Look at the Facebook Page of any young adult who has officially turned 21 years of age, and you will see a note from friends encouraging them to “turn up.” The term “turn up” is popular among high school and college students and young adults. What does it mean to turn up? Be free, do what you want to do and mostly drink as much alcohol as you want. Individuals are encouraged to keep the shot glasses coming or whatever one is drinking. Lil John asks the question “Turn down for what?” According to the song, there is no reason to turn down or stop drinking. He encourages them to continue to let the shots keep on coming.
Times really have not changed because I remember the drinking games played when I was in college. I am thankful that my bestie in college could not handle even one drink of alcohol before she would get sick to her stomach and we would have to leave the party. I wasn’t so happy at the time but she kept us out of a lot of trouble. Even though drinking trends among college students have not really changed over the years, there is a new twist that could put your daughter at risk for a very dangerous situation. Based on a recent article in the Journal of Adolescent Health regarding rape of college women, I can think of several reasons why our daughters should be turning down instead of up. The study indicates that at a large private university in New York, almost one out of every five young women were raped or experienced attempted rape during their freshman year.
Researchers at Brown and Miriam Hospitals Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine administered questionnaires to 483 incoming freshmen when they arrived on campus and at the end of their freshman year. The freshman women were asked if they had experienced either incapacitated or forced rape, regardless of whether the act had been attempted or completed. 15% of the women said they were raped or a victim of attempted rape while they were incapacitated. How were they incapacitated?
Drug facilitated sexual assault occurs when alcohol or drugs are used to compromise an individual’s ability to consent to sexual activity. These substances make it easier for a perpetrator to commit sexual assault because they inhibit a person’s ability to resist and can sometimes prevent them from remembering the assault. Alcohol is the most commonly used substance in drug facilitated sexual assault, and some may use prescription medicine like sleep aids and muscle relaxers.
After the attack, a woman will awaken and are not quite sure what has happened to them because they can’t remember. Victims of drug facilitated or incapacitated rape were somewhat less likely to report to the authorities than victims of forcible rape. Most often, the victims may not report the attack because they don’t want to confess the excessive alcohol consumption or they blame themselves for the attack or for putting themselves in a situation where it could happen.
How can we protect our daughters from sexual violence as a result of drinking? Here are five conversations must haves to educate them on the dangers involved.
I think I viewed no less than 100 pictures this week of friends, loved ones and acquaintances who are preparing to celebrate the graduations of sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grand children and even parents. In fact this time last year, we had a high school graduation in our family and we are so proud of our youngest son.
We first of all stood in a long line waiting to get into the auditorium with 2000 other excited people who couldn't wait to get a glimpse of their child on the stage receiving their diploma. In our small town of Olathe, KS there were four other high school graduations going on at the same time. The Saturday before graduation our life was consumed with graduation parties. I couldn't tell who was the most excited, the graduates or the family members as we saw some interesting behaviors from parents who were celebrating their children's accomplishment.
As they began to call the long list of over 500 names, my mind drifted back to my own graduation ceremony. I remembered our class motto, but for the life of me couldn't remember who the speaker was. I dug through my collection of things and found out it was the first African American Judge in the state of Oklahoma. Now I will remember. I also remember how proud my parents were of my accomplishments.
Going back to the interesting behaviors of parents....As a stepfamily specialist it is easy for me to spot the married parents of children versus the divorced parents or those with broken relationships. There are distinct behaviors for each. Those with severed relationships will sometimes sit in different sections of the building, take separate pictures and compete to see who can yell louder. All the while the child is thinking...
"Can we all just get along?"
It is important that parents put their differences aside to support their children. For some children it is difficult for their parents to be in the same room. We must remember that this special time in the child's life is not about you as a parent, it is about the child. I am thankful that we were able to jointly support our children and celebrate together. Here are 4 tips to help you successfully navigate graduation activities.
1) Have a planning meeting to discuss upcoming events. Talk about how the child wants to celebrate their graduation.
