A powerful advocate and established expert, Dr. Alice Farrell brings her knowledge and experience to this series. Memories of her span back to my childhood when she was one of my Sunday School teachers who always made me feel heard. I smile as she is now a part of my children’s spiritual shepherding. I continue to be amazed at her drive and ability to balance and excel, while bringing forth a full nest of children who are also excelling. Today, Dr. Farrell talks advocacy, showing love, and her children’s accomplishments that she is most proud of. Alice, thank you for allowing us a glimpse into your life in words.
How many children do you have? 8 children and 5 grandsons.
How old are your children? 37, 27, 25, 23, 21, 18, 13, 12
Are you a mom of girls, boys, or both? 4 Boys and 4 Girls (From oldest to youngest – Boy, Girl, Girl, Boy, Boy, Girl, Boy & Girl).
What are 3 things every Mom needs to know?
1 – Mothering is a tool – It is my belief that every Mother needs to know that mothering is a tool that will stretch us physically, mentally, and spiritually, above and beyond our wildest imagination – and can impact existing relationships if not managed well. It can help us grow by opening us up to experiences that show us our areas of vulnerability, while displaying our strengths and talents to ourselves, our children, and to others. It shapes and develops our perspectives about many different topics across the infancy through young adulthood life span. It also affirms and challenges our ability to identify and effectively manage the gambit of emotions that accompanies each stage of our children as well as our development.
2 – Establish and Communicate Family Values – I also believe that it is essential that moms identify the values, beliefs and cultural norms that they have, and that they communicate and reinforce them with their children through words, behaviors, participation in traditional and cultural celebrations, storytelling and other mechanisms.
3 – Establish a traditional and non-traditional support system/network – Lastly, due to the reality that many moms experience isolation, despair, discouragement, loss, grief and depression – before and during pregnancy and post-delivery – it is critical that moms spend time thinking about, and developing, their support system/networks.
How do you show love to your children?
As a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I depend on the Holy Spirit to guide me in parenting my children along with my husband.
As such, I show them my love by teaching them about the Christian faith, showing them compassion and unconditional love, and being firm and strong as I give them support and guidance.
I also show my love for them by remaining focused, motivated, tenacious, assertive and determined in my efforts to support their intellectual, social and emotional, and spiritual development.
How do you make yourself available for your kids?
I make myself available to my children by paying attention to them, and looking for and creating opportunities to engage them in conversations on topics that interests both them and me.
I frequently affirm them and let them know verbally, and through non-verbal cues, that I am available to them. I use life lessons to encourage and help them develop the skills they need to be resilient problem solvers, as well as, to know when to seek support from others.
I also instituted a system with the children who are now young adults, requesting that they tell me when they call if they need my advice, are just sharing information, or just need to vent.
I also practice sending them “quick” texts that states “Mama bear checking in…please let me know that you all are ok.” Soon after, each child would send a text giving me a status update on how they are doing.
When was a time that you had to advocate for your children?
As a professional advocate who has testified at the Connecticut legislature on numerous children and family matters, and supported parents at various school related and provider meetings, I have advocated for my children all of their lives; whether it was related to their academic or medical needs.
I am a firm believer that one of the most important roles I have as a Mother is to know the rights of my children, and our rights as parents. I seek out this knowledge so that I can prevent violation of these rights and strategize on how to mitigate any negative impact that occurs as a result of Service Providers’ and or Educators’ neglect or deliberate actions.
I am also very conscious of the fact that institutional racism, systemic oppression, biases and prejudices exist, and that microaggression is often condoned by many individuals who work for institutions that provide services to my children.
As such, I believe that we must ensure that our children develop advocacy, negotiation, and communication skills so that they can take an active role in shaping and managing their experiences in diverse settings.
What are some of your children’s accomplishments that you are most proud of?
I am proud of what God is doing in and through our children in their academic experiences and careers, and am especially glad that each of them knows the Lord.
Our oldest son received his Masters’ and Doctorate degrees in Physical Therapy from Howard University and is practicing in multiple states.
Our oldest daughter who was awarded the “2020 Most Promising Engineer Award in Industry” at the BEYA conference, received her Masters’ and Doctorate degrees in Chemical Engineer and Material Science.
Our 3rd child has a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Educational Leadership and is pursuing a second Master’s degree in Education Policy and Leadership.
Our 4th child is graduating this Summer with his Master of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering and is pursuing his Doctorate in Aerospace Engineering.
Our 5th child who was his High School class Valedictorian and a TedX Springfield presenter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKpN781IrY4 will begin his senior year Fall 2020 where he is pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.
Our 6th child is a freshman in College pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology.
The 7th child is in 7th grade and plans to attend college to pursue a degree in business and engineer, and our 8th child who is in 6th grade plans to attend college for business management.
I am all the more grateful for the women (like Dr. Farrell) who have chosen to join me on this journey of transparency and support – ESPECIALLY in addition to the life adjustments and loads we are all experiencing in the midst of COVID-19! I can’t thank you enough.
Connection and support are vital to our growth and survival as humans and as Women. I have met many Mothers (myself included at one point) who are going through the trenches and carrying loads solo. This has often led to depression, loneliness, isolation, and such guilt and shame in “not measuring up”.
My prayer is that the women who lay eyes on “Our Life in Words”, will be encouraged, enlightened, and all the more hopeful.
For the Moms,
This series is for the Moms! In honor of Mothers, this May will be chock-full of real stories of Motherhood from Moms of all ages, in all stages. Join me as I feature different Moms (on a weekly basis) who will so graciously be sharing their life in words.
If you missed the previous feature, catch it here! Stay tuned for more stories of triumph, valleys, faith.
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