Saturday, September 11, 2010

Why You Should Care About Sex Trafficking in AMERICA

The other day my best friend met someone who was creating a documentary on sex trafficking in America. She sent me the link to that documentary. Today I clicked on that link and now it looks like I have another reason to fight for justice (as if I needed another battle!).

Their story: In 2007, a group of students embarked on a journey through 20+ nations on every inhabitable continent, motivated by their love for photography and their passion for justice. At the outset, their experiences seemed diverse, even random. However, a common thread of human suffering would soon emerge as their travels exposed them to a dark, seldom discussed side of humanity-- children being bought and sold to satisfy the sexual pleasures of other humans.

As I scrolled through the different webisodes I became glued to the screen. I was definitely aware of the problem in this nation and other nations, but their work is superb and their perspective is fascinating. They are taking people behind the scenes of the porn industry, the prostitution industry, and the modern day slavery operations. It's real, it's raw, it's eye opening and it will be a phenomenal documentary.

This is going to be a trend in our country. There is a "transfer of influence" coming to this nation. The young people are rising up and finding their voices, and they are using their gifts and talents to expose corruption and atrocities. People will listen to them, and they will change our culture.

It seems like recently all I can really watch and focus on are documentaries. Documentaries are really the next "big thing." The power will no longer belong to deceitful politicians that make empty promises. The slanted news networks and journalists no longer hold the power. Religious figures out to make a buck have lost their appeal, and Hollywood's sad attempt at getting people immersed in fantasy has lost it's luster as well. All people are craving now days is what's REAL. REAL information, unbiased information, real stories, real problems and real solutions. People want justice. And justice they shall have!

I want to end with the webisode that impacted me the most. I encourage you to check out the website and watch them all, but this one was by far my favorite:

That man's poetry is powerful. Some lines that are burned on my heart were;

"I witnessed images I didn’t have a right to and I can’t erase my memory,

So I have to write you and apologize for taking something that

I paid for a price but no matter how high shoulda never been mine.

...I’m sorry, and that’s all I can say

But I promise when I raise a son I’ll raise him to respect you

Sisters and mothers I’m sorry

Husbands sons and brothers please pick up your bats

Because the women of this world are waiting for us to step up!"

The website is - check it out!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why I'm NOT the Perfect Mother

Motherhood - the greatest job in the world, and sometimes the most difficult job in the world. There are so many emotions, ideas, opinions & stigmas that go along with this very important role. I have learned a lot about myself along the way - and just thought I'd pass those lessons on.

I was the first born in my family which immediately gave me a leadership role full of responsibility and obligation. First-borns tend to fall into two different categories personality-wise: *compliant, nurturing and caregiving OR aggressive movers & shakers. I was the latter. I did my duty with babysitting my siblings, but only because I had to, it was not my natural instinct to want to mother or nurture. All through high school I preferred restaurant jobs and administrative jobs over babysitting for other people. When I was young I imagined that one day, in my late twenties or early thirties I might have children. But that was a long way off in my future, and definitely not one of my short term goals in life.

And the age of 20 I found myself in an unplanned pregnancy with my first son, Nicholas. I did not feel ready for motherhood and my life was a mess at the time. My first instinct was to go the adoption route as I had no tools to be a good mother, and I did not want an innocent child to have to enter into the crazy world called my life. However, over time and with the help of loved ones and family, I realized I was ready for this adventure called motherhood. And I'm so glad I said yes to that adventure! I will never forget the waves of love that rolled over my heart and left me speechless and in awe the first time I looked at my son and held him in my arms. I realized that even though the high-nurturing instincts were not apparent in my life up to that point, they were still there in my heart, waiting for the day when they would be needed.

When that new bliss wore off and the reality of motherhood set in, I realized there were other obstacles I was going to have to face on this journey. Like, the fact that I have a high need for change and can't stand the daily grind of mundane routine. Also, the fact that one of my primary needs in life is to have a significant impact on my world around me (see my blog about the 4 main motivations in life - And then there was the day when I took the test to find out which love language I am, and I found out "touch" was not even in the top 3! Kids need a LOT of touch. How was I going to bridge that gap? How was I going to change the world when I was stuck at home all day long changing diapers? How was I going to do the same routine every day without losing my mind?

It wasn't until recently that I realized for the past 10 years I've been (for the most part) operating outside my strengths. All the things I'm bad at, thats what I've been doing for the last decade. No wonder I had doubts! No wonder I felt insufficient. I imagine someone who is high nurturing by nature, has touch as their top love language, and is motivated mainly by connection would feel the same way if all they wanted to do was be at home raising their kids, yet had to work full time outside the home to make ends meet. The grass is always greener right? So even though this motherhood thing has been difficult for me, and not as "natural" as it is for other women, I've also realized that I would have been incomplete without the experience. My kids have taught me so much about life. And I hope I've been able to teach them that we all have strengths and weaknesses, but we shouldn't let the weaknesses hold us back from embracing all life has to offer.

When I'm stuck in the trench of doing all the things I'm not good at, I think about what makes it all worth it. Like the fact that I have four healthy, smart, amazing young men in my life that continue to impress me every year they are alive. I think about the snuggles, the giggles, the funny sayings, the accomplishments, their personalities, the vacations, the holidays, their futures and the possibilities of all the things that are still to come. Now that I understand myself better, I don't even wish for this part of my life to hurry up and get over with. It will go fast enough, I know. I embrace it fully. The other side will be a new adventure. It isn't going anywhere, it will wait for me. For now, bring on the hugs & kisses, the daily grind, the messes, the homework, and even the part about being hidden away changing diapers instead of changing the world. I'm not trapped, I'm blessed!

