Leontine (Tina) Elaine Carr: June 1, 1926 to April 18, 2013
On Wednesday night my mother, Leontine Carr, Tina, died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 86 and finally got to dance with my dad, Dabney Carr again. He had gone ahead of her in April of 2005 to get things ready. That was their usual system but she had missed him every day of those eight years. She was happy and having a good time right until the end, always entertaining someone with her stories and more and more Mom was remembering her younger days like what it was like to have a grandfather in rural Georgia who owned a candy store or to be a young mother with so many kids. There are five of us and my oldest sister, Diana did a great job of looking after Mom these past eight years, Linda and Cary kept in constant contact and sent presents along with my brother Dabney and we all visited and made sure she knew we loved her. She made a point her entire life of telling everyone else how much she loved us. In the end, that’s all there is. Dance with Dad in peace, Mom and we’ll do our best to honor your life in the way we live ours.
America is doing a better job at raising children than you may realize (Photo by Teddy-rised)
Let’s spread some good news around this week. Summer is just about over and we could all use a little something to cheer. There is actually something in America that we’re doing well these days and with less taxpayer money. However, very few voters are aware its still happening.
Imagine that in the age of the internet and Twitter and a desperate need for good news but its true.
Well, here it is. Our country is sending more children who grow up at U.S. orphanages to college than from the general population, significantly more children. Yes, orphanages still exist in the U.S. but are now known as residential education facilities or REF’s due to the myths surrounding the term orphanage.
As usual, we keep better track of our cars than we do the 600,000 children in need of a loving home but the individual homes see each child as a family member, of course, and 80 percent of the kids head off to higher learning.
Just so we can get past the images of Annie that just popped in your head let’s set the record straight right up front. A U.S. orphanage resembles an upscale boarding school with all the amenities. They have a staff that generally devotes their entire career and their life to the children who come through their doors. Lil’ Orphan Annie landed in a group home, which is vastly different and fictional by the way.
Now, here’s another statistic from the well respected Pew Report on the U.S. foster care system. If that same child were to end up in foster care in our country they’d have less than a 50 percent chance of graduating from high school and an increased likelihood of having periods of homelessness and unemployment in their lifetime. The factors surrounding the child’s background are the same so it’s not the child who is failing; it’s the system.
One more fun fact to really spell it out. The Pew Report also found that a child who ends up in an Illinois children’s home from social services has been on average through 9 foster care placements. That means that nine families said we can’t handle this kid and the child packed up everything they owned and headed off to yet another stranger’s house. In Virginia the average was found to be five. Talk about potential abandonment issues. There aren’t many adults who could handle that much change with any grace or without losing hope. [click to continue…]
The Carr's in the '60's. That's me in the blue velvet.
A child needs two parents who care about them and show up for them in all aspects of their lives. When we do that we let the small fry know that the world’s a safe place in the small moments of sitting next to them in church, cheering them on from a variety of sidelines or holding our children close when they’re not feeling well, inside or out.
It’s the biggest opportunity for an adult to be accountable and learn that very little of life is really about us at all. That’s a good thing.
But somehow in the mix of trying to figure out how we can lead more authentic lives a lot of us forgot about that axiom and started acting like our needs came ahead of everything else.
However, there’s no time like the present to try a contrary action.
Our children need balance in their lives just as much as we do and a new study released last week backs up that idea just in time for Father’s Day. A study out of Australia says that letting Dads roughhouse with their children improves their emotional health and rate of development.
It’s the balance between a mother’s nurturing hug and a father’s nurturing toss in the air. One tells us that there’s a safe place to return to and the other lets us know that the world can be a little rough but on the whole it’s a lot of fun. Don’t be afraid to get knocked around a little because what you learn will be worth it.
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