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parenting

Attentive Dad Monitors 15-Year-Old Daughter’s Social Media And Is Shocked- Ends Up Saving Her From Traffickers

By | family, Food for thought, parenting, stories, uplifting news

When Scott Jenkins, father to a 15-year-old girl, stumbled upon the online profile of a boy his daughter was friends with, he was immediately suspicious. Little did he know that an act of what may seem like an overprotective parent would actually save his daughter from being a victim of a nightmare.

Know your child’s online activities

Jenkins regularly checks his teen daughter, Hayley’s tablet to monitor her online activities. When he noticed sudden changes in her attitude and a time gap in messages and images, he monitored them secretly biweekly.

Two weeks later, he was shocked to find inappropriate pictures of his daughter sent to a teenage boy named Bruce. Furious, he investigated Bruce’s social media profile to confirm his identity and found that he was indeed a 15-year-old boy like his daughter. However, Jenkins found it suspicious that Bruce’s friend’s circle consisted of older men. So, he decided to report it to the Cyber Task Force of Portage Portal.

Shocking revelations

Seven months later, Jenkins received a call from the police asking him to come to the police station. He was greatly overwhelmed when the police informed him that he had probably saved his daughter from being a victim of sex trafficking.

This is not someone else’s problem. This is right here, right now, and as real as the tears I shed for the innocence that was stolen from my daughter.

Scott Jenkins

Bruce was unknowingly being used as a scout to lure young teenage girls for “the men to pick and choose from.” These men, who were from all over the globe, were chatting with young girls convincing them to meet up.

What shocked Jenkins the most was the fact that his daughter was considering meeting Bruce and his “friends.” The thought of losing his daughter forever scares him to this day and he is thankful for the moment he decided to confirm his suspicions.

Staying safe and alert

Five years after the incident, Jenkins recounts the dreadful event to alert other parents of the dangers of the internet and social media. He says that this could have happened to anyone and urges parents to consistently monitor the online activities of their children who are still young.

Dig into your children’s accounts, ask them questions, and tell them not to have “friends” they don’t actually know. I had no idea just how close I came to never seeing my daughter again. It’s worth the upset it may cause your child to keep them safe.

Scott Jenkins

It is common for teens to demand privacy and freedom but sometimes in the process, their innocence is taken advantage of and they easily fall prey to predators. By sharing his story, Jenkins helps parents realize that it is important to set boundaries while granting them the freedom to explore the world. It is never too late to save your children from being caught by the vicious traps set against them.

More uplifting news

FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS

If you have an inkling that something isn’t right, follow it. It may save someone’s life.

https://www.goalcast.com/attentive-dad-saves-teenage-daughter-from-human-traffickers/

Mom Takes Sudden 4-Day Vacation, Teaches Unhelpful Husband Hard Lesson

By | equality, feminism, Food for thought, marriage, parenting, relationships, stories, uplifting news

When a mother and a wife says, “I need help,” you better listen.

Not helping around the house

Try as she might, a mother of a four-year-old couldn’t convince her husband to take on more household chores. So, she did something that might be seen as drastic.

In a post in the Reddit forum AITA, the mom explained that she’d been with her partner for eight years, including 15 months married — but he’s helping out less and less while she takes on the heavy lifting in addition to her full-time job.

“Before this he would make dinner on his days off, take care of ALL of sons needs and do basic cleaning so that I could have a breather,” she wrote. “Now he doesn’t make dinner at all, falls asleep on the couch by 7 so I have son duty 24/7 and hasn’t lifted a finger to clean in weeks. So on my 3 days off a week, I end up having to deep clean my entire house because I dont have time to do anything on my work days aside from the bare minimum.”

“It’s a struggle.”

She tried to ask for help

The mom said she recently asked for some help and he said ‘yes,’ but not for long.

“He happily obliged for all of 30 minutes before taking off to go help a buddy with his car and didn’t do jack squat after returning home because he ‘was tired.’”

The mom said she told him she needed a break, but he didn’t understand her true needs.

“His way of comforting me was by hugging me and saying ‘You’re doing such a good job.’ Didn’t offer to help or anything.”

A solo vacation to teach him a lesson

So, the woman devised a plan.

She asked her mom to take her son for four days while she took a solo trip to the cottage 58 miles away.

Her husband wasn’t impressed.

“My husband started texting me last night asking where I was. I told him the cabin. He asked where our son was so I told him. He then started going off about how this is selfish of me and that if he had realized I wasnt merely stressed out that he would have helped out more.”

The husband said that he is stressed and tired as well and could have used the vacation too. He also claimed that she communicated her needs poorly.

“But the thing is, I straight out told him I needed a break. I asked him for help. He disregarded it all. But now I’m curious if I’m an AH.”

No, she’s not the AH

In the comments, Redditors overwhelmingly supported the mom.

“Does husband not have eyes? Can he not see what needs to be cleaned, tidied or cooked? Does he not know his child’s needs? If he didn’t before maybe his “four day vacation” without a child to care for or a wife to clean up after him opened his eyes,” wrote ToTwoTooToo.