*You can read more about this in the book "The Birth Order Book" by Dr. Leman

Friday, September 3, 2010

Principles of Powerful People Part Three

A while back I began a series called Principles of Powerful People. If you want to review part I and Part II, follow these links:

And here is part III:

XI. Powerful people know how to respect and honor even the smallest and seemingly most insignificant members of society. They take care of their planet, their children, the orphans and the widows, and the elderly. They have respect for animals and the environment, and they are not living only for today. They think multi-generationally. They plan and live for the lives of people they will never know.

In the movie Food, Inc., one farmer put it very well when he said the following; Joel Salatin: A culture that just uses a pig as a pile of protoplasmic inanimate structure, to be manipulated by whatever creative design the human can foist on that critter, will probably view individuals within its community, and other cultures in the community of nations, with the same type of disdain and disrespect and controlling type mentalities.

Powerful people think community, they are not individualistic.

XII. Powerful people don’t wait for justice, they fight for justice. There is one song on the radio today that just irritates me every time I hear it. It’s “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer. Here are the lyrics:

me and all my friends
we're all misunderstood
they say we stand for nothing and
there's no way we ever could
now we see everything that's going wrong
with the world and those who lead it
we just feel like we don't have the means
to rise above and beat it

so we keep waiting
waiting on the world to change
we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

it's hard to beat the system
when we're standing at a distance
so we keep waiting
waiting on the world to change
now if we had the power
to bring our neighbors home from war
they would have never missed a Christmas
no more ribbons on their door
and when you trust your television
what you get is what you got
cause when they own the information, oh
they can bend it all they want

that's why we're waiting
waiting on the world to change
we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

it's not that we don't care,
we just know that the fight ain't fair
so we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

and we're still waiting
waiting on the world to change
we keep on waiting waiting on the world to change
one day our generation
is gonna rule the population
so we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

I just don’t agree with this approach. People who keep waiting for change are victims. Everything happens to them, and they stand-by powerless to do anything about it. Why live like that? Why settle for that? If every person used their voice, and their influence, change is easy. I challenge you to never just wait for change. Have the courage to fight for justice! The dominant state of the people will rule a nation. Will we let neutrality and complacency be the labels of our generation?

XIII. Powerful people don’t have addictions, they live a balanced life. Addictions are an indicator that there is an immense amount of pain in your life and you don’t know how to cope with it. So you have turned to a substance or an activity in order to attempt to drown out the pain. The problem with that vicious cycle is pain doesn’t ever go away until you fix why it was there to begin with. It may temporarily retreat, but then it comes back with a vengeance. Powerful people realize that pain has a purpose, and when you take care of the problem that is causing the pain, pain goes away. Pain is unpleasant, but it is not something to be terrified of.

If you google addiction, you will find this definition in wikipedia:

Historically, addiction has been defined with regard solely to psychoactive substances (for example alcohol, tobacco and other drugs) which cross the blood-brain barrier once ingested, temporarily altering the chemical milieu of the brain.

Many people, both psychology professionals and laymen, now feel that there should be accommodation made to include psychological dependency on such things as gambling, food, sex, pornography, computers, video games, internet, work, exercise, idolising, watching TV or certain types of non-pornographic videos, spiritual obsession, pain, cutting and shopping so these behaviors count as 'addictions' as well and cause guilt, shame, fear, hopelessness, failure, rejection, anxiety, or humiliation symptoms associated with, among other medical conditions, depression and epilepsy.

If you could identify with any of those crutches, I challenge you to get to the root of the issue. What is the pain you are running from? Powerful people don’t run away, they stand their ground and have the courage to face the things that are scary. They don’t always do that alone, they ask for help if they need it. But powerful people know that running away is not the answer.

XIV. Powerful people have the character and integrity to be the same person at home as they are in public. Many times I have witnessed a leader with an important title fail in this area. They have one message when they are in public, yet they live in hypocrisy behind closed doors. I am not impressed with someone’s success unless their spouse, children, best friends and closest colleagues are too. Because those are the people that are around when the cameras aren’t, and that is when your true colors show.

People who live one way in public and another way in private usually carry a great deal of shame. They may not even be aware of it consciously, but the failure to be true to yourself always has consequences. Powerful people don't carry shame because they have nothing to hide. Powerful people become more impressive the closer you get. I always get really excited when I see someone up-close and personal, and they are who they said they were! It’s rare, but when you find it – it’s a treasure.

The tolerance for hypocrisy is coming to an end. People carry cell phones now that can record conversations and video awkward moments whenever they please. Technology has drawn a line in the sand and has demanded a higher level of accountability and responsibility from leaders. Leaders don’t have to be and never could be perfect. But long gone are the days of faking it. Long gone are the days of pretense and empty talk. This makes me happy because now the genuine ones can step forward and have the influence over culture and over the world that they deserve. They are the ones who have truly paid a price, they are the ones who deserve it.

XV. Powerful people understand that unity is not always possible. There are times and seasons for everyone to come together for a common mission. And then there are times when you will be called to “rock the boat” and go against the grain. There is a tension to this principle. On one hand we are called to bring harmony and peace, understanding and tolerance. Powerful people don’t require others to think like them or agree with them. And then on the other hand there are times where we find ourselves in the midst of corruption and immorality where “tolerance” is not the theme to run with. In these moments powerful people have to stand up for what is right, for what is moral, and for what is healthy. The very delicate yet highly volatile debate comes down to the fact that usually both sides feel they are morally right. In the end the winner is either the majority or the loudest voice. Either way, powerful people continue to engage because they care.