Discrimination

I am a first-generation American. My father and his family moved from Germany, when he was 5 years old, to Texas. My father had to learn English and his family forced him to embrace American ways so that he would succeed in life in America. My father lost his German language skills through the years and if you met him on the street today, you would think he was just as “American” as the rest of us. My grandmother, although she learned English and follows American ways, is still very German. She speaks German fluently and still holds the German customs high.

My family always taught me to never look at someone’s skin color. I say these things as a background for my explanation of prejudice from my eyes. I started school at a local county school and my mind was blown. There was one black family in the entire school. There were two black students in my class, who were first cousins.   Growing up in North Alabama, I learned at an early age what discrimination was. There was a group of high school aged boys with shaved heads that would meet in the mornings before school and blow their horns and yell around the area. I learned that they were called “skinheads” and they believed in racism and white supremacy. I was over at one of my friend’s houses for a spend-the-night party one time and her dad and uncle discussed hitting a black man for points on a non-existent scoreboard they had kept up with for years. There was a bar a few miles from the school that did not allow black people to enter.

As a young adult, I experienced other races discriminating against me for the color of my skin. I have been talked to like I hated other races, without being asked my opinion. I have been ignored on several occasions while I was the minority of a group. I have had to defend myself in situations that embarrassed me simply because of my color. I believe I was sheltered but I do not believe it was an incorrect decision on my parents’ part.

I tend to discriminate against ignorance. I say ignorance because they live in a normative-cultural environment.   They follow customs of their community. They are accepted when they follow such ideas. I also struggle with the stereotypes of southern families. The man works and the woman stays at home, taking care of the children. The man does what he wants and the woman is left to make a decent home and take care of the children. The woman is not expected to gain education. The man is not expected to gain further education, either. It is acceptable to quit school at sixteen and gain a full time job. There is little desire to excel further in life. This way of living is passed down to the children. I know this is not the way everyone lives. I also know that knowledge has improved and families are beginning to want a better life.

It is hard when I work with families who do not want to better themselves because they do not know the improvement they are missing. I struggle with this prejudice in the community I work for. I have to learn how to meet people where they are at. I have to accept them for who they are and what they believe in. I have to be careful of their feelings when I express the need for change to parent their children in a safe environment free from alcohol/substance or physical abuse. I have to understand that although I am working with a particular family- expecting change, the environment the family is in will likely not change. When a family discusses racism as the norm, I have to carefully explain that race in itself is not a reason for blaming in the community, but at the same time, I cannot expect change in their minds and it is not my job to change that aspect of their life. As a social worker, we are to embrace our family’s differences of lifestyles.  I choose to put myself in situations that will broaden my understanding of groups that I do not naturally belong to.

 