BroadElderberry supported the mom and shared their own experience: “My SO can be the same way. I’ll say ‘my back hurts from shoveling snow’ and he’ll want to go walk around the mall for hours. I’ll say ‘I’m overwhelmed from doing so much around the house’ and he’ll give me the same ‘you’re doing great.’ And then when I finally have a break down, it’s ‘I didn’t know it was so bad, you didn’t tell me!’ No. We tell you. We just don’t make a broadway production out of it, so you use that to pretend that it’s ‘not so bad.’”

Support is great. Actually helping is better.

Despite American women working just as much as men in their careers, studies show that they still take on more of the household chores. And that isn’t fair.

Child rearing, living together and being in a relationship is takes more than one persondoing the work. And while verbal support is nice, actual physical help is even better.

Hopefully, this woman’s husband has since adjusted his behavior.

More uplifting stories:

https://www.goalcast.com/2021/08/27/mom-takes-four-day-vacation-teach-husband-lesson-help/

How Liv Tyler Figured Out Steven Tyler Was Her Biological Father

By | family, Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, liv tyler, parenting, steven tyler, stories

Liv and Steven Tyler are one of the most powerful father-daughter duos in the entertainment industry. He’s a legendary rockstar with an illustrious career spanning 55 years, whereas she is a brilliant, charming actress who has consistently impressed with her thoughtful performances in film and television for twenty-odd years. 

Dysfunctional families are a dime a dozen, yet Steven and Liv continue to have the utmost respect and gratitude for one another. Yes, they represent two different generations and hail from two different areas of the business, but it doesn’t stop them from showering heaps of praise upon each other, no matter the occasion.

You’d see their sweet, loving relationship and think that Liv must have been daddy’s girl from day one — but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Liv Tyler hadn’t even known Steven was her biological father until she was about 10, at which point she had to reexamine her entire family situation and determine the type of relationship she wanted to have with the Aerosmith lead as well as with her adopted dad. 

Here’s the bizarre but ultimately delightful story of how Liv Tyler figured out she was Steven Tyler’s daughter.

Liv realized she bore a striking resemblance to Steven’s other daughter Mia

Liv Tyler was born Liv Rundgren to Bebe Buell, a model, musician, and former Playboy magazine playmate, on July 1, 1977. Bebe was in an on-and-off relationship with rock artist and member of the band Utopia, Todd Rundgren, when she met Steven Tyler in the mid-seventies.  Bebe and Steven enjoyed a quick fling in 1976, resulting in Liv’s birth a year later. 

Steven Tyler
(Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

Though Bebe and Todd had been broken up at the time of Liv’s birth, Todd decided to step up to the plate, put his name on Liv’s birth certificate, and decide to raise her as his own daughter, knowing completely well that her paternity was complicated. 

Bebe revealed in an interview that she and Todd decided early on that he would act as Liv’s father for all intents and purposes, and “if it ever became an issue, we’d tell her at 18,” she said. Bebe was only 23 when she welcomed Liv. It had been overwhelming for her to navigate life as a single mother in New York City, so she often sent her daughter to live with her uncles, aunts, and cousins in Maine. Liv claims that she had a “very family-rich childhood” and generally didn’t have any reason to doubt her parentage. 

But suspicion took root in Liv’s mind when she encountered Steven Tyler in a concert at age nine. She’d caught a glimpse of Steven’s second-born daughter, Mia Tyler, and immediately detected a resemblance between the two of them. “I was literally like looking at my twin,” said Liv.  Even at the age of nine, Liv could figure out that something was amiss and that she needed to follow her intuition.

When I realized that Steven was my father, it was a moment that was bigger than me, it was almost spiritual […] I felt a connection in a very strong way when I met him as a little girl and I didn’t know why at first, but I figured it out rather quickly.

Liv Tyler to The Guardian 

Liv immediately confronted her mother over her theory, who let the cat out of the bag without resistance. She reportedly hid Liv’s paternity because Steven had been “heavily addicted to drugs at the time,” and therefore, she didn’t think he would be a stable enough presence in her young daughter’s life. 

She is super close to Steven but has an equal amount of love for her adoptive dad

Once Steven found that he had a daughter he didn’t know about, he “started calling” incessantly in the hopes of building a relationship with her. Liv said that she and her mother would go see him often — he’d just gotten out of rehab and had been looking to make some swift changes to his lifestyle. 

Liv started to spend more and more time with her biological father and realized that they had way more in common than their DNA. She said that they “look so alike” and even “do things the same way.” She also noticed that Mia’s mannerisms were so eerily similar to that of her own.

Over the years, Liv started feeling so connected with the Tyler clan that she underwent a name change in 1991 and changed her last name to that of her father: Tyler. Steven could have easily avoided this paternity revelation and went about his life, but he decided to go above and beyond to build and maintain a loving, supportive relationship with his newfound daughter. 

Liv Tyler dad
(Ron Davis/Getty Images)

Liv also started becoming involved with her father’s musical career. She appeared in Aerosmith’s music video, ‘Crazy,’ when she was just in high school. Steven also wrote the song, ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,’ for Liv’s movie Armageddon. The father and daughter had established such an easygoing, no-holds-barred rapport that he was even present in the delivery room when she gave birth to son Sailor in 2015. It’s safe to say that they have overcome their rough, awkward beginnings and genuinely see each other as father and daughter now. 

