UpliftAnother1

Building Community Through Better Relationships

Happily Ever After Includes Funding

Does “Happily Ever After” really belong in the no-nonsense world of community building, philanthropy and business? Touchstone Youth Resources Services had its 2020 annual fundraising tribute and the idea of “Happily Ever After” surfaced. This year the celebration was produced, edited, and delivered virtually because of concerns resulting from Covid-19. Nevertheless, “Happily Ever After” typically appears in fairy tales. In today’s reality, people exist where they stay on high alert concerning viruses, economic turmoil, and people’s ability to interact socially. People’s ability to connect normally has been seriously compromised. Society seems to be moving away from any possibilities featuring “Happily Ever After”. Once society succumbs strictly to rational thinking, then irrational hope is cancelled. In fact, any outcome that is outside rational bounds are eventually dismissed. Miracles are eliminated. Yet, “Happily Ever After” remains. It is not completely removed from possibility! Still, “Happily Ever After” needs funding! 

Live The Lesson 

Miracles do happen! The world is not completely predictable. When organizations determine that they are going to improve the livelihoods of the less-fortunate, then parts of the population can choose to encourage them. Similar subgroups can help with support. In living the lesson, populations can choose to suspend reality and pursue fairy tale endings. A significant component of uplift features embracing possibilities that are not commonly pursued.  

For example, a group of young people make a series of bad decisions that involve breaking the law. Many of their rights and privileges may be reduced as a result of these decisions. Nevertheless, opportunities still exist for them to go against the grain of common beliefs. Embracing lessons from other community members to avoid repeating errors, or aligning the individuals with positive community activities which emphasize their individual gifts can result in new and positive leadership opportunities. The point is to learn the lessons of prior choices and redirect energies toward life choices that distance them from youthful indiscretions. 

Overcoming The Odds 

While systems are put in place to eliminate positive outcomes from youthful mistakes, optimistic results are driven by the human spirit choosing to defy negative expectations. Identifying new opportunities from old, painful lessons, help overcome the odds. Repeated mistakes are a cliché. On the other hand, deliberate steps to improve individual lives is often a viable conclusion. Using tools like education, training, mentoring, or persistently pursuing employment, can realign individuals with a positive destiny.  

The key to succeed down that path is to plan for success instead of waiting for a handout. The path may be humbling and unfashionable, yet it offers a dignified alternative to correct the individual and to uplift the overall community with a positive example. Overcoming the odds takes time and effort. It takes deliberate action. It takes patience. It takes funding. Consequently, the “Happily Ever After” requires sacrifice. 

Conclusion 

Embrace the unpredictable. Dream bigger. In the same way that youth learn academic skills, they can be taught hopefulness and heightened expectations. “Happily Ever After” does exist. It exists among our sports heroes, our entertainment icons, our community leaders who have seen society’s best and worst. These successes take money. Community groups are organizations that require resources. Government programs require adequate funding and political commitment to improve targeted areas. Nevertheless, positive results create economic stimuli that creates jobs, entrepreneurship, and professional visibility. These attributes are great sources of funding for “Happily Ever After”. The most important step is to facilitate positive environments where youth can acquire skills and confidence to contribute to today’s community and tomorrow’s economy. The change begins at the individual community level. Where will you give toward this better outcome? 

By Glenn W Hunter, Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC  

Chair, Board of Directors, Touchstone Youth Resource Services. 

Watch Touchstone Youth Resource Services 2020 Tribute! 

Learn more about social emotional learning, or to donate go to TYRS.org 

October 29, 2020 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Community Building – For Fun, Profit & Ego?

INTRODUCTION 

“They came to do good and stayed to do well.” ~Anonymous. Community building starts with good feelings and self-sacrifice. American culture arrogantly boasts of traditions featuring the ability of lifting by one’s bootstraps and improving one’s livelihood. Regardless of where anyone starts, opportunities abound to finish in a better place. Hard work, loyalty and service are words that culturally resonate in American quests for success. Communities develop based on those success characteristics. Nevertheless, the challenge remains for many people to access sufficient advantages to smooth their transition to a better life.   

