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Episode 5: Melissa Williams Pt. 1

Melissa meets with Kelly to discuss the ends and outs of social work. During this candid conversation, she will share about her experience with Anti-Human Trafficking movements and her career of social work. Social workers often look at the world differently. Melissa shares her perspectives and the enormous impact that clients have had on her life.

Hey guys. Today on the show I have Melissa Williams with me. Melissa is a social worker, she is an advocate, she works with survivors of human trafficking. She is just overall really fun and I know that you guys are going to enjoy our conversation today. What’s pretty hilarious though is that I realize after I got done talking to Melissa is that our conversation was quite lengthy which was amazing and enjoyed every minute of it BUT we need to separate it into two different episodes. So this week is going to be part one and then join us next week for part two! Hope you enjoy!

K: Alright Melissa! Thanks for being on the show!

M: No problem. I’m excited to be here. Thanks for asking me to participate!

K: Yes, absolutely! Can you tell the listeners a little about yourself?

M: Yeah so currently I live in Fargo, ND. I’m a licensed social worker in the state of ND so currently I’m doing human trafficking or I should say ANTI-human trafficking work for the state through some state and federal grants and I’ve been doing that for almost three years. Prior to that I was doing treatment foster care work and prior to that I was at a psychiatric and addictions hospital in town doing social work as well. In a nutshell, that’s my background and where I currently live. And I have no kiddos yet so I live vicariously through my sister with my nieces and nephews.

K: Oh, fun!

M: Yeah! I stay busy that way and you know I’m always hanging out with my family when I’m not working it seems like or talking to them in some capacity. So, always keeps it interesting.

K: That’s great! Thank you for sharing that. I had to laugh too about you saying “ANTI-human trafficking” because I used to say, “I love human trafficking!” and then I was like, “That sounds so bad. That is not what I mean.”

M: Well, I feel like everyone gives me the stink-eye when I’m talking about it because my title is Human Trafficking Navigator, which to me makes sense but to other people they’re like, “It literally sounds like your facilitating trafficking” and so I have, over the

past year, tried to make a point to say anti-human trafficking so people don’t give me that look.

K: Absolutely. And I know that in your job you talk a lot about human trafficking but I do think it would be helpful to people to have an understanding of what’s considered human trafficking and maybe even a little bit about how that impacts our state in particular.

M: For sure! It impacts our state tremendously. I think the trouble in some ways in North Dakota with the North Dakota nice mentality and thinking people here wouldn’t do that, they wouldn’t purchase people for sex, they wouldn’t exploit people for sex or labor – there’s just a lot of people who struggle to understand or believe that and we do have a very large market for sex and labor trafficking in our state.

It’s all over the state. Not just specific to the oil boom or otherwise. We see it everywhere. Some of our biggest cases have come out of really, really small towns and so in a nutshell I always tell people that yes, it happens here, it happens all over here in North Dakota.

To understand trafficking, there are state and federal definitions for trafficking. Where I really like to break it down to help in understanding is where there’s that third person involvement or third person benefit. You’ve heard me talk about this a million times. You know the difference really is when you’re exploiting somebody, when it’s somebody taking advantage of somebody else’s weaknesses or vulnerabilities. The difference with trafficking is you still have that person taking advantage of you based on weaknesses and vulnerabilities but there’s a third party involved in that. A third party that’s benefiting from that somewhere.

In the sex trafficking piece, we see familial pimping in our state. So, if my mom sells me to somebody in order to get free rent or drugs or money, my mom’s the third person that’s benefiting there that’s not directly involved in the exchange of sex. I’ve even heard that being used with cattle in our state which blows my mind that someone had come forward. It was a grant inspector that told me that he had seen an exchange of sex for cattle and then on the labor piece we see a lot of people being exploited for labor. Maybe they’re not from our country so they don’t understand the culture or language so people are very easily exploited within our state as well because of those types of things.

Or just being young. Many of those victims are residents of our state. It’s just really scary and there are so many layers to it. I could talk about it all day and all night.

K: I’ve loved all of the trainings that I’ve been able to take part in. That has been so super beneficial to have a better understanding of it. I think, when we hear human trafficking, people kind of know but unless you really dive into it, you don’t understand all of those different layers.