But Liv’s affection for Steven doesn’t change the fact that she still has plenty of love for her adoptive dad, Todd. He’s been there for there from the beginning and decided to undertake the responsibilities as a father despite knowing that the child might not be his. 

I’m so grateful to [Todd], I have so much love for him. You know, when he holds me it feels like Daddy. And he’s very protective and strong. 

Liv Tyler to Wonderland Magazine

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At the end of the day, Liv is grateful for both her fathers and appreciates her wonky, non-traditional upbringing. She doesn’t hold any resentment for her mother, as she knows that this would have been a tough call to make for anyone in her position. She certainly credits Todd for being a “stable, loving force” in her life. And she cherishes every moment with Steven, knowing that she could have very well gone through an alternate timeline without Steven’s presence to guide her. 

Both my fathers are unconventional. They are like unicorns or wizards. They are musicians through and through. The way they think is just different. Their eccentricities have made me more practical and more normal, in a way.

Liv Tyler to The Guardian 

Embrace your family however you can 

Liv Tyler Steven Tyler family
(Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

Our lives may not be as dramatic or surreal as Liv’s, but that doesn’t mean that our families don’t come with their set of baggage. Family can appear in many shapes and sizes, so all you can do is hang on for the ride and take in each and every moment as they come. 

If we love our family, we shouldn’t worry about the awkwardness or the quirks or the non-traditional experiences — we should embrace these moments to the fullest extent and share love however we can. Not everyone is perfect, but as long as you have the intention of making it work, nothing is impossible. 

https://www.goalcast.com/2021/05/07/liv-tyler-steven-tyler-discovered-her-father/

This Mom Knew She Wouldn’t Survive Until Her Children’s Big Life Events So She Planned An Elaborate Surprise

By | family, Food for thought, grief, heartwarming, mothers, parenting, stories, uplifting news

A tear-jerker of a Humans of New York post has gone viral, sharing the story of a dying mother’s last words of wisdom.

She walked gracefully toward death

When doctors checked on Karen, they “found nothing but cancer,” begins a post from the highly popular social media account Humans of New York. “But even then she didn’t give up.”

Karen was dying of cancer, but she maintained her spirits and walked “beautifully toward death.”

“I never once saw her depressed,” explains her daughter, Kailey, who was in high school when her mother died. “There were sad moments, but even those were peaceful. And sometimes she’d laugh so hard it would physically hurt.”

“Every day she told me I was beautiful,” Kailey continued. “She’d said it before, but not like this. It was so intentional.”

Videos for every milestone

Karen regretted not being able to see her children’s biggest milestones, so, she did something extraordinary.

“She recorded videos for the big moments in our lives: graduation, our 21st birthday, our wedding, our first child,” Kailey explains. “Over the years those videos became so precious to me.”

The videos are just a few minutes each and start with what the milestone is and how she regrets not being there. Then, she’ll give personalized advice.

“She’ll say: ‘I know you struggle with X, Y, and Z, so always remember this.’”

Kailey

One final video

After getting married two years ago, Kailey knew just one video remained. “And it’s always given me comfort– knowing it was there,” Kailey said. “So it was bittersweet when my daughter was born on June 27th.”

After the birth of their first child, Kailey and her husband watched Karen’s final video together, and it was harder to watch than expected.

“She was sicker than the other videos,” Kailed said. “She spoke really slowly. She talked about how I’d always loved babies, even as a child. And she said that she wished she could be there to cuddle my baby.”

Karen talked about Kailey’s childhood, her struggles and her bright spots. Then, “she ended by saying: ‘Love and encourage your babies. They will grow up quickly. So hug them. And pray for them.’ And that was it.”

For the last time, Karen told her daughter that she loved her and said one final goodbye. “For years I’d been dreading that moment,” Kailey says. “But it felt strangely peaceful. Like I was ready. Ready to take up this role.”

Karen passed the torch to Kailey, who now has the responsibility to share love — and wisdom — with her own daughter.

“It’s my turn to have a daughter now. To love her. And to be purposeful with her, just like my mom was purposeful with me.”

Kailey

Tell your loved ones how much you care

Life doesn’t always work out as we planned. We lose moments and people we wish we could have back. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of every second and tell the people that we love how much we appreciate and cherish them. You never know how many more times you’ll be able to tell them you love them.

More uplifting stories:

https://www.goalcast.com/2021/01/22/humans-of-ny-post-dying-mom-records-videos-children/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=humans-of-ny-post-dying-mom-records-videos-children

Single Man Finds New Lease On Life By Adopting Neglected Six-Year-Old

By | adoption, fathers, Food for thought, heartwarming, parenting, stories, uplifting news

Sometimes our best-laid plans are not meant to be. John had been in a long-term relationship. He had even bought a house with his partner for 15 years.

When the relationship suddenly ended, he found himself starting over at 40.

John did his best to maintain life as he was accustomed, from his job at an insurance company to spending time with loved ones, but still, he couldn’t help feeling like something was missing.

