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Nice Girls Don't Watch the Bachelor
Nice Girls Don't Watch the Bachelor

Episode 9 · 1 year ago

Episode 9: interview with Melissa Merrick, CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On Episode 9 of NGDWTB, we talk to Dr. Melissa Merrick, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America, a nonprofit whose mission is to prevent the abuse and neglect of our nation’s children. We not only learn how she manages to juggle the huge responsibilities of work and home life, we also go deep into the Covid-19 pandemic and how it's affecting women and children from working class families.

Hey guys, it's Marissa or leadershipspeaker and author of Lean Out, the truth about women, power and theworkplace, and welcome to episode nine of Nice Girls Don't watch the bachelor,where we discuss all things women and all things work. Today we have DrMelissa Merik on the show, who is the president and CEO of Prevent ChildAbuse America, a nonprofit whose mission is to prevent the abuse and neglect ofour nation's children. She also just happens to be a very dear friend ofmine who I've known since Middle School, and she's a woman I truly admire. I mean she is fiercely smart. She has her bea and psychology andgraduated MAGNA CUM lab from University of Pennsylvania and has her master's and doctoral PhDdegrees in clinical psychology from San Diego State University University of California. Before takingover as CEO of prevent child abut she spent almost a decade at the CDCwhere, among many other things, she was a senior, a senior appearepidemiologist. I knew I was going to mess that word up, and leadscientists for the adverse childhood experiences study known as ace she now lives in Chicagowith her husband and two adorable children. As a side note, she's justan amazing person, someone who has a rare combination of strength and warmth withboth as a leader and a friend and perhaps most importantly, she is alwaysmy number one go to dance partner for any old school hiphop or Miami BaseDance Parties. We've been known to pull over on the side of the roada time or two and go full Wayne's world, to ODB, to livecrew all that stuff. But we'll save those stories for another day and onthis episode we'll talk to Melissa about not only how she manages to juggles tohuge responsibilities at work with the craziness at home, but we get into somereally deep and interesting points about how the pandemic is affecting women and children fromworking class families. So with that, let's get right into it. DrMelissa Merrick, thanks for being on the show today. Very excited for ourconversation all. Thanks for having me, Marissa. Yeah, of course.So a recent topic not only on nice girls don't watch the bachelor, buton every news outlet and social media conversation practically everywhere, is the stress ofmanaging it all in the wake of covid nineteen. So today we're first goingto talk about you as a person, as a mom, as a CEOand president and and as a friend and all the roles that you play,and then later on we'll move into the incredibly important work that your organization isdoing to help children and families. So we'll start with the fact that youhave two young kids, a huge job, a husband, then friends. Youmove to a brand new city not so long ago. At the riskof sounding Cliche, I do have to ask how have you been managing itall and what did that look like pre and post pandemic? Because you weren't. You're now in Chicago, but you weren't. They're very, very longbefore this whole thing started. So tell us about that home or so bigquestions managing it all. I don't even know that I can say that I'mdoing that right. I'm doing the best that I can and I think that'swhat we are all doing in this crazy time. You know, I'm reallystruck by the fact that parenting is hard any day of the week, inany time in our country or in her history, but particularly now, parentingduring the global pandemic during the time of acute civil and racial unrest, inthis time of physical distancing and you know, it's more important than ever that westay emotionally and socially connected. These are powerful protective factors for parents andfor kids. And recognizing all the extra...

