15 thoughts on “I Got You: Safe Harbors

  1. Much to consider here, Pam. As always, your work is well done. I suspect many of your readers will be coming back to you *months* from now, saying, “You know that ‘Safe Harbors’ essay you wrote a while back? I have an idea about it. . . . .”

  2. Pam,

    This made me just cry and cry. I’m honestly trying to figure out these ideals for my very own children. Another dynamic to all of this is about how much a person fights the safety night. I’ll think more about this and add as I think of ideas or find information. I had a tough night wit my son last night. He is 18. Angry. Feels unloved, though I try to show him my love constantly. His anger affects his juvenile brothers and it is affecting the entire home. How do I provide the safety net for him AND for his small siblings. What a riddle… What I post!!!

    1. What struggles we have as loving parents!!! And you’re right: so much is unique and personal. I have to think your son knows your love and will come back to that knowledge… I will be thinking of you, and hoping things smooth out…

  3. Thank you for a compelling post that is informative, thoughtful, and inspiring. You’re right about public libraries being safe spaces for many, and in more ways than were envisioned when the system was invented. The anecdote about the teacher who supported students by providing them with the dignity of tools and protected space to tend to personal hygiene reminds me of the late Marva Collins, who did similar things for her students in the 1970s and 1980s. Despite bureaucracy, I believe there are many ways for one person to help another and every gesture, every blog post, and every step in that direction – no matter how “small” is of value.

    1. Leslie, after I got my English degree, while I was searching for a job, my old grade school principal called and asked me to come teach. I had no experience in education, so I went looking for books to read…and found Marva Collins. She inspired me to believe in all kids, and I wound up teaching for most of a long career in education. She is a great person to invoke in providing safe harbors! And I agree…there are ways we can reach out and help. Thank you for a thoughtful response and wonderful reminder of Marva Collins!


  4. Oh, Pam—

    How your writing touches my heart!

    As we are in the process of turning our upstairs catch-all area of boxes and books, clothing and clutter; turning it into a bedroom, bathroom and sitting room for my 92-year old dad, I think of how he always had my back.

    The people in our lives who have said in so many ways “I’ve got you” are getting thin on the ground. The fact that we can enjoy whatever time Dad has left all together under the same roof is a pleasure, a gift, and a blessing.

    How lucky are we to have such people in our lives!

    Thanks so much,


  5. It’s one of those near impossible questions isn’t it, when we might wish for all on the world to have such security in their lives but what can we actually do? I can’t imagine how desperate one must become to think robbery of any kind is ok, but the scenario you described in opening is heartwrenching. Not all desperate people resort to such despicable behaviours, not even all drug addicts would, so understanding how anyone might is another impossibility. The death penalty doesn’t seem humane or just either and is hardly a punishment for the offender tho maybe appeases victims needs and imprisonments are costly and fraught with difficulty I guess is the reasoning behind continuing capital punishments. Thank goodness it was abolished here as very many of those executed were found afterwards to be proven innocent. We still have huge problems in UK justice system of circumstancial evidence convicting innocent people, mostly lower classes, for petty and minor offences, or false charges, while criminals pay off corrupt officials and continue to go scotfree. Not sure how we help anyone not fall when we all seem coded along the way with predetermined social engineering strategies. But my best friends advice remains close to heart: if you can’t look after yourself first, you can’t help anyone else.

    1. I think your friend is right; we neglect ourselves to our own, and others’, peril! You also resonate with the idea of death penalty being a kind of appeasement for the victims’ survivors…not our best selves showing there…

      1. Apologies for comment flooding getting round to that point! I’ll tidy down some later when back at my laptop! I guess you’re right but with citizens rights to arm in US I guess the death penalty is intended as deterrent – and its a long life on death row for some awaiting justice, varies so much between States, seems very complex!

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