Gay Pride, School and God

On September 8, 2018, I attended the 2018 Murfeesboro “Boro Pride” Parade.  I took a friend of mine who also had to write a similar paper for a separate class.  We got off the interstate and took a turn toward the festivities. There were two gentlemen with signs on either side of the streets at an intersection. One of the men had a sign and a megaphone. He was reciting Bible scripture.  The other man had a sign with the 10 commandments on it.  I felt like they were a reasonable distance away from the parade area.  I believe everyone has a right to voice their opinions in respectful ways.  We found parking and started toward the event.  I noticed as we walked toward the square, it wasn’t actually a parade.  Everyone appeared stationary.   There was a rainbow balloon archway where you walked into the event.  There was a band to the left.  There was a large group of people in front of the stage.  We steered right.  There were booths set up throughout the event.  The first booth we came to was for “Reducing the stigma of HIV one conversation at a time”.  The man at the tent was knowledgeable about testing.  There was a testing site on the other side of the event where they prick your finger for the testing.  He asked that we go get tested.  At the tent, there was a bowl of peppermints, a bowl of buttons for support and a bowl of condoms.  My friend and I giggled but at the same time respected the cause and I thanked him for what he was trying to accomplish.  We continued on our adventure.   There were several tents with rainbow pride accessories for sale.  Most everyone had something rainbow on; from a headband to an entire outfit shining with glitter and color head to toe.  There was a church tent that was giving away free hugs.  This was one of my favorite tents.  These sweet ladies were standing outside their tents, completely putting themselves out there, waiting on the next person to hug.  More amazingly, the people who came by embraced them for a hug.  It sent chills down my entire body knowing the two completely different sides of the gay subject coming together in a full on hug.  Both parties seemed to enjoy it and seemed almost relieved and achieved that they did it.  We moved on to another tent of “church people” handing out water.  It was very humid and I was thankful for the water.  My friend and I walked up and were offered water.  We took the water bottles and I could tell on the woman’s face who handed it to me, she was praying for me.  The prayer is between her and God but I appreciated whatever she had to say to God.   We kept walking around, looking at all of the tents and the merchandise.  I noticed a couple that were probably in their mid-50s.  I only assume they were a couple.  They appeared to be so happy to just be themselves. They weren’t dressed up in bling.  They were wearing every day clothes.  I could tell they were happy to be supporting what they believed in and more importantly, they were able to be who they were without judgement.  We saw several families like this.  Some held hands. Some sat back and enjoyed the entertainment. There were families with children running around, showering each other with glitter.  I was happy to see the people in their element and free.   We made it back around to the stage and decided to go around one more time.  We felt more comfortable the next time around.  We knew the area better and could maneuver the walkways.  It was packed.  We noticed a group of girls taking selfies in front of the Boro Pride stand.  I try not to be a judge of people but at the same time, my job is to watch and learn people by their behaviors. Both my friend and I felt that there was a large chance no one in the group was gay.  They spent minutes taking pictures of each other.  I was glad their minds were open to the idea but I had doubts of why they were supporting the cause.  Sometimes I hope I am wrong about my thoughts.  When we realized they weren’t going to be done for a while, my friend and I just decided to stand beside it and take a picture for our proof of attending.   We continued around the event for the last time.  We noticed so many different types of people.  There was a group of men who had beautiful dresses on and make up better applied than I could have ever done myself.  There were groups of women who had their chests duct taped down with no shirts on.  There were visibly gay family members that had their, what appeared to be, visibly not gay family members in attendance for support.  I am not gay.  It was uncomfortable to be around everyone.  I worried that my “not gayness” was sticking out.  I worried that someone would ask why I was at such an event.  That did not happen.  I learned that in 2018 people are trying to respect each other while still holding onto their own beliefs.  I learned that there are several different levels of enjoyment at an event such as this and that is what makes the event successful in my opinion.  I believe attending events such as this one, helps my mind accept all things, not just what I like and believe.  If I attend events that are not in my norm, I will become more comfortable with other’s ways of life.  When I work with families that are “different” than I, I will appear calm and collective and in return, the families will be comfortable and secure in the environment we are in.

Hello darkness my old friend

Ola!!!!

It’s been a while. I knew beginning my masters program would be….. Interesting…. Little did I know I would be questioning my sanity so soon.

But here I am. Questioning. Ha.

I have a bad habit of second guessing everything in my life. I do anything from experiencing buyers remorse to going back to relationships that needed to end for good or stressing about what I did years ago that has ZERO to do with life today. I have made such poor decisions in my past, it causes me to lose joy in my present. Currently, I’m asking God to work on yet another issue of mine. Learning to accept what is.

Jesus asks us, does worrying add any time to our life? We need to let tomorrow worry about itself. We have PLENTY to do today. I love how Jesus puts a spin on what he says. He’s so loving but he is also real. He doesn’t enable our emotions or behavior. He loves us. That’s for sure. But he isn’t going to let us be stupid. Seek first HIS kingdom and all things will be ours.

God is so good.

God loves you. God loves them too.

When you surrender your hurt to God, truly release it, a fresh new perspective takes its place. God loves you. So much. God loves anyone that has ever hurt you just as much. We are all sinners. We all fall short. My mistakes and downfalls are no greater or less than yours. If we can truly accept what Jesus tries to teach us, we will be able to sail through life in a much happier place. Let go of victim mentality. Let go of what someone did to you and accept that you have probably hurt people before in your life too. How can YOU become bigger and better than before. This is what life is all about. Don’t drag someone through the mud. Rise above. Be the grace you want others to have for you. We all feel pain. Sadness. Loneliness. Fear. We all want unconditional love. Show unconditional love by forgiving. God doesn’t tell us to be ran over and beat down. But he does tell us to let go and let God.

