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Red Bull Anyone

This past week in America was exhausting. I haven’t had a red bull in years, but could use one after this week. I was one of the millions of people captivated by the Judge Brett Kavanaugh hearings that included Dr. Christine Ford. There is entirely too much to unpack without making myself (or you) relive that drama, I am too tired! I tried really, really, I mean REALLLY hard to will myself into moving on to another topic. I couldn’t do it. There are 3 takeaways from this unfortunate fiasco that could be learning moments, confirmation of what you already know or at least a few tangible action steps you can do in your daily lives. We might as well get something out of this right? Right……

Lesson 1: Bravery comes in all forms, shapes, colors, and usually at an inconvenient and unexpected time. Hours leading into the now infamous hearing that Dr. Ford testified before the Senate on Thursday, I remember thinking, “I don’t know what happened to her as a teenager, but what I do know, is that it takes a lot of courage to do what she is doing.” She could have opted for a private/closed door session with the Senate, but we all know that would not have produced the outcome it ultimately did. It was fascinating to hear and see her tell the trauma she experienced. Whether you believe that trauma was inflicted by Judge Kavanaugh or not, is up to you to ponder. What I do know is that it took a hell of a lot of courage to see this thing through to the end. There are plenty of people who criticized her, called her names, including “lying bitch, liar, witch, stupid, crazy” …. you name it. The Internet is cruel and it was blazing with people shaming her for coming forward with her truth as she lived it. She expressed living in fear daily and was petrified to actually testify at the hearing. Yes, she was offered alternative opportunities to share her testimony in private, and yes, she could have jumped on that. It certainly would have been the easier thing to do. I am positive she understood that her testimony was not likely to change the Senators’ minds who had already had their conclusions decided (e.g. see Lindsey Graham). But, she did it anyway. She showed up. She told her story. She was transparent about what she could not remember and was unwavering in what she could remember. Exactly how memories work. I admire anyone who has that kind of courage and I thank her for reminding everyone, in spite of what truths or lies you may believe about this situation, she reminded us how strong women are, in spite of adversity. We often lose sight of our own strength and power daily. I can extrapolate this strength found in women to all kinds of scenarios. No one will ever know exactly what happened with Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh, but what I do know is that she reminded me of how strong women are. We have magical powers, I swear! I am grateful for the reminder, and hope someone receives this word on this Sunday morning. *Cue Chaka Khan* https://youtu.be/DJHedTtljac

Lesson 2: Your temperament tells us things about who you are at your CORE. Your words may artfully flow in a way that tells us the story you want people to believe about you, but not KNOW about you. We get to see the person you choose to put forth, also known as your representative. Temperament gives us a peak into what it is like to be involved with you when you are experiencing adversity, a conflict or not getting what you believe should be yours. As humans, we are first exposed to this as toddlers. We commonly refer to it as the “terrible 2s”. When toddlers decide they want, let’s say a cookie, and the parent rejects that request, the child has choices about how to respond.

· “Do I just repeat my question until I wear her/him down?” (e.g. Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy). This strategy is sometimes successful. Mom providing the cookie ends the back and forth. Win/win for both.

· “Do I scream, cry, yell, roll around on the floor until my request for the cookie is granted?” Not sure about your parenting style, but for me, this would likely end cookies being available in the house literally. However, some of you may engage and encourage toddler to calm down and he or she may end up with the cookie in the end.

· “Do I accept the response provided for now and revisit this later” (e.g. best response for toddler that is dealing with Mama Monica)

What we saw in Judge Kavanaugh was a temperament that showed us a bit more about who he is at his core. The adult version of the terrible 2s paralleled with the second example above. Judges, usually, not always, but should at least appear neutral, non-partisan, thoughtful, restrained and always analytical. What I observed with Kavanaugh was a temperament that was alarming for someone applying for a job that has a lifetime appointment on the highest court of the nation. I no longer was interested in his recalling of relevant information (or lack of) the events that he was accused of by Dr. Ford. I was stuck watching his temperament, which was far more informative. For anyone that is reading this and believes his temperament was tone perfect and had no issue with any of it, I would simply say replay the clip, close your eyes and pretend he is a black woman talking.

Lesson 3: Parents teach your young boys what it means to respect women. Even more, what it means to have empathy for others. This is something we should all do naturally as parents or adults around any kids. Not sure about you, but this week seeing the sentencing of Bill Cosby (Bill Cosby ya’ll not Cliff Huxtable) and this Kavanaugh vs Ford drama it prompted some dialogue with the 2 young boys I am raising. Take every opportunity you can to not only talk to them about the realities of situations such as these, but also help them develop the ability to have empathy for others. Instead of asking your child at the end of a school day, “How was your day” …. try “What was something you did today that may have made someone else not feel good about themselves”. Or “What was something that you did today that made someone else feel better about their day.” Teach them about space, personal boundaries and how to express themselves verbally. Teach them how to intuitively avoid people, places or things that could inadvertently get them in a situation they did not intend to be in. Most importantly, show them what healthy interactions look like between people in loving, respectful relationships. Lastly, be careful about who you expose them to, who you willingly bring into their aura and expose them to. Everybody you know/meet should not be given the privilege of being in your children’s space. Teach them these lessons and more daily by your words and your actions...even the actions that do not directly involve them, but indeed impact them. I could go on and on this one, but I will leave it here for now and tag this topic for a future Podcast episode. #Podcast2019

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Monica Johnson

Monica Johnson is a professional speaker dedicated to promoting mental health wellness & empowering and building women leaders.

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