[E160] How to Advocate for your Child at Church

Episode 160 September 26, 2023 00:36:09
[E160] How to Advocate for your Child at Church
Empowered to Connect Podcast
[E160] How to Advocate for your Child at Church

Sep 26 2023 | 00:36:09

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Show Notes

If you are or have been a part of a church, you know childcare can be a minefield for parents whose children have experienced early trauma, adversity or loss. Well-meaning volunteers can become frazzled not knowing how to help, kids become unsure of what to expect and parents wonder "Is it safe for my child to be here the whole service?" 

Obviously this isn't everyone's experience, but for those who have or might experience some of these factors, we want everyone to be equipped to know how to make church a safe environment for your kids where you can know they're being taken care of well. That's why we brought Anteelah Love into the mix today to help us learn how to advocate for our kids at church! Anteelah talks through everything from an ideal setup, some ideas of how to help your church get started thinking through these issues, ideas to scaffold care as your church becomes equipped - all of this and more is in today's episode with Becca McKay, JD Wilson and our guest, Anteelah Love!

Also - to find out who our HILARIOUS special guest is at our upcoming Global Connection Event: Investing in Hope, to find out how to get tickets and learn all the details about this incredible night, check out our website here

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:04] Speaker A: Welcome to the Empowered to connect podcast, where we come together to discuss a healing centered approach to engagement and well being for ourselves, our families, and our communities. I'm JD Wilson. I'm your host. And today on the show, we bring Becca McKay and Antilia love on to talk about how to advocate for our kids in church. This is very similar to the other conversations we've been having around these different arenas of life and advocating for our kids. In them, there's just some nuances to navigating that church world that do not exist in other spaces. And so we brought Antilia on. Antilo works in the church context part time, also works with empower two, connect part time. And so, in the discussion of how to care for our kids, how to advocate for our kids at church, Antilia gets to work in a pretty unique, pretty awesome church setting where the children's ministry has been completely transformed over the last couple of years by our good friend Paula Powell and Mark Ottinger. And so it's a great conversation for kind of a glimpse into what does trauma informed childcare look like in this particular setting, how it's played out, but also some baby steps of, like, if you are hoping to get to that point within your church context and you're not there right now, there's some good starting points there. Also, if you're just starting out, um, moving to a new place or looking for a church for the first time, or maybe you've just had kids come into your care and now you're trying to rethink how you do things because you've never had to think about some of the things you're thinking about now. Uh, we got you. We're here today with some advice and some conversations, just some good starting points, um, to help guide you on that journey. And so, uh, without any further ado, here they are now. Becca McKay and Antilia love. Well, we are back with Becca McKay and Antilia Love, and we're going to talk today about how to advocate for your kids in church. And this might, you know, obviously, as we start this conversation, one disclaimer I would give is that the church experience is varied. Like, we're going to find, you know, just even saying kids in church or talking about Sunday school, whatever. Some of those words might just invoke that, I don't know, feelings of hurt or frustration, feelings of great joy and admiration and appreciation. Wherever you're coming from today. Like, just know we're just trying to talk about how to advocate for your kids at church. We are not advocating for denominations or one view over the other or anything. Like, we are just trying to help you navigate this place with your kids. And so, um, we. We've all had a. I would say, actually a kind of unique experience within, um, this particular conversation. So we felt like, why don't we kind of share some of the things we talked about and, um, and we'll. We'll bring this to the world, so to speak. And so, um, Antilia is part of our team here at etc. But, um, she's also been a guest on the show several different times. And so you've met her before. But Antilia, for those who are unfamiliar with your work previously, do you want to give just kind of a, you know, quick intro to who you are? [00:03:10] Speaker B: Sure. [00:03:11] Speaker C: Hey, y'all, I'm glad to be back. It's always fun. Um, my name is Antila and I am a mom, a wife I work part time with, empowered to connect, safe and secure. And then the rest of my time I spend at an elementary school here in Memphis. So that's what I do. And then on Sundays, I am a church, which we'll get into that in a little bit. [00:03:44] Speaker A: Yeah. Awesome. Um, so why don't we kind of. Becky, go ahead. [00:03:48] Speaker B: You guys know me, but, um, with this