Thursday, February 6, 2014

Let the Children Speak

Recently, I was connected to another child advocate whose voice and messages are compelling. I do not know how Brett A. Scudder accomplishes ALL the goals and objectives, including coming to the aid of those who are suicidal he lays out in his mission statement, but I know I want to remain in his orbit to improve societal conditions overall and see how he effects change in and around the New York City area and beyond.

This particular post he shared struck a chord and I asked if he would agree to be a Guest Blogger. I hope you enjoy his commentary as much as I did and find reason to listen to the children, even the smallest of children, so we can protect their interests as well as the safety of their parents and caregivers.

(I placed certain sections in bold.)

GUEST BLOGGER: Brett A. Scudder of the New York Humanitarians Network "NYHN", NYC Community Activists Network, and SISFI's Abuse & Suicide First Aid Response and Wellness Centers “ASFARWC”

"Got a distress call from a 29y/o single mom going through real challenges with her mom that's affecting her 7y/o son. For the 2 1/2hrs we were on the phone she cried deeply expressing her not wanting to live, not wanting to wake up, being so tired, frustrated and disappointed with her mom and questioning the evil mindset she has and is dishing out on her and her son because they are now living with her. This triggered the issues of the suicide of her brother and challenges she faced because her brother took his life because she was ill and he felt that he couldn't take care of her nor watch her suffer like that. For the entire 2 1/2hrs I spoke only a few times to remind her to breathe as she opened up.

"She offloaded some deep, painful and hurting things and while she cried, her 7y/o son watched and listened as she tried to find balance in all the madness. After a while he figured it was time to step in so he walked up to here and I heard this, 'Mommy, why are you stressing so much, huh. You don't have to be so stressed. We don't have to stay here. We can leave and go somewhere else so you don't have to stress and cry so much. Mommy, please stop crying and let's go.'  

"My eyes opened wide, ears perked up, I held my breath and my heart stopped beating, I was silent, intrigued, mesmerized and listened attentively to his every word as now he was right next to her talk and I could hear him clearly. I envisioned the look on his face while saying that and it just burned my heart, burned to know that at 7y/o he had to witness and experience seeing his mother break down like that. She had always been very careful of not breaking down in front of him but this time it was too much, too much for her heart and mind to handle and she just open the flood gates and let the tears flow.

"She tried telling him she wasn't crying and that she was ok but unbeknown to her, she was so caught up in the emotional breakdown she didn't realize what was happening to her and how she was reacting. I finally got her to calm down and relax enough to have a conversation with him so they both could breathe. She was so worn out she was tired but couldn't find sleep. I sent her one of my favorite 3hrs Zen/Spa instrumentals for them to lie down to and rest. I told her to keep me posted as the night progressed if she still wasn't able to sleep. She had to be at work a few hours later but managed to get some rest from what she text me when she got to work.

"The message in all this is, as adults and parents, when going through life’s challenges, stressors or traumatizing circumstances, our children are aware of, understand (to some extent) and are sometimes present during them, and what affects us affects them as well. They see, hear, know and understand more than we give them credit for (because of their age), especially the children who we believe don’t understand or can handle things. We misunderstand that age doesn’t limit intellect and so even at their young ages some of them truly do know and understand more than we know because we talk and act around them knowingly and unknowingly at times and they learn quickly. It’s not for them to be able to handle things, it’s for us to communicate with them so they understand the level that applies to them and being able to cope with and overcome the impacts. 

"Too many of our youth are living the hurt, pain and suffering we as adults and parents face because we bring it to them, or we are around them while being impacted by challenges and our attitude, behavior and methods of dealing with and coping (or not) does impact them and we must recognize that. In most cases they don’t get emotional support to deal with the impacts of seeing a parent (especially a mother) go through their challenges and so they internalize the emotions which in far too many cases manifests into anger, violence, abuse and hatred of others and self and other behavioral issues. Yet, unchecked, we get angry and upset at them for their behavioral issues not realizing that we may very well have been the cause of the issues and now we're compounding it on them even more.

"This is a very serious issue and I can’t talk about it enough so let’s keep talking about it and helping ourselves and our children to effectively deal with life’s challenges because sometimes it’s not by our own doing that they happen but by those we allow in our lives.

"Be prudent in how you act and speak around children.

"I didn’t tell her that when she called I was on my way to the emergency room because I wasn’t feeling well so I couldn’t take her call or talk with her. I pretty much stopped in my tracks when I heard the distress in her voice so she could talk about what was happening. This way I would be able to see if it could wait for me to get checked out first. While she talked, I stood outside so as not to lose the call or have too much distractions. Thank God I was very well layered up for being out there so it was ok. I spent the night in the ER under observation and came home the next morning. No one ever plans for life challenges to hit us but when it does, the most important and life-saving thing one can have and hope for us someone willing to listen and take time to do so effectively. 

"This is why I take my work so seriously because I know that at any breath a call can come in and it may be someone one step away from a life threatening situation and I must be ready to effectively react and respond to be that lifeline. If I told you how many suicidal cases I have and have worked with you’d be amazed. I LOVE my life, work and ministry of Love. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere or doing anything else than this. One Love."

* * *

As you know, I often write about The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study that proves negative childhood experiences can impact adult physical illness. My book describes my own traumatic experience and how my early childhood may have resulted in the terrible auto-immune diseases I suffer as an adult, including a bout with Stage 4B cancer.

Thank you, Brett, for being such a dedicated advocate for so many. Specifically, I thank you for your work on behalf of all our children.

Brett A. Scudder

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment! I'll write about what you'd like. Let me know.