Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Resilience and the Holocaust

I recently saw the Old Port Theater production of Yours Anne, the Story of Anne Frank and her family. As a father of a daughter I love dearly, I was especially moved by the ability of the actor, Christians Luening, who played Anne’s father, to express, mainly through his facial expressions, the kaleidoscope of emotion that he felt in trying to save his family from the horror of the Holocaust. Unfortunately, Mr. Frank was the only member of his family to survive. His family and friends died not because they were not resilient. They were. But hate and fear can still destroy the most resilient. Those who survive, all of us, must be resilient in the struggle to conquer the fear and the hate in our communities which are the seeds of racism, intolerance and the Holocaust. In this struggle - God knows it is one - we should try to remember Anne’s words, “People are good at heart.”

Ron Breazeale, Ph.D.
Author, Duct Tape Isn’t Enough

Hate, Fear, and Resilience

I recently saw the news in the Portland Forecaster that the Westboro Baptist Church, a group that, according to the Forecaster, “openly hates homosexuals, Jews, Catholics and America,” plans to visit Portland to protest a local high school’s theater production (the local high school is Waynflete) of the “Laramie Project.” The focus of the play is on the community’s reaction to the murder of a gay college student, Matthew Shepard, who was beaten and left for dead. The Westboro Baptist Church’s visit to Portland is just another example of the increasing activities of hate groups in this country. Racism is certainly alive and well. Individuals in these groups are often motivated by fear and anger. Anger is used to suppress and control the fear which, unfortunately, often turns to hate. These individuals only feel safe if they can control or destroy the hated group. This strategy may work for them, but it certainly doesn’t work for our communities or our nation. These poor souls would be better served to pray to their God to help them find other ways to deal with their fears and to be resilient.

Ron Breazeale, Ph.D.
Author, Duct Tape Isn’t Enough

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Comeback Kids

The Winter Olympics, as it usually does, provides us with many examples of resilience. Stories abound of those who come back from spectacular crashes and heartbreaking losses to win the gold. These athletes clearly demonstrate the skills and attitudes of resilience such as optimism, confidence in their abilities, flexibility and the ability to solve problems and think on their feet or skies or snowboards. The stories are the same, whether they be of Americans, such as Bode Miller, or Korean or Japanese. And it is not just the athletes that demonstrate these skills and attitudes, but often the parents. A good example being the parents of the Turkish figure-skater who gave up a comfortable life in Turkey to move to Canada so that their daughter could have the training and coaching that she required to compete. But as we celebrate their victories and the comebacks of these Winter Olympians, we should remember that we all can possess the skills and the attitudes of resilience that can make us Olympians in dealing with the challenges that we face each day in our lives.
Ron Breazeale, Ph.D.
Author, Duct Tape Isn't Enough
(photo copyright US Presswire)

Addressing Public Safety Officer Stress Needs

As a former Maine State Police Officer and Chief of Police in Old Orchard Beach, Maine and Morganton Department of Public Safety, North Carolina; in combination with over twenty years as a faculty member at two Universities, I have witnessed, researched and provided training to counter the effects of accumulated stress and adversity on police, corrections and public safety officers. In far too many instances the effects are adverse to physical, mental and emotional health.
Negative emotions, anger, impatience, divorce rates that are twice that of the general population, high rate of suicide, alcohol and substance abuse, high risk lifestyle, intimacy problems, and aberrant behavior top the list of negative influences. These have a negative Impact on family, friends and colleagues and work performance.
The Maine Resilience program and “Duct Tape Isn’t Enough” training for public safety officials is designed to meet the needs of the individual, the organization and the community by addressing the effects of adversity, trauma and life changing events. This program teaches public safety officer skills and strategies to appropriately manage negativity and is prevention oriented reducing future problems and issues.Please look at: for information on this important and valuable training program.

Richard Lumb

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Resilience Report for Congress

I would encourage you to rate the resilience of the individuals who represent you in the Senate and House of Representatives. Keep in mind that 290 bills have been passed by the House of Representatives as of late February but have had no action by the Senate. Many of these bills passed with bipartisan support. The Senate, however, has taken no action on these bills because of the threat of a filibuster each time a bill is presented to the Senate. In other words, the Senate has done very little in the past 6 months. If we look specifically at the skills and attitudes of resilience, such as connectiveness, we see a Congress that is extremely bipartisan and totally disconnected. If we look for effective communication within Congress – specifically, the Senate – we often don’t see it. Flexibility doesn’t seem to exist, especially with the party of “no.” Managing strong feelings, such as fear, is a skill many of our Congressmen and Congresswomen and Senators seem to not have. Problem-solving skills seem to be lacking on both sides. Congress, I believe, should get a failing grade in terms of their primary role, which is to take care of this nation and its citizens.

However, Congress should probably get a passing grade on taking care of “self,” since much of the current behavior of our Congress seems to be focused on the issue of getting reelected and staying in office versus taking care of the public and the welfare of this nation. It would be good if these representatives of our nation could show self-confidence in their positions rather than simply bluster and if they could communicate with each other, really listening to the other side of an argument would be a good start. Those of us watching the present horror show will hopefully keep a sense of humor and be optimistic knowing that this, too, will pass. I would encourage you to look carefully at the behavior of your representatives and let them know how resilient you feel they are being in dealing with the present problems our nation in facing.

Ron Breazeale, Ph.D.

Author, Duct Tape Isn’t Enough