This past week I was blessed to meet up with a wonderful woman representing Summit County Community Partnership-- which is an agency that is working together to reduce alcohol, and other drug abuses in Summit County.
I love meeting with other agencies in Summit County that are working for the good of the county, for the good of the people, and really the protection & championing of families.
As we talked my heart was stirred, you see I realized a huge reality among us mothers of young kiddos.
Here is the consensus I came to after this meeting when it comes to the world we live in right now...
We are scared.
This woman mentioned how she wasn't sure if we would want to partner with them, as they never want to scare families in thinking "do this, or you child will end up on drugs" , and I had to retort back that I think this is a VERY important aspect to bring into the forefront of our families.
You ask me why, because your child is just out of the womb... or 5 and precious and starting kindergarten... and "drug use" is the LAST thing on your mind.
But the reality is its on the forefront of your most used tool.
Hi yes, I like the rest of you, am on facebook all day. Checking my status, checking whats up in the world, and what do I , along with you.. see on my newsfeed?
"Mother of 2 dies of heroine overdose in the car"
"Teenage Heroin and opiate use at all time high"
"Another Classmate is dead due to overdose"
What is our response?
For some it may ignite disgust.
But for those of us a little bit more realistic or maybe who have been exposed to this world at points in our lives...
It ignites fear.
Fear of raising our children in a world where marijuana use is no longer "the drug choice" of teens, but a plethora of other concoctions of drugs that we've never even heard of.
Confusion on where to send our children to school.. in efforts (in our minds) thinking that a "safe" school will keep them protected from this exposure.
Fear. Confusion. Fear.
So my sweet friends. Moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, babysitters...
This post is to counteract that fear.
We're here to say that there is HOPE.
WHAT YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW... is impacting your child for the BETTER right now.
Do not be scared when you see the posts scrolling through your newsfeed, thinking of horror stories or the ever present thought "if it's like this now.. what will it be like when____ is in high school? what will be the "norm" then?"
no. no. no.
We are not called to live in a spirit of fear, but in a spirit of hope.
This is why you have hope.
In my meeting with the community partnership, she mentioned "protective factors"
I SAID WHAT? what are those? moms are all about protection!
Protective factors are exactly how they sound.... ways of protecting your child from the moment they are born.. ways that are more natural than you think... essentially building factors in your child's life to protect them from becoming drug users/ abusers.
AGAIN This is not guaranteed or anything.. and its truly by the grace of God and a TON of prayer shielding your kiddo... but I just want to encourage you.. when you DO see these scary stories, are worried about your school district, and fear is ignited in you... to
You are doing good.
Keep doing what you are doing.
There are never any guarantees.
But there IS hope.
When hope is squashed by fear... we become immobile, we become unable to hear God in the midst of crazy, we become... ineffective.
Here are the "protective factors" described by Summit County's Community Partnership:
I HAVE italicized & bolded those that you are most likely ALREADY Doing!
1. Family Support
2. Positive Family Communication
3. Other Adult Relationships- child receives positive support from three or more non parent adults (teachers, babysitters, grandmas)
4. Caring Neighborhood
5. Caring School Climate
6. Parent Involvement in Schooling
7. Community Values Youth- young perceives that their community & family value youth
8. Youth As Resources- Young people are given useful roles in community
9. Service to Others- Young person serves in the community
10. Safety- Young person feels safe at home, school and in neighborhood
BOUNDARIES & EXPECTATIONS
11. Family Boundaries- Family has clear rules & consequences (PS STARTS FROM 2... DISCIPLINING YOUR CHILD IS SETTING THEM UP FOR SUCCESS IN THE FUTURE)
12. School Boundaries- Clear rules & consequences from school
13. Adult Role Models- Parents & Other adults model positive, responsible behavior
14. Neighborhood Boundaries
15. Positive Peer Influence
16. High Expectations
CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME
17. Creative Activities
18. Youth Programs
19. Religious Community
20. Time at home
COMMITMENT TO LEARNING
21. Achievement Motivation
22. School Engagement
24. Bonding to School
25. Reading for Pleasure
27. Equality and Social Justice
32. Planning & Decision Making
33. Interpersonal Competence- young person has empathy, sensitivity & friendship making skills
34. Cultural Competence- comfort with other cultures/ races/ ethnic backgrounds
35. Resistance Skills- Can resist negative peer pressure
36. Peaceful Conflict Resolution
37. Personal Power
38. Self - Esteem
39. Sense of Purpose
40. Positive View of Personal Future
Take Heart. We don't need to live in Fear! The things you are doing now.. the boogie noses, the discipline of 400 timeouts... You are building foundation. You are doing GOOD momma. Don't have fear.