Tag Archives: Military families

“Be A Kid’s Hero Daily” by Ginger Kadlec… What is child maltreatment?

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Steve Sparks, age 10 in 1956, was a victim of “child maltreatment” during his early child and young adult life…

Child Maltreatment is Real!  Quote from Ginger Kadlec’s “Be a Child’s Hero Daily” website…

“Child “maltreatment” is defined as “violent or cruel treatment” and encompasses a variety of abuses including physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect.  Researchers reviewed nearly 5.7 million confirmed cases of maltreatment that were registered in the The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). This study found that approximately 80% of the child maltreatment cases involved neglect.”

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Child advocate, blogger and children’s author “wanna-be” working to improve the world one child at a time. Join Ginger’s efforts via her website at www.gingerkadlec.com.

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Be a Kid’s Hero…click for larger view…

Be a Kid’s Hero Daily…  Click on this website and subscribe to updates…  Quote from Ginger Kadlec…

“With an estimated 1 in 8 children victimized by maltreatment in the United States, child abuse is a problem of pandemic proportion. While it can be a difficult subject to discuss, we must address the issue of child abuse head-on to ensure the safety of little ones who entrust their very lives to the big people around them.”

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Ginger Kadlec is one of my favorite heroes!  She is by any measure an example of “Be a Kid’s Hero Daily.”  Ginger and I became friends a couple of years ago and collaborated on an article, The War Within: PTSD, (click highlighted text) that remains very popular to this day…  Ginger and I stay in touch on a regular basis.  She gave me great encouragement and helped me on my own journey of healing following the publication of Reconciliation: A Son’s Story in November 2011.

I refer to my life as a child as the “too terrible to remember 1950’s and early 1960’s.  It took me most of my adult life to forgive my parents and the toxic life we lived while growing up.  Forgiveness was absolutely critical to healing from child abuse and emotional neglect during my early years as a kid and young adult.  My father suffered terribly as a victim of severe trauma from hard combat during all of WWII and deployment during the Korean War as well.  My mother developed severe symptoms of secondary PTSD from her own Depression Era childhood, and as a military spouse and mother from the “Greatest Generation.”  Dad passed away in 1998 and lived a relatively peaceful life during his last years following a regimen of mental health treatments.  Mother is turning 96 this September and still has flashbacks from those post WWII years as a caregiver for my father.  We siblings carried the emotional baggage of PTSD forward as well, which we now know as the intergenerational effect and impact of living in a toxic home where love and kindness is almost non-existent.  PTSD hangs on like bad genes if not treated effectively or if the trauma victim is in denial….

I enjoy peace of mind these days as a senior citizen.  No longer are the bad dreams, the constant anxiety, depression, and ache in my heart, including physical pain.  No child should have to live with toxic circumstances at home, at play, or in school…never!  I spend my life in retirement making a difference for kids in my work with Neighbors for Kids in Depoe Bay, Oregon.  My life now is a blessing and a journey of healing, but still a work in progress.  Kids or adults who suffer from severe trauma often live with PTSD symptoms for a lifetime…the pain never leaves your heart and mind…but alternative treatment strategies keep my feet on the ground.  I am also blessed with an amazing spouse, family members, and great friends who help keep me focused on the love and kindness I so desperately needed as a kid, and didn’t discover until later in life…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… Click highlighted text for my author page…

 

Museum of the American Military Family, Albuquerque, New Mexico…Steve & Judy Sparks interview podcast during the “Sacrifice and Service” exhibit on May 31, 2014…

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Museum of the American Military Family, “Sacrifice and Service” Exhibit… Click image for larger view…

“Together We Served”…Steve & Judy Sparks interview with Circe Woessner, Executive Director, Museum of the American Military Family, Albuquerque, New Mexico…click highlighted text for podcast…

Images of Museum of the American Military Family…click highlighted text…

Included in the above “images” link is an image of a post card from my father, Vernon, sent home to St. Paul in 1936 when serving on his first ship, the USS Tennessee… click the highlighted text…  Dad was age 17 when he joined the US Navy in 1936.  He retired in 1958 following 22 years of service, including WWII and Korean War…

 

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Dad’s post card sent home in 1936. Click image for larger view…

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Front of post card photo of USS Tennessee 1936… Click image for larger view…

Museum of the American Military Family Quote from this website…click highlighted text…

“The Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center brings together people with shared experiences showcasing and honoring those who also served—American’s Military Families. The Museum is gathering artifacts and recollections from American military families who served through war and peace in past decades and those who serve today in anticipation of the creation of a permanent facility in Albuquerque that will celebrate their lives and sacrifices for generations to come. For more information, please visit www.museumoftheamericanmilitaryfamily.org. For more information on the exhibition, visit www.nuclearmuseum.org…”

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Judy and I were very honored to participate recently during the opening ceremony of the Museum of the American Military Family, “Sacrifice and Service” exhibit in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The interview podcast was recorded just before the start of my book reading for Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Judy and I were asked to talk briefly about intergenerational PTSD, often a lifetime challenge for the children and families of warriors.  The interview was a conversation about my experience as a military child of a father who served in hard combat, and my family’s journey of healing in life after trauma.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation, A Son’s Story

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Book cover photos include my father, Vernon, and mother, Marcella c1940…and the USS West Virginia bombed in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941… Dad was aboard ship on that Sunday morning long ago…and survived. Click image for larger view…

Maya Angelou on Forgiveness… Healing starts with forgiveness…

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Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey

 

Quotes of Forgiveness…  Quote from this website…”Do One Thing Quotes” 

“We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate — thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising.” 
 Maya Angelou

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Judy and I turned on the Maya Angelou Memorial Service this morning.  We were inspired by the many speakers, including Oprah Winfrey.  Oprah spoke of Maya in so many special ways as the “most wonderful women she has ever known.”  She also mentioned several times of Maya’s belief that forgiveness of self and others is paramount in living a full life in service to others…a life larger than self…  Only then can we experience our full potential as human beings…

During the last two weeks on our journey to New Mexico to participate in the opening of a museum dedicated to military families, book signings, visits to the memorials of veterans, and talks about children and families in life after trauma, the most important consistent discussion topic has been about forgiveness.  Before it was possible for me to move forward from the pain of a traumatic childhood experience, including learning about the secondary effects of trauma on the children and families of warriors, I was able to forgive myself.  Once learning that forgiving myself was a critical first step, I felt profound forgiveness for my father and mother.  I did not dismiss the abuse and emotional neglect experienced as a child, but embraced it as a way to move forward in my own life, and make a difference for others as part of my journey of healing.  My other favorite quote by Maya Angelou… “There is no greater agony than bearing the untold story inside of you” helps me each day to make the choice to continue on my journey.  I used this quote to help introduce my second book, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…

There was a time not too long ago that I felt that forgiving myself was impossible and not even appropriate.  Little did I know for so much of my adult life that the only way to forgive others, is to forgive yourself first.  Maya Angelou was also one of the greatest teachers on the planet and her legacy will live on forever…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1, and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author