M: Absolutely. And part of it is just our state is so taboo on talking about sex and exploitation on the sex trafficking piece of things. We’re an abstinence preferred state so even getting people to want to have that conversation can be really challenging sometimes when it comes to sex trafficking. What we really try to do a lot is just try to break the barriers down and let them know it’s okay to talk to kids about this stuff.

K: Right. It’s kind of the same thing as when you talk to somebody about suicide. If you ask them about it, it’s not going to make them want to commit suicide and if you talk to a child about sex, it’s not going to make the child want to have sex.

M: I know. And I always tell people that if they don’t hear from you as the parent or a healthy adult in their lives about what it is, they’re going to learn it from their friends or the internet. You want to be the trusting, supportive person that they can go to for that. And what an awesome thing to be! I can’t imagine one day having a son or daughter that wants to talk to me about their sex life. Some people are like “No way, that’s creepy. That’s gross!” And I’m like, “Bring it on! I want you to talk to me about that!” That, to me, would speak volumes of the kind of parenting you have instilled or the trust that your kid can do that. I just think that would be huge.

K: I think when you start with that firm foundation as a family – I have a few friends and family members that I’m thinking of that did a really amazing job of just setting that foundation of true, honest discussion. It starts from such a young age, I think, as well.

M: It does! And one thing I told you at the last training is that even with sexting, the most prevalent age group for sexting in the nation is fourth and fifth graders and so people feel like maybe[AA1] we can start talking about this wen they’re seniors in high school. No, this stuff is happening younger and younger. We have such a culture around sex. We’re so driven by sex in our culture and in so many different ways that it does start from the beginning.

K: I think one thing one thing, in thinking about just being really honest with our kids and setting up that good communication, I’ve learned that one of the best ways that I’ve learned from you is ways to prevent human trafficking or sexual abuse from occurring. Or if something were to occur, kids are better able to identify it and feel more open to sharing that with adult.

M: Well, they would know that it’s wrong. A lot of times when an adult tells you “This is our little secret” or nobody explains to you good tough vs bad touch, those are all things that we’re missing the opportunity to speak to kids about that could really change the way that they come forward. Most of the time, they’re not. They’re too ashamed. They do trust that adult. Again, they’ve never been taught good touch versus bad touch.

Not only do we have a culture that really focuses on victim blaming, we have a culture that self-blames. When something bad happens we say, “Oh, this is my fault. If only I would have done that, it wouldn’t have happened to me. I can think of recently I had a friend of mine, and I really struggled with this, who told me that she had been raped. She was struggling to admit that to herself. I just really challenged her. She was saying things like “If I wouldn’t have gone to his apartment. I trusted him at this point but I had too much to drink.” I just stopped her and said, “if it were the other way around and some guy that you went on a few dates with who was too drunk and told you not to pursue him and you did or excuse me, if this guy would have asked you to pursue him, what would you have done?”

She said she wouldn’t have even thought about it. So why do we have this tendency to self-blame?

One thing that I get asked in trainings all the times is “Why didn’t they just leave?” I completely understand people wanting to understand that and ask that question but I get so frustrated by that sometimes. Why is our first question about why the victim didn’t leave? Why isn’t our first question “Why on earth did this happen to them? What happened to the offender? Why were they not held accountable?”

Our minds always go to the victim or what we could have done differently. Clearly, I’m going on a little rampage. This happens every day in my personal life and I know you see it too Kelly, especially in your line of work, of course your friends and family and people come to you with these questions and things just because of that so not only do you see that in your professional life as well, you probably see it in your personal life too.

K: That is so very accurate that not only personally, but professionally, people will bring up really hard things that have happened to them. I feel so honored that they trust me with that, with their story and that we can process through that. But a lot of times I think that the thing that is different in your personal life versus professional is that you have the ability to be maybe a little bit more blunt. I’m always honest with my clients. I never will lie to a client and I tell clients that I’m not going to lie to you and if you’re wanting someone who’s going to, I’m probably not the person for you.

M: I love that you say that. I love that you tell them that.

K: I think it’s important because I don’t want to be lied to. I think that when it’s your family member or friend, you know them at a different level and so you can be honest in a different way, if that makes any sense.

M: You can be. And there’s a little less red tape, of course. With a professional world you have to follow ethics and take more of a step back and think, “Okay, what is the appropriate, professional response to this?”

