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Back to Center: Do I have an obligation to say something to my friend who is about to inject her one-year-old?

'Or is it not my place to give advice about someone else’s child?'

Sarah Perron, Certified Coach

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Sarah Perron, Certified Coach

Sarah Perron, Certified Coach

Sarah Perron, Certified Coach

Life Coach and Writer

Offering perspectives for personal realignment and empowerment.

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July 20, 2022

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04:59 AM

Back to Center: Do I have an obligation to say something to my friend who is about to inject her one-year-old?

The purpose of the “Back to Center” advice column is to provide perspectives for personal realignment and empowered living in the COVID era. Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice about self-development and emotional and mental well-being in these complicated times. Please send your questions to advice@aflds.org. Looking forward to hearing from you!

For all other inquiries, please direct your questions to info@aflds.org.

 

I am a personal trainer and used to have a healthy business of one-on-one clients. But when COVID came around, everything changed. I chose not to be vaccinated, and as my clients discovered this, they left my business, one by one. No one was rude about it – in fact, many were quite apologetic – but all of them said they felt it was the right, safe thing to do. This was so painful for me. I love this work; it is truly my passion to help people in this way. To have seen it fade away like that…it was devastating. I also just couldn’t believe the mindset of my clients – that unquestioning, blind belief in the narrative. 

Now I have a different job, but as things have opened up again, I’ve started thinking a bit about what it would be like to try to restart my business. I know I would want it to be in-person work, rather than virtual; I just love the face-to-face connection with people. But it’s not so easy…I’m afraid to get hurt again. What do you suggest?

I’m so sorry you had this experience. I can hear your passion for helping and connecting with people through this work, and to have lost that is yes, very painful. It’s not easy to think about going down a road where we’ve been hurt before. 

I imagine your clients’ decisions to give up working with you probably felt very personal. After all, their decision was based on a choice that you made for yourself that was yours alone to make. Maybe you feel betrayed, discriminated against, even slandered. These are real feelings, and I want to acknowledge them fully in your experience.

That being said, the question that comes to mind is: How much are you willing to risk? How much are you willing to risk in order to do this work that you love, to reengage with your passion?

If you talk to any successful person out there about how they got to where they are today, they will tell you (if they’re being honest) that they were challenged and knocked down probably more times than they can count. And you can be sure that some of those knock-downs were intensely painful. The reason they are successful is because they kept getting back up again. They didn’t see pain as a sign that they should quit. They took risks, and didn’t give up on their dreams, no matter what.

I’m going to speak to you now as I imagine a personal trainer might speak to a struggling client:

You have a choice. You can stay scared of the pain, decide to be a victim, and never go after what you want in life because you might get hurt again. Or you can choose to transform your perspective. You can choose to see yourself as someone who keeps getting up when she’s knocked down, who is determined, who perseveres, who sees pain as an agent of growth. Maybe you’ll even be able to look in the mirror, give a little shrug and a wink at yourself, and say “It was their loss.” Those clients are missing out on working with someone who gives her work 100% passion and energy, who wants to connect with them, see them succeed and be their very best. It was their decision; it had nothing to do with you and who you are.

I truly hope you will choose to give what you love another try, and that the clients you gain will be the kind of people who will give their very best to you too. Wishing you well on the journey! 

****

I am really struggling with what to do with my children’s education these days. The school they’re in has a very liberal, “woke” agenda, which my husband and I really disagree with. Some of the stuff I see coming through in the curriculum is downright repulsive to me. Unfortunately, there aren’t really any better school alternatives in our area. We would have to travel far to find something more in line with our values, and that’s just not doable for us right now. So, I’ve been starting to think about homeschooling, which appeals to me in many ways. At the same time, I’m feeling pretty intimidated by the idea of taking on that huge responsibility. Am I up to it? Will I do a good job with it? Will I be able to handle so much time with my kids? I also see what a bad wrap homeschooling is getting these days, so I might have to deal with some backlash over the decision too. It’s all pretty overwhelming. Can you please advise me?

I really hear you. Anyone who is trying to raise their kids according to traditional values these days has their work cut out for them in a big way. So many forces are trying to take our children away from us, tell them what they should think, convince them of what is right and what is wrong, and delegitimize the family structure in general. It is not an easy time to be a parent. 

It seems to me that you could do with a big dose of encouragement, so I’m going to offer you some words here that I hope will be strengthening to you…

You are your children’s mother. Not the school, not the government, not the media, not anyone who might give you a hard time about your choices. It’s you and you alone.