conversation, uh, you may or may not know, I serve, um, with our Sunday school with, like, four and five year olds, and so have served with different ages throughout the years. But currently, like, you know, as we're recording this, just last weekend, I was, uh, you know, teaching some four and five year olds the story of King Solomon. And so as we come to this conversation, just wanted to mention that because it's not something I don't think I've shared before. [00:04:13] Speaker A: Awesome. So Antila and I used to be at the same church on staff together, and I don't know, actually, if we overlapped or not. But before I came over to etc. Full time. And so we've had, I would say, like, when I say a unique church experience, I would say that positively, like, that the experience created for our kids and the structure you're working in now, Antila, like, that's been there for a little bit. Like, it's. It's uniquely helpful. And so why don't we kind of start with this? Like, you know, for. For people who are wondering, like, why would this even be a conversation? Like, why would you need to advocate for your kids in church? Like, you're just going to church, just, you know, tell your kids to mind their p's and Q's, get in there and get out. Why do we need to even have this conversation? Becca? [00:05:06] Speaker B: Yeah, I think it's a good question. Why are, like, what are we talking about here? What's going on? I think the heart of most people, most people who are serving in churches, who are going to churches is man. Don't we want to instill a love of God and other people into our kids? And so we are sharing this common. We may come from different denominations or different traditions, but we share this desire for young people to experience the love of God. And so what happens sometimes is, especially for those who are caring for kids who've experienced some kind of adversity or trauma, or who maybe have some neurodiversity, the structure of church can be pretty overwhelming. If you think about things like sensory needs that we talk about on the podcast a lot, you come into a space that's supposed to be joyful. Well, sometimes it's too loud, sometimes it's too bright. Sometimes it's too crowded. Sometimes, again, we know that there's so many different ways of doing this, but in some churches, kids sit with parents during service. In others, they have children's church, whichever of those is the case for. For kids. We have found in our work that, like, sometimes it's just a struggle. And so the temptation. So you can feel really weak, you can feel really alone. Like, maybe it's just me, maybe it's just us. So just off the bat, we want you to just say, like, we see you, and we know that sometimes just going to church on Sunday, as much as you deeply desire, that just isn't so easy when you think about what your kids need. And so, with that being the case, like, yes, we want to advocate for what our kids need, and we want to be aware of what's available and what's around in our. In our local communities. [00:06:45] Speaker A: Yeah, I think it would be something to note that it's okay to ask for something that might not be there yet if your kids have needs that are. They're not being met in that setting. And so, you know, some of this conversation is really just to be empowering as much as anything else to say, hey, if. If you've got, like, one thing that's happening in Sunday school every single week, and it's. It's tough for your kiddo, outside of that, they're having a great experience, but there's. There's this one component of it, um, that's really hard for them. For whatever reason. Maybe this is a time to have a conversation with that Sunday school leader or with the children's pastor or whoever there is to, to just make them aware, because we don't know what we don't know. And so for a lot, a lot of folks that are in this line of work, Becca mentioned, you know, whether you're a children's pastor, whether you're a volunteer Sunday school, whatever, whatever setting, most people are stepping into that role out of a deep desire to do good and to know that there are kids who are not getting to have that full experience in their care. Most people would want to know that and want to know how they can adapt and adjust to serve everybody who's, who's coming in well. And so one place where we have seen that model pretty well until I have kind of seen that in action at the church that we, that we have been at. And so I would say, antilia, why don't you, if you don't mind, and just kind of laying out how, how things are structured at fellowship within the children's ministry and some of the things that are unique to that setting. [00:08:18] Speaker C: Yeah. So I do have a disclaimer. I am not the one who created this program. We call it the buddy program. A dear friend of mine actually started it, but I have, you know, done, like, a lot of the trainings for the new buddies and helped kind of think about how, you know, this process would work. But really, we, I mean, we start the day with the hopes that every kid can be in the classroom as much as possible. As you mentioned earlier, Becca, sometimes that is not possible, and that's okay. Like, we want to make sure, one, that parents are feeling supported and, you know, their number is not being put on the big