When Is Much…Too Much?

When Is Much…Too Much?

Thousands of Colorado families are impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), a term used to describe a range of effects that can occur in a fetus exposed to alcohol before birth. To learn more, visit our topic page on Alcohol & Pregnancy.

As I watched the skit on Saturday Night Live play out entitled, Winter Formal, I came to the realization that those who created the skit, as well as those who participated in it, had no idea about FASD and its impact. Of course, this is my opinion, but I would guess that if any of the individuals that were connected to this skit truly knew about FASD they would have at least ixnayed the following line:  “And I drank while I was pregnant!”  

Sarah Sherman, who portrays Donna Lacatza, says this line after she and Pete Davidson, portraying Ron Lacatza, describe why it is best for young ladies to purchase formal wear from their business for the upcoming winter formal dance.  The skit pokes fun at the Lacatza’s son, Donovan, who is mercilessly made fun of and humiliated throughout. His ‘parents’ have him displayed after drawing back some curtains. The gist of the skit is that they offer him as part of the deal when it comes to a formal wear purchase. The parents say the safety of any daughter’s sexuality will be well intact because who in their right mind would ever want to have sex with their son? They continue to cruelly bash him all throughout the skit. 

I recognize that comedy like SNL walks a fine line between appropriate and inappropriate. I understand that it pushes moral boundaries, occasionally going too far. In other words, nothing is off limits. That is the whole point, and the controversy behind what makes comedy what it is. Making fun of everyone and everything. So when is much, too much? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?  

“So when is much, too much? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?” 

Of course, because I have a son with FASD and I’m also an elementary school teacher, my sensitivity was turned up several notches. Putting their son on display to humiliate him was a form of abuse as far as I’m concerned. I’m a big fan of humor, and will admit I’ve laughed at comedy sketches that would be considered offensive to various groups of people. I’d be a hypocrite to say otherwise.  

So what is the answer here? I honestly don’t know. It would be too easy to say “don’t watch it.” But that’s a copout as far as I’m concerned. There is a much bigger issue here as it relates to human decency. This is an attack on a young person who doesn’t fit society’s definition of what is considered ‘normal’. I ask this question: what is normal and who is the authority that defines it? That’s where the issue lies.  

“What is normal and who is the authority that defines it? That’s where the issue lies.”  

We live in a dark world, so I get why people want to laugh. We need to laugh! What needs to be considered is when content becomes too much, what are we willing to do about it?  Should I never watch SNL again? That’s probably not going to happen. I tried to reach out to Pete Davidson to let him know of my concern with his part in the skit, and going one step further by asking if he’d be willing to issue a formal apology to the FASD community and pay tribute to those with FASD. I unfortunately wasn’t able to reach him. Surprise, surprise!  

Real change is going to happen with education. Since our son was diagnosed with FASD, I’ve intensely educated myself and have become a huge advocate for those impacted by FASD. Although this particular skit was a loss for humanity, there is a much bigger war out there that is being fought to proactively educate and eventually eradicate FASD from the face of this Earth.

“There is a much bigger war out there that is being fought to proactively educate and eventually eradicate FASD from the face of this Earth.”

About the Author


This article was written by a father of four beautiful children, three of whom have been adopted. He is committed to sharing the experiences of his family impacted by FASD, anonymously, through the Becoming FASD Aware blog series to strengthen families and build awareness.

Visit Illuminate's FASD Topic Page!

Click Here to Learn More About FASD.

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The Energy Bucket: Reframing Stress as a Catalyst for Positive Change

The Energy Bucket: Reframing Stress as a Catalyst for Positive Change

A note from Illuminate: There are many ways to strengthen families and we love lifting up our partners who are working to do just that. Our friends over at Better Pockets Financial are a great resource for anyone needing a little support when it comes to financial matters. Don’t hesitate to give them a shout, and enjoy the blog!

Stress tends to be viewed as a negative emotion or experience, but it is important to recognize the important role it plays in life.

While it is critical to develop strategies to prevent too much stress from accumulating, there is also value in identifying ways we can harness stress as a motivator for positive change.

Like with every emotion and experience in life, balance is key. I’m not a mental health professional, but I have learned of a few useful ways to put stress in a new and helpful perspective.