With friends or family, I can give them advice in the sense that this is what I would do, these are the things I would say. As a professional, you can’t technically do that. So, that’s the difference with friends too. Anyone who knows me knows I’m pretty blunt so I will tell people those things and again, whether it’s harder for them to comprehend it or come to terms with it, I would much rather help them get to that level than continuously be surface level and not get to the root of what the issue is. I think, just as a society, we do that. We don’t go there enough.

K: I think you’re absolutely right. And I love your perspective of the first thought that people have – why don’t they leave? I love that you pointed that out because I never thought of that being such a reaction for people that they would jump to that and how that really impacts even show some clarity and perspectives of society as a whole and so I’m so happy that you pointed that out. Thank you for sharing that.

M: If I had a nickel for every time I heard that.

K: I bet! I was actually just thinking back because I’ve been to several trainings and I’m pretty sure almost in every single one, someone has asked that. I’m not even kidding.

M: I get asked that every time and I get asked on a completely different level, it’s funny how you know kind of the questions that are coming, I get that question, I get “Are we talking to kids that are in schools?” and I get “How do you handle this and what do you do for self-care?” If I had a nickel for all of those things – with every training I know I’m just going to be answering those which is great! I want people to ask questions.

K: That’s good that people are thinking about your self-care though!

M: I know! Really, it is nice. And they’re genuine about it.

K: That’s great! So, I’m wondering if we can switch gears a little bit. It’s somewhat similar but talk a little bit about your blog that you have – Secrets of a Social Worker. Can you tell us a bit about that and explain your mission?

M: You know, I wish I had more time in the day to focus on it. I started it probably three and a half, four years ago. My mission, really, I just want to reach more people. I think there’s so much awesome information and knowledge out there and I don’t want to share it just with the one person that I’m working with. It’s like there’s so many perspectives and things that we can be grateful for and mindful of and aware of and talking about. For me, I love talking. It’s a way for me to reach more people and get a conversation going.

But even at a really young age, I was always writing poetry and stuff around the house. Like any piece of paper I could find, I would write a poem on or I would journal. It’s just something I’ve always been passionate about. When I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, my mom pointed out to me that social work would be a good fit because I’m always listening and trying to help. I just wanted to combine them, I guess, and I didn’t really know how to do that. I was at my husband's aunt and uncles place out in California a few years ago. I was telling them some of my experiences and stories because they were fascinated with my background and some of the things I’ve seen so we were just talking about that. His uncle said to me, “Why don’t you write a book? You really need to write a book.”

I just, in my brain started thinking that I would love to write a book but there are so many ways I could write it. I could write about my career, I could write about my personal life, I could write about things I’ve learned along the way. I just wanted to start smaller than writing a book so thought I could start a blog because I love to help people. I just found it to be, for one, helpful for me. It’s really good self-care for me but to get feedback from people on how helpful it was and inspiring, it just feels good to reach more people and I just, I don’t know. As you know, because your passion is helping people as is mine. Typically, the people we work with are not necessarily our friends or family so to a larger extent, it’s just a way to reach those people.

K: I feel like, in some ways, we’re kindred spirits with our passions and our goals. I was telling my husband the other day there are so many little niches in this world – little pockets of information almost. Just like when we were talking earlier as far as like setting up websites or you know the podcast or whatever it may be. Even something as simple as making a pencil, we were talking about that and how many people it takes to make a pencil. It’s a lot more than you think! So, when you think about all of these neat little pockets of information and being able to spread that knowledge and share your different perspectives. There are so many fascinating people in the world. That’s what I just keep going back to.

M: You and I see that firsthand with the work we do. What I notice is people in society that we judge are the people that I cannot explain to you how much I’ve learned from. People who we typically look at as, “oh they’re just drunks or their addicts or their worthless.” You know, you hear all those horrible things about people and those “people” are the ones that have taught me the most valuable lessons in my life and they are the most resilient, wonderful, smart people that I have ever gotten the opportunity to meet. How that has inspired me, as far as writing and getting that information out there – everybody deserves a chance. Everybody has gone through something. Not to focus on what’s on the outside, you know? I’ve been inspired by them.

K: I love that. I love the resilience factor of things. I don’t think a lot of times when we’re walking around in the world, we realize how much pain people are in or have been through so to be able to share a portion of that and hold that space for them. I promise you, twenty times over, I have learned more from my clients then I will be able to provide to them. Their session I will leave thinking, “that was life changing.” I could almost get emotional talking about it. That perspective was so fantastic or seeing the progress or looking at a situation differently. It’s just so empowering and so encouraging in so many ways.

