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March 30, 2015

This picture is an inspiration, not a goal ;-)

This picture is an inspiration, not a goal 😉

Our son and grandsons moved out a little over a month ago. They left in such a hurry, our son telling us only a couple of days prior to the move, that we did not believe it. They did not take most of their stuff, because they were moving in with another family (our son’s girlfriend and her mother). We thought they would be back shortly, in a few days or weeks. But they have been gone since February now, only visiting once a week, and this past weekend they did not visit at all. I miss them and dream about them almost nightly. I wake up in the middle of the night and think of them, making it difficult to get back to sleep. Now I know where that old adage “Can’t live with them, can’t live without them” originated. My trust in God comforts me.

I have been able to accomplish much more work in their absence because I have all the hours I formerly spent care giving to work on getting Grace Place open. God’s timing is always right. The club house is looking beautiful on the inside as it nears completion and soon we will begin on the outside. This photo is our inspiration. We desire a country club and spa appearance.

One day last week I was visiting the club house (as I do most days) when I saw a woman there, which is unusual, because all the construction workers are men. Curious, I asked to be introduced as she was talking with one of the crew supervisors. The woman turned out to be the mother of one of the construction workers. She adopted him when his mother, who was one of her former foster children, left him at her doorstep. Not literally. But she did ask this woman who we will call Yvette, to take him when he was a baby because she knew her drug addicted lifestyle was not good for a baby. The baby, now 21, who we will call Raymond, is blessed to have been entrusted to such a good soul as Yvette. He can be grateful his mother had his best interests at heart when she brought him to Yvette. I am sure she loved him. Her loss. Raymond has grown into a fine young man.

It brings me to tears to know that this scenario is being played out across Kentucky. Across our nation. Motherhood is a sacred thing. It is the foundation of our society. “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. A good mother is the embodiment of ‘servant leadership’ and all the principles of superior leadership. To learn more, read Stephen Covey’s book, the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.

I was so impressed by Yvette and her servant leadership that I asked her if I could interview her later in the week. She consented if I promised to change her name. Another characteristic of a superior leader: humility. I asked Yvette what she would like the world to know, to shout from the rooftops, so to speak. She said: “People don’t understand how pervasive this problem is. After many years of foster parenting I have seen foster children grow up to perpetuate the cycle. Not always, but most often. Addiction affects at least the next two generations. It makes me think of that verse in the Bible about how sins affect the next seven generations. I have not lived long enough to see seven generations, but I have seen how it affects two generations. It is so sad to see how the child victims suffer even though they did not do anything wrong.”

I asked Yvette if she had any advice for people who are struggling with the effects of addictions. She said: “Al Anon is good. It is hard to say, ‘Your children can live here, but you can’t’ to an addicted grown child. At Al Anon one finds the support and strength and information to make better decisions concerning the addicted child. Al Anon (and Families Anonymous) teaches that the only behavior we can change is our own. Changing our behavior, especially if we are an enabler, sometimes can change the addict’s behavior. But it is hard for people to move out of their comfort zone, their old habits.”

Thank you, Yvette, and all you foster parents out there. You have an awesome job. You are shaping our future. OUR CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE.

So what does this have to do with older folks, because this blog is attached to a website that advertises a health club for seniors? Hint: It is spelled A-B-U-S-E. A child who is abused often grows up to be an abuser. Elder abuse, or elder maltreatment as it is sometimes called, is a huge problem in our society. The statistics are alarming and shameful. People don’t want to talk about it. You don’t see it on the national news, and only the most egregious cases make it to the local news. The reported abuse is only the tip of the iceberg, and is much more prevalent and far reaching than we can imagine. It ranges from neglect, to physical, verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse to financial exploitation. It all stems from a single cause: as a society, we don’t love our elders.

As a society, we don’t love the weak and the powerless, whether those are children or elders. However, there is a more subtle form of abuse of the elderly. It is rationalizing that the elderly family member will be better off in a nursing home, where they can get the care they need. Well, maybe. Maybe not. Look at that from a “what are the facts?” perspective and be sure to get all the facts.

The best test is to sincerely ask yourself: “If it was me, what would I want for myself in the same situation?”

May you have a blessed, abuse-free week!

P.S. Bullying is a form of abuse.

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