Odyssey Impact: A Mom's Post Leads To A Family-Friendly Change At A Local Mall

Odyssey Impact: A Mom's Post Leads To A Family-Friendly Change At A Local Mall

A Tennessee mall changed its policies after a local mom posted her story on Odyssey.
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When Tiffany Rawlin joined Odyssey, she set out to share her perspective—like everyone else on the platform. But when she wrote a post earlier this year about an unpleasant experience she had at the Stones River Mall in Murfreesboro, Tenn., she never expected she would be the one to prompt a serious change.

Tiffany, who is a part of the Murfeesboro, Tenn. Odyssey community, has been sharing her perspective as a young wife and mom since she joined in May. She’s covered every aspect of parenthood and family life from “11 Unexpected Parent Phrases” to “A Bad Mom’s Take On ‘Bad Moms,’” but when she and a group of mothers were disrespected at their local mall, she took to Odyssey to report on the wrongdoing.

She recounted the day she and a group of other moms took their children to the mall’s indoor playground area. When their kids started playing, security staff approached the group and asked them to leave the area.

Rawlin was baffled. Her plan of action was to leave a negative review on the mall’s Facebook page, and she would have stopped there had it not been for others who, over the course of several weeks, also spoke out against the mall security staff. They, too, had been asked to leave the playground after displaying completely normal and reasonable behavior.

Rawlin relayed one mother’s story in her post:

She had brought her oldest son, who has high functioning autism, prepared with books and school work to occupy him. While she was turned around trying to help her toddlers take their shoes off, a security guard asked her older son to leave the area immediately. Following orders, he did so. When the mom turned around, her son was nowhere to be found. Luckily he was not too far off, but things could have been much worse.

"I realized it wasn't a fluke lapse of judgment," said Rawlin. It was then that she decided something else needed to be done, and what better way to spread the word than on Odyssey? She wrote a post retelling her story and the other parents’ experiences. Soon, her network of parents and their networks began sharing the story on social media.

"I was seeing my article being shared over and over again by moms all around middle Tennessee, some I've never met," said Rawlin, who certainly wanted to invoke a change, but didn’t expect the story to gain as much traction as it did.

“When my article kind of took off, I remember wondering how big it could get... it was nice being able to see that we weren't the only ones having issues and that other people wanted change too.”

But it wasn’t just angry parents who took notice of her story. The post had circulated so quickly that within just a few days, the mall had also seen the post and issued this response on Facebook addressing the concerns of its frustrated customers.

Rawlin was ecstatic to find the mall had apologized, but it didn’t end there. The day after she posted on Odyssey, the Daily News Journal, a local affiliate of USA Today in Murfreesboro, picked up her story and even asked more parents for their perspective on the issue.

Despite her intention to spread word about the injustice she and her group experienced, "I never thought it would actually make change," Rawlin said.

After making a formal apology, the Stones River Mall has made changes in security staff and even started up special children’s events in August, adding a puppet show and a magic show to their calendar of events. And so far, no one’s been kicked off the premises since Rawlin’s post.

Rawlin realized after her post that one voice can be the beginning of an entire movement, and that perhaps if she hadn’t written about it, the mall wouldn’t have made the change. “While I know I'm not entirely to thank for that, knowing my words help make change means a lot.”

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Why Timing Actually ISN'T Everything

If someone wants to be with you, they will.
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We all have that person we have gone back to and thought, "The timing was just not right." We've also heard of the age-old saying, "Timing is everything."

A lot of the times, we take our failed relationships and blame them on timing. If you think it might have worked out if you met them at a different point in your life, or maybe a different point in theirs, then maybe things would have worked out.

I've even said this to myself, convincing myself it's the reason things didn't work out. But when you really think about it, it's honestly just a crap excuse that we tell ourselves or what other people tell us. This really isn't the case or the actual reason things did not work out.

Timing is a copout. It's an easy scapegoat for just not wanting to be with someone or not wanting to commit to them. It's also an easy reason to blame on why the person you want may not want you or may not want to be with you.

It's easier to tell yourself that the timing was not right, versus that whoever you want to be with just simply does not want to be with you.

This may be a tough pill to swallow, but it's the reality of most situations. If someone really wants to be with you, then they will. It's honestly that simple.

Just because they may be at a certain point in their life, or they have some issues they need to work out still, it does not make them incapable of being with you or committing to you, if it's what they truly want and if they truly care about you.

Quite frankly, this sucks, and it's an awful feeling. But it's important to realize and not let yourself get dragged along. With accepting that truth, you can move on.

If you stop making excuses about timing or accepting those excuses, you can find someone who truly values you and won't make dumb, immature excuses to not be with you. Someone who won't be a waste of your time.

So just remember, if they want to be with you, they will. There's no timing that can change that.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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