When I was in grade school a teacher was walking down the hall in a green dress. It had a zipper in the front, but it had obviously broken. As she walked towards me, I saw her black slip. I knew she would want to know.
So I walked up to her and said, “Mrs. Tenopir, your zipper broke.”
She looked down, horrified. She ran home in her trench coat (she lived three doors down from school) and came back, ready for the afternoon.
Later on, she sat me down and said thank you. I was like, “No big deal,” and she said, “No, you need to realize how big of a deal that was. I walked around like that for hours and no one else told me. My fellow teachers didn’t tell me. You, a fourth grader, told me.”
So, why am I telling you this story?
Because all of us, I believe, are born with different gifts. One of my gifts: I am fearless. I noticed that teacher’s broken zipper and it was NOT a big deal for me to tell her.
Do you know the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes? In that story, who are you? Most people are in the crowds, going along, nodding, smiling, pretending that all is well.
I am the little boy, pointing out, “Hey, the king doesn’t have on any clothes!”
And right now, right here in our culture, we have a problem that no one is willing to talk about.
This problem INFILTRATED my home. It also brought out the Mama Warrior in me and I worked to get it the hell out.
Then I began speaking to other parents about the problem, first privately, then in group settings.
And EVERY SINGLE TIME I give a presentation or have a private conversation, I am told,
“No one talks about this.”
That baffles me.
If something is happening and it is a massive problem and it is ruining lives and more or less 100% are involved, and younger and younger children are getting trapped in this, then why aren’t we working to solve the problem?
I believe it’s because of the deadly combination of two complex emotions:
Shame and Pride.
As parents, we want to have a perfect family. We think that is The End Goal. And when we discover a child doing something wrong, we feel many emotions. Guilt. Despair. Disgust.
Then, very quickly, our pride makes us smile, pretend and go on.
Let’s stop the crazy train.
Now, I know how difficult it is to stop a train once it is barreling down the track.
My newish goal: I would like to keep the train from even starting.
Isn’t that smarter?
I have been working on this new goal for one year. Thankfully, I have not worked alone. My oldest son, Eric, has a passion and a fire for this mission.
Like me, he is fearless. He speaks openly and easily about how he was on the train and he shares how he simply could not jump off once it was at full speed. It’s a process.
For a year, Eric and I have been giving presentations on this topic, educating parents.
It’s been great. Wonderful. Amazing. But guess what? I am a mother of eight children. I don’t want to spend my life LEAVING my family to give presentations!
So we have worked hard to create an ONLINE course, where we
- Shine a light on the real problems coming from the internet
- Showcase solutions
- Help parents be more effective communicators on this topic
- Transform families