M: A lot of times it really just brings you back to the moment. We get so wrapped up in what’s coming next and wanting control over every situation and having this plan all laid out. We’re not focusing on what’s in front of us.

One example I can think of and you’ve probably heard me say this in a training – I met with a gal at one point in a facility and I really, when I go in to talk to people, eluding to what you said earlier I approach them saying I will tell the truth and here’s who I am, what can I help with? One thing that I do that I would absolutely not expect other professionals to do I really open it up to them saying, “What do you want to know about me? What is helpful for you to know about me to make this a comfortable interaction?”

Usually I get some pretty off the wall questions or personal questions. Some people don’t have any interest in knowing anything about me. This one gal I met with, she said to me, “Well, I don’t know. Do you like coffee?”

I wanted her to talk a little about sex trafficking and I had a list of all the things I was going to do with her today and here are all the things I will be discussing. That moment just brought me back to not having any idea where this was going and I said. “I love coffee. Do you like coffee?” And we talked about coffee for twenty minutes.

It really just brought me back to kind of what we were talking about just now. We focus on and get wrapped up in all this complex stuff and overwhelmed with stuff. This girl just

wanted to have a normal conversation about coffee because she doesn’t get to talk about coffee, you know? Maybe that’s far fetched but that’s a story I think of – of something so small but so impactful in a really weird way for me.

K: I love that so much. I think that shows us really that the main thing people want is connection and that’s what we’re missing a lot of the time is that connection. That’s what you provided and to be able to have just a normal conversation and that perspective you can take away from that. I think that’s a perfect example of that.

M: Do you have any that really just pop out for you? A moment where you were like, “That was so impactful for me”?

K: Can I tell you, it’s not anything about a client but can I tell you this story about something that happened at Chipotle? I love Chipotle by the way! So, I had had kind of a challenging day and I stopped at Chipotle in Fargo. In front of me, there was a group and there was two men and a woman. They had a coupon. It was something to the effect of if you spent so much, you got so much money off and they were really counting on this, to get the money off. The lady was having some difficulty with the coupon so when they got up there, they were almost cursing at her. What is the one thing when you’re anxious that does not help? Being yelled at.

M: Oh my gosh, yes.

K: (Laughing) If you want her to hurry, you should probably give her a little grace. It’s not her fault the machines not working. But she got it to work and it was fine. I’m the next person and I have to say something to her but these people are right there. I’m not trying to cause a scene because that’s not my personality, so all I could say was, without holding up the line was, “You handled that very well.” I just said it very quietly to her. And she turned to me and said “thank you” then went back to ringing me up. Then she turned back to me and said, “I appreciate you.”

She handed me my receipt, I said thank you, have a good day and all of that but I went out to my car and that, for some reason, was so life changing for me because she didn’t say, “I appreciate that you said that.” She said, “I appreciate you” as in I appreciate you, as a human being, because you are you and that has literally changed my life.

So now, instead of saying, “I appreciate that you....blah blah blah” I try to catch myself and say “I appreciate you” because it has a different meaning. I appreciate that blah- blah-blah means you did that for me and that’s why I appreciate you. To appreciate someone means you appreciate them as a human being. What a different impact.

M: And that person will never know how much that’s impacted your life. I have to remind myself on hard days – we all have really hard days in this line of work – but on really hard days you have to remind yourself there are people out there that are never going to tell you that what you said really made a difference. You just have to know it. You absolutely and from the bottom of your heart have to believe that. Think about how many people were in the same situation where you told her that for one, how it impacted her life. Secondly, how many people would have had that thought but never told her? Right? There are so many missed opportunities to just say something like that and make someone’s day.

K: I think you’re so right about that. I have found that there have been times in my life where I’ve really wanted to say something and I haven’t and then later I’m kicking myself. It’s been a very conscious effort of mine to make sure that that thing that’s on the tip of your tongue that you want to say – that’s there for a reason.

M: I know.

K: I went into it, I’ll be honest with you, I went into it thinking “How can I make her day better?” and she completely changed my whole perspective of interactions with people. So, even if your intention is to help that other person, they may help you ten times more, you know?

M: I love that.

K: Thank you for letting me tell my very long story! (laughing)

M: I love stuff like that. I wanted to know what stuck out for you.

