It Will Be Okay- a book review

it will be ok

It Will Be Okay is the perfect book for children between the ages 4 and 8.  With adorable illustrations and a sweet story of a farmer and a little seed, children learn to trust God and that he is always with us.  What a sweet message for your youngin’ to learn and understand at an early age.  Through out the story little seed expresses over and over again his fear of leaving the comfort of the seed packet in the farmer’s shed.  Little Seed is reminded that the farmer is kind and gentle and always watching over him.  It is so easy for fear to consume us, but it is even easier to place out trust in God.  With repetition the message of the story is, “trust in God.” “God is with us.”

The first page of the book is a list of 10 scriptures to memorize and explore with your child.  These scriptures share the promise of God’s word that will conquer the fear in your child’s heart (and your own)!

This story is incredibly sweet and easy for your child to connect with the characters.  They will enjoy reading about the friendship shared between Little Seed and Little Fox.  My children ages 5 and 10 were very much engaged through the whole story and have started memorizing the bible verses.   My children feel more content and are becoming more fearless as they are reminded of God’s presence in their lives.

Lysa TerKeurst (the author) has written a beautiful story with a promising message that it is OK to be afraid, but to always remember that God is there, loving us and watching over us, and that it really will be OK.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from booklook bloggers and the review is of my own honest opinion.

Characteristics of Partner Violence

Domestic Violence and abuse can happen to anyone with no regard to size, gender, or even strength.  The abuser can be male or female and often times it is someone the victim knows personally or on an intimate level.  Domestic violence is often times overlooked, excused, or denied.  Victims will place blame on themselves and will do what they can to protect the perpetrator.  Emotional abuse is most often disregarded because it is unseen, but it can leave the deepest scars.  You do not have to live in fear.  Being aware of warning signs and potential characteristics of an abuser may help protect potential victims from entering a dangerous and violent relationship.  This paper will pinpoint four characteristics that have been identified as the most common in potential abusers.  Knowing what signs to look for in an intimate partner may just save your life.

You may wonder what a perpetrator may look like; they do not walk around with a sign that reads “abuser,” and most likely they will not tell you upfront in their introduction that they possess violent or controlling tendencies.  An intimate partner may use psychological, emotional, and physical abuse along with spurts of love, happiness, and respect; known as the “good times.”  An abuser can act out violently and within minutes feel shame and regret.  Speaking from my personal experience as a victim, my abuser would shame me with words and hit me.  The next day he would shower me with gifts; a diamond bracelet, dinner, flowers, or a new dress.  This creates confusion for the victim and generates submission.  The abuser wants to be in control and dominate the victim.  Seeking dominance in the relationship displays a lack of respect for the partner and can be set off by jealousy. (Gosselin, 2010 p.247) This jealousy sets a spiral effect of obsessive behaviors in which the aggressor keeps the partner under supervision with check in’s, the need to know where the partner is at all times and who they are spending their time with.  David Adams, author of “Why do they kill?  Men who murder their intimate partners,” found the obsession to dominate their partner led to very violent crimes, a murder of passion.  The jealous type is very common in domestic violence cases in which the man is the aggressor.  Throw in drugs or alcohol and a gun into the mix and we are looking at a very dangerous man.  Adams reported he found this to be the case in 40 percent of the men he interviewed.  (Auchter NIJ Journal, 2010)

Many abusers isolate their partner from family, friends, and coworkers.  Isolation occurs when the abuser is seeking attention and wants the partner all to them self.  The abuser will start out by inching their way into the victim’s life little by little, until they have gained complete control, in which the victim may not even be permitted to leave their home.  This isolation keeps the victim from personal connections that could ultimately be support and help when the abuse escalates.   Sharon Long lived with her boyfriend of 2 years.  She was not permitted to work nor could she visit family unless he was with her.  Teddy, her boyfriend made sure that she was never alone with anyone; to keep her from speaking up and reporting the abuse.  She was not allowed to have a cell phone and he set up surveillance cameras that were connected to his iPhone to watch her when he was at work.  Sharon stated that she no longer felt like a person, she had no emotions and no relationships with anyone.  “Teddy threatened to kill my family if I was to ever see them alone or suggest to them that he was abusing me.” (Long, 2014)

Abusers are also great manipulators.  They tend to confuse the victim by lashing out at them and then quickly apologizing in very sincere patterns that lead the victim to believe the apology.  In Daughters in Danger, Bennett shares the most common thread in the domestic violence cases she studied, was the abuser apologized and promised the abuse was going to stop; halting the victim from leaving or seeking help.  One of the cases that Bennett brings light is the Yeardley Love murder in North Carolina.  Yeardley Love was murdered by her alcoholic boyfriend.  He was very aggressive when he was drunk and became uncontrollable.  Love tried to leave Huguely on a number of occasions but when he sobered up, he would be regretful and promise to get help.  He was the star of the lacrosse team and went to all the parties on the college campus and every time he would get drunk and threaten Love.  Alcohol impaired him and brought out a very dark and violent side of him that ultimately pushed him to murder Yeardley Love.  (Bennett, 2013 p.24-26)

When an abuser is impaired by drugs or alcohol the level of danger for the victim increases.  By increasing the violent behavior from the abuser, the substances will also increase the severity of the injury for the victim.  It is not that matter of the substance making the aggressor violent, but that it changes the way the brain thinks and the emotions.  Alcohol and drugs impair the human mind and simply disinhibits normal functions.   “Probably the largest contributing factor to domestic violence is alcohol. All major theorists point to the excessive use of alcohol as a key element in the dynamics of wife beating. However, it is not clear whether a man is violent because he is drunk or whether he drinks to reduce his inhibitions against his violent behavior” (Labell, 1979 p. 264).

