Building Community Through Better Relationships

Sick and Tired (Of Being Sick and Tired)

Two drivers on their morning commute in an urban area get too close for comfort. One yells an obscenity. The other chooses to express his response in sign language. They both perfectly understood the other’s perspective and continue to their destinations. For decades working Americans have wanted less stressful commutes to work. The trauma results from traffic, short tempered drivers, too many old drivers, too many new drivers, or just because it is Monday. Urban traffic has stretched bad attitudes and shrank tempers on drivers’ daily travels to employment for a long time. But, in the last year Covid 19 has seemingly invaded every aspect of American lives, including what used to be the workplace commute. The virus’ reach has impacted so many aspects of American’s daily existence, that people simply accept that they are now “Sick and Tired, Of Being Sick and Tired”.

Zoom Fatigue

As Covid 19 expanded its influence on the American workplace, physical work locations became more problematic and virtual meetings replaced them. Connecting with colleagues and customers from the comfort of home sounded great in theory, until workers realized that they nearly never left home, nor family members for that matter. Simply, focusing on communicating via screen created new problems. Workers soon became eager to replace work – life balance with work-life separation. If being “on” for your boss for eight hours was bad, being “on” for family members of assorted ages and background was worse. “Zoom fatigue” quickly became the popular term to describe being accessible via audio-visual communication without ceasing.

Fundamentally, fatigue is no joke. Where once fatigue resulted from physical exhaustion, intense exertion, or mental weariness, now staring at screens incessantly has become mind-numbingly exhausting. Only seeing people from their mid-torso and up results in greater annoyance. From a Social Emotional Learning perspective, people at work encounter more irritability and greater fatigue because now the technology seems to monitor individuals, as opposed to supervisors managing groups. People are not just concerned about getting caught slacking, they are concerned that a technological record of the slacking is now available at all times. The perceived additional scrutiny results in increased trauma. Ultimately, workers are wearing down emotionally because they continuously carry psychological burdens with fewer resources to support them.

Quarantine Fatigue

In the event that Zoom Fatigue did not social-emotionally wear people into the ground, then Quarantine Fatigue emerged as the second punch in the arsenal of corporate boxing. Quarantine fatigue was the next attack on unsuspecting citizens. As the Covid 19 pandemic ebbed, flowed, then surged, people were being required to adhere to Stay-At-Home orders. The result was that people who co-habitated could no longer escape. At its core, Quarantine Fatigue results from too much closeness overpowering individuals’ coping skills. Quarantine Fatigue is not the need to distance from others in your proximity, it is the inability to manage the trauma of being around them at all times! At the core, is the resultant fatigue a byproduct of never escaping the tools that people use for commuting and communicating, or is it the technology evolving to the point it channels our human bitterness more efficiently than people can personal space and comfort?

Essentially Quarantine Fatigue is the tiredness that results from being detached from others. The human experience features the ability to connect with other people, preferably in a multi-sensory fashion. Voice conversations are good. Being able to interpret body language in addition to verbal expression is much better! Positive connectivity resulting from multi-sensory contact invigorates people. The invigorated activity leads to productivity. When Quarantine Fatigue urges people to engage less, the associated energy required for productivity decreases along with it. Even introverts, who stereotypically prefer to be alone, in reality desire some connectivity. Often, their connectivity is strategically in moderation.


Being sick and tired of being sick and tired eventually diminishes productivity. The human experience is not really complicated. For desired outcomes, positively engage people visibly, verbally and emotionally. Personal energy increases productivity. Zoom communication is more effective than a phone call, yet still less optimal than personal interaction. Performing in a quarantined environment works well in the short-run. However, denying emotional connectivity ultimately results in sub-optimal performance. Nevertheless, deliberately maximizing the energy that any functional individual can produce can lead to extraordinary results. Minimize Zoom fatigue by visually experiencing the rest of the world through a window, with a pet or via one-on-one conversations. Multi-sensory exchanges make a positive difference. Acknowledge the rest of the world. The purpose is to experience life beyond the social emotional limitations of a stifling work environment. Then, get back to work! Maximizing your productivity is still good for your personal well-being and ongoing employment.

By Glenn W Hunter

Board Chair, Touchstone Youth Resources Serices. For more information or to contribute, please go to www.TYRS.org

January 11, 2021 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Normal, New Dysfunction

Somewhere in America, from a freshly redecorated home office, an employee communicates with a multi-tasking boss overseeing multiple employees under her watch, and her children who cannot be fired! With evolving telecommunication technology, remote workers can create visual facades and silence background family arguments in order to demonstrate professionalism. Parents have threatened children and placated customers simultaneously since the hold button first entered the workforce decades ago. The New Normal’s challenge is that these two important responsibilities now intersect because a pandemic has caused domestic and professional roles to collide shamelessly in the same physical space. 


Regardless of the environment, workers must find a way to get along. Despite numerous concerns of technological disruption within our work world, a physical virus completely disrupts how workplaces operate. A familiar refrain delivers a stark reminder of the new reality: “The virus is in the driver’s seat.” Consequently, the workplace continues to evolve, largely as a result of a microscopic adversary. Physical distancing is now a counter-intuitive, yet important, component of human interaction. Nevertheless, functional human connectivity remains essential to most job performance. So, what coping skills are necessary to influence and impact this new reality where people yearn to connect, just not closely?

