“As parents we need to be sure our children feel loved, and we need to teach them morals, to not judge, and to do their best to be kind to others; and to do so, we need to be that kind of person”
It was around 10:00am, I had just come from teaching a spinning class, and having a meeting planned for 1:00pm that day, and not wanting to waste time commuting to my home office, I found it prudent to grab a seat at a Starbucks to write while catching up with business emails.
With Vanilla Frappuccino in hand I reclined into my private bliss; and as the chill of icy beverage began to sink in, I phased into a kicked back typing nirvana.
I sank into cozy armchair heaven. My mind linked to my fingertips with a dedicated focus. Yet through my thoughts blurred peripheral voices as I noticed the echo’s of nearby business conversation.
Sitting directly across from me were several people talking about the business of disposing of hazardous waste, and something about the conversation was perking my attention.
I wanted to bud in to introduce myself and 365 format as a possible forum to share their concerns with the world, but all that was going through my head was a prediction of what their response might have been. “Dude! Can you go back to your typing, can’t you see were a little busy at the moment.”
I took a self-inventory and pushing the fear of rejection deep into the back of my mind, I looked up from my keypad. Alright, let’s do this. Mind over matter, I psyched myself up.
Meaning, If they didn’t mind me introducing myself, then my fear really didn’t matter. We’ll leave it at that, shall we? No need to talk about the fact that they might have hated me for being nosy.
Here is a little more data for you to process before I go on. You have to know that all through this 365 journey I always do my best to not profile the people whom I approach, and all in all, the greatest percentage of the people I have met are the result of an in the moment outreach. Definitely the opposite of a planned target, a controlled subject matter, an ethnic group or any researched situation.
Absolutely, some people opened up easily and other were guarded, but every time an interview ended, whomever I had spent time with expressed life stories that were and are impossible to profile; and, all departed empowered with a common gift, the gift of being heard.
From the comments I received, it seems that the bulk of my new friends have left with a feeling of importance in being able to contribute to the unity 365 is striving to encourage: A claim that I feel mostly comfortable in hailing, and one that is ninety percent accurate.
Why ninety percent accurate?
In all light there is also darkness, and it would be painting the wrong picture to disregard the hundreds of rejections I have received as well as the occasional bad timing moments, like the scorning I received one cold and windy night when Lawrence’s Wife, “Never Give Gas To Grifters Drinking Red Bull”, hit us both with a hard and irrevocable, “I want to go home! NOW!!!!!!”
I shut my laptop, set in on the table, “Excuse me, I promise I am not a stalker, but your conversation has grabbed my attention. I’m really not trying to be nosy, but I’m a photographer working on a documentary project in which…” I explained Operation-365 and our mission.
My words fell upon the ears of three, and in the end one stays to follow through with me, the incredibly inspired rock of successful single motherhood, Jodi.
“Wait! Wait! Wait! Richard, I thought you said they were talking about business and solutions for protecting the environment. How did we get to single motherhood?”
I’m not really sure, but one thought jumped to reason, “Jodi’s personal message is meant to be heard.”
Jodi’s single mother status was due to a disassociated relationship with an x-husband, who choosing to cheat on her was less than involved in the upbringing of her two children, ages eight and twelve.
I won’t delve deeply into a character assassination of his actions, but I will tell you this, from what Jodi expressed, he was not doing his part in helping to nurture his kids the way a mature father would do. Let’s move on to Jodi’s story.
Opening up, Jodi spoke of her childhood and how it had influenced her parenting skills, “My parents wondered if their parenting went in, and now that I am a parent, I’m on the other side of carrying forward their council. I’ve made my share of mistakes, I was a difficult child, and as a parent I realize that their words did go into my head.
I was raised Catholic, and even though at the time I was a little wild, what my parents taught me about respect and the importance of values is the core to who I am today, and is the foundation to the way I teach my children.”
We talked of the role of parent in raising balanced and emotionally healthy children.
Jodi had an ironclad perspective on the responsibility of we parents, and being a single mom, her words have the greatest of impact in calling us to accountability.
“As parents we need to be sure our children feel loved, and we need to teach them morals, to not judge, and to do their best to be kind to others; and to do so, we need to be that kind of person.
I’ve sacrificed a lot for my kids, and will always put them first. I don’t buy the both parents have to work bullshit, I’m a single mother and I’m managing to keep my kids safe. Bottom line, if a kid goes the wrong path, it falls on the parents.”
“The world is heading towards chaos,” Jodi predicted. Yet in her dark prediction, there was a great presence of hope. “Even though we see a lack of love in today’s world, no peace, gangs, kids being bullied in schools and abused in homes, there are still a lot of people who show great respect and are working to watch out for where we are heading.
I’ve learned that you have to look at what is in front of you. The cards that are dealt to you, and all you can do is keep positive and just deal with it. I’m very open with my children, and I teach them that life isn’t perfect. But, that they can learn from life experience and at the core of it is truth. I teach my kids that telling the truth is sometimes the hardest thing to do, but the right thing to do.
Love is the key to parenting. My kids are my life and I trust God to know that I trust him in guiding me; and my kids know I love them, I tell them that every night as I put them to bed.”
Jodi, we thank you for your courage in speaking out on parenting, we embrace you for your commitment to love, and we salute you for your raising your kids on your own.
You are a rock of single parenting and an icon of committed motherhood.
I’m certain one day your children will look back and say, Thanks mom, we heard it, and it went in.