...that you mentioned, you know,having moved to Chicago just about fourteen months ago from Atlanta, so really don'thave any, you know, real social support here in Chicago. It thestress is real. So, you know, pats off to every mom and familyand dad, everyone trying to do this unprecedented thing and unprecedented times.And you know what I've learned, for just for me and my own mentalhealth, is like even the premise of managing it all or having it all, I kind of think that's a farce. I kind of think it's like doingthe very best we can do and it is about you know, someonelike me, I tend to be type A. I probably know what they'retype a women, maybe on this call to today, like but not likeyou, molest, but you know that that you're used to being a highachiever, you're used to being able to do everything at like a really exceptionallevel and in this time I'm just struck by the humility that it really bearsright in this time like that. Actually, I don't think any of us canbring our best selves to parenting and to our work and to the endemicand navigating, you know, like is it's safe for me to go tothe firstry store? Or you know, oh my gosh, that partitisant ofa mask, and you know, it's just it's insane. I remember astory. I don't remember how long ago this was, but maybe it wasin Chicago last year. Maybe it wasn't when we were together and Montak acouple summers ago, but you we're talking about the fact that you were likeclass mom or you were Z yeah, the room mom, and I justlooked at you. I'm like why? Because you have such a big job. I mean you're traveling normally, you are managing a million things. Andthen, Oh, I know it was when I saw you in Atlanta andwe are talking about the stress and I was like that's an easy one tocut off from the top, moless, and but there's it's hard. It'shard because of the guilt. I think it seems easy to take those thingsoff of your plate right, especially when your plate is so full. Butyes, I've always talked about this as my own kind of working mom guilt, and I think all mom's, all parents, all women, we haveour own things that just, you know, build guilt or whatever, and wegive other people Greece and we don't always give them our series to ourselves, you know. And so true for me. It was always like thepurauing organic baby food and freezing it in between nursing and like, oh,there's a medical benefit up to a year. I have to achieve it for ayear and I miss my baby's first steps because it's, you know,so I think that I I was at whole foods is out vegetable story.Yeah, well, my husband doesn't let me forget that one. You know, every time I do sign up to be room mom or do some extrathing that really I do because it brings me, you know, for fulfillment, right, yeah, me, like, you know, it seems like somethingI can control, so I might as well do it. So Ithink it fills other buckets for me, but he always reminds ends me,Oh this is why you miss lily's first steps. Were about the organic babyfood. That really doesn't matter, you know, we're whatever. So Ithink it's hard. It's really hard. And I think again, if it'snot room mom, it's something else that we're always oh yeah, adding minewas lunch mom. So I volunteer for being lunch mom, which takes upabout three hours on the day. You volunteer because you're not only serving lunchto your kids class or serving into the whole school. So I would spendabout fifteen minutes seeing my kids while they ate lunch and then two hours andforty five minute and I would be so resentful the entire time. And thoseare one of the things. Like I...

...just had to force myself to letit go. And but it took a few years and might have might sayI just got the you know request, you know, can you be virtualroom mom, you know, and wanting people to sign up, and Iwill say that I had an intervention with myself. I did not it goodfun. Good for you. We I wish we had like a snap's likesomething on the podcast is like a clap. I'm very, very happy to hearthat. The other you can always call me, by the way,if you need an intervention. Yeah, but the other story, I remember. This is from Chicago last year, when we were joking about I waslike admitting to you one of my sins. It was I spent all this moneyat the grocery store, CBS, and I don't have like one ofthose discount cards or points, and and I was saying to you every timethey asked me, I feel like I just want to be like, Idon't have time to fill out the form and I don't know. And youinterjected. You're like, I don't even have time to have this conversation withyou at the cash register right now, and we were that was like onelittle like it was like our confession. Oh my God, you know,we I don't have my CVS card, and I know Eric always gives mea hard time about that. He's like you could have saved a dollar.I'm like you know. Well, I know, Marissa, and that samevisit, I think you know, we were talking just about being moms andworking and just being so busy and so crazy and being so happy that workkind of you know, it coincided that you were in Chicago and I wasin Chapago so we could actually need and, you know, talk and like havea drink and not feel this guilt for one moment. But I rememberUS talking. You know, I am a child psychologist by dreaming, andyou were asking me, I don't know, some kind of tips or something aslike I don't have any tips for you. But you gave me suchpowerful tips in that conversation. You said, Melissa, get a weeded blanket andget and get some noise canceling headphones and you said that those noise cancelingheadphones, of course you