K: That’s definitely the first thing that popped in my mind. I’m wondering, being a social worker, we certainly have shared some really impactful parts of our journey but there are some really hard parts too. Can you talk a little bit about the hard parts of it and how to navigate those?

M: I will say that this work is extremely discouraging if you let it be. Whether it’s system failures, whether it’s watching people get worse, whether it’s your clients committing suicide or losing their lives, or they return to a situation that you’ve been trying to help them stay out of, they are upset with you and call you mean things. It has been really hard and I think for me what helps is, and this is going to sound super corny, but I have always been a really tough person. Even as a kid my mom would tell me stories about how I wouldn’t really cry. I just had tough skin. I think, for me, part of it is I can handle it. Especially with the trafficking stuff. On a daily basis I hear some pretty horrific things obviously. I Have to really keep in check with that but at the end of the day it’s like if I

can’t do this work, who’s going to do this work? That’s honestly not a health way to think of it. I’m just being honest with you, to say I have tough skin and if I can’t do it, who else can – that’s not what I’m telling people to think. It’s not right. That’s just my honest thoughts.

What I do work on to help me through these things though, there are a lot of things. People say “oh, what’s self-care and what are you doing for yourself?” We keep it so surface level. A bubble bath and wine. Sure, those things are great but I’m always challenging it and asking “Really, what is self-care? What are you really doing for yourself?” I have the distraction things. I’m a really intense person so I’m on various different sports leagues, I like shooting guns, I like being outdoors and I like being around people. So, there’s pieces of it that help me get through things. I just need to stay busy.

On the flip side, on the truer self-care side, I force myself to meditate. It’s really hard for me because I’m really ADHD and it’s hard for me to sit and focus and not think about what needs to be done and what happened today and what’s going to happen tomorrow. I force myself to meditate and it does help me feel better.

I journal and write poetry, I play music. Kind of more on that softer side of just digging into who you are, I really take time to listen to my body and know what certain things mean. I don’t know if that makes any sense but there are just days where I need to pay more attention to what that means and what’s happening in my head. I need to let myself cry more. I know it’s okay to let it out and say today sucked and I just need five minutes to let it out and I’m fine. I don’t do that stuff enough.

But again, it’s really what works for you. A lot of the stuff I’m saying is not healthy and I know that. That’s something we all struggle with and we all have coping skills or lack-thereof that are not helpful. I think that’s a piece of figuring out who you are though and at the core of it, again, that journaling and meditation, and just checking in. I’ve really made it a point as well, for little things not to bother me. Like road rage. I usually get mad at people and I swear or let’s say I have eighteen bags of groceries in my hand and I drop my keys. Of course, I let like thirty-six f-bombs out (laughing) but I’m trying really hard to be like, “You know, that’s only going to make me mad, ruin my day and change my energy. Why would I do that? Why would I waste these ten seconds of being upset on myself? That’s not treating myself fairly and it’s not worth ruining my day.” I’m just trying to make more of a point to do it.

And at the core of that, you have to love it. To endure some of those icky days, you have to love, be passionate about and believe in what you do. I do and like I said, yes you have days where you’re like “This is hard and I can’t hear another story about rape

or see another client lose their life” but knowing that for those times that happen, you’ve still made a difference and you’re still trying and at the end of the day I’m like, “I did the best that I could and that’s all I can ask of myself.” I truly tell myself that every day and I tell myself every day what I’m grateful for. Those things keep me going too.

K: Oh, I love that. You know, the one thing I want to go back to is you said that piece about being strong and about who’s going to do this. I just really appreciate the fact that you were so vulnerable and you shared that. A lot of times, you’re right, we skate over that. And that’s not really helpful because unless we get really real about life, it’s not going to be beneficial for any of us, and so I love that you shared that portion of things.

Self-care, even as a social worker – it’s challenging, isn’t it? Even more so sometimes. But it is hard.

M: Yeah, it is.

K: There’s a practice, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Rachel Hallis at all. For those of you who haven’t, she’s an author. If you have a chance to see her as a speaker, go check her out. She has a blog and all sorts of things. But she has a practice that she does in the morning where she writes five things of gratitude, she writes down her goals and the present tenses if they have happened. So if you go to buy a new house, instead of saying “I want to buy a new house” you would say, “I’m living in my house that I love” or whatever you would want to put. And I love that perspective as well, of talking about it in the present like it’s actually happening, to have that mind shift.