The missing piece of the puzzle

Six years later, he realized what that something was when watching TV and seeing a program about adopting children.

It sparked his interest. John reflected on the fact he had always wanted to be a dad. But when it didn’t happen naturally, he just continued on with his single lifestyle.

But then he realized the time was now.

“I’m 46 now. If I want to be a dad it’s now or never.”

But, as a single father, it wouldn’t be an easy journey. It was one he was ready to get started on though.

A long and arduous process

He started an intensive training course in preparation for being an adoptive father, and decided to get some experience as a volunteer mentor for a teenager.

“Every fortnight or three weeks I had a meeting with my social worker who went through lots of scenarios with me: ‘What would you do if this happened? What would you do if that happened?’,” John recalled.

And that included his whole extended family getting involved. “He met my ex-partner and my other family members to find out more about me and see if it was a solid environment I could provide.”

Finally, after a three-year process, John was approved to be an adoptive father. He was then able to start looking for his future child.

He met with his social worker, who laid out photos of boys on the table and asked if any sparked interest.

“Immediately one stood out to me — he is now my son.”

Finding his son

John says the feeling was instant, almost like “when you’re looking for a house and you walk into a house, and you get the feeling that this is the house you want.”

“It’s not a great comparison but that’s the nearest I can get to it,” he said.

The photo was of a six-year-old boy named Chris (names have been changed), who had been in foster care for 18 months because of concerns he was not taken care of in his

“Ten days later he had moved in with me. And that was it,” John said.

While it was a bit of an adjustment to go from only caring for himself to being responsible for another person, it was a process well worth it.

But there were some growing pains, like on the second night, when Chris said he wasn’t happy and wanted to go back.

“My heart sank, I was like ‘what do I do, what do I do?’”

He called the social worker, but by the next morning, the social worker said it was a normal reaction, and that things would be fine.

They were.

A new lease on life

Nine years later, Chris is now a teenager and he and John have a wonderful relationship.

John is happy because he’s finally a dad, and Chris has a better life with more opportunity than he would have had staying in the foster care system.

“It’s given me a purpose really, I suppose,” said John, who said as a dad, he just wants his ’son to “be the best he can be,” and that means raising him to be a good person.

“He’d probably say I’m a good dad, apart from banning him from his Xbox and making him do his school work!” said John.

Sometimes all the hardships and hurdles we have in life are worth it — to get us to that right person and right moment in time.

For John and Chris, the timing was perfect for them to find each other and change each other’s life forever.

More uplifting news:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/12/29/single-man-finds-new-lease-life-adopt-six-year-old-boy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=single-man-finds-new-lease-life-adopt-six-year-old-boy

Mom Fights To Adopt Abused Special Needs Teen Who Lived With 28 Other Orphans

By | adoption, family, Food for thought, heartwarming, parenting, relationships, stories, uplifting news

Most aspiring adoptive parents dream of bringing a bright-eyed baby home, someone they can nurture from infancy.

Unfortunately, older kids like Sony, a teenager from India – who also had physical and emotional scars – get overlooked. One family dared to look past that and met an incredible girl. Their story reminds us of the gift of ignoring appearances.

Indian families usually only want to adopt newborn children who are completely ‘perfect’ according to them

CARA CE0 Deepak Kumar

A difficult upbringing

Life was rough in India for 14-year-old Sony. Abandoned by her family, born with a birth defect and having suffered through years of physical abuse, she had facial differences and brain damage.

At school, teachers would force her to cover her face, saying that it scared the other children. “It made me feel sad”, she told KHOU.

Her older age made finding a family difficult. Couples dream of taking home a bright-eyed baby who they can nurture. Older kids are seen as undesirable, having too much “baggage.”

According to India’s Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), the majority of “returned” adoptive kids are older (6 years +).

Isolated and packed in a home with 28 other foster children, Sony seemed to have nothing to look forward to as her 15th birthday neared.

Hope across the globe

While Sony was praying for a family, thousands of miles away, Shannon Regan and fiancé Jay Marsh of Anne Arundel County, Maryland were growing theirs.

They had recently adopted 11-year-old Chelsea from China. During Chelsea’s adoption process, Shannon came across Sony and wanted to adopt her too.

Working closely with Reece’s Rainbow, a group that provides support for families adopting children with special needs, they fought to bring her over.

Race against a pandemic

The couple was fully prepared for the red tape and delays. What they couldn’t anticipate was a global pandemic. With the coronavirus spreading, Shannon needed to hurry to India to complete the process.

There has been a lot of trust on her part that there is a world out there here, we just need to get out there safely

Shannon Regan to ABC

Thankfully, she made it in time. They brought Sony over before the COVID-19 lockdowns started, just days before her 15th birthday on June 3rd. Shannon counts her blessings.

“If I hadn’t gone over there and got the final approval to bring her home, she definitely would still not be home”, she told ABC.

The gift of a home

Shannon truly realized her fortune when Sony returned to Maryland. In fact, she says both of her adoptive daughters have completely enriched her life and changed her for the better.