could still hear your kids if they were in likesome kind of, you know, real pain or trouble, but it reallyjust helped to take the edge off. Yeah, it really just helped totake the EDJOB. And I have to tell you so. You know myChristmas list last year. I think my my fatherinlaw bought it for me,and I will tell you confessional is that I still have not opened that box. It's been a wholest year of which one the way to blanket, no, the weighted blank and I use every single day any time I have amoment. But the noise canceling headphones I have not even taken with them outof the box yet. The struggle and I know that they're probably going tobe so what I need to take a little bit of the edge off.But anyway, we're always learning and growing and trying to do better. Sothe noise canceling headphones I want to talk about for a second, and that'sif you heard wrestling in the background, it was because I was reaching intomy drawer because I have them next to me at all times, and showingthem to Melissa. This is my biggest parenting tip in the world because,first of all, I am extremely sensitive to noise. It's like painful whenthey're when I can't control the noise in my environment, which is the definitionof what it's like to have three kids at home. It's uncontrollable and there'sconstant, constant noise and fighting and all this. So I bought and thebrand, I think, is very important. So maybe this is a good timefor you to check this if you got the right kind, because Idid a lot of research in this area, and the VIC firth, the iceefirth, their drummer headphones, so they protect your ear, they suctionaround, they protect it for the sound of loud drums and it is changedmy life. It makes me a better mom and a better person because youcan still hear your kids, but it just takes the edge off their whiningand their voices and ter fighting and all...

...the random noise they make. Imean, especially with Homeschool, I cannot survive without them. So I'm sohappy you brought you brought that up so tall. It's all the listeners outthere, all seven of you listening to this right now. Vic Firth,noise canceling headphones are life changing and if you do one thing as a mom. They're expensive, but they're worth every penny and they last forever and Ithink that also, you bringing that up really shows how important I think itis too, and this is pre pandemic again, but do those girls trips, because that is the first thing, I think that goes by the waysideand I think it's so healing. I you know, we reconnect it.So Melissa and I know each other from middle school, but there was aboutfifteen years will we really didn't see or really catch up much, and thenwe were originally going to go on a cruise. It was a pit bullcrews. Yes, pit pull the are from Miami. We are from itright, three hundred and five, and pit bull has this probably like apower and I need six crews. Yeah, and we were going to do thatand then I remember I couldn't do it last minute, but you wentwith debby. So yeah, and Dj last from power and music was there'sso you're right, president, and CEO prevenial of East America getting down andthe pit bull cruised Dj Las. It's a great visual. But anyway,we did sort of resume seeing each other by going on these trips and they'reso restorative and they I don't know, they heal my soul and it's oneof the first things that goes offfull list with all the things we have todo. So a hundred percent it's the it's the connections that that we letslip, but it's also even just the self care for ourselves, which ispart of personal of the girl's trips or whatever, whatever brings you peace andjoy and whatever. As mom I mean, it's so important that we take timefor that. But it's the mommy guilt. It's also figuring like you'reso many other things on your plate that you have to do. That's liketaking a moment for yourself seems like something that that is not important, butit's so important because we know that our kids. They learn how to copefrom US, number one. Number two, it helps with our relationships with witheverybody, but even, you know, with our own children. So sometimes, you know, we won't, you know, take those thirty minutesto watch to show or take a deep breath or take a run outside orwhatever it is thinking that, oh, why you have such limited time withmy kids. But the truth is that will actually help our attachment and ourrelationship for our kids if we're doing that. It for so I couldn't agree onoff with whatever. You know, the girls trips. I missed themso much. But you know, in this virtual space it's like, well, how we need to stay most only and socially connected, whether it isvia platforms like this or zoom or phone or whatever, but it's so easyto let that slip, you know. Yeah, and one thing that Itry and use. I talk about this in Le Now, but I findit very useful when I'm making decisions about whether I'm going to spend my timeon something like a girl's trip. I imagine myself at eighty years old andI think about at eighty and I'm looking back on my life, what's goingto be the stuff of my life that I remember and then I'm so happyI did well, a pit bull cruise. I'm sorry, but it's one ofthose things that you and Wie are now going to be able to talkabout forever and you'll never regret, at eighty, doing that stuff. Andyou know you're the stress of everything right now, from that perspective seems lessoverwhelming. So, like I was watching a video at the kids last nightof them. They were like four and six or whatever, and it startedout this cute thing that erupted into an...

