When we are communicating effectively we are listening deeply and openly and sending clear, credible, convincing messages. Communication is not about what you say but how we say it! Be empowered!
As the holidays pass us by, most of us are blessed to be complaining about the amount of food we have eaten, or thrown away. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have these complaints, even here in Canada.
I had the opportunity to work with youth in/from a culture/context/role unfamiliar to me. The experience quickly identified an ignorance. I was not aware of how the generational trauma of First Nations peoples is impacting the food security of their children.
I worked with an eleven-year-old youth and on occasion, their behavior appeared triggered by food. Potential reasons; couldn’t process the amount of food available in the program, introduction to new food, a daily eating schedule, consistently being able to eat, control, etcetera.
Meal times were often times of crisis, as an intervention, the team packed a picnic and planned a hike to pick berries. Changing the environment during meal time and making the process less formal we hoped would alter the acting out behavior.
When the youth chose not to participate in the hike or berry picking we had our picnic at the playground. Being out of context I was not mentally prepared as other neighborhood kids sat or stood around us, as we ate, stating they were hungry.
Sharing was not an option. Unsafe situations, with community kids/youth, were already a concern due to the program's safety and wealth.
When the eleven-year-old, in our care, threw up we discussed the effects of eating too fast, too much and the importance of taking the time to “feel” full and what feeling full may feel like. This was not the first-time food, due to overeating, had been regurgitated.
As I chatted with the youth in our care, several little faces from the community listened and asked questions. Eager for knowledge and the attention of a safe adult. The experience took time to process and solidified my belief that we as a society need to pull our heads of the sand and implement culturally respectful help. Canada is a beautiful and diverse county that needs to make amends for the damage we have inflicted on our First Nation citizens. Children's basic needs are not being met today in our country because of the actions of our country. This is not only unacceptable there is no need for it. We are a prosperous country, food waste is at unacceptable levels.
Food security is required to learn, grow and succeed.
Individuals cannot grow, develop and prosper without having their physiological needs met (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs).www.reddit.com/r/BasicIncome/comments/6dcn3t/basic_income_maslows_hierarchy_of_needs/ We need to focus on fulfilling these needs for all of our children if we hope to change the concerning behaviors that are negatively impacting our families/culture today.
Can you define moments in your life that changed your perspectives and motivated you to make a change for the better?
Mom or Dad if you are reading this stop! Seriously stop!!
My parents and siblings are living and we do talk but radical transparency does not exist in our family culture and I’m okay with that.
In grade nine I met my first boyfriend, he played basketball, was French and my friends accepted him. I, of course, was unable to foresee the shadow that would creep into this right of passage.
Within eight months he would be addicted to cocaine and I would be knocked off my youthful foundation.
The relationship was over, he wanted to talk. I don’t remember the words he spoke, as he rolled back the long sleeve, he was wearing that summer day. An array of small bruises wavered up his forearm, track marks. His message – he had been sharing needles!
I have no memory of seeing him again although he called several months later and was living in Quebec.
Cocaine was introduced to the circle via my boyfriend’s Uncle who arrived from Quebec. Marijuana, hash, alcohol, and acid were all readily available options at the time. I was aware others, including my boyfriend, were snorting cocaine, my tongue would go numb while kissing him otherwise I was ignorant.
I never once allowed myself permission to participate, I saw nothing but destruction, I was familiar with the danger of cocaine. My neighbor and friend was groomed for the streets with cocaine. I also was afraid I would like it. I had barely the money to supply my periodic use of cheaper evils. The core group unraveled. I stopped using all but alcohol, tried to establish new relationships and goals.
The fork in the road left me feeling lonely and lost but the alternative was not what I wanted for myself.
I was extremely fortunate as High School offered a new pool of friends, alcohol was the socially appropriate drug of choice. My new goal, become a Correctional Officer. I went to school, worked at a local doctor’s office and helped out with my grandmother who was living with us due to Alzheimer's. When the weekend arrived, I would bus or travel back and forth with family to Guysborough. I was fortunate I stayed with my brother and later at my boyfriends'.
Do you have a fork in the road moment in your life? You likely have several! How did you adapt and what did you learn?
Being trustworthy and ethical when working and relating with others; ability to establish a bond of trust with others.
The Dyslexia Syndrome is often misunderstood as only a reading disorder but this is not the case as also consists of non-reading symptoms. Early intervention was a key strategy in my success as well as one on one learning opportunities.
What challenges do you overcome daily?
As an individual with Dyslexia I have and continue to have unique challenges. I have overcome many obstacles and been able to attain goals that at one time I believed and was told I would never achieve. I share my stories to provide hope and motivate others to overcome the limitations labels often set.
To give you an example of some of the challenge’s individuals experience who have been labeled with dyslexia I have chosen to focus on a few of my own symptoms;
Spelling – impaired memory for visual/phonetic spelling details and sequences as an example I regularly spell approach wrong.
Speech – poor word recall and pronouncing words improperly. There are days when word recall or pronouncing is an issue although these days are fewer as I am facilitating regularly. I acknowledge that I am having a Dyslexic brain challenging day and practice compassion for self to overcome ego induced judgment. As the host of Mental Health-Let's Talk About it! I can struggle asking questions.
Math – reversals or inability to grasp sequences - word problems are a nightmare and I still cannot perform my multiplications
Grammar – even when properly taught an understanding of complex grammar is delayed.
Direction – difficulty with left and right, easily gets lost. I still have to pause and pretend to write to state confidentiality which is my left or right.
Psychosomatic – motion sickness, nausea, abdominal complaints. Motion sickness continues to be a real challenge for me. I have vomited even while I am driving. Road trips are not something I enjoy.
There are flexibility and degrees of challenge within every medical model label.
What applies to me may not apply to another individual defined by their Dyslexia Syndrome. Both of my siblings are also Dyslexic as are many of my Uncles and cousins. Our challenges are unique therefore interventions require out of the box approaches to spark interest and motivation. School and the learning process were not enjoyable but I have experienced fun learning opportunities. Social and Emotional Intelligence© development opportunities are endless, can be quite fun and can be implemented at any stage in our lifespan.
Overcoming challenges increase with early intervention, consistent effort/practice, support, advocacy, and self-motivation. Challenges require individuals (parents/teachers/coaches) to think outside of conventional models to meet the individual where they are at and utilize relationship to create physiological safety, learning cannot occur without psychological safety!
I recently had a discussion with a parent whose child was diagnosed with the Dyslexia Syndrome. I listened to their concerns then shared my own experiences and successes. They thanked me for sharing my own story as provided them with hope for their own child. I was very fortunate to attain early intervention and attend resource outside of my classroom to get the one on one attention I required to learn.
Everyone has their own combination of strengths and challenges learning to overcome the roadblocks these challenges create can empower, motivate, enhance resiliency and create feelings of self-efficacy. As you develop your awareness of self or other be compassionate with self and other and always be mindful of strengths and blessings.
Practicing compassion for self has allowed me to reflect on my fear of failure www.pickempowerment.ca/blog/let-me-introduce-you-to-fear, learn from mistakes and minimize judgment allowing me to try new things and grow.
“Imperfect Perspectives" will consist of written and video format. The writing and videos will be imperfect as I am the composer and director and I am perfectly imperfect! Be genuine, have the hard conversations and be compassionate to self and other. Be empowered!