screen in, you know, in church or something like that. Like, just like that embarrassing feeling, like, oh, my child might be acting out, and I don't know how to do that, you know? So we really want to provide that safe space for parents when you're in or caregivers and when you're in service. Like, you just think about that. We got the wrist, unless it's, like, very extreme. But ideally, you know, we check in, everybody's good. We have fidget buckets kind of close by for, you know, kiddos who are needing a little extra. We will take kids out of the classroom, like, if it gets too loud, some of our kiddos don't like the music or the videos, and so they're able to come out during that time. No big deal. We can go walk the halls. We can, you know, sit in another room. Sometimes we take the lesson with us if they're just, like, not feeling it at all. We have printouts that we can take out in the hallway and just do kind of like a one on one lesson or just let them talk about sports or whatever it is in that moment. We always do. Like, that is super nurturing. And we also have, like, okay, we've been out here for ten minutes. We've got about three more minutes, and then we're gonna try to head back in, just so they know, like, I'm not gonna come to church and just, like, play all day, which, to me, it's fine, whatever. That's a different conversation for a different day. But we really just put. We really try to balance that nurturing structure of, like, okay, you can't be out the whole time, but we'll give you time to, you know, get your needs met. We have small water bottles, we have, like, little exercise cards, you know, like, hop for 10 seconds like a bunny or whatever. We have books that talk about regulation. We have bubbles, fidgets, all of that just in a bucket that we can use. [00:11:03] Speaker A: And so these are. So how do parents get their kids signed up with a buddy when. When they're first coming into church? [00:11:10] Speaker C: Yeah. Really? It is. We. It's not. Well, I'll say we advertise it, but it's not like, hello, we have buddies. Come join us. It's more like, you know, if we notice things in a particular kiddo that we're like, oh, maybe they need. So there is no, like, you don't have to sign up. We just see this child is having a hard time. Let me take them out of the classroom. Just so it's not like, eliminate or not eliminating. What's the word I'm looking for? I don't know. Just so it's not like, oh, you're part of the buddy program and you're not. We don't want it to be that way. So even if a student typically doesn't need a buddy, but they are having a hard time, like, we're going to take them out, too. It's not just the ones who need a buddy. [00:12:02] Speaker B: It's just having that in place. Right. It's having that option. Like, what? I'm hearing you as you're talking. It's like, man, you're giving lots of options for different needs. And so you've got kind of almost like floaters is kind of how the buddies are seen by the kids. Like, a kid may not know. This is my specific buddy. It's more like oh, this is someone that's available to help. And I love just thinking about all the different needs that kids come to your space with. We're often thinking about spiritual needs and, like, instruction. Like, how do we teach them these concepts? But we also have a chance to meet, like you said, water. Like, we also have a chance to meet physical needs and to allow it to be a positive experience for kids, which is really a beautiful thing if you think about that part of it, too. Like, especially thinking of. A lot of our listeners may have kids who are in home school or in smaller school settings. Church may be one of the biggest social kind of encounters that they have in their week for some. And so you want that to be a positive and, like, well balanced couple of hours. [00:13:06] Speaker A: So how would you intel, I mean, and I guess this question for. For both of you guys, how have y'all seen parents and church staff work together to. To meet kids needs in the past? Like, for people who are. Who are coming in this conversation a little bit, you know, new, and they're like, I don't even know what to ask. What are some examples of ways you've seen parents and. And church staff work together to meet kids needs? [00:13:30] Speaker C: I mean, word on the street is parents love the aspect of having buddies. Like, some will come in and be like, okay, let me tell you what happened this morning, you know, just so you're prepared. And I feel like that's helpful because they're already. They know our role in what we do. And so that just gives us that extra layer of compassion. You know, this one thing didn't go right for this child today. So they may be, you know, struggling more today than they normally would. And, I mean, we have a lot of, quote unquote, trauma informed care and practices at church. And so, um, it's a little bit easier for us to incorporate some of these things because the staff is getting trained. Um, and then, I mean, the student ministries is getting trained. The buddies are getting trained. Lead classroom teachers are getting trained. And so it's just, it's there and available well. [00:14:37] Speaker A: And so, I mean, some of y'all have listened to our episode with Paula Powell, um, which we can link in the show