Where are they now? This week OWN’s Our America with Lisa Ling paused to reflect back on the most memorable stories and people of the 2nd season. It is hard to believe that the season has already ended, but I look forward the future stories that she and OWN bring to our attention.
Updates on Extreme Parenting: Original Story
This recent episode sparked the conversation about parenting and the question of how far is too far? Whether un-schooling, pushing them excessively to succeed or forcing them into beauty pageants, all of these parents were considered extreme. Clearly there was one mom that stood out – the beauty pageant mom. However, after spending over $10,000 on pageants for her daughter, Kelly was finally ready to stop. Yet it wasn’t due to the cost. Instead she had an awakening. She finally listened to her daughter and admitted the pageants were really for her and not in the best interest of her daughter. Cementing the choice, the family put the pageant dresses on eBay and moved forward. Although mom isn’t opposed to pageants in the future, she informed us that it would be the choice of the children and would no longer be about her.
Updates on Incarceration Generation: Original Story
This episode was very informative. We often forget the lost people in our society. Once people are released from prison we expect them to do better, but do we really want them to succeed? It doesn’t appear so. Most convicts find it is impossible to get a job. Once they check the box indicating they do a record (it is on every application), they fail to get the call back. It is a horrible problem in society. Lisa checked in with Royal, Nick and Carl to see how they were doing. A month later, Royal joined community members in the park to exercise. Working hard to get his business, Royal Fitness, off the ground, he officially became a physical trainer. Bartering his services to make it happen, his dreams were coming true. Only two weeks after they filmed the update, he was leasing his own studio. While he is patient for the growth of the business he wasted no time on catching up with his family. He was determined to change his life permanently. The next update wasn’t as uplifting. Nick had been searching for a job and hasn’t been able to find anything. Still battling legal charges, you can tell his spirits are low. I worry that he may give up and settle for what he fears. Once again, a painful reminder that society still puts walls around those who were in prison.
Updates on Modern Polygamy: Original Story
As the film crew came back to the community, Warren Jeffs was back in the news and receiving a life sentence for sexual assault. With the spotlight on Jeffs, the community decided it would be a good idea to bring in the state child protective services for a seminar on abuse. The entire community came together, including the children – an incredibly pro-active gesture on their behalf. I applaud them for taking a step in the right direction. When the original episode ended, Michael and his three wives were in the middle of uncertainty. His third wife, Teresa, had moved out and wasn’t sure if she’d be coming home. The infighting between the women was just too much. By the time the cameras left, it had been five months and Teresa was moving back to give it another try. It appeared that now things are running more smoothly and the women are communicating better. Teresa didn’t want her children raised outside of the home and away from their father. To commemorate the occasion, they took their first family photo. Isaiah’s family was also doing well. They had moved into a larger home which would allow for them to grow their family. In the meantime, Marlene gave birth to their fifth child.
Updates on Invisible Wounds of War: Original Story
I loved this episode. The topic is so important and the conversation needs to be happening all over the country. This secret is killing our men and women. They gave everything to keep us safe and we owe them our support. It is the least we can do. Four months, Jim was dealing with a lot of firsts. He and his wife were moving into their first home, for the first time his son was spending the summer with him, and for the first time he was able to part with the past. Ripping his name patch off his uniforms, he made a pile symbolizing the desire to rid the past. As he moved forward, he found himself encountering a setback. He was diagnosed with a form of PTSD that involves epilepsy. However, he has found an unlikely angel in all of this…his new service dog. The unconditional love of an animal is amazing. But to have an animal that can sense when his anxiety is up and be there for them, that is priceless. Knowing how effective this treatment has been for Jim, he and his wife formed a program called “Paws and Stripes” that trains dogs and connects them with other veterans with PTSD. It was great to see Jim turn this into something so positive. I was hopeful that Lisa would give us a positive update on Peter. His breakthrough and calling on his soul broke my heart in the original episode. However, once they returned home he became even more repressed than he had been before he left for the retreat. The good news was they had a built a support network with the other veterans from Angel Fire. He especially connected with Singing Bear who helped him at the retreat. He has become an apprentice for him learning to become a spiritual healer. Peter seemed to be at peace alongside his friend. His wife shared that each day is a choice for her and so far she hasn’t left. I can only imagine how difficult all of this is for her. I only hope that Peter continues to communicate and stops the walls from surrounding him.
Updates on Twin Lives: Original Story
The next story that was revisited was that of two brothers, Ed and Jim. For 28 years, they have attended the twin festival but it hasn’t been easy. Nine years earlier Jim was diagnosed with cancer….only being given a few years to live. Three months later, Jim was still fighting and his health has begun to deteriorate. The doctors have told them there is nothing else they can do aside from keeping him comfortable. He and his wife recently told their sons and it was becoming all too real for everyone. Watching Ed cry as he spoke of losing his brother, Ed was determined to be by his brother’s side. I held my breath as Lisa wrapped the story fearing she’d update us with sad news, but she didn’t. As the youngest of three (and not a twin) I can’t imagine losing one of my sisters. I pray that the brothers are enjoying each other’s company and doing well.
Updates on 3AM Girls: Original Story
The final story Lisa updated us on involved the pimps and sex trafficking. We left off in the episode with Andrea searching for a young girl. The police had offered little help and she was desperate to find her. Less than a month after filming, she finally found her in jail. Once released, the young girl entered a treatment program far from the watchful eyes of her abusers. Hopefully this new beginning will bring joy and peace into her life. The original story was powerful and thought-provoking. I posted the link above to the original story and it has a link to resources if you need it.
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