...enormous fight with screaming, all onvideo and the three of us are cracking up watching it and I thought tomyself in that moment I was so defeated I wanted to cry and scream.Only a few years later we're watching it and it's funny. So when thingslike that happened now, when I'm at my wits end, I kind ofthink, Oh, in a few years, I really put myself there. SoI think that helps when I'm debating between spending my time on something thatfeels urgent but isn't really so. Anyway, I remember, I remember that perspectivefrom Your Book and conversations we've had and I think it's so helpful becauseit really is like, you know, sometimes you're in the moment and youjust can't see past that moment. Ra so much going on, especially nowright I mean our country is just heavy every day. Everything you hear onthe news or on TV or even in social media, things that used tobe your release for like fun and nonsense, even those things are heavy. Soit's really hard to like be hopeful and to know that we're going toget past whatever this is right and, yeah, come out better for it, hopefully. But when you really can shift that and think, what wouldmy eating your own self, you know, think about this moment, they wouldcrack up or they would, you know, be like I can't believeyou were strussed about that, you know. So right, it's very well that. Yeah, it is one thing that I'm struggling with his virtual school, and very, very much so, because my son, who is twelve, really needs the structure and accountability of in person school and that has fallento me and I wasn't good about that when I was in school. Soit's it's like the blind leading the blind and and I find that stress lhow are you managing with virtual are your kids doing virtual for yeah, firstof all, they're doing virtual and it is total chaos, just like you'redescribing. I mean, I wish more than anything that my kids could bein school and that I could feel like my kids were safe from school.Right, and this is the struggle. There's no one hundred percent certainty ever, but certainly now right. So it's kind of like as a mom,and I will just share like for me, you know, our school district wasgoing to return in person and up until it maybe a week before schoolwas going to start, they said, well, parents can choose. Ohmy goodness, the excruciating stress of having to choose. Yeah, and Iwill say like every day I was making a different decision. You know,my son, like your your son, you know, it sounds like youknow, would really thrive with structure. Structure I cannot provide at home whileI'm working, my husband's working, my daughter's also schooling for from home,but he's also asthmatic. So I feel like this like extrong with Oh myGosh, how can I take this risk and how do I minimize risk?And the best thing that happened for me and my family, and I knowthat not everyone feels the same. But the best thing was that they justmade the decision. Know, the whole school district is going virtual and itreally took I'm so thankful that someone else made the decision. And that's notto say that we shouldn't have our own choices and and everybody's choice. Youmake the best choice for your family. But for me it was so difficultto feel like I was making the right choice, and I think this isagain the pressure that's upon us, like thinking you have to do you haveto make the perfect choice, or the truth is we can just do thebest that we can do. We can make the best choice for our family, for our circumstance at that moment. Right and my choice may change whengiven the choice in the future. But yeah, and recognizing that you can'tcontrol everything by making a good choice, like if you make a there's nochoice that's going to make everything perfect in...

