Empower Youth

Last Saturday, I had a rare unexpected day off. I used that opportunity to watch the March for Our Lives event. I sat proud of the way the youth stood up for what they believed in and demanded action! There are times when I am asked why do I spend time working with youth, and last Saturday was proof of why.

As I sit here writing this, I am preparing to leave for another Jamaica Mission Trip to work with youth there for another year, my heart is warmed by what I witnessed. In my youth there were people who poured into me and contributed to who I am today. I feel that it is important to give back to youth and help them develop into productive citizens. You never know how a simple encounter will impact a youth.

There are many programs out there you can become a part of. Big Brothers Big Sisters and Girls Empowered Mentally for Success are two programs that I am part of that strive to help you. I am a mentor in one program and on the board for the other. Even if you cannot give time, you can invest in programs in other ways.

I challenge every person that reads this to find someone to invest in our youth. There will come a day when they will be in charge of making decisions and policy changes. This can only happen through education and sharing.

youth empowerment

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Talking to Your Child

Originally, my goal was to write a blog weekly, but it is not realistic for two reasons. First, I want this blog to be meaningful. I do not want to write to just to write. This became evident as I sat in front of my computer trying to force something out. Second, I have a demanding schedule and finding time weekly is a lot. So my new commitment is to blog at least once a month and any over is just extra.

talking parent

So for February I want to focus on communicating with your child. From the #MeToo Movement to the Florida school shooting, children are being exposed to a lot via the media. First and foremost, as a parent you first have to use active listening. Most people listen long enough to react instead of waiting to hear the person out, and then form a response. This also means not engaging in another activity while they are talking. And using nonverbal signals to show that you are engaged in what they are saying.

Second, reflect back what they stated to make sure that you got a clear understanding of what they are trying to say. This gives your child an opportunity to correct any wrong perception prior to you potentially making a quick judgment.

Third, ask questions for clarification and shows that you really were paying attention. Not to mention it gives clarification, point two.

Fourth, give them the reasons behind your answer. I grew up in the era of “Because I said so!” Children will accept a negative response better if they first are heard, and second they can have some type of understanding of your reasoning.

Fifth, do not ignore their questions just because you are uncomfortable with the topic. You would rather your child get answers from you then from their friends or the internet. You are also able to control what they learn first. If you need advice on how to approach the topic, schedule a later time to talk and then research.

And sixth, if you find that your child needs more assistance understanding the subject, seek out a professional to help. There have been a number of times I see a client who states they have been asking for therapy for months/years. No child is going to ask for therapy just for fun.

I hope these suggestions are helpful for you talking with your children. Feel free to ask any questions.

Brick Crushers

This weekend I had the opportunity to go on a board retreat to work on planning for 2018 for a girl’s organization I am honored to be a part of. In between planning, I was able to interact and enjoy the company of two virtious and powerful women. As I reflect back over the weekend, I found a quote that sums up these two women:

Both of these women have amazing stories of how they have and continue to overcome the “bricks” that life has thrown their way. They are also both dedicated to helping others overcome their bricks. I believe that you have to surround yourself with people who inspire and these two women inspire me daily.

We all have “bricks” that are thrown at us. What makes you successful is how you deal with those bricks. I tell my clients “you can’t change the things that have happened to you, but you can choose how you allow those things to affect you today and in the future.” Each one of us has to make the decision to either let go of past hurts or use those hurts in a positive way. If we do not make one of these two choices, then we are doomed to live an unfilled life.

This weekend has reminded me that I am successful and I have crushed the bricks of my past. It has also given me confidence that I will continue to be successful crushing new bricks because I choose to handle them with wisdom, maturity, and class in the same manner I watch these two women.

Be Proactive

So yesterday I had a photo shoot to update all of my pictures. As my lovely stylist was doing my hair and make-up, we were watching YouTube videos. We watched several videos about the dissatisfaction with the Tarte Shape Tape Foundation launch because of the lack of inclusion to people of color. As I sat watching video after video of bloggers who all had the same reaction and who did not find that any of the 3-4 colors to match their skin (and yes there where women of various shades), it felt like the cosmetics industry took a step back. All of the women spoke of how they loved Tarte products and how excited they were for the launch. You would think with as much anticipation that was out the company would have made sure that the line was inclusive.

Now after turning off the capabilities of people to make comments, Tarte issued a statement that they will release 10 new shades to cover the gap. Why must we continue to be a reactive society? Instead of being proactive and considering all possibilities, our society continues the trend of trying to “make up” for some type of injustice. I am not saying that companies and people will not make mistakes, but there is a pattern that only when confronted do companies and people decide to release more colors, or go get help, or donate the money to charity. How about we challenge ourselves to consider the possibilities and consequences before we do something?