Having parents has helped me know that I’m important, loved, I have a new life. I can be my best and I am safe.

Sony Regan to ABC

No longer having to cover up, Sony is happy to finally be part of a family. She is now on a mission to help other children receive the gift of adoption. In a two-page letter she wrote encouraging adoption, Sony explains why a child is never too old.

“I know people are scared to adopt older children because they think that child might hurt the parents or family or child or won’t love them and won’t fit in. Actually, I know the adopted child can make your family life better. Adopted children do love their family even when it feels hard at first.”

I think adoption is love. I prayed for a family for a long time.

Sony Regan

Perfectly imperfect

Many saw in Sony someone too disfigured to look at, too old to change, too hurt to love.

The Regans instead saw a beautiful girl with a big heart who only needed a chance. Finally given an opportunity, she can show the world the amazing person she is.

Shannon Regan encourages parents to pursue adoption with both their “head and heart.” Wouldn’t it be nice if we brought that approach to all of our pursuits?

More uplifting news:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/12/17/shannon-regan-adoption-teenage-sony-india/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=shannon-regan-adoption-teenage-sony-india

Dad Suffers Through 30-Hour Tattoo To Help Son Feel More Comfortable In His Skin

By | fathers, Food for thought, Motivation, parenting, self-confidence, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Eight-year-old Derek Prue was self-conscious about the birthmark on his stomach and chest. So much so that he wouldn’t go swimming without a shirt on.

So Derek’s dad, Derek Sr., did something drastic — and the story will put a smile on your face.

A big surprise from dad

Derek was swimming in a hotel swimming pool with his sisters when his dad called out. Derek looked over at his father and dipped back into the pool with a smile on his face when he saw what happened. Derek Sr. had gotten a huge tattoo to replicate the birthmark on his son’s torso.

“I was happy and I was a little confused,” the young Derek told CBC Edmonton. “I didn’t know he was going to do that.”

Derek’s dad saw how uncomfortable his birthmark made him and didn’t like that his son wore a shirt in the pool to cover it up — so he got the tattoo.

“I knew he was self-conscious about it… I saw how he was reacting, and it made me want to do it so that he wouldn’t be the only one.”

Derek Prue Sr. told CBC.

A good deed, punished

The tattoo was a complete surprise for the eight-year-old — and the procedure was a surprise for Prue too.

When he first came into the studio for the tattoo, he thought the artist would be done after three or four hours, but by that point only the outline was finished.

“He’s been through the wringer sitting for that,” said tattoo artist Tony Gibbert, owner of the studio where Prue had the work done. “It’s pretty painful.”

In all, the tattoo took 30 hours of work over six to eight weeks.

“I’m kind of glad I didn’t know how long it was going to take,” Prue said.

The artist was happy to contribute

“I think it’s amazing to be able to comfort your son like that,” Gibbert said.

“It’s more than just your kid seeing your name, or something, you get to actually, like, really change the way he feels about himself.

Tattoo artist Tony Gibbert told CBC.

“Just being able to go swimming with his dad and take off his shirt and be happy and comfortable. I’m happy I get to be part of it, in a small way I get to help with what he’s trying to do.”

No regrets

Did the tattoo work? It seems so.

When asked by his mother if he’ll now swim without a shirt, little Derek said: “Whenever Daddy’s there I can take the shirt off.”

As for Prue, despite the painful tattoo he has no regrets.

“Now we have the same marks for life.”

It’s hard being a kid. It’s also hard being a parent when you know your child is lacking confidence.

If you’re a parent, you can’t always shield your children from the unexpected things in life, but you can make them feel special.

More uplifting news:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/12/16/dad-matching-birthmark-tattoo-son-comfortable-skin/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dad-matching-birthmark-tattoo-son-comfortable-skin

The Truth Behind Janet Jackson’s Pregnancy At The Age of 50

By | challenging, Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, mindset, parenting, purpose, stories

Though Janet Jackson isn’t a hot topic of discussion these days, no one can deny that she’s one of the most famous pop singers of all time. People forget that she’s still a thriving artist who’s continuing to release singles, produce albums, and perform for her fans whenever she has the chance. Instead of cherishing her artistry and dynamic stage presence, the media and the public continue to put her through the wringer. 

Janet’s public reputation is mostly dominated by her controversial performance at the Superbowl 2004 half-time show — an incident that spoke to the double standards prevalent in society and the entertainment industry. Yet the singer also grabbed headlines in 2017 when it was announced that she’d become a mother to her son Eissa. 

Celebrities having babies is hardly a newsworthy item, but Janet’s age made her pregnancy a subject of intense discussion and speculation. Instead of celebrating a woman’s journey through pregnancy and motherhood, the media chose to sensationalize the story, which, in turn, had adverse effects of its own. 

This is why it’s crucial to examine Janet Jackson’s evolution over the last few years and take notes on how the media portrayed a massive chapter in her life. 

Janet thinks it was a “gift” to give birth at age 50

Janet did what many think it’s impossible — conceive at nearly fifty years old. At the time, she was married to businessman Wissam Al Mana and, by all public accounts, was able to get pregnant naturally. She never divulged to the media whether she had been on any kind of fertility treatment but as far as one can tell, the pregnancy was smooth. Janet’s representatives also confirmed shortly after Eissa’s birth that the delivery was “stress-free.” 

