How to Talk to Your Child about Charlottesville

girlethnicAs adults we often think that we shield our children from the realities of the world, but more often than not they are keenly aware. And when we do not talk to them, they are left to their own explanations which usually create more fear.

It is important talk to your children about what is happening in our country so they are less fearful and have a better understanding of what is happening around them.

Before talking to your child spend some time thinking about how you have been effected by what you saw. Think about what you want your child to understand, and how you want to impart your values.

When talking to your child remember to let him lead the conversation. Answer his questions honestly but with age appropriate information. Remain calm, and breathe deeply. From you your child is learning how to talk about difficult subjects.

You might start the conversation like this, “There has been a lot on the news about people getting hurt have you seen that? Tell me what you have seen. What do you think about what you have seen?

Or “On the news there have been many people saying mean things about other people and hurting each other. Did you see that? What do you think about that?”

Gently correct any misinformation that your child has gleaned from news coverage or conversations.

If you are confused about what your child is asking or saying, ask for clarification before continuing.

Omit the gory details- focus on the what happened. For example, “A man hit some people with his car and people were badly hurt. And a lady died.”

Share your feelings about what happened.

Honestly answer questions about your child’s safety. You cannot tell your child that nothing bad will ever happen to them but you can say, “I am doing everything I can to keep you safe.” You can even name the things that you are doing.

Share your values with your child.

Talk to your child about what you and other people are doing to help the situation. Give your child a way to contribute positively toward the solution. Being able to take action reduces fear.

Keep the door for further communication open. Let him know you will talk about this with him again. Check in with your child from time to time to ask how he is doing and to learn what he is thinking and feeling.

Finally, do something fun! Do something you and your child like to do together. Play a game, read a book, take a walk.

 

Fear in Our Children

FearIn one-week fear rose in our country. We heard it in the adult voices on TV, radio and in the print lining newspapers. But did you realize that fear grew in our children too? Sometimes as adults we forget that they are watching and soaking up everything around them.  As Haim Ginott said, “Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” And the images from Charlottesville made a huge impression. This week young children of color asked me, “Are they going to hurt me too?” “Is it safe?” “Why do they hate me?” Children who already had some dislike for minorities stated more boldly their dislike of them. Caucasian children shielded from overt racism expressed confusion. “Why do those people hate black people?” “What’s wrong with black people?”

The future of our country resides in the hearts of our children. Be careful with your words for they hold immense power. There are no neutral words. We shape our beliefs with each thought we think and say, and those thoughts become the bedrock of our future. Be careful with your actions because they carry enormous weight. Little eyes are watching and from you they are learning how to be in this world.

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Road to Discourse


All it takes for “evil” to grow is silence, the absent voices of reason, peace, understanding, and love. In times of hardship when division is great voices of reason are needed. I know there are many voices of reason that have been silent. I know because my voice has been one of those voices and I have talked to many other people who have also been silent. I thought by being silent I was making room for another voice and honoring another person’s opinion. But I realized that my silence was not making room it was contributing to pain, harm, ruin and injury.

When my young clients talk about the difficulties they face in school. I ask them, “What do your values say you should do?” When they respond, I ask, “What stops you from doing that?” The answer is always fear of losing…fear of losing friends, fear of losing status, fear of losing favor. Silence comes from fear.

I realized that I had confused my fear of confrontation with my value that all voices matter. My silence was from fear of offending others, fear of being attacked, fear of not being heard. It was not coming from my values. A deep belief that all voices matter helps us to engage others and to hear their thoughts. When all voices matter, voices are not silent.

It is important for everyone to speak, for everyone to be heard. And it is important that we listen to each other. It is the only way we will solve the important issues facing us all.

What Will You Choose?

We all struggle with discovering who we are and what we want to be when we grow up. Usually as children what we want to be is defined by a profession. When I was three I proclaimed that I was going to be a veterinarian. I don’t recall giving any thought to what kind of human I wanted to be.

Now, in my fifties there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what kind of human I want to be. How I am in the world is just as important as what I do. Maybe now, even more important. I look out at the world and in this twenty-four-hour news cycle and on-demand frenzy, I see so many horrible things happening. I worry about how these images and words are impacting developing minds. I worry about it tremendously. Yet, I  am hesitant to discuss this with others. I don’t want to impose upon others. People have the right to their opinions and to voice their opinions, however they wish. But with rights come consequences. I can choose to use my power of speech for good or a can use it to degrade and to harm. Either way I choose, my actions will have consequences. Those consequences may be immediate or felt decades later.

