I Marched yesterday.
I walked with my sisters, my daughters, and with mothers and fathers.
I walked with those who could not walk without a cane and those who could not see. I walked with thousands of women wearing pink hats, children carrying signs, and strong men supporting the women in their lives. Memories of the women who helped raise me to be an activist, a social worker, a visionary and a dreamer flooded my mind.
I walked for all the women who taught me how to stand up, speak up, shout out and act out for those who cannot.
I remembered helping my mother deliver meals to the homebound. I can still hear her voice urge me out of the car to deliver meals to those less fortunate, despite my fear and uncertainty of their needs. I heard her voice telling me to get over my fears, there are people who need our help and love.
I remember my mom’s dear friend, Edna May, sitting at my dining room table passionately telling me about her work at Planned Parenthood. I listened to her stories about how Planned Parenthood provided basic health care to women who were unable to afford it. I learned that Planned Parenthood’s work saves lives. Edna May explained the guidance she gave her clients who needed help.
I remembered the first time I protested across from the Russian Embassy pleading for the release of Natan Sharansky a Soviet Refusenik. (He was a Soviet Jew, who was denied permission to emigrate by the Soviet Union in the 1980’s). I was inspired and felt powerful, standing up for what I believed. Our presence made a difference. My father warned me to be careful, to stand up for what I believed in but not to get arrested!
I remembered taking a train from NJ to Washington,D.C. in the late 1980’s for the Soviet Jewry March. We were protesting for the release of Soviet Jews. That incredible sense of community energized me, and it inspired me to dedicate my life to serving those in need.
Early in my career I supervised the Social Work Program at Bloomfield College. I placed students at the local Planned Parenthood office, confident that they would learn it’s importance. I was never disappointed.
Years later, you could find me standing beside my daughters, marching down 5th Ave in the Israel Day Parade with the parents of Gilad Shalit, a kidnapped soldier, or protesting outside a major American Corporation for doing business with Iran.
Some of the most inspiring moments of my life were listening to my daughter, Gabrielle, standing next to Elie Wiesel across from the United Nations at the Free the Soldiers Rally, demanding freedom for 3 kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Or listening to my daughter, Danielle, tell the world that Iran must not be able to develop a nuclear weapon.
I still hear the power of my girl’s young voices as they captivated audiences and motivate their peers, adults and even a few world leaders.
Social justice is a core value in our home. At times, it is what we did for fun! One of the greatest things I’ve accomplished as a mom has been teaching my daughters the art of caring about something bigger than themselves, teaching them that their voice does make a difference, and that they can be a leader among their peers and the greater community.
As I walked on Saturday, I felt pride in America, the land that allows little girls to grow up to fight for what’s right and to teach new generations to join the fight.
This time is markedly different. It demands we fight with everything we have for everything we believe.
Most of us like, rather need, to feel that we have some control over our lives. With so much at stake, we must stand up and fight. This is my message to every person in the United States Senate: We demand that YOU stand up for women’s rights by refusing to vote for:
The Repeal of the ACA
The defunding of Planned Parenthood
The desecration of women’s reproductive rights or
The rollback of progress on climate change, among others.
Pick an issue. There are so many to choose from.
Me, I am doing what I do best. I am forming a Teen Advocacy Group – hoping to teach a new generation of young women how to find their voice and use it loudly and clearly.
Along with my sisters and daughters, I proudly stand on my mother’s generation’s shoulders, secure in the knowledge that there is nothing we cannot do.
As Helen Reddy said best:
I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an' pretend
'Cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever gonna keep me down again
Oh yes I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman!!!
So – Will you join me?
-Nancy Kislin, LCSW, MFT, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, Parent Educator
Screen Time and Tween’s/Teens Time
A Closer Look...
In six and a half hours, you can:
Or your average tween/teen can be glued to their phone or device for 6 and 1/2 hours every single day. And that’s not including doing any schoolwork or research.
6 ½ hours a day means that your tween/teen
What are kids missing during those hours, days, weeks and months annually?
Your children are not
Did you know that it takes kids three times longer to learn new material when they learn on a screen versus reading from a book and writing the information down on paper?
Recently, I asked a middle school teacher for his impression of the effect technology is having on his students. He shared that prior to the morning homeroom, all the kids are at their lockers with their heads down, staring at their phones. He said it’s quite the compelling sight as kids get their last fix of their devices before they power down. At the end of the day, they run to their lockers and immediately turn on their phones. Some kids sneak phones into the classroom so they can play video games.
If a child is spending 6 ½ hours a day on screen time, the answer is 6 ½ less hours spent learning and growing.
Kids are not developing a strong sense of who they are, getting to know their strengths, and their vulnerabilities. They never learn how to trust their inner judgement as to what is right and what is wrong. And the result, they walk into a party and don’t know how to determine if that the butterflies in their stomach is actually excitement or anxiety. They haven’t developed an internal thermometer to determine if a situation is safe. This is leading to an explosion of anxiety, depression, and inability for kids to self-regulate. These are critical life skills for kids, and the opportunity to practice these skills and get good at them are being robbed by excessive amount of time spent looking down at a device.
Parents you must pay attention and take action.
Change is hard. We all rely on our devices for so many things. We tend to do many of the same things our kids do!
Setting limits and establishing parameters for screen time is a great strategy for families to be more healthy, happy and productive.
Here are some strategies to get a better handle on the time your children spend on their devices:
Take a deep breath, put your phone down and take a look at your kids. Don’t be scared or weakened by a screaming, sullen or upset child – you are the parent and YOU have the power to say no! It’s not too late to make these changes. I have faith that you can do it! Remember the phone/devices is a privilege not a RIGHT!
Now, go spend some time with your children away from technology
and get to know each other!
Nancy Kislin, LCSW and MFT
Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist
Nancy’s Helpful Tips
Guidelines for Handling a Crisis
Most importantly, slow down, Breathe and cherish your family! These are particularly difficult times, but love, nurturing mind & body and remembering to making room for laughter is key!