STARTING PLACE 

One challenge is different people start at different places in their struggle. Furthermore, advantages are unequally distributed. They can be allocated by favoring physical location, family attributes, emotional stability or any number of other traits. Regardless, embracing familiarity and associated comforts are important in establishing community. In locations or psychological space where one individual may experience trauma, the next individual finds solace. Furthermore, perceived physically dangerous locations often feature locals enjoying comfort because their familiarity helps avoid harm.  Community can represent both physical and social locations where struggle starts. Still, a common launch point for community provides a source of comfort, particularly upon recognizing that a better world exists beyond the present. 

PROFIT 

In other cases, community becomes a place of plunder. Charity may start at home but, beware of charlatans entering a location with expecting to take whatever valuables they can. Building community often involves outside influences bringing expertise, resources, and prior accomplishment to a specific location to replicate success. Too often, that success ends with outsiders bring resources in order to take more resources out. Schemers and scammers that manipulate charitable contributions or external generosity commonly enter a community, only to plunder what is already there. Then, they exit with their ill-gotten gains. Community building for profit can also feature the schemes of current residents. The integrity of the community is often the only defense. Those defenses must emerge when needed, or those that remain become victims to further dysfunction. 

SELF-GRATIFYING 

Occasionally, community building comes with self-gratifying agendas. Individuals contribute to particular communities in order to elevate their personal status. In these cases, the money does not necessarily matter. But, the plundering of social capital can be equally criminal. An individual who elevates his status on the unwilling shoulders of others is nearly equivalent to the outside thief. This ego-driven activity weakens the community as social capital is squandered instead of developing stronger people and institutions. Community building for ego means that physical capital will not be deployed for the greater good, but for the greedy few. In total, the entire community suffers at the hands of a few individuals feeding their own egos as other locals starve for attention, coping skills and emotional empowering. 

CONCLUSION 

While community building is essential to progress, the path is littered with ill-conceived plans and naked greed. Communities of all social-economic levels can thrive as a result of healthy human investment and cooperative economic effort. Problems surface when social, cultural, and financial greed overrides the benefits of the many. Beware of the group that falsely peddles that a rising tide raises all boats, only to sail away with plunder upon accessing the waterway on the backs of locals. In building community, the masses need their needs met. Benefits must be distributed. Savvy planning and accountable execution must remain at the forefront. Otherwise, communities of all levels will be susceptible to decay, misery and poverty. These pitfalls are not just from an asset perspective, but to the social-emotional core of the human beings who remain there. 

By Glenn W Hunter, Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC Chair, Board of Directors, Touchstone Youth Resource Services  Learn more about social emotional learning, or donate go to TYRS.org 

September 29, 2020 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Communication Using Compassion or Engagement?

Why do so many people talk and relatively few communicate? Verbal communication is relatively straightforward. A person speaks. Another person listens. Optimally, they are using the same language. But, even without a common language, grunts, expression and gestures can often carry the point. Still, what happens when essential communication is required? What occurs when a point must truly be made?

Urgency suggests two communication approaches emerge: Compassion and Engagement. Although many approaches are available, these two work well because they involve the emotional connection that best serves effective communication. If an idea is being communicated, then the associated emotion contributes to context.

Compassion

Communication with a sense of compassion reinforces the emotional component that facilitates transferring ideas. Compassion is best described as experiencing with your heart, as well as your ears. In return, the other party has the option of continuing the conversation with an emotional foundation. Feelings matter! The advantage through this verbal mechanism is creating support for an idea, a sentiment, or participation.

The advantage of sharing feelings in conjunction with the knowledge or point is that the emotion reinforces understanding. An infant demonstrates this point through various levels of crying: whimpering and wailing communicate very different messages. Additionally, school- aged children show this point as they respond to instruction. Children respond to praise and punishment based on the teacher’s attitude in delivering these responses. Is the teacher joyful in giving praise or treating it like an obligation? A child can tell the difference. Obedience by obligation is never genuine.

Engagement

Another facet of the communication jewel is engagement. In engagement the transceiver and recipient are bound in mutual benefit. Engagement goes beyond an emotional connection and can transcend into an intellectual connection. Engagement occurs best when the communication clearly involves vocabulary, voice inflection, and visual cues. Multiple senses and channels are involved in transferring information to maximize communication.

