Friday, November 25, 2016

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say!: 7 Simple Strategies to Help Our Children Along The Path to Purpose and Possibility

For this next book, I thought I would acquire some justice with a heart. This next book is NOT a parenting guide, but it is an example. An example of the wayward REAL life TRUTH facing kids/teens. While this book is a front-row perspective and does get personal with her, it also gets into the stories of her own professional life, so here is her story from Your Honor herself, Judge Glenda Hatchett.

When Glenda was growing up, she leaned a whole lot from her own parents about the kind of parent she wanted to be; continuing to learn in her own follow-your-heart, go-with-your-gut, on-the-job training as a mother. Her father used to speak about the crossroads in a young life; what avenue were they going down that her father called New Hope Road. What we don't understand as a child, we GET as an adult. An opportunity arises to make change.

Glenda had always wanted children. After much anticipation and prayer, she was blessed with 2 wonderful sons. Loving and maturing them into 2 men who would make the world better. In the last conversation with her father, Glenda promised him she would care for his grandsons. It was customary for her father to send Glenda off with a charge; a new and refreshing outlook regarding his grandchildren. Somewhat poetic to be of his last words from a father to his daughter. Glenda has tried to keep this promise.

In a world of uncertainty, one thing is CERTAIN. No mother is certain about what she's doing when she first has children. Glenda wasn't clear, but she KNEW one thing -give her kids a goal; something to shoot for, a path that allows them to realize and ACTUALIZE their dreams. Glenda set the bar for herself to set an example. A notion she received from her own parents, who nurtured their sons and daughter, Glenda, to reach beyond their circumstances. For every positive Glenda received at home, the world threw a negative. The world had enough negativity. When Glenda became a parent herself, she had to level the playing field. When it comes to 2 boys, Glenda refused to hear outsiders opinions. From the beginning, Glenda turned a deaf ear from it. There's hearing the outside world then there's listening to them. Better to aim high and push their child high above & beyond their easy targets. In cliche, their is truth.

Glenda could never accept allowing her children the wiggle room to play down to expectations. She never gave her children the ability to have an easy out. Play up to what would be a challenge. Face it head-on rather than runaway. Glenda was always amazed by parents who EXPECTED their child to fail with very little from their kids. "You're from around here and this is our life. You don't need anything else." Parents give out this direction and then are surprised when kids follow suit. You are who you hang with. You can't be surprised by what you put out there. Then there are the kids who become the exception. They surpass and accomplish with NO help AT ALL! They deserve the utmost kudos. When Glenda hears of these accomplishments, she catches herself marveling and her hat goes off to them for doing it on their own.

When it comes to OVER-THE-TOP PROUD parent moments, you see the child that you PROUDLY raised. Your work reflected when your child shines. When you child publicly thanks you for their belief in them, it's validation. A piece of you shines through them. Expect the BEST from those you love and to offer your BEST in return. In Glenda's courtroom that we've seen through the small screen there was evidence of children being raised with no expectations AT ALL! In juvenile court, Glenda got the quick habit of telling kids who came before her there was a dream out there. There is no cap on dreaming. Encourage your child to SEE THEIR dream. NOT yours; but theirs.

Both of Glenda's parents grew up in small towns in the deep South. Her father, Paul, was from Georgia, and her mother, Clemmie, was from South Carolina. Both were capable of becoming anything they wanted to be. Clemmie dreamed of being a pediatrician and Paul dreamed the dreams of entrepreneur; although he barely voiced them. But, the REALITY was of a deep segregated South, only 2 generations removed from the Emancipation Proclamation. Instead of a pediatrician, Clemmie became a teacher and later an assistant high school principal truly dedicated to her students. Even though her father had done graduate work to his MBA, he worked for the United States Post Office. Ultimately after federal legislation forced open doors, Paul was promoted to positions in federal agencies, eventually retiring from the Dept. Of Labor.

As a child, Glenda knew what it was to be counted out before being counted in. She encountered racism by the white kids in town. Glenda knew of the taunts and inequities of that time and place. Her parents taught her to rise above them. Her mother gave her the "sticks/stones". Glenda's father taught her to carve her own path. Within the segregated South, it was an entire operation of hand-me-downs/secondhand. Although encountering many talented & inspiring teachers over-the-years, but in first grade all Glenda knew was boredom. Clemmie had taught Glenda to read before starting school. Glenda was advanced by the time she began school. In school without resources, Glenda was bored our of her mind.

