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Wednesday
Nov052014

In a Lifetime of Conversations Being Responsible is Key

I make and have made so many mistakes with my own children that I probably do a disservice to myself to open a piece of writing with that because how are you going to take my word for it that I was, in actuality, a darn good mom. Except, that's my superpower right there: making mistakes and moving forward anyway. I wasn't big on reading parenting books when my children were younger and I had a far crunchier-granola approach to parenting. Even while a student in school I learned best when I made mistakes. 

That is a tradition that continues today.

Learning lessons and making mistakes is different for every child and the ones I raised all learned so differently from one another that I became, inadvertantly, very accustomed to allowing my kids to make them within some safe boundaries. 

You don't want to get up in time to eat breakfast before school? Okay, then. 

Staying up until midnight to finish your chores is how you want to play this? No time limit then.

You want to go to a party where there's a possibility of alcohol? I'm out of money for the weekend so bail is not an option. If you get in trouble, you're on your own.

Turning in that essay without looking over the errors I pointed out? Fine. Take the grade that comes with it.

Oftentimes planning to have a tough conversation with your teens, especially your teens, is harder than the actual conversation. So when the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility asked me personally how I talked to my daughters and sons about underage drinking, a million thoughts raced through my minds.

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility asked me for my best advice on this subject in the hopes that it will inspire you to start your own conversation with your kids. Here's why I agreed to be filmed for this: you, the parent, are the leading influence on your kid’s decision to drink – or not drink – alcohol and to make good decisions and boundaries for your children.

You can listen to more real advice from my fellow bloggers and visit responsibility.org for additional resources and tips to keep teens safe.

Check out the Responsibility.org homepage, follow them on Twitter @goFAAR and check out their Facebook and Pinterest pin page for more information.

Kids will make mistakes and there are safe ones to make about choices involving alcohol. For the record, when I told my children that I wouldn't be making excuses for them about partying with booze before they hit the legal age, they all chose wisely and steered clear of it.

It was the best advice I could give about them being personally responsible and I feel lucky that they made good choices about that. Sometimes, just starting the conversation is all the push parents need. I urge you to make that primary parenting practice.

Friday
Oct032014

Things I Said At Work Today: Picture Day Edition

It's been a long week at work with bizarre October temperatures, picture day shenanigans, and awful songs with ridiculous ranges.

Today was Picture Day which meant that I made sure students didn't scowl at the camera so I tried making them laugh by dancing off to the side out of view of the camera. I ended up making the kids laugh who were standing in line to be next which meant I had to step up my dancing game.

 

Let's have a little chit chat. 

That's a cutesy word, Ms. Wickham. But I know you. This won't be good.

Then at least I'll be cute while delivering news to you: You're staying after school today.

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Yes, you can French braid my hair.

 

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I went to the choir classroom today to talk to a student and listened as each student took a turn and sang The Star Spangled Banner while the teacher listened to tone and pitch. 

Why are you making them sing this horribly multi-ranged song? I teased the teacher.

He responded with this:

Why don't you sing it?

Uhhh, no. I came to get a kid. Gotta jet.

That's the last time I visit that room. I did, however, sing The Star Spangled Banner in my office when I walked back in after that. By myself, it doesn't sound half bad.

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I greeted a student at the front door when I saw her coming in this morning. 

Hi! I'm so glad you're here! You just missed the rain we're getting! WHAT? I WANTED TO GREET YOU TODAY. I WANT YOU TO HAVE A GREAT DAY. 

She turned to walk away from me and very dryly said, "You've had a lot of coffee, haven't you?"

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Other Things I Said 

You are a habitual line stepper? Do you know Charlie Murphy? Habitual. Line. Stepper.

These are not things you should be worrying about at your age. 

What are you, 12? You're too young to tell me that you're tired of walking from class to class. YOU'RE 12.

When I get married my new last name will be Hurst. You don't have to call me Mrs. Hurst. You'll never remember that anyway.

No, I haven't picked out a dress yet. 

No, you cannot come to the wedding to meet my parents. Why would you...you're weird. But I like you. Maybe I'll save you some cake.

Monday
Sep222014

EngenderHealth: WTFP?!

There are few things more important to me, as a woman and mother, than making decisions for myself about my health. This includes, but is not limited to, choosing my own contraception. Choosing when to get pregnant and making my own choices about having children are things that I have taken for granted at times.  After visiting with women in Ethiopia and asking them about their choices, I realized my freedom and privilege to even use the word "choice" about my health.  In fact, I probably didn't see the importance of being pregnant and taking good care of my health as a teenage mother. I was lucky in that I didn't even choose prenatal care until the 6th month of my first pregnancy because I was afraid of telling my parents that I was pregnant. While I delivered a healthy baby girl I can't stress the importance of what I missed out on while I was living in denial. It didn't have to be that way, either. Those choices I made were out of sheer ignorance of medical facts and I've worked since then to make sure that other young girls who find themselves in the same position don't make that grave mistake. Especially in a place where we have access to such great medical care. 

More than 220 million women in developing countries want access to family planning but can’t get it. That's nearly a quarter of a billion women who would like to have a choice regarding on family planning. It's a freedom I take for granted. When women get the option, there is a decrease in two important areas: one, they decrease the percentage of newborn deaths by 40% and two, there is a 30% decrease in maternal deaths. These are remarkable statistics and something that can be an easy fix. What does that lead to once we ensure that women are choosing their own family planning? It allows women to stay in school longer, earn more money in their lifetime, and raise healthier children. 

EngenderHealth, a global women’s health organization, is working to raise awareness among Americans of the importance of access to contraception around the world. So, what exactly are some of the barriers to these women in developing countries that keep them from getting adequate family planning?

Lack of supplies and the cost of them.

Gender inequality. 

A limitation of trained medical professionals (doctors, nurses, and midwives).

Why do you need all these information? Because there's something you can do to help. EngenderHealth is asking "WTFP?!" in a campaign this September. Where's The Family Planning?! is a global movement that is expanding the access to contraceptives and family planning. Since 89% of adults in the United States believe that women should have this access, you can do three things to help this movement: 

1. Tell your friends. Share WTFP?! #WherestheFP digital content, including the videos and photos linked here.

 

 

2. Be an advocate. Integrate family planning messages and information into your work, your social media, your personal life. 

3. Join the conversation. Partner with us, with me, on #WherestheFP campaign activities.

EngenderHealth would be happy to have your voice. They do important work like training health care professionals to provide maternal and reproductive health care and they partner with over 20 different governments for this express purpose. As a supporter, I find no greater joy than helping them work towards transforming the lives of women. Women, I might add, who are no different than me as far as their goals and desires and hopes for a future. More than anything, I agree with EngenderHealth’s mission of ensuring that every pregnancy is planned and that every child is wanted and that every mother has the best chance at survival. 

Find out more by clicking here and be sure to follow along on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

 

How will you get involved? Let me know in the comments for a chance to win a Social Good Goodies bag. 

 

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

5. Sign up for EngenderHealth newsletter at the following link, and leave a comment on the post saying you did so.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 9/22/14 -11/4/14

Be sure to visit the EngenderHealth brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

 

 

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