Ask Dr. Gramma Karen: An Interview with Christine Crosby

Christine Crosby, CEO, GRAND Media, LLC
Editorial DirectorGRAND Magazine, Living the Ageless Life
Christine and her husband, Jonathan Micocci, founded GRAND Magazine in 2004.

GRAND Magazine is dedicated to exploring
the changing face of grandparenting and positive aging.

Dr. Gramma Karen: Let me first say, Christine, that it continues to be my pleasure, as it has been for the past four years, to be one of your regular GRAND Magazine columnists.

I wanted this interview with you because you recently made an editorial decision, one that most of your readers supported, but some thought was inappropriate. You wrote and posted an article titled, “Here Are My Thoughts About Separating Children From Their Families.”

Your decision to share your personal views, while wearing the hat of editorial director of GRAND Magazine, speaks directly to the issue of editorial objectivity and subjectivity. Before we discuss this important topic, I want to share your post in its entirety with my readers.

Posted on June 24, 2018 by Christine Crosby in Celebrity GRANDparents, GRAND Voices, Grandparent News

“It’s cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.” That was former First Lady Laura Bush speaking about ripping children away from their parents, as thousands have been since the Administration enacted a zero tolerance policy at the Mexican border.

How can otherwise decent Americans support tearing apart desperate families whose ‘crime’ is wanting to come here and work for cheap? Because these immigrants have been dehumanized. Just as you teach soldiers to stifle compassion for the enemy so they will kill on command, you can also destroy empathy for children and families by branding them as murderers and rapists.

All our ancestors struggled to build a better life for those who came next. How do you hate someone for trying to do the same? You and I have a choice. If you also believe American ideals are better than this [policy], please tell your senators and Congressional reps, and check out this short video of Senator Sanders speaking about this shameful policy.

And before you ask, let me say, I am not ‘playing politics’. GRAND celebrates families, and this policy is an attack on our core values. ‘Politics’ created this national disgrace and only people speaking up can change it.

So, with this background, my first question is: What was the thought process that motivated you to share your personal, and I might add, impassioned thoughts?

Christine Crosby: As a child and family advocate for over 30 years, I know that silence can be perceived as consent or indifference. I seem to be hard-wired to take action in times of crisis, especially when it comes to those who may not be able to speak out for themselves.

Karen: Yes, I know from reading a recent article about you in that speaking out is something you’ve been doing for a long time!

Christine: I’ve never had a problem opening my mouth when I feel passionate about something. Yes, sometimes I put a foot in there, but I try to be careful when representing GRAND Magazine. Our magazine exists to support families and most of our articles are not controversial, but if we believe that folks are uninformed or misinformed on an issue that we think is important, we will present facts and advocate in the interests of children and families.

Karen: Did you accurately gauge the impact your post would have on your readership?

Christine: I think so. We went in expecting some readers to disagree with what we had to say. However, we were a little shocked by the few who commented that speaking out on the protection of children was “none of our business”!

Karen: Here are three of the comments you received that said you were being political and out of line.

(1) “Stay out of it. Do you think the USA can support half of Mexico and Central America? They had better get control of their countries and improve their lives there. My great grandfather came here at 18 totally alone and never saw a relative again. But he came legally.”

(2) “Yes, of course we are pro-family but this issue about the immigrants at the border is a political topic and does not belong in this forum [GRAND Magazine], especially when you implore us to contact our political representatives. Next you will be pontificating about women’s rights surrounding abortion. Whether you are for or against does not belong in this forum.”

(3) “One can only hope you will bring one or two of these suffering families into your home until they become established and to bring many others of their relatives to your home so that they can thrive! (Read with slight snarkeyness).”

What is your response to these kinds of comments?

Christine: Our mission is to “inform and inspire families to live happy, healthy productive lives.” If it’s not our business, whose is it? And why isn’t it everyone’s?

So yes, we knew we’d get blow back. It is a little discouraging to see how low some people will take the discussion. Typically, those respondents never even mention the well-being of children as a priority. In the case of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I’m sure they had not, for a moment, considered that it could just as easily have been their children or grandchildren.

Some people lack that willingness to stand in another’s shoes. But again, the response was overwhelmingly supportive.

Karen: Did you consult with others before you went down this road?

Christine: I usually consult with Jonathan Micocci, president of GRAND Media (and also my husband), and sometimes with others on our team.  But I trust my conscience and believe that if you follow simple rules, like the Golden Rule, for example, you will make good decisions.

Again, a little empathy helps; if someone you loved were a victim of a rightable wrong, especially a child, what would you want others to do?  Then just be strong! I was inspired many years ago by Margaret Meade’s famous quote,  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Karen: What are the personal and professional lessons you learned from this editorial decision?

Christine: One is to be patient with those whose opinions make no sense.  The person has value way beyond their views.

And for me personally, life carries risks; some things work out better than others, but at the end of the day, we have to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we’re being authentic and living up to the values we hold dear. If so, I call that good; if not, try harder.

I want to reiterate that what we wrote about was not about immigration policy; that is a complicated subject worthy of a serious discussion. We condemn the cruel policy of ripping families apart for simply trying to enter our country, which, by the way, all entry is legally protected with due process for both the documented and undocumented. I felt compelled to speak out about that policy. It is my hope that this interview will inspire others to speak out.

Karen: In closing, Christine, I want to thank you for your comments.

Christine: One final comment: I want to invite all your readers and members of the Mommybites community to sign up for GRAND Magazine for free. Be part of our mission to provide grandparents of all ages and in all stages of life, information and inspiration!

Ask Dr. Gramma Karen is published every other Tuesday.
E-mail queries to [email protected]

Dr. Rancourt’s most recent book is,
Ask Dr. Gramma Karen, Volume II: Savvy Advice to Soothe Parent-Grandparent Conflicts

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