you need or want. So, we froze, which is what people often do when they’re afraid…we become paralyzed or we run.

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When Children Speak It’s for Not Entertainment: Authenticity, Expressivity & Youth Speech

Relationships, Wellness, What's New, Youth
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Expressivity & Authenticity-Childish Qualities Series

Go to Part 2 

So, here’s the thing, as children we’re taught that our thoughts and opinions are optional and frankly unnecessary for most every conversation particularly those that involve adults. I’m sure part of our disregard of young people’s opinions occurs because we all know that children are not viewed as being particularly wise. Likewise, we know that not only can children be quite expressive and authentic but that they also have unparalleled candor.  Depending on the context, this can be quite unsettling for adults because adults have no control over what children will say, which could lead to unwanted disclosure of information and embarrassment.

 

The exception to adults allowing young people to speak freely is when they view their speaking as a performance and the observing adults are therefore entertained. How many times has a child said something an adult thought was “soooo cute.” You need only search “cute kids talking” on YouTube and you get almost 6 million results. The videos include children speaking on a wide range of issues, some of which include them arguing in others they are explaining something. And yes while they’re all cute, children do not express their opinions for entertainment, nor do they do so to shame, criticize or “be right.” They communicate from complete observation and for understanding and they do so out of truth and love.

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Yes, I’m Childish!: Choosing Love…and Homelessness

It's just JOY!, Relationships, Wellness, What's New
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I had been unhappy for quite some time, not depressed just not excited about life. I also recognized that I was more familiar with the feeling of fear than I was with joy. I was turning 40 and I knew that I had to make a change.

 

So, I left a whole life. I turned away from most every friend, my family, and a man (who by moral and legal standards was not mine to love). And I did it because a little voice told me to leave. For many people this may or may not sound radical at all, but to walk away from just about everyone whom you love and that loves you is no small feat.  

 

But that wasn’t all. I began this process when I had not worked in three months. I had no income, NONE. So, it felt completely insane that God was telling me to leave and stand alone at a time when I needed people the most. I knew that He was telling me to only rely on Him and so defying all logic, I did just that.

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Love: A Revolutionary Act

Relationships, Wellness, What's New
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So, when I was eleven I discovered a characteristic that I desired most to be. The summer before going into the seventh grade, I went to the library with my mom. And she invited me to get a book. I looked at the shelves overwhelmed, not knowing where to begin. Almost immediately after I said that I didn’t really know what I wanted to read, there was a book on display on Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi. And that is where it started. That summer I read almost a book a day on civil and human rights activists throughout the world.

But my focus remained on Gandhi. I marvelled at Gandhi’s ability to stand in the face of adversity, often alone or with few backers, and embody love. How could someone endure so much disrespect and emotional pain and still in spite of it all not just stand but stand in and for LOVE?

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