...the end. There's no such thing. So, speaking of choices, you made a big choice about a yearand a half ago, I suppose, maybe longer, to leave the CDCand take this huge role as CEO and president of Prevent Child Abuse America.How has that transition been for you? What what has has been the biggestdelight, surprise challenge? Just talk to us about that. Well, youknow, even that question makes me thinks maybe I have difficulty making choices,because I I was, you know, it was so excruciatingly difficult to makethe choice. You know, any time I thought, okay, I hada great job, a great role, I understood my sphere of influence andgovernment and this was a little bit of an unknown. But you know,being that it's nonprofit and national organization such, you know, a presence and abilityto do things differently and more comprehensibly, that also came with such great,you know, promise and opportunity, and so I really, on thefront end, lost a lot of sleep over it. Really had it likethat pit in my stomach that I think I'm having again now when I thinkabout virtual school and that kind of thing. But the truth is, once Imade the decision, I have just been so at peace and so thankfulfor this tremendous opportunity. I feel like I'm right where you need to be. I'm able to do things that, frankly, you just can't really door call for in government. Right I can call for the kinds of policysolutions like economic supports for families that would help take the Ed job, takea little of the stress off, help families be more present for their kidsand really engage in child abuse sent a box for men in a way that, like, I just really couldn't before. So it's been just delightful the peoplethat I've met, the pioneers and this network. You know, wehave a nationwide state chapter network. They also have an evidence based home visitingmodel called Healthy Families America. We help about seventyzero families a year and thatkind of direct service, in addition to policy and norms change efforts, it'sjust all very exciting and I'm just so thankful and and you know, afunny thing, but a true thing that I that I often say, isthat it's just not warring, it's just I always have something to do,a new challenge and new opportunity to grow, different kinds of partners, help peoplebe committed to this work like I have spent my entire career committed tothis work. So it's just really a really joyful time for me, evenespecially now, where the work and child abuse in about prevention, is aboutsupporting families before they find themselves in crisis, so that when, Oh, let'ssay they're in a global pandemic and their parenting, they have more ofthe skills, more of the resources, more of the supports to really helpthem do that in a really positive way for the kids. Well, that'sa great segue into my questions about the work itself, because with people beinghome with their kids all day and the threats to employment, and I meanI so much of the public discourse right now when it comes to women ison professional women in the corporate world. One, as an entrepreneur starting myown business, I have a little envy, I have to tell you, becausein that world, most people like you know in my sort of network, I suppose, if you have a job like that, you're getting apaycheck every two weeks regardless, but so many aren't, and so many workingclass or lower working class women I think about, like, how do theygo to work if they have little kids...

...and they're already in a position thatmakes them vulnerable? This just has, I mean the heartbreak I can have. What what is this been like in so far as the ability to intervene, versus, prevent and all that stuff when it comes to child's abuse.I feel like this is not as much in the headlines as it should be, and maybe maybe I'm maybe I'm just not on the new I don't readthe news that much, but what are your thoughts on that? Yeah,I know it's really not as public as it should be, because the truthis right now we are seeing an unprecedented number of stressors for families, andyou've named some of them. You know, income difficulties and challenges, lost job, housing, instability, no access to childcare, let alone affordable childcare. All of these things, even in a normal time, without a globalpandemic and all the you know, stress and fear that that also brings.Even in a normal time, any one of these things can put kids atrisk, and it doesn't mean that it's a bad mom or a bad family, it's definite are stressed out. And so sometimes it does. It's difficultin the moment of you know, fighting siblings or virtual school navigation or whatever, you're trying to also work where you're trying to, you know, figureout what's next, to really be level headed and to be calm and,you know, bring your best self to your kids. I mean that's youknow, back to the joke of the noise canceling have not no, that'sreal. It's like it just takes a little bit of the edge off.And this is what our policies can do year round. Because you're right,we have the tremendous fortune of you know, I'm mostly working from home. Icome in now to the Office for a mental health day. You know, that used to be when I would stay home. Now I come tomy office. So I'm here in my office now because I knew we hadto talk. I needed some kind of peace and some kind of quiet,you know, and my kids are off a school today. Oh my gosh, I didn't even know that today was a holliday. You know this kindof thing. But you're right, this is the time that stress is sohigh. So we we have to also have our protective factors for kids andfour families be high. To those are things like emotional and social support.This is about economics supports for families, whether it's like tax credits or childcaresubsidies. These things have evidence of helping prevent child to be CINNEGLEC. Sowhat I see in the headlines when I if child abuse is even in theheadlines, but I see is, oh my gosh, those kids are homewith parents and teachers and school and doctors are not seeing these kids. Ohmy gosh, they are being maltreated. And that I just really for theseven or ten listeners today and hopefully many anymore. I think this is wherewe need a narrative shift. Most families, even when they're stressed out, evenwhen they're overwhelmed, they are not hurting their children. Okay, butwe need to be in the business of helping support families before they find themselvesin crisis, not the current system that we have that once you know akid is identified and you know they have risk factors, then you know theyget involved in child well there and then we either remove kids or then weprovide services, you know, in those families. Why can't we help familiesbefore right find themselves in crisis? It's kind of like the pandemic exposed howbroken, how broken things are. That's right. Yeah, and a lotof kids go to like we talk about us as parents, finding relief fromthe county. A lot of kids in this country, I'm sure, goto school every day to get relief from their own parents too. That's theirescape. You know, you hear these horrible stories about kids growing up inreally toxic, abusive homes and there one...

