This is my mom, my children's Yaya. She's not on social media, and she probably won't love that I'm using this picture of her...but you know the expression, it's easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission? Yeah, I'm going to go with that, because it's for a good cause!
While we were on vacation a few weeks ago, I had a lot of quiet time. This means I was over thinking things, reflecting, and analyzing. I began thinking about my "work", my career, my private practice, and my passion for helping families, helping children, and making a difference. I get that to many of you that sounds corny; "I want to make a difference." But, it's true. I do. I want my time here to be meaningful, to catalyze positive change, and to profoundly make a difference and do good in this crazy, out of control, world. For as long as I can remember I have always felt like that. I LOVE helping people, supporting the under dog, encouraging someone who can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, and making sure that they know they have me on their side. One day, while walking on the beach, this one tiny moment came back to me, and it struck me that this moment, may have be more significant than I ever realized. This small blip, this short but strong memory, and perhaps inspiration for what I do now, is now called "my moment".
My moment occurred a LONG time ago. I was 10, maybe 11 years old, and we were in Disney World. This was a very special vacation, because along with my brother and parents, we were joined by my aunts, uncles and cousins on my mom's side; there were 13 of us, and it was awesome. Any ways, we were in line for a ride, I think it was back to the future or some ride like that, and the line was long....super long...like over an hour long. There was a family a few people ahead of us; a mom, dad, and two children, who were much younger than me. It was weird because they were the family that whenever we stopped, they would be directly next to us, in the next row or section, and I remember thinking that the parents looked mad. The two kids were probably ages 4 and 6, maybe 5 and 7, I'm not sure, but the point is they were pretty young. Like I said it was a super long and boring line, the parents weren't doing anything to help pass the time, their kids were a little whiny, and seemed nervous about going on this ride.
As we got closer to the ride, the younger child started crying and saying she didn't want to go on the ride, and that she was scared. To everyone's shock and horror, the mother took the child, and threw her on the ground, yelling at her to stop being a baby. Read that again. The mother took the child off of her hip, and threw her on the ground; in front of everyone in line, at Disney World. She then proceeded to move up in the line and leave the crying child on the ground. Here we are, at the "happiest place on Earth" and watching this mother abuse her child in front of hundreds of people.
So we all witness this mom throw her scared and nervous child on the ground, yell at her, and then continue on in line, leaving that poor baby on the ground. After my mother took her jaw off of the ground, in the most eloquent and appropriate way, confronted this woman. I remember, vividly, standing there and watching my mother stand up to this woman who just did this terrible thing; wondering why no one else was upset or confronting this mother? Not one other person standing in line said or did anything; not a guest, not an employee, no one. I can't remember exactly what my mother said, but I remember feeling so proud that my mom wasn't afraid to say something. In that moment, my mother led by example, she taught us that no matter where you are, or what's going on, you stand up for what's right. It would have been easy to pretend she didn't see anything, to tell us to look away and worry about ourselves, to not want to engage in something so negative and upsetting while on a family vacation in Disney, but that's not who she is, or who she wanted to us to become, so she stood up for that child. What lesson would we have learned if she didn't stand up for what was right? If she didn't let that child crying on the ground know that we cared, that she mattered, and that someone was willing to fight for her?
I think the parents ended up taking their children and leaving the line. We all worried about those children for the rest of our trip, wondering if they were ok, hoping it was just some random and isolated event, or that this was a wake up call for the parents to treat their children better. We will never know for sure, what happened after that family left the line, but I hope wherever they are, they are all safe, and happy.
So, that was my moment. That experience got down deep into my heart and never left. Without even realizing it, this moment ignited a passion within me, and inspired me to help children and their families. Children don't always have a voice, or get a say, so we, the adults of the world need to be vigilant about keeping them safe, speaking up when we need to, and always doing what's right.
As I grew, up, matured, sought education, acquired experience, and figured out the real world; I realized that it's hard being a parent. Sometimes, parents just continue a vicious cycle of how they were parented. The toxic methods continue, until someone reaches out for help and does the difficult, and sometimes painful work necessary to heal and change. I recently posted a quote "Pain moves through families until someone is ready to feel it and heal it", by raising_yourself, and it's so true.
Through my parent coaching I can help parents get the support, tools, resources, and encouragement they need to make the positive change they seek. With my pediatric social and emotional coaching I get to work with children who need support to process complicated feelings, build skills, and learn to love who they are. Workshops and speaking engagements allow me to give wider audiences and greater numbers the motivation, information, and strategies to spark their energy to keep going and not give up.
My mother's example of standing up for what's right, no matter the circumstance, is a defining moment in my life. She showed us that not all heroes wear capes, and that anyone, anywhere can make a difference. This moment lit my heart on fire, and put me on this path. I know what I am meant to do, and I am doing it each and every day through Beacon Parent Coaching and Services.
Thanks for being my hero Mom.