Use your voice to talk about what is right with the world. What is perfect, amazing, awesome, heartwarming? Dwell on that. Obsess about it, rave about it, over think it and repeat again. Share it everywhere until it becomes second nature. Be a well of positivity and never allow yourself to be a drain. You have so many reasons to celebrate, so many blessings to feel grateful for and so many opportunities to be a force of love, appreciation and light. Get out there and shine your warmth on everyone. Be a voice and not an echo and be accountable for your own vibe. Make it a good one!
One thing I’ve learned about dealing with teens that can also be applied to adults is this. Once you lose your cool, as soon as you raise your voice or use an angry tone, it is game over. You have handed over your opportunity to make a point. You have now become an enemy and someone the other person only sees as mean instead of hearing the message that was intended to be spoken. Sometimes that’s what I believe people want. Being mean gives my kids an excuse to retreat to their rooms instead of staying downstairs and cleaning up their own mess or being responsible for what is expected of them to do. I see it so clearly when there is an exchange between my husband and my kids and how this allows a point on the teens score card and zero on dads. It’s not so easy however, when I am the one that completely loses my cool. I guess I have to work on that a little more. Remember, if you want someone to listen, you have to say it in a way they are willing to hear. When you yell or berate, the person you are speaking to will stop listening and you will look like the bad guy while they escape the lesson. That is lose lose for everyone involved. Stay calm and speak in a nice voice.
Years ago our family would vacation together. My niece and my daughter are a year apart and sometimes when we would all be cooped up in the same small space for hours on end, quite a bit of tattling would be taking place. One day, I came up with this fantastic idea and the “Tattle Book” was born. We told the girls to write every gripe and concern they had in that little book and at the end of the day the “adults” would look it over and someone would get back to them the next day. They loved that book. Every time they tried to tell on the other, one of us would say “tattle book” and they would write it all down. To our unexpected surprise, it worked. There was less tattling and the adults had less aggravation. And, the next day never even had to come.
In the last few years I have faced some pretty unique circumstance with athletic clubs, and especially the schools my son has attended. For years I kept quiet, afraid of what the consequence might be for my children if I became the voice of the squeaky wheel. I have been avoided, shunned and humiliated all at the expense of preventing others from having to go through similar situations that maybe my squeaky voice could prevent. I can’t remember the day I found the courage to stand up for what I believe is right but I realize the consequence of sometimes public humiliation is not nearly as bad as the consequence of remaining silent. The first time I spoke up I felt a fire deep inside and I knew my voice had to be loud enough to speak for the ones who would always be silent. Tomorrow, I have a very important meeting. My squeaky voice has caught some attention and now someone has no choice but to listen. My question though, is this just an adult size tattle book I will now be writing in that no ever plans to read or will someone consider my complaints significant enough to take some action and make some serious change? The truth is I really don’t know, but it reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, ” Speak the truth, even when your voice shakes”. I have been writing in that tattle book for more years than I care to remember. I think that’s the point though don’t you? Keep em writing until they get too tired to hold the pencil. I am tired. I am drained, but for the sake of my own child and every child out there in the world, I will find the strength. If my words and my persistence makes a difference for even one person, than I served them well. Sometimes it’s not about changing a situation we are personally involved in ourselves, but taking one for the team to make change when you may not ever have the opportunity to see it for yourself. If we don’t sacrifice ourselves for the better good, what kind of a person are we anyway? This girl here is never going to find that out. Tomorrow I will hear my own shaky voice tell the truth and state the facts. I will represent every single child that has fallen through the cracks. I will represent every single mother that has spent every hour of every year devoted to the full time job of being their child’s advocate, and somehow, someway, I will find the courage and strength.