Juvenile Court Judge Barry Tatum is known for a lot of things as a judge and co-worker to courthouse employees. However, he’s also known for his ties.
They’re not the usual ties anyone could purchase from a department or discount store. These ties have designs made by children and purchased through the Save the Children organization.
He’s been collecting the silk ties for nearly 21 years and has amassed approximately 20 ties over that time.
“I started it not long after I was elected,” he said. “I just happened to run across an article about an organization called ‘Save the Children.’ I looked it up and like a lot of places, they have things for sale, and I thought, ‘(the ties) were neat.”
Tatum ordered two to three ties to start with, he said.
“Over the years I’ve accumulated a few more,” he noted. “You can find more on the Internet. They’re fairly expensive (listed $20-$40 per tie on the organization’s website), but you can also find slightly used ties which are a lot more affordable.”
All of the ties in Save the Children’s collection are based on drawings that child has made, Tatum said.
“On the back, of course, it will say ‘Save the Children,’ but it will also say, ‘helping children and their families around the world, and there’s a child’s name and age.”
The ties are based on posters that children draw and then submitted to Save the Children, Tatum said. When the drawing is accepted, Save the Children will use that poster and turn the design into a colorful tie.
The ties that Tatum owns have designs depicting flags around the world, drawn by children who are in other countries and young people in the United States, he noted.
“There is a kangaroo for a tie from Australia, Mt. Fuji from Japan, the Eiffel Tower for France and the Leaning Tower of Pisa for Italy,” he said. “There are also sports, patriotic and Christmas themes.
“On Mondays, or the days we deal with child in foster care, or the Department of Children’s Services has done a removal due to some allegation to abuse or neglect, (the ties) are just a way to remind me of the importance of what we’re doing.”
It is also “something that is fun that often brightens a child’s day,” he added. “I’ll hold a child in my lap, for instance one that is two years old or younger and, like most children, they’re drawn to something colorful, like an ink pen or certainly, your tie.”
He noted that he also gets drawings, cards and pictures when child is adopted.
“We don’t have the jurisdiction at this level to do adoptions,” he said. “They’re done at the circuit and chancery court levels. The removal from the home, trying to get the parents to step up and do what they need to do and unfortunately in some cases, the termination of parental rights happens here.”
He said that the items from a child is “special. I wish I had cataloged them from day one. You get them and it reminds you that maybe, what we’re doing here in juvenile court has some little part in their lives down the road. The decisions we make today has some sort and effect down the road long after we’re gone. We just have to leave a lot of it in God’s hands and seek out God’s guidance.”