Years (and years) ago, I attended a conference for Child Welfare professionals. Many talented and enthusiastic presenters were sharing their insights, programs, and research on a plethora of topics related to Child Welfare and the profession of helping others.  Among those presenters was a university researcher who focused on understanding the physical impacts of stress.  He wondered if stress, in addition to a mental toll, created measurable negative impacts on one’s physical health.

To support his theory, he completed a number of tests.  One study involved comparing the brain scans of caseworkers and battlefield medics. He noted that in the scans, the parts of the brain that glowed in response to work-related stress were the same for both professions.  This was a very interesting observation that lends credence to the difficulty of being a caseworker.

I think the presenter recognized that the audience was becoming a bit glossy-eyed.  Perhaps by the technical nature of the information, or perhaps because we had all just finished lunch and were ready for either a coffee or a nap.  So, the presenter gracefully summarized his research findings in an impactful and memorable way.  The researcher gave the following analogy, which I hope sparks a similar moment of clarity for you, as it did for me:

Imagine, if you will, an ordinary bucket.  This bucket is filled with energy.  Some people naturally have very high levels of energy, some have less.  The point is, this energy in the bucket is yours.

When we decide there is something important in our lives, we assign energy to it.  This can be a task we need to accomplish or something we have been putting off.  The amount of energy we assign depends on the importance of the task. (And, this can change over time, too!)  As we assign more energy to more tasks, the amount of energy available in the bucket goes down.  The energy is finite– only so much can be assigned.

Now, here’s the key: there is tension in this assignment of energy…the energy wants to return to the bucket.  This tension is the physical manifestation of stress!  Because of this tension, an effective way to manage stress can be by accomplishing tasks. Checking an item off your to-do list can be a good way to return energy back to your bucket. 

It is important to note here that there are sources of stress that we have control over, as well as those we do not. While we may have control over our to-do list, systemic powers such as racism and sexism contribute to complicated stressors that we don’t necessarily have the ability to change. Luckily, however, we do have the power to prioritize, seek support, and focus on what we can change. Navigating stress using this approach may help us find the energy we need to deal with the more complex sources of stress in our lives.

The bucket analogy is a great way of thinking about how we can reframe stress as a catalyst for positive change.

Identifying what is drawing on your energy can be the first step in working towards change– in big and small ways.  It could be fixing that leaky faucet in the bathroom, picking up the dog poo in the backyard, scheduling that dentist visit, completing a spending plan (aka budget), or readjusting your financial plan after bringing a child into the home. This made perfect sense to me because when I complete something on my ‘To-Do’ list, I feel fantastic.  Heck, I sometimes add things to my ‘To-Do’ list just so I can cross it off! 

Start by making a list of the things you would like to get done and assign priority to each task. In fact, part of this process can include identifying tasks that you can remove from the list, in order to make room for items that hold more importance to you. It also can be helpful to remember that this list is not yours to complete alone. Most likely, there are many opportunities for you to reach out to your support system for backup. 

If you find there are financial matters that make it onto the list, consider reaching out to us. For instance, we can help if you have energy from your energy bucket assigned to:

    • Starting First Career
    • Getting Married
    • Having your First (or Second…or Third) Child
    • Changing Jobs (Career Pivot?)
    • Navigating a Divorce
    • Starting a Business
    • Sending Kids to College
    • Selling a Business
    • Taking Care of an Elderly Parent or Relative
    • Planning for Retirement
    • Estate and Legacy Considerations

We are happy to be a resource for you in your quest to return energy back into your bucket.

We know that when you reclaim energy by getting finance-related tasks done, you can then dedicate that energy to more important priorities to allow you to be the best parent, friend, neighbor, and community member you can be.

Afterall, our Mission at Better Pockets Financial is to Help You Create a Positive Impact in Your Pocket of the World.

There are multiple ways to reach out to us.  Here are just a few ways to do so:

Email Clint at Admin@BetterPocketsFinancial.com

This blog was written by Clint Edgar, from Better Pockets Financial.

Working to create better communities through better finances, Better Pockets Financial understands that achieving financial wellness can be intimidating and exhausting. They care and want to help you align your financial life with your values.

Read more about Clint on the Better Pockets Financial website.

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