Engagement equally emphasizes the speaker and listener. Engagement features listening with ears, eyes and heart. Engagement is established with the intent of being understood and the expectation of sincere response. Engagement’s power resides in the expectation and establishment of a meaningful dialogue. Returning to learning environments, engagement comes equipped with the expectation of understanding, in addition to facilitating more communication to ensure better understanding. Engagement maximizes understanding by establishing the framework at the beginning.

Conclusion

These nuanced communication techniques are essential in elevating intellectual and emotional comprehension. Creating an environment where more understanding occurs enhances the learning environment, as well as inspires additional learning. The joy of learning is not a student’s transition to better English skills. The joy of learning is transcending to the point that an appetite for more knowledge emerges. Fundamentally, communicating with engagement elevates the joy of intellectual growth. Engagement inspires growth and cognitive development between teachers and listeners. Essentially, engagement facilitates educating more broadly and inclusively. Consequently, we all grow.

By Glenn W Hunter, Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services

To learn more about social emotional learning, or donate go to TYRS.org

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Same Trauma, Next Generation

Hispanic father and daughter

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” ~ Unknown. Trauma behaves similarly. People embrace fears “that just ain’t so”, yet have just enough truth to be believable. The challenge is that fear often overpowers the ability to discover truth. Under those circumstances, trauma can then spread. Fear can then overpower facts. Once a set of facts are associated with a specific outcome, people will go out of their way to protect and perpetuate that misguided truth. Trauma explains why an adult survives an auto accident, then never drives again. Generationally, that mindset can extend fear into that adult’s children. Are fears stop lights or beacons? The answer lives in the individual’s relationship with trauma.

 

Coping Skills

To move beyond debilitating trauma, the person has to acknowledge the obstacle. An important part of coping skills is recognition that an issue exists that requires management.Successful management depends on persistence as much as proper techniques. For a child to overcome a fear of reading in front of the class, the remedy involves confidently practicing reading as opposed to reminding them that “a” represents the sound in “apple”. To reinforce the point, a willingness to release old ideas in favor of new ones empowers a child to learn new materials while releasing old fears.

 

Applying coping skills to new challenges results in better behaviors. Overcoming old beliefs requires releasing them. As young and old people develop, releasing former beliefs to make room for new and improved ones is essential. Wounds heal. New experiences displace old fears. People, regardless of age, who are receptive to accepting new experiences are taking steps toward embracing a new and improved reality. Exercising the courage to displace fear with activity is essential to coping with new challenges and celebrating new achievements.

 

Family Curses

Unfortunately, one of the primary reasons that old fears overtake new possibilities is the traditions and mores embedded in families. Each family, or any other group, has both acceptable and unacceptable practices. These practices evolve over time based on stories and experiences that are passed down. This phenomenon is true across cultures and time. The problem occurs when lessons from stories and traditions no longer reflect reality. For example, a parent insists that a teenager cannot go to college because the teen’s grandfather took a college class decades ago and was badly injured in a campus riot.

 

The events coincide, they do not reflect causation. In this case, the curse is internal ignorance, not external evil. Information and awareness can minimize the likelihood of repeating the tragic event. Too often, updated information is rejected in the name of preserving tradition. While traditions have their place, environments to establish progressive thinking is not necessarily one of them. In managing family trauma, embracing new possibilities with other people who can articulate positive outcomes provides a healthier growth outcome. Removing the sting from curses with better preparation and education, provides a pathway to progress.

 

Conclusion

Fundamentally, progress emerges when old baggage is discarded. Trauma does not have to move from one generation to the next. Learning facilitates new experiences. New experiences can introduce more progressive ideas. Trauma can be overcome with better information with regards to fears, outdated beliefs, and growth opportunities. Fears can be flushed out of the shadows with enlightenment and truth. When the stove top is on, it is hot. Staying out of the kitchen in fear keeps you from getting burned. It also keeps you from eating. Reverse the curse. Embrace new ideas. Enter the kitchen. Use a mitten. Wait for the food to cool before eating. Enjoy a better experience.

