The current horrific re-enactments of violence that haunt our dreams and shatter our sense of security, no matter where we live, should be a wake-up call to how we are nurturing the seeds of violence in children. When children are exposed to violence and when their home environments are unsafe they become candidates for violence themselves, vulnerable to the feelings that ricochet when development is thwarted.
Listen to the Children: Preventing Traumatic Repetition
Adults who hear the voices of children and who see how their needs go unmet and then act on their observations are models for how we can prevent violence in the world. In the last few weeks I have been fortunate to meet two people who are advocates both for children and for the end of violent repetition. We can learn from them.
When I spoke with Joy O’Neill and with Shelby Garcia I gained strength for the writing of They Were Families: How War Comes Home. The task of listening to the voices of military children is a task that must be shared. It is a task that has been neglected for hundreds of years. The time has come for us to speak for military children and to put in place what they need so that they can develop as healthy individuals with contributions to make towards the evolution of humanity. Violent re-enactment is an option only for the disenchanted, the neglected and the discouraged.
Meet Joy O’Neill, Founder of Service Children’s Support Network
One is Joy O’Neill, a military mother and wife in Britain who is also an educator. When Joy saw what was happening to military children in the schools where she was teaching she knew that something was not right. The special needs of these youth were being ignored and misunderstood by both the school systems and the military. Joy could not remain silent. She had to do something about what was obvious to her. She created the Service Children’s Support Network in Britain, a charity that should become a model for the US. The SCSN builds a bridge for military children between their home life and their school life, networking and tracking a child’s growth as they navigate high mobility, loss, transition and living with how war comes home.
Meet Shelby Garcia, Advocate for Military Families
The second person is Shelby Garcia. Shelby grew up in a military home in the US with a father who had undiagnosed PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. She watched her family being destroyed by her father’s deteriorating state, her mother’s inability to get the support and education she needed, and the cumulative damages to children caught in the middle of what happens when war comes home. Now Shelby is starting graduate school with a clear intention to bring resources to military children.
Like Joy in Britain, Shelby in the US cannot walk away from the voices of children who are left without guidance as they struggle to develop in war torn homes. Shelby knows that military families need education before soldiers return from combat and that every family member needs ongoing support during every stressful stage of transition. Her childhood was stolen from her and Shelby has determined that she will be a force to prevent that from happening to other children.
The resources in They Were Families: How War Comes Home, due to be published soon by New Forums Press, are designed to protect military children from falling into that category. You can get a preview of those resources by reading New Forum’s free eBook Talking to Warriors.
Preorder your copy of They Were Families: How War Comes Home to learn how you can be part of the worldwide effort to stop traumatic reenactment by listening to children.
Dr. Stephanie Mines is a psychologist whose unique understanding comes from her academic research as well as her extensive work in the field. Her stories of personal transformation have led many listeners to become deeply committed to the healing journey. Dr. Mines understands shock from every conceivable perspective. She has investigated it as a survivor, a professional, a healthcare provider, and as a trainer of staffs of institutions and agencies.Meet Stephanie.