It is key to be aware when involved in an intimate relationship.  When we stay aware we are able to see our partner for who they truly are.  We do not need to wait for the mask to fall off and their true self be unveiled.  We must be on the lookout for jealous, manipulative, controlling, isolating partners and steer clear.  Knowledge is power and in cases of domestic violence knowledge is a matter of living.  Do not live with a blindfold on, cause it may cause you to live in a forever darkness.

References:

Gosselin, D. (2010). Adult Perpetrators. In Heavy hands: An introduction to the crimes of family violence (4th ed., pp. 246-250). Boston: Prentice Hall.

Auchter, B. (2010). Men Who Murder Their Families: What the Research Tells Us. NIJ, 266. http://www.nij.gov/journals/266/Pages/murderfamilies.aspx

This site is a .gov and a reputable source of information.

Structure: Long, S (2014, September 4). Personal Interview

Hamel, J. (2007). Label Family interventions in domestic violence a handbook of gender-inclusive theory and treatment (p. 264). New York: Springer Pub.

Bennett, E., & Meeker, M. (2013). In Loco Parentis. In Daughters in danger: Helping our girls thrive in today’s culture (pp. 24-26). Nashville: Nelson Books.

A terrible case of aquaphobia with a happy ending…

 

Have I ever told you that my son N was terrified of water??? WAS is the operative word. It was extreme, like to the point that I couldnt get a car wash without him crying and screaming in the back seat. Going to Sea World was no walk in the park either. And forget going in the pool. N would never get close enough, he was safe, secure, and quite content sitting on the sidelines watching his sister and cousins play in the pool. It was just his norm for the past three years. I am not sure why he developed this fear, but it was real. Many would advise me to just throw him in or force him in the water and eventually he would just stop crying and start swimming. I knew as his mother that line of action would cause even more damage to N. This fear of water is actually called aquaphobia. Aquaphobia is basically defined as a persistent and abnormal fear of water. 18% of Americans suffer from aquaphobia. This extreme phobia can actually interfere with one’s daily life, making it difficult to complete simple tasks, as I explained above.

I waited til I thought the time was right and I made the decision to sign N up for swim classes. I explained to him that it was for his own safety that he learn how to swim and he would need to be brave. I prayed about this for a long time and then one day N came home with a sign up sheet from his daycare for Summer Time Swim Lessons. This was it! So I filled out the informational form, was extremely honest about N’s fear, but wasn’t quite sure if they understood just how petrified my lil boy was of the water on paper. I felt like I was the only mother that was dealing with this odd behavior. I mean, my daughter just naturally took to water and swam like a fish.

Then I got the call…Kim from SwimKids USA assured me that I was making the right decision and that by the end of the summer N would be swimming on his own. I still was not 100% comfortable with the idea but I knew he had to learn. If anything he would learn the basics and if he ever fell in the water he would know how to get out. So we signed up for weekend classes. Kim advised that I not speak to N about the classes to avoid any anxiety he may feel. So we didn’t talk about classes much. I told him about it and I got, “mom you don’t love me.” I told him it was because I loved him so much that I wanted him to learn how to swim. So he could be safe.

After that conversation it was never brought up again. It was tugging in my heart, those words…”mom you don’t love me.” I was hurt and it was then that I knew just how deep his fear was.

On day  N had anxiety from the time we got up. He cried all the way to swim class. When we arrived Mr. Jose (his swim teacher) was very welcoming and tried to talk to N. My lil N wouldn’t even look at him. When it came time to get in the water N screamed and cried. He clung tight to me and begged me not to make him go in the water. Mr. Jose helped to calm him down and assertively asked N to sit on the ledge. N was terrified but knew he had no choice. Over the next couple of classes N would ask what they were doing and cry. He would ask Mr. Jose to hold him tight and would come up with every excuse possible to get out of the water. “Mr. Jose I heard thunder, I saw lightning, I have to go to the bathroom.” He would look back at me with tears in his eyes as to say, “mom come save me.” When it came time to dig his hands and kick his feet  and swim to the wall, all while Mr. Jose was holding him tight he would scream, “Im sinking!” He was oh so scared, but pushing himself to complete the tasks he was asked to do. I hid my tears behind my sunglasses. I cheered when he completed each task and made it back to the wall…his new safe haven. All the while Mr. Jose was very patient, calm, and reassuring. By week three Noah was feeling more confident and looked forward to swim class. My tears cried are now tears of joy and great pride. N is excited when he arrives to class and cant wait to jump in! Our July 4th holiday was extra special because it was his first time playing in the water with his sister and cousins. It was amazing! This weekend N told me he wants to be a gold winner in the olympics one day. He said, “wouldn’t that be great mom? Thanks to Mr. Jose I love the water.” I am so amazed at the transformation. And it isn’t just my son, but all the children in his class have come so far with their confidence and skill. I highly recommend classes with Mr. Jose at SwimKids USA. I can totally see my son swimming freely like a lil fish by the end of the summer.  And who knows…maybe he will be an Olympic gold medalist one day!

swim2

swim

If your child has a fear it is best to listen to them and hear them out. Sometimes all they need is a lil reassurance and some love.

 

For more information on SwimKids USA please follow this link to visit their Facebook page.