Amen.

Be Jesus.

I was chastised this week. On several different occasions by several different people. It was hard to handle. The things they were angry about were their own doing and yet, it fell back on me.

Hi, I’m a social worker.

I found myself very frustrated with situations that were out of my control. I wanted so bad to yell at these clients, “This. Is. Your. Choice. Not. Mine” . And worse off, the kids are the ones who are getting punished.

Then I remember the blood of Christ. His Father sent him directly to us in flesh. He didn’t do anything wrong. He went through pain and agony we will never understand. And He did it willingly. He could have, as the devil said, made it all go away. He did not. All for the Love of us. All for our broken, sinful, selves.

We are to be Christ-like. I will prayerfully never have to go through the physical pain Jesus did. But, I will be blasted for doing what it right. And as a believer in my Jesus, I will continue to fight for what’s right. I will continue to fight for these children. I will give forgiveness to all of the parents. Why? Because, WWJD.

In this line of work, we are to be set aside from the rest. We are to offer our clients redemption. As most should know, parents don’t start out this way. They usually learn from their surroundings as children and continue the patterns as adults (thus the vicious cycle that is job security for me).

We don’t work with parents. We work with children trapped in adult bodies who have no idea how to rise above their situations. We are to come in, not as a drill sergeant, but as the body of Christ. Loving. Caring. Open.

Just imagine…

If our clients understood what Jesus did for them. They wouldn’t need the drugs, the alcohol, the empty relationships, the abusive relationships, the anger, the victim mentality. They would fall into His arms and forever be changed.

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most Highdwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

Psalm 46:1-5

I will continue doing my job. I will continue fighting for the children. I will continue fighting for the parents. If even one life is changed, it’s God’s work and I’m blessed that he has used me as a vessel for Him.

Amen.

Day in the life…… Social work style

So. Just another day in the office, right?

Wrong.

I start the day off searching for a mama who got out of jail and began twisting through the family like a tornado.

Then I make it to transport a kiddo for a 4 hour visitation because I know how important family is and the state can’t seem to see fit that we pay for providers to do it.

Then I make a pit stop at court. Tear it up as usual. Got some kids back with parents. Praying they continue on the path they are on.

Then I remove a child from a family that can’t handle him due to life and health issues and place him in foster care.

Then I go get groceries and come home to a house that appears to be barely standing, with laundry piled up and dinner to be made and children to be gotten ready for their first day of school tomorrow.

Bottle up ALLLLLLLLLLLLLL the emotions of this one day and you could probably use it for jet fuel to finally get to Mars. And back. 3 times.

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

1 Peter 4:10

I. Am. Blessed.

Kids in 2018. Us parents don’t understand.

My heart is broken. Seems to be the norm right now. It’s just a season. That doesn’t make it hurt less.

My children have endured a pain no kid should but yet the majority of kids in their generation do. The loss of love.

My son never knew his father and I together. I divorced my daughters father when she was a toddler. They both have relationships with their father but they do not know a nuclear family.

Here we are again years later and my children hurt.

I allowed them to get to know someone before he and I had truly had a chance to get to know each other.

It’s just about impossible to date as a single parent. Him and I were both single parents. We had a hard time seeing each other away from each other’s kids. So that’s how it happened.

Fast forward a few months and we realized there were more things needing to be worked on individually before there could ever be someone else’s someone.

Things didn’t end well. We tried to keep as much from the kids as possible.

Kids are way smarter than we give them credit for.

They also try to fill in the holes in what they don’t know or understand.

We all ran into each other for the first time this evening and it was way more than any of us knew how to manage. The children caught themselves in gossip of drama they had no business discussing nor did they understand what they were seeing.

My heart is broken.

I tried my best to stumble over all of the emotions in my own mind to try and help theirs.

My son ends up crying on the way home. I wanted to but kept it together.

It didn’t go well.

Life is dumb sometimes.

We get home. We eat. I explain to the kids that God wants us to always rely on Him wholly. He wants us to love Him first. God knows who we will be when we grow up. He knows who we will marry. He knows everything. He just wants us to have faith in His good plan. We pray for all of us. We give it to God.