notes because she talks a lot about this. And Paula worked with mo Odinger, our executive director, back in the day, to kind of get all of this established, um, at fellowship years ago. Um, and, you know, you hear Paula talk about it, it was never there. Wasn't this, like, they didn't come up with this mastermind buddies plan. It was like meeting little needs here and there a little bit at a time. And it just evolved into, wouldn't be great if we could. Whatever. And this is where it's gotten too. So if you're listening and you're like, cool, yeah, maybe I'll either come to church there or we have no options like that here. So this is not helpful advice. People like. So to those people, I would say that, you know, everybody starts somewhere. Like there. There is not a place that just pops up where all the needs of their people are met immediately, in perfect fashion, seamlessly. Like, this happens from people taking action and beginning to help advocate for their kids. And so one of the things that we would, that I would love to hear from you, Becca. You're in a different church context. You also grew up in a very different american and not non american church context. And so how have you seen, you know, have there been ways that you've seen parents and churches work together for their kids? [00:15:53] Speaker B: Absolutely. I think I'm a little, I'm thinking about a lot of things and I'm trying to pick which way to go, but I'm thinking about sometimes parents and churches work together when stuff keeps going wrong, quote unquote wrong. And so sometimes the first 1st interaction is like, this is not working for our family. And so when church staff are willing to, like, listen and make adjustments or help brainstorm and problem solve, that can go a long way, because parents are tired. Like, they're juggling so much, they're coming in to be fed. And so for it to just be a negative, like Aunt Ella said, if your number pops on the screen or someone's calling you or you can't even drop them off for an hour, that can be this really just like frustrating feeling. As a parent, you can feel really overwhelmed. So one encouragement would just be those of you who are members of a church, who are volunteering, who are serving, who are anything like that. Just being willing to listen to a tired parent goes a long way. Most churches are operating their children's programming with some combination of volunteers, teenagers, people in the church who are helping. It's different than like a school context, for example, where everyone has to have a bachelor's degree and has some amount of child psychology. Like, you're working with people who may not have a lot of background knowledge on how do I support kids. And so as a parent, you are the expert on your kid. The hardest thing, I think, for parents when it comes to advocating in any setting is how much information is right and appropriate to share so I think that's where we get frozen because it's like, okay, I could write you a twelve page paper on all the things that my kid needs for an hour. And you're 13 years old, so how can I tell you what you need to know today versus, you know, I've seen the flip. I've seen parents that don't want to say any context and then kid is really struggling. And as a volunteer, it's like, I don't know what, I don't know what helps them. And so I think as a parent, if you can kind of think ahead and prepare yourself even of like one, think about our idea of scaffolding. So you may not be able to just drop them off in children's ministry the first time, you may need to go with them. If you're parenting with a partner, you may need a tag team. Who gets to sit in service, who gets to sit with the kiddo and work your way towards that, like drop off experience. If you don't have buddies, think of yourself as the buddy for a while and find ways. You know, my sister is a children's, is a children's minister in another context. And so we've been talking about like, what's our background check procedures to keep everybody safe, which is a different conversation. But like, parents that need to sit with their kiddo, just make sure you're going through the same volunteer process as other volunteers because you'll be with other kids too. But it's just those little baby steps of how do I show you? Hey, what really helps is when everyone else is sitting at the big table. If my kid can sit in the back with some legos, they'll be still, they'll be able to listen. You know your kid, I don't know your kid. So if you can show the volunteers, if you can help them learn a little bit, that's going to go a long way, depending on your context. Again, you might have a situation where a kid is able to sit with you in service and that might be better for them. That might be a smoother transition or not, or that may not be an option where you are. So again, as you're listening to this, think about maybe you need to print out a little half sheet because it's different volunteers every Sunday and you just want them to have a couple of things that help, like when they're upset, try giving them a snack. If snacks aren't available, maybe pack one for your own kid. Like try, you know, singing this song with them. Try sitting this way with them. Try having them sit with their siblings. Try, like, if you can, give them some