My son once asked me if I had a hero. My first answer was “yes, your Dad and my Dad”  but he retorted with, “No Dads.” I said OK, then Martin Luther King, Jr. He didn’t remember who he was so he got disinterested and moved onto playing (typical 6 yr old attention span). As I nursed and rocked my daughter to sleep, I thought of Dr. Bruce Perry as a hero too.  How well his research fit with my personal and professional experiences is what first called to me…

“The brain develops in response to the environment it’s in. I see these 13-year-old inner-city kids, and they’ve been exposed to beatings and shootings their whole lives, and all this other crap–and these kids are hostile, and doing gang signs, and don’t trust adults. I think their brains are perfect. They’ve adapted perfectly to their environment. It’s just that their environment hasn’t done right by them”…

After training with Dr. Bruce Perry, I read about a horrific act in his life which has truly inspired me:

“…his work firsthand knowledge of the power of a major emotional trauma…Friends and relatives had urged him [Bruce Perry] not to think about Arlis’s murder. Get right back in school, they told him. Get your mind off of it. ‘I don’t know if it was instinctual or what, but I didn’t feel that was what I should do. I had to get in control of what had happened, instead of having the event control me. When anyone is traumatized, they’ve got to make that transition away from being a victim. Something had happened that was completely out of my control. I had to get away from feeling that because unpredictable, uncontrollable things happen, I might as well not do anything.‘” Here is a link to an article that shares this story and some of his amazing insight on brain development, trauma, PTSD, veterans   and children: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/child-abuse-on-the-brain/Content?oid=880031

Upon further reflection, I would also add my mother to my list yet I could fill a book about why. I will follow-up with my son about Martin Luther King Jr later as this is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of my son’s interest and to share real life example of peace and change.

“The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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