Make The Damn Call!

At the end of last school week, a news story came out concerning a family that had undergone some horrendous things… Unspeakable things that children should never ever have to face. An arrest was made- but as the story continues to develop it has come to light that so many people had suspicions as to what was going on in this house of horrors. Just reading the comments on facebook with people slamming the mother- telling her how they knew- they had suspicions… they tried to tell her. And my mind kept screaming- WHY DIDNT YOU CALL SOMEONE??? This little girl – and probably others since there were at least 6 children in the immediate home- was victimized over and over by this horrible predator… and NOW you want to say I tried to tell you… I knew… where were you? Why were you not stepping in? OH.., I get it- you were afraid of him to??? Well- how do you think that baby girl felt? Why didn’t you CALL someone? Get a burner phone- send an anonymous letter… get your grandpa from california to call… SOMETHING- ANYTHING- but dont, DONT, sit there after the fact and say I KNEW- I TRIED TO TELL YOU… well, guess what… you are getting dangerously close to being JUST as bad as the man who took that child’s innocence day in and day out for MONTHS while you just sat there- talking about what was going on to your friends on Facebook. Well- shame on you!

Of course, I say all of that- knowing that there were calls made… I know personally of 3… but there was not enough “meat” for anyone to go out. Why… because teachers are not looked at as what we are- professionals. We know our babies better than anyone. We can see them getting off the bus in the morning and know that something in the night rocked their world to their absolute core. We can watch them deteriorate and crumble in front of us and have no proof of ANYTHING… no words from them… but we KNOW. We know because we love them. Would that first call have saved her? No- maybe not… but did other calls not happen because people KNEW it would not have done any good? Would they have just been brushed off? Maybe… but maybe if more than one person had made the calls- more than one singular voice- then maybe it would have made a difference….

SO- now there are 6 children who have been taken from a horrible situation… 6 children who have lost their parents and everything they know. 6 children who had to stay an extra 3 days in the home because there were no other options… no foster homes in Bay County for them to go to. They had to be privy to the investigations and the arguments- the stress- the crying and fighting and aftermath of the arrest… and now- they have been doled out to various people here and there… all because there are no places here for 6 siblings to be together when their world falls apart. Heck, at this point, there is no place for 3 siblings… maybe not even for 2.

Hurricane Michael only exacerbated the lack of foster care in our area. People have lost homes- meaning lost foster homes. Children have lost their homes and stability-meaning an increased NEED for foster homes… the two simply do not mesh. I guess you could say those 6 siblings are somewhat lucky to still be able to be in Bay County- even if they are not together. Others have been transported out of county- as far away as Orlando- just because there are no foster care homes open here.

For years now, I have tried to open a foster facility for Special Needs children… for those hard to place children who have homes nowhere else… those sibling groups who need each other so badly as the world falls apart… how many of these stories- how many siblings pulled apart- do we have to see before someone steps forward and works with us to help us get an amazing facility open for these babies? How many more horror stories? How many more people who SHOULD HAVE made the call? How many children have to be torn from Bay County before a Hero steps up and helps? Maybe that is the call that needs to be made… before it is too late.


The Bro Mistake

I always like to say- NO, this is not about you- but if the boot fits-lace that thing up and wear it!

NOW that we have that out of the way… I have been thinking about what I like to call the Bro Mistake… It goes something like this… you have a friend- maybe he has been your friend since high school or longer. You knew him before he ever started dating his missus. That gives you some kind of in, right? The knowledge of who he was in the past, things he has done, places he has gone and people he has been with. You may know things about him that no other human knows. OR- he may be a more recent Bro- one that that you met by chance here or there and found that you have a lot in common with. Friends are important. This Bro Mistake, however, is not the norm. This is not having your buddy over for the game and losing track of time kind of mistake. i am talking about something much, much more serious here.

Since you know your Bro so well- you know that he has struggles, right? He has been struggling with sobriety- be it alcohol, drugs… some demon that keeps him from being the man that he needs to be. You may have even had discussions with his wife about it. You have definitely seen the signs. You probably even realize it is tearing his family apart. But, of course, you try not to think about that. You shut it out of your mind. And, when you are ready for a rowdy time- his name is the first one to pop into your head. Never do you think that he may have been sober for a week and standing on a precipice that will get him over one more night… never do you think he is waiting for a sign as to whether quitting is really what he needs to do… never do you think about his family- his wife is a shrew anyway-right? She’s probably the real reason he drinks… so, you send the text, make the call… HEY BRO- and you pull him into what is for you is an occasional night at the bar or hanging out in front of the TV… not caring that you will be able to get up in the morning, take some aspirin and go to work- but what you have done is set your BRO back days, weeks, maybe even months. No, his illness is not your fault- not at all. However, you have seen the signs. Have you thought of reaching out to him? Have you thought of making that BRO call go a little differently? Hey BRO- wanna go to church with me? HEY BRO- how about a cup of coffee??? Why do the BRO calls always involve idiot behaviors? And what happens when your BRO call is answered by the police because your BRO got a DUI on the way to your house? Or home from your night out? What if your BRO kills an innocent family on the road after your night at the bar? Will you answer when your BRO calls because he has nowhere to live because his wife and family have had enough? Is he a close enough BRO for you 7 days a week- living in your house? Or, is he only there for comic relief? Maybe I am naive- but if he is truly your BRO…that is short for brother, right? If he is truly your BRO- dont you care enough about him to HELP him? To ENCOURAGE him? To PRAY for him? And not just to be the call he DOESNT need to get? The BRO who leads more into BROKEN and away from BROTHER? Real men need true Brothers and less BROs who just, basically, don’t really give a damn about them past the fun night out. How about being a true Brother? Reach out to your friend- help him with his sobriety. Help him be the man that he CAN be- that he SHOULD be- that his family NEEDS him to be. If you can’t do that… then lose his number and find another BRO- they are everywhere… of that I am sure.