I salute and stand with the women and men who have made the choice to hold Tarte accountable by speaking out against them and demanding they address this issue.

Image result for be proactive

2018 Relaunch

Wow, just realized that I have not written anything since March of last year! The second part of last year I was focused on training for a half marathon and accomplishing goals that I had set for myself, that blogging fell to the side. But that is alright because I am back and ready to educate and advocate!

I usually start the first blog of the year talking about my goals for the year, but this year I want to do start off differently. There are so many issues in the news today that I could speak on, but I honestly do not know where to begin. So I am going to start this year off writing about preparing for another year serving the youth of Jamaica on a mission trip.

Today the team met to start preparation for the trip. I am excited about another year meeting new youth and having the opportunity to let God use me in whatever way He sees fit. I have been participating in this trip since my Junior year of undergrad (I refuse to count the years! LOL). We have an amazing team that is forming and we are looking for other people to go, assist financially, or pray. If you are interested in helping in any way, please let me know.

Until next week I leave you with this quote from my Passion Planner: “WHETHER YOU THINK YOU CAN, OR YOU THINK YOU CAN’T-YOU’RE RIGHT. HENRY FORD”

Jamaica 2018 Flyer

 

Mission Possible Jamaica 2017

So things are bunkers in my life right now! I am studying for my licensure exam which is very expensive and I also have to pay for the fees to get licensed. I am moving to a new apartment on my birthday, which everyone knows takes a lot. And my brakes need to be repaired immediately! I determined that this year there was no way I could financially pay to go Jamaica. I had accepted that this year was not meant for me to go, but apparently God had other plans.

I received a call stating that the leaders were not accepting that I was not meant to be there this year due to finances. Then I received an email days later titled “Sending for Pumpkin A.K.A. Dr. Shandra Davis. She is in the middle of a move.” It was an email written by one of the leaders It was filled with pictures of me with campers and staff from previous trips. It also included my words about past trips I have attended. This brought tears to my eyes to know that this team has my back and they are willing to make the impossible, possible.

So I am sending out a SOS! It they can believe God to send the money, so can I! I leave for the trip on April 17th which is only 3 days after I move! The best birthday gift I can get this year is not only to be in a new home, but also to have the privilege to go minister to the children of Jamaica. So I am asking everyone to assist me in raising $1200 so I can go. You can go give online at the DBC website. Here is the link http://www.dbc.org/jamaica Just hit the big blue GIVE NOW button, sign in as a guest, fill in the form and put my name at the bottom box … just that easy!! If you would like to mail in a donation, please contact me directly for directions. If you are unable to share monetarily, please lift me and my team up as we prepare to go minister. Pray for the hearts that will be touched and changed.

 

How to Support the Healing of Your Child

I am apart of a powerful women’s entrepreneurial group where we read a book and have a discussion about the impact the book had us. Our first book is Iyanla Vanzant’s Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What Your’re Going Through. This book is an autobiography where Iyanla explores her past trauma and the generational pathology of her family. One of the questions posed by one of the group members was “which adult from Iyanla’s childhood we thought was in the best position to protect her and make everything alright.” My response to the question was  “The adults in her life were not in a position to make everything right as they had never dealt with their issues and trauma. I run across so many families who want us (therapists) to “fix” children when the real issue is the parents. And when I say the real issue is the parents, I mean they have never dealt with their issues and that effects the way in which they parent continuing the passing down of generational issues.” Her response to me was “I see! Wow. Heal the parents which would enable them to support the healing of the child.” I thought, “Exactly! Somebody gets it!”

The first step to caregivers helping their children through issues that require therapy is to first deal with their own issues. One of the statements I make to the parents of the children I treat is “In order for me to help your child, you have to be a part of the treatment. That means there may be times when you have to meet with me alone where we may have to address things from your past that are impacting your relationship with your child. I cannot help your child without also helping you.” Many caregivers do not realize how their past issues have seeped into their current relationships and coping. Ignorance is not bliss! Ignoring what has occurred in your past is the breeding ground for pathology.

Caregivers for the benefit of the children you are raising, please face the issues from your past. Therapy is not for “crazy people” as it has been stigmatized in the past. Therapy is for everyone who is willing to face their past and want to change.

Man and woman holding hands at a table

Close up on a man and a woman holding hands at a wooden table