(Pictured above: A wise girl and her best friend)

October 8, 2020|  By: Lori Chelius MBA/MPH

“So I want to get this straight…in our family, when something gets tough, we just give it away?”

That’s what Jill Stamm’s daughter, who was six years old at the time, asked her parents after they concluded they would have to find another home for their rambunctious puppy who was destroying furniture and eating everything in sight.

Stamm was stunned. That was not a value she embraced at all. In fact, with another older daughter with multiple handicaps, she deeply understood the importance of commitment and love, even when things are hard.

Out of the mouth of babes.

That question changed everything. It led to a very explicit value in Stamm’s family that has even passed along to her grandkids (her daughter is now a parent herself): “We don’t turn away from tough stuff. We face things head on.”

In a recent webinar hosted by Origins– “A Trauma-Informed Approach: Three Myths Busted”–we explored the critical role of values in building and sustaining a healing culture. Stamm, who is the Prevention and Brain Science Specialist at Arizona’s Children Association and co-founder of New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development, shared how the value of not turning away when things get tough became a bedrock for her family across generations. It influenced her in many ways in both her personal and professional life and even contributed to going back to complete her PhD at age 50.

One definition of culture is a “set of shared attitudes, values, goals, or practices that characterize an institution or organization.” All organizations, communities, and families have a culture, whether it has been created intentionally or not. Part of being intentional is articulating these values that really underlie your culture. The puppy incident led Stamm to make explicit a value that was already implicit in her family.

In our upcoming Resilience Champion Live course, we explore the critical role of culture in implementing a trauma-informed approach and provide tools to help you intentionally develop the culture in your own unique setting. This six-week course is for leaders who want to integrate a trauma-informed approach in their setting. Weeks 1-2 of this course provide an overview of the key concepts behind a trauma-informed approach from our Basics course. Weeks 3-6 focus on translating those concepts into action.  Join us for this series starting on Wednesday, Oct. 14th from 10-11:30 PT. 

(And, by the way, the puppy stayed).

It was on a chilly Fall day after a long, hot summer in Arizona that I boarded the plane to San Francisco attend the 2016 ACESCONNECTION conference. I think of this day and the day I first learned about the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study  as days that I will never forget- days that changed my life. I was (and continue to be) passionate about work in the trauma-informed space.

“Change culture and you change lives. You can also change the course of history. Many well-meaning social activists overlook this essential fact. They focus relentlessly on strategy, but strategy means nothing to our bodies and our lizard brains. When strategy competes with culture, culture wins–every time.”
~Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother’s Hands No one can dispute Valorie Kondos Field’s record of winning.