Things began to change midway through Glenda's first grade. Light arose and darkened again when passed down books were torn and ripped making Glenda unable to learn due to the racism of the South. Her father, Paul, gave Glenda a way to learn where the school wasn't able. When you get to places in life's book that have been torn by injustice you can't stop; you must rewrite those broken passages and create your own story in your own words and time. In hard times,  you learn a lesson to remember. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN and MEAN WHAT YOU SAY! Clarity and consistency are all-important communication tools. There are consequences to every exchange we have with our children. Those moments when we show & teach our kids how fortunate they are as to those whom aren't. Donating what you've outgrown. Sometimes it takes a child to bring a little clarity to a parent's atmosphere.

Parents need to be firm and focused. Stick with their rules and NOT let your child slide. If trouble havoc arises, DON'T give them a pass. Glenda was never confused by Paul's ground rules, and he was never lax in enforcing them. If her dad gave a curfew, Glenda was meant to keep it; down to the minute. No excuses. With her own kids, Glenda had some retooling to do. After hearing of her son, Charlie's, viewpoint; not troublesome and reasonable, Glenda was able to SEE his opinion on an interim basis. Her younger son, Chris, is a different story. Parenting styles must remain fluid. Adapt to different situations, different environments and remain focused on the mission at hand. Rather than go back and give, having your child EARN what they want want is both pride on both parts. A sense you will NEVER FORGET as a parent/child. An INVALUABLE lesson. Kids are designed to test the limits and it's up to the parents to stay FIRM on STRUCTURE! Otherwise, if you constantly give in; you ALWAYS will and you've lost the battle. BE CLEAR in what you expect and be CONSISTENT. Otherwise, you'll be in a room you/your child weren't prepared for.

Glenda never thought she'd be a judge. A lawyer, yes . . . . but one whom kept her opinions open. They didn't have money when Glenda was growing up. Their family was rich in other ways that they could be. A last that was essential. They weren't allowed to attach REAL prospects to their dreams. Glenda's younger brothers, Paul & Kolen, were enormously blessed with parents who taught them to trust in themselves and in their circumstances. Believing that race or gender was in no way problematic. They weren't a curse; but a blessing. They taught Glenda to use these situations to her benefit. From time-to-time that confidence was shaken by the racism & dividends of the South. In a fundamental way, this taught Glenda to keep her options open and stick to how she was raised.

Judge Horace Ward
Glenda was never the sort to be denied easily, this was especially so in choosing a career. As a young lawyer graduating from Emory Law School, Glenda's goal was to open the biggest door with the widest range  of opportunity, perhaps one that has never been opened before. Glenda was determined that door would be a coveted clerkship in federal district court. She never meant to be a judge; but she was meant to work for one - especially for Judge Horace Ward. Glenda was meant to cut her own road, and as far as she knew that was alongside Judge Ward. While others thought Glenda was crazy for this road, she was working in this position opened ALOT of doors for her. Her tack for this job was seen with a different eye. And as it so happened. When others were fleeing their positions due to new politics, Glenda was already on-board to be taken on as a clerk in federal court; learning the job on-site rather than her counterparts. At the age of 26, Glenda sat there and was overcome due to being in a place where HISTORY was abound. Glenda was becoming the FIRST black federal district clerk EVER in the states history. NEVER again would racial history be an issue while Glenda was a judge pursuing her dreams.

Glenda's first week on the bench was one she'll never forget. She was brand-new enough to the juvenile court system that the slightest jolt to her sense of humanity & fairness could send her reeling. You don't get used to a child being done wrong. What Glenda was so far off her everyday experience that she could've asked for directions and still wind-up lost. It was an experience where you mentally bring your work home at the end of the day. You could be doing your daily work at home but what you seen previously in the day didn't ever leave you. Life was around you and you're stuck. The power in this was a routine ritual. Open eyes. Open hearts.

Even if Glenda had planned to be a judge, she didn't fit the profile one would expect from a judge. She didn't think she had the disposition for it. What a judge is to display in this courtroom, it didn't fit Glenda's personality. When she did finally ascend to the bench, Glenda had to sit on her hands for a couple of weeks to keep herself from objecting! She would think of what she would do when she was an attorney. She would think of what better action these attorney's she would do better. She did that for the longest time.

When it came time to move on from federal district court, Glenda took a job in the legal department at Delta Air Lines trying cases. It was the perfect job at the perfect time in Glenda's young career. She was married and they were starting a family. Everything was on the rise. A perfect balance for a working mom. Easy transition between the 2. Things went on this way for 6-7 years; good mostly; although over time Glenda's marriage began to fall apart. When your personal life goes to hell, your professional life excels. While the position at Delta became a job to do; it became the job of her dreams. Glenda became the highest-ranking woman of color at Delta with a mentor who would become president and C.E.O. of the company. And then the world changed with Delta's dual plane crash. Glenda was the one in the front deflecting charges from the company and in doing so, she had become one of the public faces of a major airline at a time of profound & stressful crisis. Due to the way Glenda tackled and got the job done; she was asked to join their PR and crisis management team full-time, on a permanent basis. Becoming very interesting.

With Glenda's great legal education and thoroughgoing background in litigation, she was plugging the holes in their P.R. program. It was a moment of getting things done. Glenda put a spin on the spin control. After she took a call from a family friend, Judge Romae Turner Powell, whom was terminally ill with lung cancer, she wanted Glenda to be her successor. After Judge Powell passed, Glenda still found herself considering the job. While Glenda was seeing this offer, she was considering what she was giving up. What worried Glenda was doing work that MATTERED and made a difference. Mentally Glenda was seeing a pro/con list. She had ended up applying for the position on the very last day submissions were due. Glenda had gotten the job. What stunned those at Delta wasn't the news, it was that Glenda left to become a judge.

At the right time in her life, a judge was one thing; but a juvenile court judge was something completely different. A way to make a difference. Next thing you know Glenda took a field trip to acquaint herself with her new surroundings. To see what she'd gotten herself into. While the job was depressing, at the HEART of the crimes was a CHILD where your HEART is pointed to.

DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU WILL DO! Your word is your bond. Promises are meant to be kept. Glenda's parents without fail ALWAYS kept their word to her and her siblings. Her father was a stickler about it.  Never keeping a promise on the offshore it would be broken. If you say you'll do, then do it. If her father gave his word to be somewhere, he was sure to be there. When Glenda was a child, her father's promising word meant the world to her. She could count on it like clockwork. There's an enormous sense of security that comes with KNOWING you can count on your parents. NO MATTER the situation. Glenda's father was very particular about this one piece of parenting. He didn't want to let his kids down/feel he failed them. His kids were a priority to him in every respect. If he wasn't there, he was clear about it. He had made every effort. Their parents made sure to HONOR the PROMISES Glenda's parents made to their kids.

The great side benefit to all this is that a child is a whole lot less likely to test a parent they know they can count onIf a child realized his parents were constantly failing to live up to their word, he might consider it acceptable to break promises of his own - including the law. Sometimes a single broken promise can set a child reeling. Before Glenda's son Charles was born, she had an idea in her head of the kind of mother she wanted to be. Well, a working mother and throughout her time on the bench she was an advocate for children, working women & related family court issues.

When Glenda was presiding in her TV courtroom, these issues remained front & center; especially when she found herself being pulled into all kinds of directions. Being a parent in Atlanta on top of a taping schedule in New York. There were times when Glenda felt there wasn't enough of her to go around. A mother trying to do and be there for all. No matter the situation. Glenda's youngest son, Chris, was a starter on his BIG high school football team. A moment Glenda wouldn't have missed for the world. As excited Glenda was, she was careful to put all of this into perspective. She knew enough about the entertainment industry to know that at the other end of a long day taping, it might end up on the cutting room floor. Either way, Glenda was arranging to get things done. Problem was the shoot was the day of the game/playoffs. Glenda's producers KNEW to work around her kids' events. She'll work as hard as production wants and do whatever they ask; but at the end of it she is to be a MOM to her sons.

Another part of the reason Glenda was firm on her commitments to her sons is the behavior by her ex-husband - the father of her sons - attended some of her son's events to have a parent root for their sons. When she is there for her sons, it's a proud moment for her as a parent. It's all connected for a parent/child and your word is the thread between the 2. If you keep your word to your kids or if you let them down; they'll always depend on it. There was a period of time after Glenda first took the bench when she questioned whether she could endure the kind of suffering & tragedy that she seen in juvenile court every single day. From time-to-time, Glenda secretly longed for the kind of career she had prior. You begin to wonder if you are/were ever making a difference. If you weren't. what's the point?

All it took was a case that would FOREVER shake anyone to turn her around a month later. A case with a history involving a 2-yr-old boy beaten to death with a stick. A homicide-turned-manslaughter. There are no juries in Georgia's juvenile court system, which meant Glenda was both judge & jury in a case that carried an enormous burden. Pretty soon taking an emotional toll on Glenda herself. Every single day, case after case. It was everything. Sometimes the potholes in our lives don't appear until they're past the point of filling. Glenda often wondered what it truly takes to lay a healthy, nurturing foundation for our children, to smooth the paths to purpose and possibility. What Glenda keeps coming back to is the love and support that comes from a caring, constructive family on a juvenile court, you'll often find a parent whom is so uninterested & uninvolved in their child's upbringing and they wonder how the kid had gone so wrong.

Glenda meant to be there and show support and be present in every sense to her sons. Since both of her sons were in competitive sports, she never wanted for opportunities to show her support. The need to cheer for your children extends far beyond sports and reaches into every aspect of their lives physically & personally. Sometimes a little word/cheer for your kids can mean so much. It all starts in the home. If a child is called upon constant ridicule and disconnect, they believe what they've been told. If they're cheered on,; they encourage to believe in themselves. It should be on a bumper sticker. It's one of the STRONGEST messages we can give our children. It needs to be said, done & showed. If they don't get the positivity at home, they'll find a different message elsewhere. It may sound weird, but one of the best places for cheering and quality time is in the car. The focused atmosphere is what's going on. There's an opportunity to communicate. CHEER ON and MAKE TIME to be PRESENT for your kids.

Sometimes what you think is meaningless fun becomes SERIOUS real quick. A friend rides with a buddy only to discover their in a stolen car or drugs were in the car. When pulled over, the innocent party becomes a victim. Good kids can find themselves in bad trouble due to peer pressure - even with a bad result with devastating or deadly consequences. Every week, or just about, Glenda would hear a joyriding case. ALOT of time it's wrong place; wrong time. You could be in your teens and in trouble. You're arrested and sentenced until age 40 with no prior record. One story bleeds into another with the same lesson to learn. These are a crossroads where we find our best opportunities to communicate with our children. Hopefully, they learn from their peers of their mistakes. You could be a STRAIGHT A on your way to success; one event can turn that around. ALWAYS happening to the BEST!

Money matters whether you believe it or not. When you get to the bottom of almost every juvenile court case; no matter the issue, you'll find money somewhere at or near the bottom line. Therefore, downloading onto our children a clear, value-laden understanding of, familiarity with, and appreciation & respect for money is all-important. It's never to soon to start. Glenda's household was a hands-on approach. Every time they went into a store, or passed a billboard, or an ad on TV, there was something her kids needed right away! When her eldest, Charles, was 11-or-12, she hit on a notion of a clothing budget/allowance. She was teaching them a lesson. Hand them the money they earned and let them manage it - to the extent they could. Twice a year, Glenda supplied the essentials. It was up to them to buy the extras. If they wanted it, it came out of their budget. It forced Glenda's boys to think things through. It was all on them.

As they grew, so did their allowances. In elementary school, she earmarked $300.00 for each of the 2 shopping seasons; in middle school it was raised to $500.00 and in high school up to $800.00; twice a year. After figuring it out, Glenda was ending up ahead of the deal. The choice was up to them. One of the smartest moves Glenda ever made as a parent and life lessons came along with the bargain.

There are times as a parent when it's okay to soften the drawn hard line; just as long as it's NOT CONSTANT! There is a way to stay firm and have wiggle room. When it comes to stories of cases similar to the ones Judge Hatchett has had in her courtroom; just remember this: This could be you! Teaching your children to be responsible about money doesn't end with earning and managing it - they have to learn to invest as well. You can give your child money; but you need to teach them to save rather than run & squander. Sometimes the lessons you teach your kids may not apply as you directed; but they did GET & LEARN the initial teachings you were passing down & more.

Glenda has been spending a lifetime of things on faith; but at the same time she's had her share of uncertainty - but never meant more than when her father passed. Glenda & her father had a wonderful relationship. She's very close to her mother; but she was always closest to her dad. (A daddy's girl) From time-to-time, Glenda would sneak away from the courthouse and join him for lunch back in the home she grew up in. He was able to give his daughter a clear head. Her dad was a reinforcement for courage.When her father died, it became painfully stitched to her soul. Glenda had rushed to be there when he was brought to an ER from her mom. After finding out the info, Glenda couldn't accept that he was dying. Glenda went headlong into a take charge mode. A coping mechanism to somehow fix what you can't. This was a real test to Glenda's faith. A real turning point for Glenda. What honestly turned Glenda's faith around was his funeral.

At the heart, it's the faith we have that propel us forward and our willingness to learn & reach beyond what we ever thought possible. Sometimes you catch a piece of wise council in the unlikeliest of places.

No comments:

Post a Comment