Next up in our #miniSHEs series is Courtney Jones and 11 year old daughter Madison. Courtney is a Speaker, Coach, and Advocate who has always been passionate about relationships and connections. Courtney has worked with young adults dealing with depression, anxiety, pre-marital counseling and in crisis providing treatment for adolescents dealing with suicidal thoughts and tendencies. She applies evidence based research to help her clients reach positive change in their lives.
Name: Courtney Jones
Company: Created to Connect
Your #miniSHE: Madison M.
Tell us about yourself: who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I am a woman who has always been passionate about relationships and connection, wanting to see families and couples thrive. I began my passion in regards to relationships with spiritual principles and popular books. Then after my own trauma with divorce and abuse, I began a new journey and dived into a Masters program in Marriage & Family Therapy.
While studying, I traveled to Ghana, Africa, where I had the pleasure of obtaining research and counseling children who were estranged from their biological families and sold into trafficking. I was born in Springfield, TN and was raised in Lawrenceville, GA. I am a relationship coach with a strong desire to help others create authentic life-giving connections.
Tell us about your miniSHE: how old is SHE? What’s going on in her life right now?
My miniSHE is a bright light in this world. She recently turned 11 in March and is completing her 5th- grade year at a private school in Nashville. She recently received the results from a STAR reading standardized test in her school system showing that she scored greater than 97% of students nationally and that her performance is better than an average 10th grader. She is an amazing young lady full of wisdom, insight, and ideas. She enjoys all things artistic and will be performing in her schools upcoming Spring Performance.
What are some activities you do with your miniSHE to help empower each other, bond, and grow together?
Some things we do together include positive affirmations, yoga poses and stretches, and jam sessions that include singing and dancing. We create family mantras that are in alignment with our core values and how we want to show up in the world. We check in with each other in the mornings about what we are expecting for the day and in the afternoons to see what happened and how we can grow from it. We hold each other’s desires in prayer and believe for the best outcome, and we practice kindness.
What about your miniSHE makes you the proudest? (this can be personal, school-related, etc.)
The fact that she is unapologetically authentically herself, no matter what makes me the proudest.
She stands on her own two feet and loves herself. It doesn’t phase her if I like her outfit or not, if it’s her day to pick her clothes she is fine to wear stripes with polka dots. As a single mother years ago I was concerned about her confidence in herself, not having a dad in the home. She is definitely not lacking in that area, and I pray we continue to cultivate that through her teenage years.
What about being a parent brings you the most joy?
Seeing my daughter grow and expand and show up in this world brings me immense joy. For me, it’s not about how many A’s you get, which is not a problem for her, but it’s always about doing your best.
We are aware our best can look different each day because of different factors, but if we do our best then that’s enough.
What’s the most challenging part of having a miniSHE?
For me, the most challenging part has been raising her mostly alone. I was married to her father, and our relationship ended by the time she was 2. There were many times that I felt guilty for his absence and sad that I didn’t find someone who could be in the home as another father figure for my daughter.
Raising a little girl without a daddy present can be scary, because of how that can affect her view of males as she grows up.
I finally let that guilt go and realized I didn’t have control over that, and that our family looked like Madison and myself and that was enough.
How do you teach your miniSHE about difficult social topics (i.e. sexism, racism, or homo/trans- phobia; bullying, body image, “mean girls”, un-supportive teachers, consent and boundaries)?
I have made sure what I share on these topics have been age appropriate and I have added more details based on her level of maturity, but most importantly
I am honest with my daughter.
I let her know when things arise that it does exist in our society, however what we experience is based on what we give our attention to. We choose to focus on how we can be the positive change we want to see in the world. And when/if we experience the negative we challenge ourselves to look deeper than the surface, because it’s never personal. Every behavior is based off a belief or something internally going on within that person.
We choose to practice compassion.
What from your childhood are you actively avoiding in your own parenting, and what have you made sure to carry on?
I grew up with a strong spiritual foundation, and I am making sure to give spiritual truths to my daughter in a way that is relevant to her life now. I wasn’t given the opportunity to make choices growing up, which made that muscle weak as an adult resulting in life-changing consequences.
I allow my daughter to have options, make choices, and see consequences in a safe environment where I can support her if she falls.
What does work/life balance look like for you?
As a single parent, it has looked differently at different stages of my daughter’s life. So it’s a constant revolving thing to assess. I have had to make choices that were in the best interest of my daughter and many times that meant changing employment that wasn’t conducive to our family’s needs.
I, however, think what is most important is to make sure as a parent you model self-care.
It’s necessary to stay in a posture of being the best parent you can be and it’s important for our daughters to know they need to be kind to themselves too, and take a minute to breathe. Self-care for me looks like time by the water to reflect and be still, a lovely bubble bath, or reading a book with a soft blanket.
If you could go back in time and offer yourself sixty seconds of advice just before you became a parent, what would you say?
Trust yourself!!Everything you need will be supplied for this journey, so don’t worry. Be in the present so you don’t miss a moment of her sweet life. She will give you the opportunity to become a better human, trust the process of life. You are enough.
Tell us about your parent(s). What makes them special? What do you love about them? How do they help you?
My parents are amazing!! They showed me love by showing up. They were at every event, concert, play, talent show, pageant ECT. They were present in my life and they cared about my well-being. Both my parents were present and it kept me out of harms way. I didn’t get into trouble because I didn’t want to hurt my family and they modeled an upstanding life for me to follow. My parents adopted so many of my friends and other people growing up. They showed love and compassion by letting numerous people live in our home. And they still show up for my MiniShe at all her performances and events. I am thankful to have experienced love so I know how to love.