 

By Glenn W Hunter, Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services

To learn more about social emotional learning (and even donate) go to TYRS.org

August 5, 2020 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Quarantine Fifteen

Lion Cub Mirror

During a scorching California summer featuring pandemics and quarantines, I decided to wash my 20-something daughter’s car. After sitting in a desert driveway for weeks with nowhere to go, her vehicle had finally accumulated enough dust. Nevertheless, even good deeds must abide by edicts, rules and protocols. “Thou must not touch the radio in her car.” is one such edict! As I listened to music that I had never heard before, and commercials for products that I did not know existed, some 20-something on the radio mentioned the “Quarantine Fifteen”. I quickly peeked at my stomach that was uncomfortably close to the steering wheel and knew exactly what that 20-something meant.

Quarantine
I felt shamed. I felt alone. It had nothing to do with me driving in a car by myself. I had just been outed by an unseen voice who knew my loneliness and had imposed body shaming on me. How did he know? In reality, the voice was a recording and I had already internalized some trauma regarding my weight. The loneliness of the quarantine made me vulnerable. Conforming to the Covid 19 pandemic’s authority, I physically and emotionally retreated. Snacks were my refuge. I retreated behind groupthink so not to spread the virus. No one cared. Unfortunately, more of me had become available to be alone.

But, aloneness and loneliness are choices. The recorded radio voice really did not know me. Physical distancing was designed to minimize human-to-human contact which could decelerate spreading the virus. But, engagement remains alive and well. The “Quarantine” exposed that I was susceptible to messages that did not reflect my reality. The “Quarantine Fifteen” shamed me to accept that consequences exist for being alone. Equally true, it can be a call that self-care demands to be a priority. Not just cleaning the car, but cleaning my esteem, health and personal appearance is still a priority. Positive results are available.

Fifteen
The “Fifteen” simply indicates a number rhyming with quarantine. Nevertheless, body shaming is real. The commercial wants you to see the world through their lens. Individually, we each can determine the lens in which we see the world. Fifteen pounds is too much because someone with a microphone, that you will never meet, said so? The truth is that an individual has the authority to dictate their own perception. A Fifty and Fabulous grandmother has as much authority over self-esteem as a teenager dragging around the Quarantine Fifteen. Realize that Grandma is having a much better time.

Likewise, Dad washing the car is performing an act that brings joy. It may not be as much fun as being Fifty and Fabulous. But, it beats the heck out of hiding in the living room waiting for the quarantine to be lifted believing that the extra 15 pounds will leave the house first. The fifteen is not the problem. The attitude is the problem. Personal uplift results from identifying the point of pain and remedying it. Soap and water coming out of a wand solves the problem of the dirty car. Proclaiming “Today I am going to do one thing to be a better me.”, promotes improving your personal identity.

Conclusion
“Be True To Who You Are!” Whether you choose to reveal yourself as you are today, or intend to be in two weeks, perform consistent with your chosen reality. Kind people need to go ahead and perform a kind act for someone else. If loneliness in a pandemic has you down, find individuals that you like and trust both personally and health-wise so that you can arrange to engage each other. No one is absolutely sure what the New Normal will look like. Nevertheless, being true to who you are, and showing kindness will probably be an important part of your successful plan.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director, Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Board Chairman,Touchstone Youth Resource Service
www.TYRS.org

July 19, 2020 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who’s The Adult In the Room?

Sad-Office-Boy
Dinner tables across America have recently put an extra place setting at the dinner table. Trauma is coming to dinner! Without an invitation, trauma just showed up around dinner time, ready to eat. As families navigate the “New Normal” regarding Covid 19, riots and quarantines, social routines change.Dysfunction and domestic pressures quickly follow. Uncertainty and fear are now constantly in the home. Furthermore, parents are afraid because of instantaneous spikes in unemployment. Children are disoriented because school routines were either eliminated or transformed into blending learning. No authority figures communicated credible solutions nor expectations. What happened to certainty?

More Information
As a result of the pandemic’s health uncertainty, economic irrationality quickly followed. No known projections for social remedies applied. Furthermore, government models concerning employees, students, vagrancy or any other reason for people to congregate, now must factor in sickness and death. Imposed quarantines essentially meant that people socially withdrew to avoid fatal illness. Nevertheless, what did people know for sure from politicians or other leaders? The illness spread quickly so contact with other people had to be severely limited. Consequently, people corralled in their homes. Parents were now forced to engage their children on an ongoing basis; and they barely knew each other.

