Days 16 Thru 18: Operation Eleanor - Jump, Try, Speak

On Jumping - Day 16

I was a gymnast back in the day. WAY BACK IN THE DAY. Like, when wheels were still not quite round, but getting there. Anyway, I loved the trampoline. In college, I even took a class where we learned a technique used to teach astronauts how to orient your body in space called Bio-Flight and we practiced on the trampoline. It wasn't until that class that I was finally able to master a back with a full twist.

Well, we are now the proud owners of a trampoline, albeit one that is 12 ft. diameter, so I doubt you'll find me doing a lot of back flips on there any time soon. It HAS been fun teaching the kids games we used to play on there when I was a gymnast and watching them assemble it and enjoy it. Getting up there and letting loose wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it might be and only required a few hours of heat and ice to recover. Totes worth it.

Jump

On Trying - Day 17

We ventured to a new restaurant for date night, something we are fairly religious about, party because we understand the importance of couple-time, but also because we really dig each other. We've been trying more places outside of our usuals comfort zone, which has been fun. We're always up for exploring, even in our own neighborhood. I tried a great gin cocktail with fresh egg white (don't worry, I lived) and we had fun chatting with the owner as we ate appetizers from the bar menu. Might keep the name of the place a secret for a bit longer, though. With the Christmas Shopping Season upon us, I'm not sure I want to crowd downtown any more than is necessary. It's nice to have a corner that's still got a parking space!

Date night. #bettertogether

On Speaking - Day 18

If you see something happening that isn't right, speak up. Let somebody know who can get that child help. If the situation at Penn State has taught us nothing else, let it be this lesson. Children depend on adults to protect them. Make sure you are that kind of adult. Listen when children speak. Teach your children that they are entitled to say no. Teach them that you will get help for them or anybody else who needs it. Teach them that abusers do not look like monsters even though they behave like them. Teach them that concern for a friend is a valid concern. Listen. Listen. Listen. Understand that sometimes the help needed isn't for abuse, but other needs, and that you will still be the person they can come to. Listen. Listen. Listen. Teach them how to speak to a trusted adult (you, a teacher, a school counselor) and let them know it is not their job to shoulder a friend's needs when they require the intervention of a professional. Teach them how to get the right people involved. Be the right people. It is not the job of a child to determine whether a friend is telling the truth, nor is it our job, it IS our job to get that child help. It IS our job to make sure that child feels heard.

There have been two pieces written about the abuse case at Penn State which I feel compelled to share. It would behoove my readers to read them both, in my opinion, and since this is my virtual soapbox, that's what I offer here: my opinion. As somebody who lives with a Penn State alum, this has been a heavily discussed topic in our home.

The Brutal Truth About Penn State: The problem can't be solved by prayer or piety — and it's far more widespread than we think by Charles P. Pierce

The Cruel Lesson of Penn State: How what happened at Penn State forced me to confront my own abuse. by Mark P. McKenna

I have written about it elsewhere, but this is the first time I've discussed it here. If you have been dismissing this story in the news because you think it's about football, I challenge you to read these two pieces. Child abuse is not about football. It is relevant to our world. If you think the silencing of victims doesn't happen across the board in this culture, you are also wrong. Let's learn from what happened at Penn State. Let's make it matter in a positive way. And, if you haven't done so already, consider donating to an organization that helps in areas of prevention, education, and treatment: RAINN: Rape Abuse & Incest National Network. To date, the grassroots effort by Penn State alum has raised over $430,000 for RAINN in the wake of these events. Their goal is $500,000.