It has come to my attention that there is a rumor floating across Macon County that the reason I am no longer with Macon Program for Progress as a Family Advocate is because I quit. This is not true. I was terminated for taking my three-year-old into a bathroom, closing the door and popping his bottom after I witnessed him having an outburst that included him being disrespectful to his teacher and disrupting the classroom environment.
During the appeals process hearing (for unemployment) it was brought to my attention that prior to my arrival at the classroom my son had thrown an object! I was not excessive in my correction and I was appropriate in accordance with the North Carolina general statue that pertains to corporal punishment. I was told that I violated the policy that states that staff members are not to issue out corporal punishment to enrolled children. In the 35 years I have been breathing, I have never been fired from any job. Much less, fired for being a parent!
Proverbs 23:13 states: “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.” Again, I used the palm of my hand as my ‘rod’. In that moment when I saw my child exhibiting a behavior I would not tolerate against myself or another adult, I intervened with my faith and my parenting (Side note-the unemployment was denied).
Please hear me when I say, I do not quit. I was hired as an advocate to reach and build rapport with families in our community, equip them with tools, strategies and supports as they move from poverty to sustainable living. I did my job and I did it very well. Why would I quit building up the community that I live in and love? I have no malice in my heart, however if this is the topic of conversation, you now have the facts.
I have learned that some things come into one’s life and stay for a lifetime; while other things are just for a season. This job was just for a season and the season was up. I will not compromise my faith or my family for anything. God blessed me and charged me with raising God fearing, productive citizens and that is and always will be my first job and my first love.
Tawana F. Valentine, HSBCP — Franklin, N.C.