A paradoxical, yet important, part of workplace interaction, as well as school environments, recognizes that maximum productivity involves both communal and individual performance. Successful people functionally cooperate! In virtual environments, individual performance appears to be easier considering that most likely workers are in an environment without interrupting colleagues. Nevertheless, too often personal lives collide with the reality that multi-generational families are confined to one dwelling unit. Less traffic may be in the environment, but more people, including students and the elderly occupy that space. Sometimes, families benefit from the availability of extra contributors for academic and professional purposes. However, virtual work’s urgency creates ongoing pressure that the next family emergency or outburst can put undeniable strain on the primary breadwinner’s professionalism. 


Vulnerability to concurrently combining professional and personal responsibilities are hard enough when priorities across generations can erupt at any time. But, the vulnerability has new, heightened urgency when it involves colleagues peeking into your home life. Regardless of the workstation and the work-life balance that a diligent worker displays in their presentation, inevitably, a personally improper conversation will be overheard, or an indiscrete family member will wander too close to the lens during a video conference.

Furthermore, realize that the video lens goes both ways. What are the consequences of a team leader revealing human indiscretions within their household, or personal space? Realistically, Vice-Presidents have family members of all ages in their household that may not care about discretion, too. From a social emotional perspective, an untimely revelation can lead to shame and lack of confidence. Some personal weaknesses should not be exposed. Subsequent judgment of underlings may also compromise a leader’s authority and performance. To combat effectively these threats in a practical sense, employees of assorted ranks need to acknowledge the potential of family-based indiscretions disrupting professional interactions. Proactively, embrace the power of empathy!


New Normal still means dealing with people. If colleagues are incompatible they are not going to like each other more because one set of kids has more trophies. In the event that best buds are involved, they are not going to like each other less because one has a child that is an emotional wreck and now everyone has seen it. Most importantly, virtual employees, like live employees, have a job to do! Then, stakes elevate upon realizing that jobs are not necessarily easy to keep. Nor, are they necessarily easy to find. Ultimately, workers in this environment have to confront dysfunction, anxiety, and uncertainty. Manage situations with empathy. Regardless of age, developing coping skills leads to more functional performance. Empathy makes the insanity more bearable. Listening becomes an empowering tool. Such positive examples travel well whether employees are in their house, or the downtown office. Better performance happens when people cooperate and collaborate. Teamwork makes the dream work!

By Glenn W Hunter

Chair, Board of Directors, Touchstone Youth Resource Services
Learn more about social emotional learning, or to donate go to TYRS.org

December 24, 2020 Posted by | Better Business, Better Communication, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Square Peg, Round Hole, New Solution

A young couple stare at each other across their table trying to figure how to stay in front of their bills. They are smart, responsible, and hard-working. They are patient, kind, and considerate toward each other. They are truly in love. Yet, they cannot seem to squeeze their modest lifestyle into their more modest budget. Their budget’s math seemingly has no solution. The husband exhales heavily, looks at the figures again, and declares, “Doing our budget is like putting a square peg in a round hole.” The wife radiantly smiles. You are absolutely right. We can now fix the problem! 

Square Peg 

In the classic children’s book “Alice in the Looking Glass” the caterpillar tells Alice when they are stopped at a keyhole, “It is impassible, not impossible. Nothing is impossible.” With that mindset re-evaluate the shape and size of the peg. Is all of it necessary, or can corners be sacrificed by cutting them? Regarding the round hole, sometimes the answer is a bigger hammer. Other times it is a sharp saw. Can the true goal be accomplished by sacrificing the edges in order to get the peg through the hole? No need to save the edges if they are unnecessary. 

At first glance a square peg in a round hole may not fit. The corners are not designed to squeeze through circular holes. Too many problems get stuck when facing obvious facts. The square peg could represent monthly salary, available time, or inherent intellect. The problem with the square peg is that it must pass through a different shape. Too much month, and not enough money is one way to look at the square peg. Old problems, or previous limitations are other ways to look at it. But what happens when a new perspective reveals itself? What opportunities are missed in focusing on the square peg’s limitations? 

Round Hole 

First recognize the round hole is circular. An object of similar size with edges may experience problems passing through this particular hole. However, in this case what is the round hole’s purpose? Is it a constraint or an opportunity? The challenge with round holes is that they are perceived to be inflexible. But, with an active and creative imagination revealing additional possibilities, a round hole may become more malleable and accommodating. 

Round holes may be mathematically awkward because most calculations involve the number, pi. By definition, pi is an irrational number. However, its irrationality does not mean that it is impractical. Because of pi, circular shapes have mathematical solutions. These problems require sufficient skill and confidence to pursue accurate solutions. Consequently, the important question is who is bold enough to study deeper, or seek help on challenging problems? Where can the answer be found? 


First, truly evaluate the ultimate goal. Determine what can be sacrificed. What are the consequences if the problem is not solved at all? What are the want-to-haves, as opposed to the got-to-haves? What is the worth of the ultimate reward of solving the impossible problem? Life is full of square pegs that must fit into round holes. Sacrifice and priority are no one’s favorite terms. Yet, compromise helps them roll off the tongue better. Trade off and solve. Get a bigger hammer or a sharper chisel. Too often, pegs and holes are not the obstacles. Fixed mindsets are! Remove unnecessary boundaries. Solve the true problem. Perhaps the family budget simply needs to prioritize and postpone the brand new sneakers and the to-die-for pumps for 30 more days. The sacrifices may just keep the peace and set the foundation for greater accomplishment! 

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 to donate go to TYRS.org

November 30, 2020 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Community Building – For Fun, Profit & Ego?


“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.   


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. 


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. 


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.

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.

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.

“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

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

Who’s The Adult In the Room?

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.

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?


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!

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?

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 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 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.

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.

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