...respite is the ability to leave andgo to school. So I think, you know, that's another perspective shiftI rarely, rarely hear about. It's similar. I'm going to go offon a side note here, but it kind of reminds me of how Ifeel about health care in this country. So people think about healthcare and Ias starting my own business right, I now understand the enormous cost of healthcare for me and my kids and thank God my ex husband had, youknow, works for a company where the kids are on his insurance. ButI have to pay for my insurance if I had to pay for theirs aswell, even just covering mine. While I'm starting my own business. Thisisn't just this is an economic issue if we want this country to be healthyand have businesses start. Any people, I feel like, are held hostageto their corporation for healthcare and I think that's bad for people, it's badfor the economy, it's bad for new business, it's bad for everybody.In a way, it reminds me of what you're talking about with childcare.Right. Childcare isn't just about some charitable gesture for mom's it's also an economicand mental health issue. And you know, women cannot participate in the economy tothe same degree as men when they are constrained by childcare. And again, that's why I take issue when our current public discourse on women just focuseson, you know, upper middle class professional women. Yes, there's issuesthere, but they're they're more profound ones. Are these underlying systemic childcare issues thataffect probably the larger portion of women in society and I and therefore youknow, would affect sort of, I would imagine, have a an impacton child abuse as well. Is that kind of parfect or? No?No, no, I'm so thankful that you brought them up, because itis it's these systemic these policy solutions that are the roots to many of theproblems that we observe. So I would say from a public health perspective,and really public health is what we as a society do collectivity to assure theconditions in which all people can be healthy. Right. So it's if we could, as kids and families, have healthcare, have affordable childcare, havehigh quality early education, have economic exploits have all of this strong foundational stuff, they will go on to be healthier. What does that mean? That meanswe will have less downstream costs. Right, we will have more prosperity, we will have less crime, less crime, we will have I meanthis is the premise of a public health approach to a problem. Is,how do you prevent it in the first place? Right, and it's thesame policy solutions that, frankly, would have helped people early in this pandemicto shelter in place. Right, if they had economic supports, if theydidn't have to worry about, you know, healthcare and housing and all of these, if these were just basic, these people would have been all ofus, not these people. All of us would have been able to stayat home, we would have been able to do the true public health workand probably we could have been past this, you know, current crisis. Right. Yeah. Also, when we did that, if we had economicsupports with families, we to have kids that don't experience child abuse and neglectand the same proportion. So it's like the same solutions can give us amyriad of positive health and wellbeing outcomes. And I write and I think thatone of the challenges with that is that...