2) Share the cost of graduation activities - Graduation is costly with pictures, parties, proms, cap and gowns, etc.
3) Co-Host the graduation celebration. If you are not comfortable in the other parent's home, select a neutral location for the graduation party.
4) Sit together at graduation and take some pictures together. If one arrives before the other save a seat for the other parent and guests.
Most of all relax and have a good time. If your children have already graduated, the same rules can be followed for birthday parties and weddings. Just remember, these events are last memories in a child's life, make it special for them.
Last Sunday was Mother’s Day and women around the world were celebrated because they have given birth to children. Hallmark sold millions of cards, and many flowers and gifts were given to women out of love. Churches across the nation had special programs, gave out white and red corsages, had luncheons and such to celebrate mothers. Elementary schools helped small children make wonderful gifts for their dear mothers. Many calls and texts went out just to say “Happy Mother’s Day”. Despite having lost my own Mother a few years ago, I had a wonderful Mother's Day.
There were a group of women who did not get phone calls or texts. A card did not come in the mail and no one celebrated them at church. In fact, they didn’t even see the children they care so much about. Some spent the day alone feeling neglected and unloved. What women with children were not celebrated on Mother’s Day you ask? These are some of the women who have married a man with children and are now considered Stepmoms.
Did you know that Sunday, May 17th, the Sunday after Mother’s day has been deemed Stepmother’s Day? Wow, a day set aside just to celebrate women who have taken on the sometimes thankless job of being a stepmother. Did you know such a day existed? Hallmark doesn’t advertise it nor do stores and flower shops offer stepmother's day specials. It’s just the Sunday after Mother’s Day to most. I am thankful that I was appreciated by both my children an my stepchildren on Mother's Day, but not all stepmoms were so fortunate.
Here are 4 reasons Stepmother’s Day should be celebrated.
After childbirth, the physical pain may be over but that is only the beginning of the emotional pain that we as mothers often experience. Anyone who has raised children knows that being a mother contains many joys and sorrows. Life of course does not always happen as planned. Our children say and do things that bring us grief. We don't sometimes have the financial resources to provide what our children need. Marriages fail and hearts are broken. Illness comes in unexpected and threatens a child's wellbeing. Whether our children are young or old we carry them in our hearts forever.
Here are just a few reasons why mothers experience emotional pain and heartache.
1) Children Making Bad Decisions and Choices
Even Jesus as a child did something to cause his parents, particularly his mother to be upset with him. Remember in Luke the 2nd chapter when Jesus stayed an extra day at the temple and his parents thought he was missing? Luke 2:46-48 MSG reads, “The next day they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. The teachers were all quite taken with him, impressed with the sharpness of his answers. But his parents were not impressed; they were upset and hurt. His mother said, “Young man, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you.”
Sometimes our children will do things that cause us to be worried sick. We can’t be with our children all the time and they will make decisions without considering how their choices will affect us. They may choose the wrong friends or get involved in sinful behavior. The teenage years and early adulthood are sometimes the biggest struggle for mothers. It’s a wonder mothers ever get any sleep when their teenagers want to hang out on Friday and Saturday nights. (Proverbs 10:1 MSG says, “Wise son, glad father; stupid son, sad mother.”
2) Sickness in Children
When my children were younger, nothing grieved me more than when they were sick. Especially when they are babies and can’t tell you what’s wrong with them it’s terrifying. Moms spend a lot of time kissing “boo-boo’s and making everything better, but there are times that illness comes along where a parent feels helpless and unable to make it all better. Have you ever watched a child struggle with a high fever and nothing you do works? Have you ever had a child to brake a bone or bust his head on a coffee table or get hurt on the football field or basketball court? Consider the widow woman in 1 Kings who fed the prophet Elijah with the last that she had. Before meeting Elijah she thought her and son were going to eat their last meal and then starve to death. She was blessed as a result of feeding Elijah, but later on her son became very ill. Eventually, the sickness took a turn for the worse—and then he stopped breathing. 1 Kings 17:18 MSG - The woman said to Elijah, “Why did you ever show up here in the first place—a holy man barging in, exposing my sins, and killing my son?”