pointers of where to start. Again, not the twelve page dissertation, but also not the, like, see you later. [00:19:51] Speaker A: Like, push them off. [00:19:53] Speaker B: So somewhere in the middle. [00:19:55] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah. And I think just remember, you know, like, what I think Antila mentioned this, Becky, you mentioned it. Like, the desperation that a lot of times parents are feeling when you go to that drop off point is like, for the love of God, I don't need them to, like, to, like, be in seminary while they're back here. Can they just not interrupt me? Like, can they just be back here and play and let me have. And I will never forget. I mean, we had a friend who no longer lives in Memphis or now other places, but they were the sole reason that we probably even stayed in Memphis. Our first multiple weeks in church, we had a. We had a baby that was 25 months old and one that was 17 months old, and they were. They were eight months apart, and we were dropping them off. One did totally fine. Incentives. Context was kind of like, yeah, put me wherever and I'm off. The other one was losing their ever loving mind from moment one of peeling them off of us to moment, whatever. However long we made it before we had to the walk of shame, out of service to go pick them up. And one week this way, three weeks in, we were almost at wits end. And then we didn't get called back. And we were like, it's a miracle. We walk back and this sweet girl is like, you know, bouncing her baby on her. On her. On her hip, and. And we're like, was she okay? And she goes, oh, she was having a terrible time. But she was like, I was just singing to her and walking around. I just figured you only need a break. And, I mean, my wife burst into tears, like, right in that moment. She was like, thank you so much. And so just remember that. Like, you know, most people who are back there are back there because they love kids and want to be able to help. And so it doesn't have to be perfect at the start, because eventually where we got to was that, that same kid who used to lose their mind every time going back to Sunday school ended up becoming one of the Sunday school helpers and was back there, like, helping other babies, you know, be able to calm down years later. And so, um, that's that last question before we get into some quick hitters here. If. If y'all were, um, talking to somebody who is visiting churches, new city or they're just starting to try to figure out church. Um, what are some things, you know, we asked doctor Lauren Chipman when she was on about, you know, how do you help find medical professionals on your team, so to speak? So same question, but from a church perspective, how do we help find, if we're choosing somewhere, what are the things we look for to find out if this is a place that could be on our team? [00:22:19] Speaker C: I would say for specifically if you have a neurodivergent kiddo. Becca, exactly what you said, and I'm glad you mentioned it, but it's like to advocate for your kid, to bring that to the forefront and not in a, like, oh, gosh, I have to say this, or they're going to think my child is out of control. But it's more like, know, like, hey, my child doesn't like loud music. They're fine to be in here, but can you put their headphones on? Absolutely. Or, you know, it's just like with a baby, like, we always think about the babies. It's like, what time do they be. What time do they need to be changed? What time? You know, we always have that, like, written down in the nursery. But if we could have that for the older ones as well, I think that would be helpful in advocating for, one, your spiritual needs. Because if you're having to constantly go back and forth, which, again, at the beginning, in the beginning you may have to, but we don't want that to be the case all the time. So I would say, one, for parents to truly be an advocate and to communicate with staff. Like you were saying, staff needs to take a beat to listen. And then I would say the last thing would be, be for staff not to communicate if the child had a hard time in that moment, because it's like they're coming to pick up. And if you're like, okay, well, I noticed today that so and so it's like, no, no, save that for another time. Let leadership handle that. You know, if you're just like a. Not just, if you're a classroom teacher and you're like, hey, I noticed this. Let somebody else know, maybe like the nursery director or children's director or something, so then they can call on their own time to just say, hey, how did it go? Here's some things we noticed. What do you do to support your child when this happens? So then on the other end, I think staff can be proactive in that as well. If you notice something going on in the classroom, use that as an opportunity to say, how can we, as the church support your kiddo. [00:24:29] Speaker B: I think it's a really good question because I think, like, how do you look for the right place for yourself? And it's, you know, for some people there's lots of options. For other people, there's not. And so I think some of it is like your comfort level. Do you prefer the small church where you can see where the kids are from, where you are? Or are you okay with a bigger church? I would just say the first