Somehow it seems we have come to believe that disagreeing with one another is bad. We have fallen into the trap of believing that a different view-point is wrong and has no worth. At worst we make harsh judgements about those that believe differently from us. Yet, if we all thought the same wHand with marker writing: Whats Your Choice?ay, we would not have innovation. I do not know how we can have a healthy discourse when we hold these beliefs. How can we ever solve the problems that our world is facing if we cannot talk, disagree, respectfully hear each other’s point of view, and combine all of our knowledge?

Sometimes I think we forget that words are powerful. They shape minds, shape beliefs, connect us or separate us. Each of us has the power to impact change just by minding our words. Each moment of every day the choices we choose impact not only us but those around us. We can choose connection over disconnection. We can choose kindness over hurt. We can choose respect over hate. The power is in the choice and it is for each of us to mindfully make. What will you choose?

Goodbye, Sid

A few months ago I said goodbye to my best friend, my soulmate, and the most beautiful soul I have ever known. We were together for 11 years. 11 years is too short of a time but his 11 years were hard years. He battled one illness after another. 100_1811Yet, no one knew because he was so brave and gracious. I will never forget the way he looked into my eyes, gave me kitty kisses, held my hand with his paw, and slept with his check pressed next to mine. He gave so much more than he received. Because of him I am a better person- kinder, gentler, more inclined to spend hours in silence with someone I love, and to sit and enjoy moments. He touched me in ways I cannot describe. He is buried deeply within my heart now and forever. I hope now he is pain free. I do not know where souls go once they are freed from a body but I hope his goes to the most beautiful place imaginable and that he is surrounded by love. That’s what he was, pure love, in the package of a furry, black and white cat.

“The Gift” by Rebecca Hubbard Book Tour & Raffle

An interview with Pip’s dad

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The Gift by Rebecca Hubbard Book Tour BannerThe Gift by Rebecca Hubbard

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

  • Paperback:62 pages
  • Publisher:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 23, 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1515181839
  • ISBN-13:978-1515181835

ABOUT THE BOOK

All eleven-year-old Pip wanted was a best friend. When Pip gets a horse for her birthday, she’s delighted. She thinks that the horse she names Buck will be her best friend from the moment that they meet. But she finds out that friendship does not come that easily.

Pip’s father gently guides her so that Pip can discover for herself how to make Buck a true friend. Pip’s new friend, Buck, has a story of his own. After leaving his own herd, to move to Pip’s house, he is looking for a relationship that will help him feel safe. He, too, learns that making a friend takes patience and understanding.

Told from the perspectives of both Pip and Buck, The Gift is a heartwarming and valuable lesson…

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The People's Book Prize

Rebecca J Hubbard⌈ Vote Now ⌋

In the lead up to The People’s Book Prize 2016 we caught up with author Rebecca J. Hubbard to talk about her novel

The Gift 

Texan native, Rebecca J. Hubbard is Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over twenty years of experience working with children and their families. She began writing short stories as a child for her own amusement. Early in her career Rebecca discovered that she could facilitate the healing process of her young clients by writing stories for them and in 2012 she began writing for publication. Currently, Rebecca works at Spirit Reins as a clinician and as the clinical supervisor where she practices Natural Lifemanship,  a Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy model.She enjoys spending time with friends and family, including her two dogs, Idgie and Sully, and her two horses, Cash and Cloud. She loves to read, paint and garden.

When did you start…

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Interview with Buck

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Rhonda Smith is the CEO and founder of Spirit Reins, a non-profit that provides treatment to children and families who have experienced traumatic events. She interviewed Buck, a main character in the book, The Gift, at his home pasture for Spirit Reins’ Amplify Spirit Reins campaign for Amplify Austin. Alicia Nance is Buck’s friend and lends a hand as translator.

Rhonda: Buck, thank you for joining us via satellite for Amplify Spirit Reins. The weather looks gorgeous up there in North Carolina.

Buck: You are welcome Rhonda. I’m happy to do it and glad to help out a friend of Pip’s. The sun is shining today. It is very, very warm here. I like to stand down by the lake where the wind is a little cooler.

Rhonda: It is warm here as well. What do you think of the story that The Gift tells?

Buck: I think it is an important story that helps folks understand that just because they think something is one way doesn’t mean it is. All that time Pip thought I was a mean ol’ guy, and I’m not. I think that having friends and knowing how to make them is important. The part that I think is the most important for horses is we don’t like to be alone. We want to be with our herd—that’s where we feel the safest.

Rhonda: We understand from Pip that you like the song “Uptown Funk.” Can you tell us what you like about it?

Buck: I don’t know what that is.

