USCCB Calls for Stand Against Racism

When I first watched the video of George Floyd’s death, I was physically sickened. I cried as the life poured out of him, breath by breath. I didn’t know his criminal history. I didn’t even know why he was under the police officer’s knee. The only thing I knew, in my heart, was that this human being was having his life unjustly snuffed out before my very eyes like an animal and not a child of God by someone charged to protect and serve. George’s cry for his mother reverberated in my soul.

As a mother, I was angry. Instantly.

I took to my social media with a fury. I lashed out at the white community. It was loud and vengeful. Then, I lay silent for days, giving way to those who deserve more than I to be heard.

Looking back now, those first words written were not Christian. Although my post contained phrases like “as God intended” and “treat our neighbors as ourselves,” the rest of the mini-tirade was less than honorable. Still, it gave me needed insight into the rage that erupted from the black community. The actions of some were less than honorable–many more have died in the ensuing riots–but their anger is more than justifiable. It was heartening to see the world react with similar, yet peaceful outrage in support.

Today, I came across a YouTube video that contains a much better message than I could hope to put together. Since I’m still heartbroken and at a loss for the right words, I wanted to share it with all of you. Perhaps, it can bring you a bit of peace.

The Catholic Church has taken a clear stance on the unfolding events surrounding the death of George Floyd, and recognizes the pattern in American society at large. This message from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is beautiful, powerful, and clear.

I am proud to be Catholic. I stand with my church. I stand against racism.

Be the Change.

Kristine


If you’re interested to watch Pope Francis’ calming and heart-felt reaction to the death of George Floyd, the civil unrest in the U.S., and the evil of racism: watch this video from the Catholic News Service.

Women’s Unique Stress Response: Key to Change

You have probably heard of the survival instinct labeled “Fight-or-Flight.” It’s a natural, biological response for humans and animals in the face of danger. What if I told you, however, that women also have another innate biological response to danger that is not so well known?

According to a study from the University of California, Los Angeles, led by Shelley E. Taylor and published in the Psychological Review, women respond much differently than men in high-stress situations (411). This uniquely feminine response may explain a lot of our daily dealings with our children and others, and it is what Mothering Humanity believes positions women as the perfect change-makers in an imperfect world.

Our natural response, as women, to stressful situations is not to put up our dukes or run away scared. Women are not initially concerned with self-preservation. This may not be a surprise to many of you. So what is our response? What does our biology tell us to do?

Taylor and her colleagues say, women “Tend-and-Befriend.” (Click the link to see the full scholarly article, courtesy of Harvard University’s online archives.)

At first glance, you might notice the word ‘and’ in our natural response versus the ‘or’ in fight-or-flight. As women, our response to stress is two-fold.

Not only does our mothering instinct kick in and we tend to those around us, but we seek to befriend in an effort to reduce risk.

Instead of battle, women look to peace. Instead of creating enemies and opposite sides, women seek alliances and nurture interconnectedness. Pointing to this distinct biological difference as part of the backbone of Mothering Humanity may seem divisive or counterintuitive (women vs. men)—the exact opposite of tend-and-befriend—but I whole-heartedly believe in you.

As the founder of Mothering Humanity, I believe women can bring out the best in all those around us and raise the next generation of peacemakers. This is an opportunity to embrace our biological difference and harness it to build a better tomorrow.

In addition to creating a beautiful and powerful web of women alliances, let us extend our tending and befriending tendencies to our partners, co-workers, community members, and online connections. Together, we can become the change!

In the true spirit of tending, I will continue to post helpful content here at Mothering Humanity, including more on this very important study, where I will break down both aspects of this theory and discuss how we can and are putting it to work in the world.

I hope that befriending all of you will be a natural result of our time spent together here and on Facebook, cultivating relationships and creating change within our own spheres of influence.

If you can’t wait to continue this discussion with Mothering Humanity and your curiosity is begging you to dive deeper into this topic right this instant, here are some helpful links:

Hello, From the Other Side… Of the World

Video Calls Keep “Framily” Connected.

The pandemic has a lot of us leaning heavily on video calling to connect to the outside. The ability to see our loved ones in real-time has been one of the best ways to decrease stress and increase communication in the midst of social distancing. This virtual connection with family and friends may be receiving renewed importance in your household, but video calling is a tool near and dear to all military families.

This wonderful means of communication has been bringing military members and their families together for almost two decades, helping them cope with distance and long deployments.

In my news article for the U.S. Navy in 2003, Sailors aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) were deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the War on Terror. For the first time in ship’s history, video teleconferencing was made available to select crewmembers with family in San Diego. With technology that we now take for granted, Sailors in the throes of war were able to see their children’s faces and blow a kiss to their spouses.

This pandemic may be creating a sort of inner battle against the blues, but I encourage each of you to reach out to your loved ones with the technology that you have available to you and connect as best you can.

Here’s a list of some of the free video calling Apps we enjoy here at home:

  • Facebook Messenger
  • WhatsApp
  • FaceTime
  • Skype

My mother has an awesome quote on display in her house that reads: “Family ties are precious threads, no matter where we roam, they draw us close to those we love, and pull our hearts toward home.”

Even if you don’t have family you’re close to, reach out to friends. In the military community, there’s a popular word called “framily.” It’s a mash up of friends and family. Yes, blood is thicker than water, but water is a life-sustaining substance that every human being needs. Sometimes, friends can keep you going even better than family, especially when they can identify with the hardships you’re facing in the moment. Find your framily!

…And if you really do feel alone—if you don’t have any family or friends to connect with—remember that God is always listening.

One of his greatest disciples, Pope Francis, is offering daily Mass from Vatican City. You can watch it translated in English via Catholic TV. Today would have been Pope Saint John Paul II’s 100th Birthday, so it was a special celebration.

Let’s connect again next week, Framily. Until then, you can join Mothering Humanity on Facebook where we can continue the conversation.

Best,

Kristine

“Video Call” Photo Courtesy of Matilda Wormwood at Pexels.com.

Happy Mother’s Day

I’m excited to be relaunching Mothering Humanity today of all days! A huge shout out to all the moms — new and seasoned — for doing the best they can each and every day of the year. You are the glue that keeps the world from cracking into a million little pieces. This photo will always hold a special place in my heart. Among other reasons, it marks the day I joined your ranks.

Check out the “In the Works” section for what’s coming and take a peek at my updated bio in “Author Cred” if you have time. If not, come back and visit soon. Above all, enjoy your day!

Best,

Kristine