priority is that you as a parent feel like they're safe. So whatever safety precautions make you feel safe. And then the second, the church that I currently am part of, we don't have a buddy system. We don't have a lot of like, super strict, we don't have the printed barcodes when you drop your kids off. Like, we are a little bit of a different world, but we have people that are willing to try and to be creative and flexible. And I just, for me, again, I'm thinking ahead as like, when, you know, if, when we have kids, how would I feel? I don't think I would need it to be a perfect program, but I think I would start to get concerned if they weren't willing to just talk about it with me. Think about it with me, problem solve with me. Because nobody knows, you know, the story that Mo and Mo tells is like, the church didn't have snack and one of their kiddos was like, I need to know that there's snack. And they were willing to listen to that feedback from Mo. So I think, like, looking for churches that are willing to hear you and take your concerns seriously because probably what's good for your kid is going to benefit other kids that, that you don't even know about yet. So that would be my encouragement would just be like, find places where it. Where you feel comfortable asking for help, giving thoughts, trying different things. And again, within your denominational, you know, context that you're comfortable with, within the beliefs that you're comfortable with. And then just a place where you feel like, okay, these volunteers and this staff is going to make sure that they're safe. [00:26:25] Speaker A: Yeah, I think that's huge. I would say from our personal experience, if you are walking into a place, if you're just trying to find a new church and maybe not all of the skin colors in your family match. And so if you've got kids through adoption or foster care who look different than you look, be proactive about paying attention as the adult, not putting your kids in the place to be at the, at the focal center of figuring out what your family is doing there, so to speak. And so that that can be a really sticky situation, because well meaning people sometimes say things that are very hurtful, unintentionally. And so the best that you can prepare a church staff or Sunday school teacher or whatever to know, you know, again, an appropriate amount of information so that there is not a comment of, like, this is your dad, him. He's white. And, like, that. That might not be the best first impression for a kiddo at church. And so let me also just kind of throw the wrench in to say, you know, we would say, we, the Wilsons would say, after having this experience, we got to be a part of a church that was very ethnically diverse and amongst leadership, amongst staff, amongst the people coming to the church is a wildly different experience for our kids than if they're the only. And so the bet to the best of your ability is always good. And I realized the cruelty of saying this, where there are a lot of contexts where this is not even a possibility. So I'm not saying this is something that exists everywhere, but when possible, making sure that your kids are not the only kids of color, of a different ethnicity, of a different parenting or different family situation, the more diverse environment that your kids can be in, the better for that purpose, where they're not singled out constantly as, oh, he's the adopted. He's the one who is in foster care. He's the one. So we're just trying to mitigate, you know, for our kids harmful experiences in church, want to make sure that they are able to be there and listen and learn the way that the church intends for them to. So, that is my, you know, unsolicited advice there on that front. Um, Antilia, Becca, any. Any last thoughts before we change over to our quick hitters? Okay. All right. Antila. What? Since you're the guest, well, I'm gonna. We're all three gonna listen to this, but what, right now, are you. Is something that you are reading, watching, or listening to reading? [00:29:04] Speaker C: I have two books, actually, on my TBR. [00:29:08] Speaker A: Three jobs, two books at a time. No big deal. [00:29:11] Speaker C: I like to read most of the time, but they've been sitting there for a long time, and this conversation is kind of spurring me on to finish, but. Or to start. But one is called disability and the church, and then the other one is called my body is not a prayer request. And so I'm real excited in this conversation. I'm like, let me just whip out my kindle, you know, while I'm in the car line to see which one I want to start with, but I do have a background in neurodiverse populations, and so this is really a passion of mine. And yeah, I've been doing it for a while. [00:29:55] Speaker A: Awesome. Becca, something you're reading or watching or listening to right now. [00:30:00] Speaker B: Listen, I'm going to pick. Listening to one of my favorite bands of all time is Johnny swim, and my anniversary is in the beginning of October, so my husband surprised me with tickets to go see them in October. So I'm listening to a lot of their music so I can be ready. [00:30:16] Speaker A: Ready for that. So awesome. I am the least cultured of this group in this answer. There's a show on Hulu called only murders in the building. It's Steve Martin and Martin short and Selena Gomez amongst others. This year or this season? Um, well, anyways, lots of famous people in it this season. I don't want to give anything away. Uh, I love, we love the show. It's not. Not a wholehearted advocate for all the content necessarily, but it's just well written, funny show. We love it. Um, okay, Antilia, you can have a dinner guest or two. Um, I keep saying dinner guests. You can have a guest for a meal at your home. Um, and we'll let you have a few guests if you want. If you can't narrow it down to just one and you get to pick what meal you're having, who's coming, what are y'all eating? [00:31:08] Speaker C: Okay. I would say, does it have to be someone that's, like, currently living or can it be. [00:31:17] Speaker A: Doesn't have to be anybody. I mean, it has to be somebody, but it doesn't have to be any qualifier of anything, like, it can be living. Uh, it could be a character from a book or movie, you know, whatever. So. [00:31:29] Speaker C: Okay, Becca, can I pick on you to go first? I need just a minute to thank. [00:31:34] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely. If I could have one person over for dinner. This is a tough question because I have so many that I would want to do, man. I think I would. Okay, this is going to sound really sentimental and whatever. If I could pick anybody from anywhere, anytime who's not currently with us, I would pick my mom, which is like, kind of a no duh, because she passed when I was a teenager, and I would try to make her lasagna because I have not figured out the recipe. And so she was able to come. She could help me tweak. What am I missing there? So that it's, like, probably a more serious answer, but that's that's what I would probably want to do if I could pick anybody. [00:32:19] Speaker A: Well, I can't answer the question now. [00:32:22] Speaker C: Well, that's. [00:32:26] Speaker A: A beautiful answer. I'm sorry. [00:32:28] Speaker B: I was trying to think of a light hearted, you know, movie character, too, that I could probably think of those as well. [00:32:33] Speaker C: Okay. The fact that you said that is absolutely hilariously, I feel that because my mom also passed away several years ago, and I have not been able to recreate her lasagna. Like, there's always something missing, and I'm like, is it. Do I need more cheese? Do I need more meat? Like, what is it. [00:33:00] Speaker A: Man? Okay, so until you would have as your mom. [00:33:05] Speaker C: Okay, well, no, but yes, I would have meet Harris from a book called Butterfly. He just seems really cool. He's, like, the love interest of the main character, but just like, his demeanor is, like, so chill that I would, like, want to be friends with him and also be like, you like this girl? Because she's trash. [00:33:33] Speaker A: It's awesome. And what are y'all eating at this meal? [00:33:36] Speaker C: Oh, I don't know. It's set in Detroit, so whatever. Like, a Detroit meal is what we would have. [00:33:44] Speaker A: Detroit pizza. Yeah. Well, I was gonna say I'd had Dave Chappelle and we would have barbecue just because I just love him and I. Well, he doesn't know me, but he would love me, too, if we get to know each other. Yeah. Okay. So that's all we got, guys. We made it. We did it. Thank you. [00:34:06] Speaker B: Thank you. [00:34:11] Speaker A: Well, a huge thanks to Becca and Antilia for joining us and great stuff from them. And I'd be remiss if I did not let you know before we go today that we are on November 12 having our first annual global connection event. It's called investing in hope. It is going to be a fundraiser for our. For the mission of empowered to connect as we are working on some really exciting things we've been pumped to share with you. That night is going to be awesome. It is going to be held November 12 from six to 08:30 p.m. At the fabulous Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, home of the ducks. You can look that up. But this is the most important thing I want you to know, is that there's a very special guest who will be there performing that night that we are not allowed to talk about due to contractual obligations on the podcast. What I will say is that to find out who that guest is and what's going to be happening that night, also to purchase tickets before they're gone, you can head to empowertoconnect.org investing in hope or you can click the note or the link in the show notes below and check out who our guest is that night. Be able to come laugh with us, enjoy a really fun, meaningful night of enjoy investing in hope together. So that'll be November 12 here in Memphis, Tennessee. But you don't have to live in Memphis, Tennessee to attend this event, so we would love to see some of you here. For more information on tickets, who's performing and then what that night's going to look like, you can head to empowered to connect.org investinginhope. Tickets will sell out, so make sure you get yours early. That's all for us here at etc. For Kyle Wright who edits and engineers all of our audio for Tadju at the creator of the music behind the empowered to connect podcast and everybody here at etc. I'm JD Wilson and we'll see you next week on the empowered to connect podcast.

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