Rhonda: (getting help singing) Girls hit your hallelujah (whoo)
Girls hit your hallelujah (whoo)
Girls hit your hallelujah (whoo)
‘Cause uptown funk gon’ give it to you
‘Cause uptown funk gon’ give it to you

Buck: Oh, yeah. I don’t understand the words but I love that music! When I hear it I prance around, strike out my hoofs, and toss my head. I can’t stand still. It makes me happy all over.

Rhonda: We asked some of our guests in attendance today for questions they would like to ask you. Is it okay if we read some of these from your fans and have you answer them?

Buck: Yes, that would be okay.

Rhonda: Melissa would like to know what it is like to ride in a trailer.

Buck: It is really weird to be moving and your feet are still! The wind is nice. But you go so fast you don’t get to see very much. It moves and shakes, so it is hard to feel safe enough to sleep. I’m glad I don’t ride in one very much.

Rhonda: Doc asks, “What will you do if Pip makes you mad?”

Buck: Hummmmmm. That’s a tough question. Let me see. I guess it depends on what she does. If she hurts me I might bite or kick her but she’s never done that. Sometimes she doesn’t bring me treats and that makes me feel a little mad. I check all her pockets then I go back to grazin’ and ignore her a bit. Sometimes she wants to do something that I don’t want to do and she keeps bugging me until I do it with her. I get mad about that sometimes. I do what she wants but I put my ears back and do it slow to show her I don’t like it none.

Rhonda: Buck, Doc has a follow up question, “Is it worth it to have a friend even if you get mad at them sometimes?”

Buck: Yep ‘cause you aren’t mad all the time and you can do a lot of stuff and have fun. I think when you feel mad and you can communicate about it and things get better it makes the friendship stronger. Also, having a friend means you are not alone.

Rhonda: Ali wants to know, “Do horses ever get tired of eating grass?”

Buck: No. Grass is the most wonderful thing in the world. Different kinds of grass have different tastes. It would be nice if grass and carrots grew together.

Rhonda: Tim writes, “Change is so scary, how did you get brave enough to try to trust Pip?”

Buck: I didn’t really think I was brave. I just started to feel comfortable around her once she stopped hollering and chasing me. I like the backup game. It makes me feel really good.

Rhonda: Rob asks, “Is there anything you are scared of now?”

Buck: I’m still scared of mountain lions, and coyotes.

Rhonda: Jordan writes, “What do you think of the name Buck? What were you called before you came to live with Pip?”

Buck: The man where I used to live called me Goose. My mama said it was because when I was little I would chase feed bags blowing in the wind, and butterflies. The man said I was a “silly goose” and the name stuck. I like the name Buck. It has a nice ring to it.

Rhonda: Erin wants to know, “What is your favorite candy?”

Buck: My very favorite is the white treats Pip gives me. I think they are peppermints.

Rhonda: Erik wants to know what brings you joy.

Buck: I feel joy every time I see Pip climb over the fence and when she spends time with me, just me and her together doing nothing.

Rhonda: Ralph writes, “If you had a herd now how would your relationship with Pip change?”

Buck: I would love to have a herd. Pip isn’t always here and I spend a lot of time alone. I don’t feel very safe alone. If I had a herd I could feel safe all the time and still be Pip’s friend. I think I would just feel better if I had a herd.

Rhonda: Nina would like to know if you miss your mom or just your friends.

Buck: I miss them all!

Rhonda: Scott writes, “Do horses have names for each other?”

Buck: It is hard to explain to humans, Scott. We don’t have names for each other like humans do but we know each other by the essence of our spirit.

Rhonda:  Max asks, “Can I come over and play with you?”

Buck: I would like that. I like making new friends.

Rhonda: Can you tell us how your life has changed since the publication of The Gift?

Buck: Well, there are a lot more people coming up to the fence and hollering “Buck! Buck!” in a high pitched voice just like Pip used to do. It is rather annoying to have all that ruckus.

Rhonda: I can imagine that it is hard to have so much attention.

Buck: I like attention that comes with scratching under my chin and on my rump as well as carrots and sweet things. But I don’t like folks hollering at me.

Rhonda: I suppose that could be upsetting, especially if you are trying to nap.

Buck: My naps are often interrupted by squeals. Pip says they only come by because they love me.

I think that if they love me they would be quieter and bring more treats.

Rhonda: What is next for you and Pip?

Buck: Pip keeps saying something about saddlin’ up but I don’t really know what that means. Right now we are spending time together in the pasture and waiting for the weather to cool off.

Rhonda: Buck thank you for giving us some of your precious time and helping us celebrate the impact that Spirit Reins has on children and families.

Buck: Liked my time with you. You are welcome. Do you have any carrots?