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Epic and Colossal Memories, the kingliness of things by Susie Spain

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The Olympics is a time where our whole world comes all-together in peace -- not war -- and Valentine's Day is an annual festivity of the heart and love -- a very great and kingly times for all of us, all at once in this winter of 2014.

The Olympics is a time where our whole world comes all-together in peace, not war. Every world leader stands together they smile and they wave and they actually seem humbled and relieved to find a moment of humanness. Every country marches in the opening ceremony dressed and proud to be part of a journey so big, so genuine and so completely optimistic. It's the only time we see a Canadian coach help a fallen Russian skier find his way to the bottom of the slopes in one piece to finish with dignity... and suddenly, his victory and this experience becomes all of our experience as we watch identifying with the wish that human to human kindness would prevail. It seems that at the Olympics, all of our victories are of the soul. Some we win, some we lose, but still, we are all together rooting each other on in fair play and united in sentiment of heart.

Valentine's Day is about pink and red and white shades of love. It's about sweetness, it's about sugar, and it's about actually any kind of love at all. Valentine's time reminds us about who we love and how thankful we are for them. We get to spend weeks thinking about how to tell all the people that we care about so much that we do in fact love them. Parents give kids valentines, kids make valentines for each other, their family, their friends, and their teachers as a school project too. They spill sparkles, they glue their fingers, they laugh and giggle out loud, and they make tokens to be sure they can express every bit of their love straight from their hearts. They make cards saying "Be mine forever, you and me," and "I love you more."

Gift stores and flower stores sell lots of pretty presents, there are gems and jewels of gold and silver, and some of them crystal too. There are long stemmed roses, boxes of chocolates and there are picture frames everywhere in hopes of creating those memories and those moments that we never ever want to forget. And then of course finally and truly most classically there are lots and lots of cards with beautiful sayings of love on every single one. Honestly it's even about self-love. It's big.

The epic and colossal story of humanity is always how we stay true to what we show the world in the big picture and how we live with ourselves and our family in the small story. The golden thread and the kingliness of all things should always be that how we behave for the world to see is the same as how we behave when no one is looking.

According to a government child welfare fact sheet:

Neglect is the failure of a parent, guardian, or other caregiver to provide for a child's basic needs. Neglect may be: 1. Emotional (e.g., inattention to a child's emotional needs, failure to provide psychological care, or permitting the child to use alcohol or other drugs). 2. Physical (e.g., failure to provide necessary food or shelter, or lack of appropriate supervision).

Further cited under the neglect factor from the above link is substance abuse, specifically as seen in the following point,

Substance abuse is an element of the definition of child abuse or neglect in many States. Circumstances that are considered abuse or neglect in some States include the following: 1. Selling, distributing or giving illegal drugs or alcohol to a child. 2. Use of a controlled substance by a caregiver that impairs the caregiver's ability to adequately care for the child.

Two days ago, in one of our Angels at Risk programs, a middle school child who had gotten in trouble for drinking on campus said in the most honest of ways: "My parents drink all the time; I don't understand that I'm not supposed to drink too."

We also heard recently about parents regularly sharing (with their kids) their marijuana lollipops purchased in the local dispensaries, all in light of wanting to be together and unite.

And after all, it is news, cited at TMZ, "Justin Bieber's father [allegedly] helped facilitate the insanely stupid moves of his son that landed him in jail".

Time and time again, we hear about parents letting kids and their friends celebrate occasions like birthdays, graduations, parties, proms, homecomings and vacations with alcohol and whatnot. And, at this point, with all of whatnots and whatevers, who knows anymore.

ER rooms are regularly visited by parents carrying their or other kids through the emergency doors, absolutely stunned and panicked because they have no idea what their child has taken, and it most likely was at an unsupervised party of one of their friends.

An Angels at Risk middle school program was implemented many years ago because a young child had a seizure from a drug overdose and it was the other kids that called 911 not the parents supervising in the other room. Scary.

It's simple and it's hard and it's really not anybody's fault, but why can't parents be educated to love their kids by protecting them from the dangers hidden in drugs and alcohol use and abuse the same way they celebrate and watch courageous examples of human spirit and unity in the Olympics and celebrate a month of the heart and love every single year in valentine's day.

Epic and colossal memories are beautiful and complicated. They are anything and everything from a priceless Olympic moment that moves the country together as it watches, to a Valentine's card that saves somebodies heart for that day and forever, or an emergency room visit of a child that a parent never forgets, to an eighth grader who has seen his parents drinking since the day he was born.

The wish is that whatever the story and whatever the memory, that we all continue to strive for that unity of love and heart found both in the big picture and in our small stories.

The kingliest fact would be that parents should protect their kids from drug and alcohol use and abuse because with drugs and alcohol AND kids, there is no peace... there is no unity... there is no love -- there is only war.