Imagine what was going on in this woman’s mind as she watched her son lying there lifeless. We know that this story has a happy ending but there are many mothers struggling with children who have been born with disabilities or experienced debilitating diseases and ill health.
3) Financial Struggles
As a mother it was always important to me that I was able to provide for my children. Following my divorce, when money was tight, I had to make some difficult choices. There were times when I couldn’t buy my kids what they wanted and struggled to make sure they had everything they needed. Many mothers have been disheartened when they did not have the resources to adequately provide for their children. I remember my own mother sacrificing so that we could have lunch money, or making sure we had dresses for Easter.
Data released in September 2011 by the Census Bureau indicate that 16.4 million children in the United States, 22.0 percent of all children, lived in poverty in 2010. Of the 16.4 million poor children, nearly half, 7.4 million, lived in extreme poverty, which is defined as an annual income of less than half the official poverty line (i.e., $11,157 for a family of four).
In the book of Genesis we find a mother by the name of Hagar. Hagar is the handmaiden of Sarah, the beloved wife of Abraham. When Abraham and Sarah could not have children of their own, Sarah arranged for Abraham to have a baby with Hagar. Once Sarah and Abraham finally had their own child, the relationship goes bad and Hagar was asked to pack up her and her child Ishmel and leave. They were sent away with a bottle of water and a little bit of food. Genesis 21:14-16 MSG reads “Abraham got up early the next morning, got some food together and a canteen of water for Hagar, put them on her back and sent her away with the child. She wandered off into the desert of Beersheba. When the water was gone, she left the child under a shrub and went off, fifty yards or so. She said, “I can’t watch my son die.” As she sat, she broke into sobs.
Here is a woman crying because she cannot provide for her son and she can’t bear to watch him die. Even though we know she had a happy ending, many mothers face this reality daily.
4) Society Problems and Injustice
I can’t count the number of times I have seen a mother brokenhearted because of what is going on in our society. The “Black Lives Matter” theme arose because children are being treated unjustly and sometimes killed. As mothers, we want to shield our children from all hurt, harm and danger. However, as mentioned before we cannot be with our children at all times and we can’t always protect them from those who desire to harm them. Consider the story of Moses. Because all Hebrew boys were supposed to be killed at birth, his mother, Jochebed had to hide him for three months. When she could no longer hide him, she had to come up with another plan. Exodus 2:3-4 NIV reads: "But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him."
Jochebed loved her child so much that she was willing to do anything to keep him alive. Even though we know this story has a good ending, we know in reality mothers are losing their children due to the ills of society, gangs and prisons.
5) The Death of a Child
I have heard that the worst pain a mother could experience is that of losing a child. When I was growing up, it seemed rare for a mother to bury her child, but it is not unusual to witness children leaving this earth before their mothers. Consider the mother that miscarries a child or has one that is still born. Consider the mother who has lost her child to illnesses such as asthma or cancer. Consider the Mom who has lost her child due to suicide. Consider the mother who has lost her child to murder. As a Pastor’s wife I have been to many funerals and seen the pain experienced by mothers in the loss of their children.
In 2 Samuel the illegitimate child of David and Bathsheba dies shortly after birth. The loss is devastating for both of them. 2 Samuel 12:24 NIV reads: “Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him." We know the story has a good ending because of the birth of Solomon, but consider the grief of Bathsheba in losing her son.
Lastly, let’s consider the Mother of Jesus who had to watch her son being crucified on a cross. She knew that her son was the Son of God and the world had turned its back on him and killed him for trying to do good. Imagine the pain of watching her son, whipped and spat upon and finally killed. John 19:25-26 reads: “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus say his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son.”
We definitely know that this story has a good ending, but in reality, children are dying every day.
So as we celebrate Mother’s day 2015 let us remember to pray for Mothers all across the nation. Many Mothers are hurting and need our support and encouragement. Find a way to be a blessing today.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach