Today’s Heroes: Top Parenting Bloggers Marvyn and Mary Cab Tinitigan
A year ago, I had contacted Marvyn and Mary Tinitigan, who operate the delightful parenting – family blog site, ‘Marvyn and Mary’ and sought their assistance in stewarding the I CARE Foundation’s message about the pandemic of international parental child abduction so targeted parents may become educated about the realities of abduction.
Over the year, Mary and Marvyn have been extremely helpful in stewarding the messages of abduction prevention. Their assistance has made a sizeable difference in the lives of many, including playing a key role in the recovery of an abducted child.
Specifically, a young girl was internationally parentally abducted from New Jersey. Her abductor had hatched a clever scheme that included use of flights to Florida, boarding a closed circuit cruise ship (a loophole under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) that would stop off in Mexico after visiting several ports-of-call in the Caribbean, debarking in Mexico’s Cancun, driving to Mexico City, where the abductor would then fly with the kidnapped child to Brazil. However, the targeted parent, who had remained in New Jersey, unaware of the scheme of her ex-husband, read Marvyn and Mary’s various articles about international parental child abduction and the I CARE Foundation’s work. Immediately, an investigation was launched that quickly uncovered the in-action plan. And with a lot of effort and a great deal of work, the little girl was removed from the cruise ship and returned to her custodial mother. Should the child’s abductor – her non-custodial father – gotten into Mexico, their passage to Brazil would have been clear. And sadly, the child’s return would have been unlikely since Brazil is generally a non-complying signatory nation of the Hague Convention.
Mary and Marvyn’s willingness to get involved and to advocate for others demonstrates not just good citizenship, but undeniably is a demonstrative building block of excellent parenting. If it was not for their blog writing and willingness to get involved, at least one child’s hatched kidnapping would have been carried out. But it was not because a caring, fun, and intelligent couple with a sense of civic responsibility decided to use their voice and make a difference for children and families in crisis.
I am pleased to share that Marvyn and Mary Tinitigin are Today’s Heroes. They not only represent what can happen when each of us advocates issues that are geared toward enriching the greater good of others. Indeed, they are my heroes because, with nothing to gain other than the knowledge that they might be able to help others, they got involved.
Outside of their advocacy with the I CARE Foundation, Marvyn and Mary’s blog writing is delightful! Writing and posting as a family – which is awesome – the topics they write about and some of the photographs they share speak to readers around the world.
It is my honor to share with you my interview with Marvyn and Mary: compassionate, kind, thoughtful, and intelligent Heroes of Today who make the world a better place for all of us. When I think of the words ‘human connectivity’, I think of my dear friends Marvyn and Mary Tinitigin.
Here is my interview:
1. Your parent blog site ‘Marvyn and Mary’ is an absolute celebration of parenting and partnership. How do you and Marvyn collaborate on topics and issues you share with your readers?
We don’t really have a formal collaboration process. Instead we have a general idea of what our readers want and we stay true to that. We’re pretty loosey-goosey in that regard. – Marvyn
2. Why did you decide to create your parenting blog?
Marvynandmary.com was originally a venue for us to share our wedding information with attendees. After our wedding, it eventually evolved into a blog. Marvyn has the know-how, so why not? – Mary
Eventually we were getting a lot of feedback on our posts of not-so-common products, so we took it from there. – Marvyn
3. How has your writing and blog impacted others?
I’m hoping it gives the readers a few minutes of smiles and laughter. Everybody wants to see more of Jagger, right? – Marvyn
I am hoping that they find something in our blog that will help them in whatever they are searching for. Whether it’s laughter, wanting to relate to another parent or in need of help, I hope they find that on our site. – Mary
4. Parenting blog writers partially consist of mothers who have dedicated themselves to the incredible fulltime task of raising a family. What are the benefits for a stay-at-home mother or father who is considering creating a blog or using social media to have their voice heard?
Networking. We wouldn’t be having this discussion if it wasn’t for that, you know? – Marvyn
I am no longer a stay-at-home mom but when I was, I used our blog to just write about things that interest me like the I CARE Foundation. I also used it as something that I could take out my frustration on. – Mary
5. What are some of the fun or interesting aspects of being a well-respected parent blog writer?
You can take pictures of anything. When somebody gives you a dirty look, the instant response is “Don’t worry, it’s for my blog!” –Marvyn
That you can say anything you want and not worry about what people think – Mary
6. The way society obtains and shares information has changed dramatically over a short period of time. How important of a role do parent blog writers have in educating other parents about issues that they may face?
It is very important. When we were expecting, we looked to the web to provide us with answers that we needed and we wanted to do the same. Marvyn wanted to start writing reviews on products we bought in hopes that it would help people decide on whether to buy it or not, especially when it came to baby products. We were constantly on Babies R Us reading reviews so we thought why not write our experience on our blog?
7. Would you say that a mobilized and united parent blog community has the ability of creating trends, swaying policy, and increasing the elevation of topical issues?
Absolutely! We as parents have a right to raise our voices because we are fighting for our children’s future. People tend to listen more when raising an issue comes from a parent. They know that we just want to do what is right and want to protect our children – Mary
8. On your blog site’s ‘About Us’ section, you post: ‘Let me write something about us. I promise I will make it entertaining. Come back later, okay?’ So, here is your chance: how about three sentences.
3)….come back later okay? 😉
9. Parent blog writer’s social activism is becoming more visible and influential. What responsibilities do parents have, if any, to become vocal with respect to causes or issues that impact society?
I think parents have such a big responsibility in society. After all, we are raising the future of this country. – Mary
10. How have you used your website to help others, particularly children and families in crisis?
I think your feedback is proof. A perfect example of how our website has helped those in need. –Marvyn
11. You have become visible in your advocacy with the I CARE Foundation to help prevent international child abduction and human trafficking. Why is this important?
Because we want to do anything we can to protect the innocent. It is such a cruel world out there and we want those horrible human beings (if we can even call them that)to know that we are out there, fighting you with everything we have to keep our children safe.
12. Your blog helped prevent an abduction of a young girl taken from the United States to South America. How did you feel knowing that you made a difference for a targeted family?
We were completely blown away by the news. There were so many thoughts running through our mind. To unknowingly help someone get their daughter back, how do you find the right words to that? We are just so unbelievably happy that the child was returned. We never expected it would be our blog that would be of assistance to something like this. There are so many options when you Google something and the fact that our blog popped up and helped them, it’s just…WOW. It’s an honor really. It gives us comfort in some way that if something like this happens again, our blog and others like ours is able to provide someone with some assistance. -Mary
13. Can you name three books that have inspired you?
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. One of my all time favorite book/movie. I was always a believer in fairy tales (I mean, what girl doesn’t right) and that book gave me a hope at a time that I needed it most. Now this book inspired Marvyn too. We met when I visited my family here in NJ during Christmas break. I was living in California at that time. He found out that my favorite book/movie is The Notebook. When it was time for me to leave, he wrote me this lovely letter that he made me promise not to read until I got on the plane. He pretty much confessed his love for me and that he really wished we could have met in different circumstances because he would have loved to get to know me better. Well, we all know how that turned out. A happy ending for us both =)
Another one is a book called Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo. I don’t know how much of the story is actually the truth but it gave me such hope that when it is our time, we are really going to be reunited with the people we love up there.
And lastly, Chasing the Cyclone, written by my wonderful friend, Peter Thomas Senese, is another one that inspired me. It’s a story about a father’s love, how he would go to hell and back to get his son back. Reading that book, I never imagined it would introduce us to a great cause but also introduced us to a group of amazing people.
14. What would you tell other parent blogger writers about their role in using their voice to further social causes about children?
That, believe us, your voice matters. We never knew when we started writing about the I CARE Foundation that our voice would be heard. You always told us, Peter, that our voices are being heard and it is helping, that we are heroes as well. We had a hard time seeing ourselves as heroes just by writing something important. With the news that we helped someone get their daughter back, we still don’t see ourselves as one. It really is all because of you Peter and the I CARE Foundation. You are the hero because with you and the foundation, we never would have had the chance to help give a voice to it. -Mary
15. Jagger seems to always be smiling, and the affection that is shared with him clearly genuine. What are some of the important aspects or techniques of your and Marvyn’s parenting that you would like to share with others?
We shower Jagger with hugs and kisses every day. We don’t take our time with him for granted. His happiness means the world to us. Some may say he is spoiled but he gets disciplined too when he acts out. Marvyn has been chatting with one of his aunts who lives in California lately. It’s been a while since they’ve talked. And he’s shown her pictures and one of her comments was the same thing: he is always smiling and looks very happy. I don’t know what we are doing half that time but obviously we are doing something right, right? I guess one thing I can tell parents out there is to not take life so seriously. Look at life through the eyes of your child every now and again. Also, no matter how hard you feel like you have to work so you can buy your child everything they want, remember that all they really want is your time. The material things are not what is important to them. As long as your child is happy and you’re happy, things will work out for the best. -Mary
16. What are three things that you love to do?
There are just too many to name! This is hard. But I have to choose right? So here it goes: reading, watch basketball with my boys and shopping!
17. I consider you and Marvyn heroes for you acted unselfishly and came to the aid of the I CARE Foundation when we desperately sought assistance from the parent blog writer community to help raise awareness of abduction. You have posted several articles that have made an impact on the lives of others. How important is it for each of us to find our courage and share our voice?
It is so incredibly important to share our voice. You never know who you will reach. Someone out there is searching for something and your blog may just provide the right answer. Never in a million years would I have thought writing about I CARE Foundation would eventually reach that one person who really needed it. -Mary
18. If there is anything you would like readers to know that we have not covered here, what would that be?
That Marvyn and Jagger have more shoes than me!
Marvyn and Mary Tinitigan demonstrate by act that each of our voices really do matter. They have made a resounding impact on others – something I am sure they will continue to do. Their son Jagger is very fortunate, for he has two amazing parents that are connected to enriching the human experience by sharing the wonderments of their life.
Heroes can be defined by individuals chose to act for the greater good of others. The heroic act is the defining moment, not necessarily the final act, but the willingness to act. In Maryvn and Mary’s case, they have acted to help others, and have made a difference for others. And that is more than very cool!
I invite you to visit Marvyn and Mary’s website.