...people in that don't face any ofthe issues that were born into some, you know, a a more afamily and an economic status that they have an experienced the kind of things thatyou know, women and families do in the the lower strata of the economy. I think when you're born with I hate to use the word privilege,it's so loaded today, but what I mean is I think people view theseas like, oh, we don't want a welfare state, or like giveso much money the government, the government can handle. I understand why that'sthe perspective, but I I heard the other day of video. It waslistening to a youtube video about some philosopher and Gosh, I really wish Iremember who it was, but he offered this mental exercises, thought exercise whereyou imagine that you're just about to be born right and you have absolutely noidea into what circumstance. You have an equal chance of being born into toan unwedded single mother in the projects or into you know, Bill Gates asyour Father Right now, and your chances are equal that it could be anyof those. So it's like a lottery. Okay, think about that. No, what you would want that right, because you have no control over whatcircumstances you're born into. So doesn't that mean that some circumstances are inherentlybetter than others? To be born into and of true equitable society where everybodyhas the same chance? Doesn't mean everyone has the same outcome, but atleast they have the starting point right, that it's hard to be against thesame for all of us to start out the same starting point right, andin order to start out with the opportunities regardless of where you're born. Imean, that's what we're talking about here. It's giving people the fighting chance tobecome the person, the bet, you know, the potential that theyhave to be fulfilled in this world. So I guess I just think aboutthat thought exercise when I hear the opposing viewpoints in my head about the welfare, say of the government. You know, you know, we don't want topay more taxes, all that stuff. It's it's just more about giving peoplea fair chance when they start out in life. And putting yourself ina totally different circumstance and from an imagination standpoint, being born into poverty,being you know, you suddenly realize it's not it is not. It's reallynot fair. And these are children and they depend on us, as thisis society, to give them the opportunities in our country is certainly wealthy enoughthat we should be able to do that. It was a little bit of ourside Rant, but actually don't think it's a side notomers. I thinkit's like so integral into the narrative ship that we need in this country because, yes, it's a mental exercise, but that is what happens, right. It makes me think of this wonderful book. It's also an exhibit.It was a photographer and he wanted to set out to take pictures around theworld of children's bedrooms and of course he learned quickly and with a lot ofhumility, that many kids don't have bedrooms right. I mean it just dependson where they live, where they were born. So the name of thebook, and I encourage people to look at I find a very profound andI took my very young kids, probably a little too young, but Itook them to an exhibit at the CDC Museum had on this topic, butit was called where children sleep. And...

...what was really incredible was the onlypayment for, you know, taking these pictures was for so many of thekids, it was what they got was a portrait of themselves, which manyof them did not have, you know, the ability to afford. They didn't, you know, know, photographers that could comment take a picture ofthem and they could put whatever they wanted with them in their photograph. Andthen they asked every kid, like you know, what they want to bewhen they grow up in such all I know is that even this is probablyfive or six years ago now. So my eleven year old currently a nineyear old. They still talk about it and they were very young when theysaw it. They said, cash remember that kid who he he lived ona mine field but he wanted to be a doctor. And do you rememberthat kid who you know? And they just remember and we taught we usethat and this mental exercise kind of as a frame to really understand that weare no better than anyone else. Right. We are lucky to have been bornin the zip code that we were born into, in the family thatwe were born into. And this is not minimizing parents rules in raising,you know, well adjusted children. This is just about if pretive. Yeah, it's perspective. It's important perspective and that's why I think part of whatwe need to do to your first point about, you know, where wein a child welfare state or, you know, we don't want to justmove the hand outs and this kind of, you know, concern is really forpeople that don't maybe have the experience that they struggled or that, youknow, the odds were stacked against them, to help them understand the science insomething that does speak to them, right, like you have on sitehigh quality childcare, you will have moms and dads who returned to work aftermaternity or parental leaves. I mean, it's just science. Right. Ifyou you will, you know, decrease your attrition by fifty percent. Youwill make more money if you have families that are better