Frustrated parents now had to face the facts that their children had matured while they paid little attention. Children realized that their behaviors had evolved with input from peers, social media, and streaming shows. Neither party were ready to interact with the other party on an ongoing basis because work, activities, and socializing had diluted the functioning strength of traditional homes. All news sources discouraged everyone. Tempers flared. Violence struck. Groceries and assorted goods were sporadically scarce. And, no news source truthfully pointed toward a logical, trustworthy resolution.

More Uncertainty
As family, employment, political beliefs and trust quickly eroded, credible authority figures became more scarce. With limited credible options to secure direction, new evidence of trauma entered living and working spaces. Children looked to parents for guidance. Parents experienced skyrocketing tension resulting from quickly eroding and frightening workplaces. Still, no credible source emerged with a logical path to a solution. Trust eroded from familiar authoritative voices, which was quickly followed by trust eroding within homes. Dependence on substances, fear, and violence anecdotally escalated.

Unfortunately, people motivated by fear increase irrationality. Without leadership, people’s hope begin to perish. Schools sustained student engagement with lunch programs. Parents with multiple children tried to game the system for additional food during distribution. Both parents and school leaders pretended to ignore that in many cases the school lunch program often provided the one balanced meal that children enjoyed that day. Yet, who was responsible for determining the trade-off between encouraging academic progress or facilitating healthy nourishment choices.Teachers, parents, and political leaders were all uncertain concerning desired outcomes of this makeshift program. The practice simply evolved.

Takeaways
Sometimes, the emperor has no clothes! The authorities were not prepared to satisfy the people’s needs. Without an adult in the room, the children struggled to navigate rules that did not result in chants of “Kill the pig!” Whether authority figures are right, wrong, indifferent, or clueless, in the name of structure they need to be followed until clearly determined to be incompetent. Unfortunately, anarchy becomes an option. It is rarely a good one. As the Covid 19 pandemic continues to ebb and flow in alignment with questionable decisions by leaders and citizens, violent protests march toward a buffet of unintended consequences.

At some point the masses must decide what level of dysfunction is palatable. Will children be hurt, deprived, or just abandoned? Will public education become a luxury item for communities that can meet a presently undetermined level of civility? Or, will a leader emerge that saves our current way of life? Ultimately, an adult must stand in the room and be recognized! For the sake of the children’s future, let’s believe that this adult will be positioned to address assorted community trauma and re-build a society that values life, continuity and a future.

By Glenn W Hunter
Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services
To learn more – and even contribute/ donate – go to www.TYRS.org

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better World | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Viral Boundaries, New Behaviors

woman wearing black face mask

Photo by Zulurid on Pexels.com

 

Children now stay at home from school, highways overnight became abnormally empty, and adults dramatically changed work options. American society is experiencing severe shocks to its normal course of operation! Particularly changes in routines that our youth must endure has caused dramatic shocks to society’s normal flow. This disruption has created many unexpected consequences that extend beyond a uniquely violent strain of the flu. Besides wearing masks publicly, handshakes, bro’ hugs, and gentle squeezes between genders are endangered gestures. Personal space is now sacred. Who even heard the term social distancing before this insanity began?

 

VIRAL BOUNDARIES
As American society endures its latest pandemic, individuals must learn the unique terms of engagement for this latest illness, while acquaintances, friends, and loved ones are dying. The body count has become part of the news cycle. And through it all, both young and old are clueless regarding next steps for the behaviors that will permit our species and society to continue. The boundaries are determined by a virus that we cannot see, hear, feel, or smell. Nevertheless, once it impacts anyone, all doubt is removed that it is present.

While adults struggle to figure out society’s new normal, our youth are baffled.Yet, as youth has done across the ages, they make up rules as they go along. Presently, six feet represents the benchmark for physical distancing. But, how well is a five-foot tall grade schooler equipped to measure that distance? Beyond the physical boundaries, emotional boundaries are impacted. Hugs can result in severe illness. Job losses disrupt harmony at home. Friends of all ages are viewed with suspicion because everyone is absolutely clueless regarding what contact any given friend has had with other acquaintances and family members. Plus, it only takes one innocent contact to circulate a mind-numbingly painful and contagious illness. Frustration in every household begins when the first alarm clock rings. Then, it escalates!

NEW BEHAVIORS
So, new sets of behaviors are required. Except that old behaviors have not been properly displaced. Alcoholism that has been routinely in the family unit, now must stare down a quarantine. The new reality features a casual drinker in the house who typically has a daily drink or two to take off the edge. Except, the new reality leads to abuse because the edge never leaves! Elsewhere, friends are sick or scared, so socializing is minimized. Even, close family members are contagious and cautious such that everyone at home is justifiably paranoid. Once social outlets have closed, then domestic abuse surfaces as a convenient option for frustration. Unsurprisingly, the next generation follows suit. Consequently, substance abuse, and its BFF, domestic violence, now run rampant throughout our communities’ new reality. Data confirms this.

With fear, violence, and uncertainty taking up permanent residence in every corner of our community, destructive cycles perpetuate. Dysfunction literally goes viral, as children have no escape. Their schools are closed. This means, social outlets are closed. Their physical outlets are closed. And, far too often, recreational options are closed. New behaviors are driven by fear, hunger, uncertainty, separation, and physical loneliness. How do our youth cope? How do our youth connect? How do our youth manage the unprecedented rush of emotions that floods every corner of their existence? Who is in charge? Who knows what to do?

TAKEAWAYS
Ironically, the solution resides exactly where the problem began to gain significant momentum. Unfortunately, the solution is back in the belly of the beast. Community is the answer! In this case community means convenient resources and relationships that are trustworthy. Community means guidance from trusted authority figures to help youth navigate these uncharted pathways. Community requires instruction from multiple sources that at least include, law enforcement, healthcare, education, and local government. Unfortunately, any moral breakdown from any of these social pillars will only escalate the destruction of public confidence or progress. Currently, boundaries are established by a viral enemy that has the ability to take what we hold dearest. Consequently, communal efforts that align with common behaviors over time will save society. Either trust the authorities to guide communities within proper boundaries to return to safety or risk anarchy.Accept conventional behaviors that benefit the masses, even at the risk of the individual. Or, descend quickly to social and physical depths featuring yet unseen horrors and destruction. Let’s choose each other. Be Safe! Good luck.

By Glenn W Hunter
Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services
To learn more – and even contribute/ donate – go to www.TYRS.org

April 22, 2020 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Community Trauma, Individual Pain

Reading Troubles

Little Joe was an eight-year old boy in an over-crowded elementary school in an underfunded, urban school district. He was illiterate. His teacher was predictably overworked and underpaid. Students filled her classroom struggling to learn at the prescribed level. She essentially had no resources to provide additional help. Her frustration met her every morning because that poor district left her few resources to ignite educational fires in these hungry minds with hungry bellies. In the middle of the semester, a new boy joined her class who had just moved from an out-of-state suburb. Trying to make a good impression on his new teacher, he demonstrated a reading ability two grades above his new peers. The teacher immediately gave her new star a special assignment. His job was to teach Little Joe how to read. The new student went home that day and cried uncontrollably to his father about his new job. Who was not traumatized in this true story?

Community
Community Trauma is when an incident happens that literally impacts the whole community. Some events spectacularly happen quickly, like community violence. Other events evolve more slowly likely systemic poverty. In both cases, the idea of community involves a sense of belonging in the physical sense, or in a social emotional space. The challenge with healing community trauma is that the pain spreads deliberately and quietly until it is too unruly to manage. The slowly spreading result becomes an unnoticed growing problem that overtakes the entire community until it is difficult to help the people who have gradually accepted their symptoms of trauma as the new normal. Essentially, communities denigrate at a rate where trust, pride and safety erode so slowly that community does not know it is in jeopardy until personal and social plagues have poisoned the people and the environment. The trauma has evolved into social ills.

