Register for today's webinar here! Lead Your Own "What Happened to You?" Book Study on Wednesday, July 13, 2:30-4 p.m. ET
When I first got the book What Happened to You by Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce Perry I was a mix of emotions.
I was curious to learn but also reminded of life experiences I have had. Just the phrase,” What happened to you?” stirred the feeling and brought some of it back. Due to this I approached it as I do with the idea of physical health. We must take care of our bodies to be healthy so we must also take care of our minds and hearts. It was with this approach that I learned what happened to you does not define you but instead it is part of the pieces that shape our paths in sometimes the most significant of ways. It also made me realize that trauma is not like an illness or sickness that can resolve in a quick way with the right medical support but trauma is something that takes dedicated time to unpack, explore, understand, and come to a place where those things don't define or limit us but can be the things that give us the greatest hope for what is asked of us in the future.
I like to think about the future a lot because it's like a wide open canvas.
When I learned about the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework from the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance training team I saw the true strength that lies in these.
As I worked with the Georgia Parent Advisory Council (GAPAC) I knew the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework had to be a part of our book club conversations. I knew our conversations would allow us to grow closer and bond but also knew we would be talking about hard things and things that tend to stay in our hearts and minds kind of shadowed. I knew we would need a string of hope and so each week as we met we did so with the intention it was always relationships first for our book club community and then dive into what the book shared and elevated and how it relates to our everyday lives and our parenting.
You see there are lots of parenting books out there but looking at Oprah and Dr. Perry’s work is almost like a parenting handbook, as one GAPAC member described it. I was like, "Wow! It really is!"
You see every day we need to be "on" for our kids and with that we bring all our experiences both good, bad, and indifferent. Oprah’s stories woven throughout the book bring this idea to life. Knowing from Dr. Perry how experiences shape the brain and also how we can create new connections in the brain reminded me that parenting is not perfect. We all do the best we can with the knowledge and resources we have.
It is when we have a strong community with support and solid information that we can thrive.
So book club became this space where we could talk about that and not worry about judgment or challenges but instead be loved, supported, and have space to explore some of the layers of what we have experienced.
If there is one thing I learned it's that sometimes the scariest initial steps can lead to the greatest discoveries for not only ourselves but others. This book club grants people permission to come as they are, where they are. It doesn't tell you that you will be fixed or cured by the end of the book but it does tell you that community is important and that healing is a very personal process and journey. For some you may only read the book once, others you may read it many times. What I can tell you is that you just need to approach it in the way that works for you and your community. It can be with you sharing your heart or just listening, as sometimes the greatest healing happens in those quiet, silent, collective moments when you sit together with others who just genuinely care.
NOTE: This blog post is in support of today's Connecting Communities One Book at a Time Webinar presented by a partnership of the Children's Trust Fund Alliance partnership with PACEs Connection, Georgia Essentials for Childhood, and Prevent Child Abuse Georgia.
Register for today's webinar here! Lead Your Own What Happened to You? Book Study on Wednesday, July 13, 2:30-4 p.m. ET
- Book Study Leader Training by Children’s Trust Fund Alliance on Wednesday, July 27, 3-5 p.m. ET
- Book Study Leader Check-In with Children’s Trust Fund Alliance on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 3-4:30 p.m. ET
- Moving Families from Surviving to Thriving: Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework Overview by Children’s Trust Fund Alliance on Tuesday, Aug. 30, noon-1:30 p.m. ET
- Book Study Leader Check-In with Children’s Trust Fund Alliance on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 7-8:30 p.m. ET
We hope you will join us on this journey, and we look forward to seeing you at the upcoming events!