supported. Right.So, yeah, sometimes people ask me like but Alissa, you're so committedto this work, like don't you get mad that you have to like makeit about money or are a lie or whatever, because that's how the worldwere wrapped you and if you appeal to people with what they are interested in. So I think that's how you make yeah, it's how you make winwin situations that move like that's what trade is, right. Like when twent trade was the beginning of civilization because you could figure out a way tosatisfy two people self interest. So it's very basic economics. A lot ofpeople, I guess you know, see it as some sort of moral issue, but it's really not. I love the story where children sleep. Iwrote that down. I'm going to get the book because my kids know Isometimes shove it down their throats too much. Is Turn in terms of perspective.I try, you know, we live in a very rich town,not that I'm rich, but everyone else's, and I always like try and showthem things on TV that expose it totally different or in real life too. And my younger son is taken to he's like very into and this isreally all on his own. You know, it's just the kind of person heis. This is just kind of a funny anecdote. The other dayhe took a box and he created aided. He told me it's called a charitybox and he wanted to collect money for the homeless. So he looksonline. He says, Oh, you know, I want to find ahomeless shelter. So he finds friend and he goes. But mom, thatone only had three stars. I thought that was like so I writ unintentionally. I at like, Oh, it only had three stars in the Googlesurgersils over the homeless shelter, like it just shows. So it's like,so he had the the heart to do that, but they're so disconnected fromwhat they're truly even, you know, yeah, colecting money for so it'salso it's such a different time than when...

...you and I grew grew up.Right, we didn't have Internet, so that, you know, no,no, Mar things was so public and you know, all of these kindsof additional challenges. But it's this access to information, right, and sohe's growing up in a time where everything is reading and we have to readreviews and we have to cover it over that. And you know, it'sthe same thing about choice, like school choice or whatever. It's like,I know, I grew up, I lived there, so I went tothat school. You know, it's not my mom research schools and thought.You know. But there's all this added pressure with more information, and Imean you know this well, given your you know, background and stuff,that it comes with a lot of grade a sandages, but it also hassome unintended consequences to you know, about this disconnection or having to maybe noteven be able to formula your own opinion because it has to be informed byall of these other, you know things. Well, one thing I see thathere is with schools. So Melissa and I went to Public School andday county public schools, which is not known for being the most desirable inthe nation. I think at one year recently it was like the lowest,I'm not sure, and so we had a very different I mean to me, the public schools my kids go to our like private, are like academy, Private School, Boarding School level compared to what we had. And Iam fascinated by the constant talk in the neighborhoods about the schools and the schoolshave to be better. And this is and it's like when you go toa school like we did, you realize, you know, we did well inlife. There's so many people that we graduated with that went on tobe amazing, you know people in the world. But when, like yousaid, you have the opportunity, it's almost like too much information and toomuch competition and you start to worry about all these little things about a schoolthat you know, I know doesn't matter because you know our school. Imean I loved, I love an MB and IMB also had metal detectors forthis. We had to get randomly searched for weapons. In the middle ofclass. The police would come in and they'd search your backpack and wand everyonedown. You know, there was a daycare at our school for the studentswho would babies. You know, there was just like you know, Ibarely even went, but it's aured out. Okay, so you have a soit gives me. It doesn't mean school doesn't matter. I'm obviously Ilive in a school. I live in a school district that's one of thebest in New Jersey beyond, because you know, the schools are important tome. So I'm not down playing it. What I'm saying is the perspective isvery helpful and important. So with that we've gone way over, whichI'm happy about because it meant we had such a good conversation. Is Soappreciate you taking the time to talk to us and you know, really admireand respect all the amazing work you're doing. You're truly one of the women Iknow who I look up to, admire and love as a person anda friend. So thank you, or as I feel the exact same wayabout you. I'm just so thankful to have reconnected with you and just allthe important work that you're doing for all women and for all people. It'sjust really it's exciting and it's just a time that we women have to beloud and be together and and have these conversations. Yeah, and have thedifficult conversation. So thank you for having me. Thank you, Melissa.A bye. Hi,.

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