Coaching
Coaching is an important tactic to combat community trauma because it introduces compassion and accountability. As social emotional tools are introduced into local communities through school groups, religious institutions, and community centers, the opportunity for locals to use successful tactics to improve social and economic outcomes appears. Unfortunately, coaching requires much more than spreading useful information. Even if the tools are available, do the instructors have the capacity to serve? Too many communities suffer because they accept bad doctrine to improve livelihoods. Successful coaching requires helpful information, consistent distribution, intentional reinforcement, faithful accountability, and repeated processes. The absence of any of these components result in the continued degradation of a community and its members.

Communication
Even with proper tools and great intentions, the rules of communication ultimately dictate the success of any society’s change. Effective communications require a clear, understandable voice and willing, attentive listeners. In introducing major changes in communities, too many rational voices are muffled by loud, misguided messages. Furthermore, many communities suffer because of ill-informed, or emotionally charged voices. Either way, damaging information transmits because of ignorance or irrationality.The community cannot progress because coherent, contributing messages are squashed. Loud, emotional, short-term thinking outbursts dominate conversations. The result is that the loudest, most incoherent chatter is mistaken for strong, logical discourse. The community suffers in every case that wisdom is lost in emotional moments.

Takeaway
Fundamentally, the ongoing pain that encompasses underserved communities is rarely neither ignorance nor apathy. The challenge features poor performance with regards to community, coaching, and communication. To uplift any community properly, tools and application must be in place so that the community is working together toward progress. Poor allocation of financial, educational, and health resources destroy social foundations leading to dysfunctional leadership and identity. Little Joe is not a bad kid because he is illiterate. But, the education system is bad when its solutions kills the spirit of the community’s future leaders because the resources are not available to save simultaneously the least and the most of these. While trauma may trigger the pain, misaligned leadership will destroy a community from the inside.

 
By Glenn W Hunter, Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services
To learn more – and even contribute/ donate – go to www.TYRS.org

November 30, 2019 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whose Community Wants 3 Cs?

Father-Son-Talk-Truth

In Kansas City, years ago a young, urban preacher, barked a bold and abrasive interpretation of biblical passage which caused many worshippers to bristle. Then, to emphasize the rough edge that the passage indicated, he challenged his allegedly more polished congregation by proclaiming, “I can say that… y’all don’t know all my previous addresses!” As the laughter subsided, it successfully raised a key point. What community does he truly represent? Community can often refer to neighborhoods, ethnic groupings, or a core of common beliefs. Fundamentally, a community can arguably be a manifestation of a core set of similar behaviors and morals.

Community
With regards to establishing local behaviors and morals that embrace destructive tendencies, determining what people a community truly represents becomes very valuable. Consequently, when coping skills are required to manage individual inconsistencies in acceptable local behaviors, the community has a larger role in establishing acceptable standards. For example, in a rough and tumble community, an unwritten rule may exist that real men do not cry. The unintended consequence of this rule is that young men never learn to process their emotions. That dynamic results in another generation of young men who only learn to express themselves through anger and retaliation. They never developed, let alone expressed, more advance emotional skills. However, a community can function much more emotionally balanced through residents, and particularly young men, who develop a more rounded set of emotional expression. Less inhibited frustration clearly leads to less violence.

Coaching
While developing more balanced emotional capacity and expression works well in controlled environments, human interactions actually occur in a complicated world. Role models, both positive and negative, exist in that complicated role. By intentionally equipping adults, young adults, and youth with balanced emotional skills, violent outbursts erupting from pent up frustration can be minimized. Specifically, coaching can build emotional tools to manage already identified destructive community behaviors. Coaching is different from teaching. Coaching emphasizes developing established skills to an improved level so that people perform better in their environment. Ultimately, by developing positive coaching acumen among community leaders and formal teachers, the result is building coping skills in future generations to interact productively.

Communication
Creating all these positive connections among generations and community segments are unproductive without developing better communications tools. By communication tools, the community must develop abilities to share and receive ideas. In other words, people need to speak and listen with equal understanding. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the population believes listening means waiting on your turn to talk again, people’s listening skills are in serious need of an upgrade. That upgrade can start with local students, who already are in learning environments, and equipping them with skills that require paying attention. Then, encourage them to share without judgment to develop communication skills so that basic understanding will meaningfully improve. Consequently, a key element for improving Social Emotional Learning skills includes elevating listening skill levels. Effectively developing listening skills can significantly reduce misunderstandings and resultant violence.