Though the whole situation was as simple as it could, it didn’t stop the tabloids from jumping into conclusions and cooking up crazy theories about her pregnancy. But Janet herself has never concerned herself with revealing the truth or dismissing the information. To her, it’s God’s greatest gift that she was able to get pregnant at such an age. 

When asked about when she feels the most beautiful, Janet said:

I feel most beautiful when I’m with my son, because of the gift that God has given me and that he allowed me to do so at that age.

Janet Jackson to InStyle

Janet also credited her trainer for helping her body adapt to a pregnancy at her age. Janet is someone who achieved fame as a teenager, and therefore had to spend the majority of her life in the public eye. It’s not a surprise that she got caught up in body image issues and began to feel self-conscious about most of her features. But welcoming a baby into the world reiterated what truly mattered and that she couldn’t afford to waste even a second on these trivial details. 

Shortly after Eissa’s birth, Janet separated from her husband. Being a working single mother meant that she had to find time for her child no matter what. Janet said the hectic showbiz life can become overwhelming for any artist but being able to hold her son at the end of the day makes everything just a little better. She added:

love is limitless […] day after day and night after night, holding my baby in my arms, i am at peace. i am blessed. i feel bliss. in those moments, all is right with the world.

Janet Jackson to Billboard

Yet the media made a mess of the whole pregnancy

Janet’s pregnancy may have brought a world of joy into her life but the media’s approach to covering this news story has been riddled with missteps. From the onset, they’ve been treating the pregnancy as some sort of a massive mystery that needs to be dissected to no end. Articles were written about the various scenarios that could’ve been made the pregnancy possible. Doctors were called, fertility experts weighed in, and women were told that anything was possible as long as they believed. 

The problem with such immense and fruitless speculation is that, ultimately, that’s all it is. Speculation doesn’t lead to any concrete evidence or answers. Janet herself has chosen not to share how she was able to get pregnant at 49, and she’s entitled to maintaining her privacy. Given that the media didn’t have any hard proof over how this pregnancy took place, they should’ve dropped it and let Janet be. 

Instead, they pushed hard at the story, coming up with theories, drawing up hypotheticals, and offering false hope to other women desperately hoping to get pregnant. Women struggling with fertility would read the story and begin to wonder a range of things. Starting from “Is there something wrong with my body that Janet could get pregnant and I couldn’t?” to “It’s going to happen to me as well.” 

The first thought reflects shame, something that exacerbates the stigma around older moms, whereas the second feeling of confidence might be setting you up for failure. Both shame and confidence can have a negative affect here, so it’s key to offer no certainties when covering such sensitive stories. 

At the end of the day, it’s about having realistic expectations when looking at celebrities. Janet very well may have frozen her eggs or gone through IVF but it’s not for the public or the media to speculate. If she’s not choosing to share it, then there must be a reason behind that.  We can’t dictate our own lives based on what celebrities may or may not have done. 

Be practical about life’s biggest decisions

Janet’s lucky enough to be experiencing young motherhood in her fifties; most women are not going to be as fortunate as her. Some might strike lightning but many are going to fail and will have to look through alternative options. Such is this thing we call life. 

But what’s important to remember is that we cannot sensationalize celebrities and their life stories. We can try to emulate their courage, their determination, and passion, but when it comes to life’s biggest decisions, you’re going to have to be cautious and practical. Just because something’s worked for someone else doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you, and vice versa: just because something hasn’t worked for someone else doesn’t mean it’s not going work for you. You’re your own person, and your most significant moments cannot be boiled down to a tabloid article. So the next time you hear opinions about Janet’s pregnancy, just be happy for the woman and carry on. 

More inspiring celebrities:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/12/09/janet-jackson-pregnancy-50-eissa-al-mana/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=janet-jackson-pregnancy-50-eissa-al-mana

Why Dolly Parton Had To Fight For Her 54-Year Marriage With Carl Thomas Dean

By | Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities, marriage, parenting, purpose, stories

When we think of Dolly Parton, we think of big blonde hair, a buxom figure, and for the initiated, her 1973 hit, “Jolene,” in which she pleads timelessly with another woman, “please don’t steal my man.”

In reality, however, Dolly is a whole lot more than hair and an ample bosom, and her husband happens to be among the devoted few. Not to mention, she’s a living legend with a voice like none other. Born in 1946 to a poor, working class family in a one-room shack in Tennessee, Dolly was the fourth of 12 children. Today, she’s pushing 75 and her life’s been anything but a straight, smooth line. But that’s why we love her.

For instance, Parton never had kids, but few people know it was because of health issues. And then you have her elusive husband, Carl Dean. They got married in 1966, and have been together 54 years now—that’s over half a century.

Dean, retired from running an asphalt business, has chosen to remain totally out of the public eye, leading some to question whether Dolly has ever been unfaithful, or if Dean is even a real person! Yet Dolly has has often shared how she feels his avoidance of the limelight is actually key to their long lasting relationship. They’ve had their own little private paradise all these years. Of course, nothing is perfect.

In sickness and in health: trouble in paradise

Although Dolly and Carl have been happily married for far longer than most, the pair have seen really tough times–as is the case in most longterm relationships. Dolly opened up to Closer Weekly about a truly harrowing time in her life that put significant strain on her marriage.

It began with Dolly going through several years of severe and painful gynecological problems in the early 80s. She suffered from endometriosis, a condition which eventually required her to undergo a partial hysterectomy, which meant the couple could never have their own children.

Upon learning this news, Parton was plunged into deep depression. She even went through a period when she contemplated suicide.

It was an awful time for me. Every day I thought, ‘I wish I had the nerve to kill myself.’

“Sometimes God just has to smack you down,” Dolly has said of that time in her life. “He was almost saying, ‘Sit your pretty little ass down because we have to deal with some stuff!’”

It’s exactly this unique mix of faith, resilience, good humour and self-love that makes Dolly Parton who she is as an artist, but as also as a human being. But alas, being human, she did make a few mistakes along the way–just like the rest of us.

Dolly’s emotional affair led to guilt

Dolly went through hell trying to cope with her infertility and all the feelings it brought up in her marriage. It was already hard enough to maintain a healthy connection with Dean during this period, but to make matters even worse, Dolly admits she had an ‘emotional affair.’ While the affair never got physical, she still experienced overwhelming guilt. In fact, she regretted it so deeply that the whole thing only contributed to her struggle with suicidal thinking.

“I looked at [the gun] a long time,” she said. Then, just as I
picked it up, just to hold it, and look at it for a moment, our little dog,
Popeye, came running up the stairs. The tap-tap of his paws jolted me back to
reality, I suddenly froze and I put the gun down…Now that I’ve gone through
that terrible moment, I can certainly understand the possibilities, even for
someone solid like me, if the pain gets bad enough.”

How Dolly turned her life around (hint: children)

Above all else, Dolly believes it was faith that ultimately saved her marriage. The country legend has relied on her faith to get her through every hardship she’s ever faced. Speaking of her family and her upbringing, she later shared, “Our faith is the most important thing to all of us. It was the key to our survival.”

Of course, Dolly has hardly surrendered passively to the faith that’s helped her survive and thrive. For starters, in spite of never having had any children of her own, there has been no shortage of children in her life.

She and Carl started by helping raise several of Parton’s younger siblings, which led her nieces and nephews to dub her “Aunt Granny.” Later, her great-nieces and great-nephews added “GeeGee” to the mix. “I’ve loved their kids just like they’re my grandkids, and now I’ve got great-grand-kids!” Parton has said. “I often think, it just wasn’t meant for me to have kids, so everybody’s kids can be mine.”

Fun fact: she’s also Miley Cyrus’s godmother!

Dolly has also gone one further, and dedicated her life to helping children outside of her family—a fact only diehard fans know much about. She acts as a ‘BenevolAunt‘ to many children through her non-profit, the Imagination Library, an organization that promotes the joys of literacy to young children.

Each month, the Library mails a free book to children who are registered. Enrolment can start at birth and last until a child turns five. In this context, she is pleased to say that children know her as “The Book Lady,” and think of her as a Mother Goose or Fairy Godmother figure. “I’m like a cartoon character – my voice is little and I’m an excitable little person like them! I’m very childlike in that way, in my nature.”

The Imagination Library encourages a love of reading, an awareness of human diversity, and a promotion of self-esteem. Dolly has recalled how her father never had a chance to learn to read and write, so the importance of literacy is near and dear to her heart. All proceeds from her first children’s album, I Believe in You (2017), went to her passion project, and she even wrote a children’s book, I Am a Rainbow, which has also been included in the program. One might say that Dolly Parton, AKA “The Book Lady,” is mother to many. Hers is truly a labour of love.

And there you have it. Dolly Parton’s life may not be cookie cutter perfect, yet she is surrounded with love: love of family, love of children, and love of her long time husband and best friend. “We’re really proud of our marriage. It’s the first for both of us. And the last,” Parton said, in 2011.

In 2016, she announced that she and her husband would renew their vows in honour of their 50th wedding anniversary. In a later statement she affirmed, “If I had it to do all over, I’d do it all over again, and we did. I’m dragging him kicking and screaming into the next 50 years.”

More inspiring celebrities:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/11/20/dolly-parton-carl-thomas-dean-marriage-children-emotional-affair/

Denzel Washington’s Broken Childhood Taught Him Not To Make The Same Mistakes Again

By | family, Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, parenting, stories

He’s one of the biggest movie stars the world has known, yet he stops, jokes and takes pictures with fans. He’s Denzel Washington, 65, beloved by all as humble, a man of substance who doesn’t sell out and is committed to quality, morality, and, in short, doing both his life and his acting career right.

But how did he start out? What many people don’t know is that Denzel had some early struggles, though he tends to keep his personal life largely out of the limelight. The reality is, if it wasn’t for his hard-ass mother looking out for his best interests (something he continually acknowledges to this day), he might not have become the Denzel Washington we know and love today.