The last thing she does that I really, really appreciate is one step that you can make to get you to your goals that you can do today. That, I think, makes things seem much more manageable – if we’re just going for the one rather than tackling the whole list.

I personally have been starting my days with that. She has journals that you can buy but I just do it in a notebook because she said to do it in a notebook if you can. It has really been very, very life changing for me. For one, keep goals in the front of your mind. But also, just make sure that you’re acknowledging little things that you’re grateful for.

Sometimes I have on there like tea, socks. I’m not kidding. My coat! I’m in North Dakota and it’s cold!! (laughing)

M: Absolutely! And I love that. It can be that simple. When I did treatment foster care it’s like, we tried really hard to give people just what they can handle and make it simple, make it about being mindful and we don’t do it for ourselves. Like you said, it can be

that simple like a coat and like “I accomplished that today and that’s what I set out to do and I did it!” I think that sometimes it can be that small and we can be okay about that.

K: Yes, I would agree. I often encourage clients if they feel that they’re not making progress I’ll say, “Tell me where you were at.” Let’s say I’ve been working with them for three months or maybe six months ago. It doesn’t have to be the amount of time that I’ve been working with them, but tell me where you were at then. Tell me where you’re at now. And a lot of times when they look at where they were compared to where they are now, even those small changes I tell them to hold onto those because that’s going to keep them motivated. We don’t have to fix everything overnight. We just don’t.

M: I’m sure you’ve noticed too that they’re so hard on themselves. I had one client who I think the world of and she relapsed and she was so hard on herself and a lot of things happened because of it. She was honest with me from the get-go. She certainly didn’t have to tell me if she didn’t want to. I just think all she needed to hear was someone to tell her that it’s okay, you know?

And it is okay! It’s like everybody’s going to relapse, don’t worry about it. To your point, just showing her all the progress that she’s made. We’re going to have hiccups. That’s so normal and natural and you’re not perfect and you are going to make mistakes and that’s just a part of the growth and resiliency. Next time, what are you going to do differently? And then we make a plan to go forward and not making them feel badly about that. They already feel bad enough, you know? Sometimes there are bad apples in our professions and not that I haven’t make mistakes. I absolutely have!

What I hear a lot from clients, and you probably do to Kelly, on some of the ways that they’ve been treated by other providers that has completely hindered or squandered their ability to move forward because of the shame or judgement that they have received from someone else in a helping profession or someone that’s supposed to love and support them. It’s so hard to watch that.

K: Yes, I would definitely agree with that. There’s a lot of times that a client may share a situation that happened in their personal life or even when working with another provider and my response is always, “I am so sorry that you trusted that person and that was the response that you got from them. That’s really unfortunate. How an we work together now?”

One other thing it makes me think of now, not just for your client but in general – just follow me here for a moment. I always tell my clients, “Just follow me here for a moment. It has a purpose, I swear! (laughing) So, my son, he’s almost three now, but I was at the park with one of our friends and he fell and I said, “Good recovery!” I didn’t

even think about it because it’s something I say to him often. It’s not something I planned to say. My friend pointed out, “I really like that!” and I started thinking about it and I was like, “Isn’t that what we all want?” We all want someone to just say “Good recovery!”

M: I love that! I think of that too even. Someday when I parent, I have high hopes for myself and think I’ll be great at it-.

K: Absolutely!

M: One of the things I really, really am going to try to do like I did when I did treatment foster care is focus on not what they’re doing wrong, but how they can change their behavior. Instead of saying “don’t run” we say “walk please.” Instead of saying “don’t scream” we say “use your inside voice.” Like focusing on what you want them to do, not on what you don’t want them to do because again, just that negativity or again, to your point of just saying “Good recovery!” They’re kind of different but in the same realm of even how we interact in that way is so important and crucial to their growth and understanding of the positive and negative.

K: I would agree with that. Even as adults it becomes really overwhelming when we’re in negative environments. Even a negative work environment. A lot of times, no matter how hard you try, it feels like you can’t make an impact in that environment if it’s so negative. If we as adults struggle with negativity, in order to help our children, I think it’s really important if we can just keep that in mind. If we can’t do it, how can we hold them to that level?

M: Yeah! Where are they learning that, you know? Or what expectations are we holding for them that we aren’t holding for ourselves.

K: That’s a great way of looking at it, for sure.

***Tune in next week Tuesday when Kelly and Melissa continue their conversation!!***

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