You and your husband have been given the task of being the parents of your particular children because you are the best people in all the world to be their parents. You can give them exactly what they need in life in a way that no one else can. You have been entrusted with them, and with special intuition about who they are and what they need. 

So, what I want you to do is this: Make some quiet time for yourself to sit with the questions, “What do my children need in these times? What does my family need?” This is about listening to your own inner voice, not the voice of anyone else. Only you know the answer to these questions. You can meditate on them, do some journaling with them. Do your best to focus in on what your intuition as a parent is telling you. 

Then, do some research. Talk to parents who are homeschooling to find out how they do it. Take advantage of all the resources out there to learn what this choice could look like for your family. On the other side, if you know of any fellow parents from your kids’ school who are also struggling with what’s being taught in the classroom, you might choose to talk with them and see how they’re handling it. Maybe these conversations will give you more clarity on what’s right for your family.

If you decide that homeschooling is the answer, and you’re still wondering if you’re up to it, know this: It will be a big transition to make, and will not be without challenges. But if you are committed to your decision to do it, you will be able to do it. You will likely discover skills and strengths you didn’t know you had, as well as areas you want to work on. You will make mistakes, but then you’ll learn and grow from them. It will probably feel like a big, somewhat messy experiment at first, but that’s okay. What’s important is that you and your family feel good about the decision, and that you feel you’re living in line with your values. That will carry you through the difficult patches. 

Whether you decide to keep your children in school or to bring them home, make sure you can own your decision fully and move forward with it. Being in a place of constant doubt and second-guessing is really counterproductive to getting anywhere in life. 

I wish you clarity, wisdom, and peace of mind as you consider how best to care for your family. All the best!

****

I am in shock. One of my closest friends just told me that she plans to have her one-year-old child vaccinated for COVID, as the vaccine is about to become available for that age group where she lives. I’m struggling to find the words to describe the level of turmoil I’m feeling about this. It makes me angry, so sad, extremely worried for the safety of this little girl, and distant from my friend. I just can’t understand the point of view she’s coming from that she thinks she has to do this to her tiny child, that it’s the right thing to do! But what should I do with this? Do I say something to my friend? Do I have an obligation to say something, given how wrong I think this is? Or is it not my place to give advice about someone else’s child, no matter how strongly I feel? 

Wow, this is a tough, tough situation. What is the right thing for you to do with all these strong feelings of objection about your friend’s decision? I have a few suggestions to offer you as you consider your approach which I hope will be helpful.

One possible beginning point might be to imagine that the roles are reversed. What if you were the one planning to vaccinate your child (or you can insert some other type of potentially controversial parenting decision, if you like), and your friend was the one seeing all the red flags. How would you feel if she spoke up and shared her thoughts with you? How would you receive her warnings? Or what would it be like if she chose to keep silent, and her feelings became known to you only later on, after the decision had been carried out? Try to feel out what your experience might be from the other side. 

You can also think about who your friend is as a person. What do you imagine her reaction might be if you bring this up with her? Would she get angry? Would she appreciate your concern, even if it didn’t change her decision? Would it cause her to pause and think? Would it end the friendship? Would it strengthen the friendship?

Perhaps most important is to look within yourself and explore how you will feel if you choose to speak up, and how you will feel if you don’t. Which option will keep you most aligned with your values, with who you want to be in life? Do you value speaking your truth no matter what? Do you value preserving friendships at all costs? Do you value clear, honest communication? I recommend doing some thinking or writing about your values, especially as they apply to relationships, and letting what you find be your guide. 

If you do decide to have a conversation with your friend, speaking up is all about how you speak up. Use language that focuses on how you feel about the topic – your worries, concerns, love for her and her child – versus any type of accusations or judgments. Speaking from a place of love will take you far, whatever the outcome is. 

Sending you good thoughts for peace within yourself, whatever path you choose, and a continued strong relationship with your friend!

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Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice! Please send your questions to advice@aflds.org

Sarah Perron is a Certified Transformational Life Coach. Her passion is to help people create a powerful vision for their lives, identify and eliminate anything that holds them back, and step into their own unique greatness and mission in the world. She believes deeply in the power of coaching to bring fresh perspectives, ideas, and motivation to anyone who wants to thrive in life. Sarah works with clients one-on-one and in group coaching programs and presents exciting workshops on self-development topics. You can follow her on her YouTube channel Find Your Fire.

You are invited to book a complimentary coaching call with Sarah! Please visit https://calendly.com/sarahperroncoaching/45min to choose a time that's convenient for you. She looks forward to meeting you!

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