Washington has been married to his wife Pauletta since 1983, and they have four children. But although he has painstakingly created a life for himself that puts family and good parenting before all else, his own upbringing was far from idyllic, particularly when it came to his dynamic with his father, which many would call troubled.

His parents’ divorce shaped him

Who among us is not deeply and forever impacted by our relationships with our parents? One way or another, we are all affected, whether we choose to focus on it or not.

Washington’s father, Denzel Hayes Washington Sr., was a pentecostal preacher who ran two churches, worked another job on top of that, and was rarely around. His mother owned a beauty parlour.

“My parents were like night and day,” he has observed. “She’s urban, raised in Harlem. My father was just this spirit-filled man until the day he died, a country boy raised on a farm in Virginia.”

They say opposites attract, but my parents only grew apart. I was 14 when they divorced.

Around the time his parents split, his mother sent him away to private school in upstate NY to keep him out of trouble. “That decision changed my life, because I wouldn’t have survived in the direction I was going,” said Washington. In an interview on Popcorn with Peter Travers, when asked if he was a good kid, he laughs and says,  “I was mischievous,” more solemnly adding, “My three closest friends did quite a bit of time [in jail] … decades.”

Watch this Goalcast video on Denzel’s inspirational life:

A lost connection

At the age of 18, Denzel moved out of his mother’s place and into his father’s. “And he kicked me out,” Washington told GQ. “He said, ‘You’re just bad.’” But in spite of the long and sordid history between Denzel and his dad, he acknowledges his father’s goodness.

“Everyone I grew up with didn’t have a father. I had a father. My father was a decent man. He was a very spiritual man and a gentleman.”

Yet, perhaps most tellingly, he goes on to describe how, when his father died in 1991, he didn’t cry:

He died in August. We started shooting around the time that he died. [pauses] I never shed a tear for my father. That sounds like a book or a song. I never did all through the funeral and all that. There was no connection.

Denzel Washington in GQ

When asked, “What do you see of your father in you?” Denzel responds, “I’m more like my mother. She is the toughest woman.”

Why he is his mother’s son

Denzel’s mother, Lennis Washington, was the single greatest influence in his life, and to this day he remains thankful for her strength. Lennis was a single mother after her divorce, but while her ex-husband mostly stayed away, she brought up her son with discipline and hard work. Wanting the very best for him, she saved money for private school “even when she could not afford it.” 

While some of his friends were going down a very negative path, Denzel’s mother “had enough sense to get me out of that situation before it was going to be my turn,” says Washington. “I had that Pentecostal foundation and a mother who used to say, ‘Son, you never know who’s praying for you.’ So maybe it wasn’t my fate to fall into those traps,” he told Parade back in 1999.

“I was what they call ‘throwing rocks at the penitentiary,’” Denzel told ABC years later, “but I never hit it. I never got caught … I also knew right from wrong, so I never wanted to go too far. I’d dip my toe in the water.”

So in 9th grade, his mother put Denzel in Oakland Academy, a private prep school in New Windsor, N.Y. where he excelled at sports and became interested in the arts. After graduating, he began at Fordham University where he started acting in his junior year.

As for his friends, “One did 28 years [behind bars], one did 20 and the other did 12,” he says, adding, “One is dead … the other two are out.” When asked what advice he’d give his 15-year-old self, he laughs loudly and exclaims, “Listen to your mother!” 

His own approach to fatherhood

While Denzel’s relationship with his dad was far from perfect, he has gleaned lessons from both of his parents which have ultimately influenced him as a parent.

“It wasn’t like it’s been for our children,” he says, “where you take them to all their events. It was a different time. Once they were separated, I was in school. So 70 percent of the year, I was away. In the summer, I wasn’t looking to track him [my father] down. I was ready to hit the streets. So you just kind of fade…. Not to say that I didn’t love him like a dad. But we didn’t play ball, those types of things. Next thing you know, you’re at college.”

As for his own approach to fatherhood, “Life is family,” he says.

You know, rushing to get home because my son’s got a football game, and I’m going to be there. We drive to the game and watch him and discuss it afterward. That’s life. Acting is not life to me. It’s making a living.

Denzel Washington

Although he loves making movies, Washington says he doesn’t watch or analyze his films. “Once you make a movie, it belongs to the people,” he says. “So, I don’t look back. I might see a scene if it’s on TV or something.”

Unsurprisingly, he has tried to instil the same brand of humility in those of his children who chose to act, John David and Olivia Washington, who both saw success early on in popular TV shows.

And as far as black fatherhood goes, Denzel tells GQ, “One of the things that saddens me the most about my people is fathers that don’t take care of their sons and daughters. And you can’t blame that on The Man or getting frisked. Take responsibility.

“Look in the mirror and say, ‘What can I do better?’ There is opportunity; you can make it…I’m not telling you what religion to be, but work on your spirit…Imagine—work the brain muscle.

Keep the body in tune—it’s your temple. All things in moderation. Continue to search. That’s the best part of life for me—continue to try to be the best man.

More inspiring celebrities:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/09/10/denzel-washington-father-broken-relationship-mother-lessons/