Takeaways
As developing these tools, Community, Coaching, Communication, the 3 Cs, becomes more prevalent in communities, mutual understanding will elevate. Unsurprisingly, as cultural rifts and angry expression are currently enabled, violence and division continue to escalate across too many communities. No group, class, nor social strata seems liberated from these ills at this point. The 3 C’s of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) are essential tools to build more cohesive local environments. The benefit begins once communities become receptive to coaching so that civil communication can begin in developing better coping skills which result in more harmonious environments.

By Glenn W Hunter
Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services
To learn more – and even contribute/ donate – go to www.TYRS.org

October 31, 2019 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fearless, Reckless, or Clueless

Fearless Clueless School Fight

Violence rages out of control in too many schoolyards and playgrounds! Today, should school-aged children be taught to be brave, or fearless? While boys are traditionally taught to be brave as a sign of maturity, society is increasingly communicating that bravery must now cross genders. Bravery used to be a physical characteristic, featuring feats of strength. But now, it is really a social-emotional attribute. Walking away from a fight can be a sign of bravery. It demonstrates cooler heads prevailing. But, what happens when fear irrationally appears? Typically, undisciplined and reckless behaviors follow in the form of fight or flight. Often, violence follows.

Fearless
The absence of fear is close to bravery and its positive attributes. However, the absence of a negative action is not necessarily the presence of a positive one. The ability to look fear in the face while maintaining dignity clearly suggests being fearless. Where school children used to learn “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”, know today that words can be painful and scarring. Consequently, at best, fearless now means looking at long-term potential harm, and still deciding to act. Fear can be present. It may even be limiting. But, persevering through the fear and embracing the consequences is literally courage.

In most communities, youth carry many fearful emotions with them daily. The emotions result from various forms of abuse and irrational role models that routinely intrude into their daily lives. Whether these threats are real from dysfunctional families, or fabricated from media images, they contribute to many destructive decisions when interacting with others. To combat such fear-based environments, school structures must contribute to reinforce knowledge and productive life skills. Unfortunately, that step means more training for educators. The next degree of difficulty features constructive coaching from other community influences and authority figures, as well. Simply, young people need to spend more time in social environments demonstrating life-affirming traits.

Reckless
Destructive behaviors among youth often result directly from them being reckless. Such behavior coincides with the absence of discipline. Fundamentally, discipline is acknowledging established rules. In its absence, lawlessness takes root and chaos quickly follows. From a community standpoint, locals lose confidence in authority figures, including law enforcement. More aggressive rogue influences organize and assume control. The groups may be called gangs, community organizers, or concerned citizens. Regardless, once they communicate disruptive values, and then fear, locals can expect violence, and lawlessness to influence the community’s behaviors.

This social evolution potentially spreads until reckless behavior becomes the norm. Furthermore, with aggressive groups increasingly dictating local behaviors, positive and cohesive activities to strengthen community values disappear. Recklessness is the byproduct of fractured communities establishing their own guidelines despite being inconsistent with the greater society. The outcome is local groups leading through intimidation. Then, the youth grow in an environment where inconsistent rules and random authority figures represent their reality. Recklessness takes over the community and re-establishing a positive social order consistent with the broader community can literally take generations.

Takeaway
In prior generations, bravery implied standing up to bullies. Now it means being intellectually clever and emotionally flexible to avoid physical confrontation. Furthermore, youth are increasingly vulnerable to psychological stressors, in addition to physical trauma. The ability to look fear in the face and do it anyway has become increasingly difficult, yet more necessary. Developing camaraderie among youth remains a powerful tool to reduce fear. Likewise, building personal relationships among like-minded peers is an effective coping skill at all ages. Even in a digital world, common traits, mutual likes and similar dislikes attract like-minded personalities. Fearlessly welcoming others into personal, social-emotional engagement is the first clue toward building relationships. Then, personal relationships will evolve to build strong communities.

By Glenn W Hunter, Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services
To learn more – and even contribute/ donate – go to www.TYRS.org

 

 

September 23, 2019 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment