Learn from the past…

Parents, aunts, uncles, adults,

If your child, or a child you know, seems to be experiencing more troubles than other youth (emotional, academic, or behavioral), please dig a little deeper.  If you cannot seem to find a way to help the child yourself, seek professional help.

A few days ago, my mother and I were talking about my book.  She, like the proud mother she is, was one of the first to purchase a copy – hoping I would not know.  While I was not apprehensive about what she would read, I was worried about the concern it might cause her.  The content of the book is by no means happy, for the most part, and I feared she would turn my sadness inside, blaming herself.

While discussing this concern, she told me, “I tried to talk to you.  I wanted to know what was going on, but you wouldn’t talk.”  I told her that I wouldn’t talk to anyone back then because I didn’t know what to say, and I was trying to protect her.  She then told me, “But if I had known, I could protected you.  I could have done more to take care of things.”  I knew what she was alluding to, that she would have pressed charges against my grandfather. I told her once again that it was not her fault, that honestly, by the time I was with her, only a trained counselor could have gotten through to me.

The past cannot be changed, and the struggles I endured were by no means her fault.  If anything, I was able to begin healing at a much earlier age because she and my dad provided a safe place for me to “vent” the anger I held inside.  While living with that “demon child” was no picnic for them, I am sure my life would have taken a much uglier path otherwise.

Yet, there are lessons to be learned, even when we make the best of bad circumstances. My guess is, if she were not too shy to say it, she would tell adults this: If you don’t know how to help your child, find someone who does. Looking back, I would also have something to say to youth: If you cannot talk to your parents, find a safe, trusted adult.  Tell your story.  Do not remain silent. If you need help telling your parents, ask that adult to help you find the words.

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