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Elizabeth Smart and the NFL

T-shirt imageOn October 2, 2014, Elizabeth Smart—the young lady abducted from her home in Utah at 14 and rescued nine months later—spoke at the YWCA Empowering Women Luncheon in Rochester, New York.

As expected, her talk was compelling and emotionally gripping. But a comment she made was of particular interest to me, because it’s about a subject that I’ve been mulling over off and on for many years, recently brought to light with all the media attention given to domestic violence on the part of a few NFL players.

My new shirt, message and campaign! No matter how much airtime is given to toxic relationships, there are still more of the healthy, happy kind out there!

So, here’s a question for you, dear reader: Is it possible to tell the truth and tell a lie at the same time? You betcha! I maintain it is not only possible, but it is the foundation on which a great deal of news media depends. And here’s how.

You tell a single truth many times–all the facts are there. You say it with great intensity and emotion and even sincerity. But for all the facts, you utterly fail to indicate it’s relationship to the whole, leaving one and all with the impression that this single truth represents the whole. The truth of a few purports to represent the truth of an entire group, segment of society, country or individual–and that’s the LIE. It rarely does.

The recent media coverage given to a few NFL players is an example of this truth/lie. The number of decent, non-abusive players, fans, sportscasters and the public at large far outweighs the number of players and even the public who violently abuse. But the silent majority do not have a single voice or representative image to rally around, nor are we seeing as much airtime being given to the good guys.

At some point in her talk, Elizabeth Smart mirrored my thoughts when she said:

“Life is wonderful and for as much evil and wickedness and bad things that you see on the news all the time, there are that many more good people out there and there are that many more people who want to make a difference.”

From my experience as a relationship expert, coach, and author, I can tell you that for all the gone-wrong, exploitative personal relationships we see in the news, there are many more individuals enjoying loving, lasting, healthy and fulfilling personal relationships! We do not hear so much about them either.

I do believe that we get what we put our attention on. And by putting so much attention on the few abusers within the NFL—or the failed relationships of celebrities and politicians—we create more abuse and more failed relationships. And along the way, we betray our children and their children by providing only images of violence and toxic relationships for them to emulate.

In fact, why would a kid want to grow up if most of what he or she sees in the environment are negative images?  “Life sucks! I think I’ll stay a kid!”

The disparity between truth and lies got to me this past week. I knew I had to do something—anything—to remind people that most folks, including players, are a good lot. And not to let themselves be drawn into the drama at the exclusion of putting attention on what’s really important: all the players getting it right every day.

So I created an image and message to represent the rest of us who oppose violence—the silent majority—hopefully with a single and loud voice. Though the image clearly relates to football, it could as easily represent anyone in any game, including the game of life. Whatever is going on out there, leave it OUT THERE! Don’t bring problems, upsets, issues, anger, frustration home. LEAVE IT ON THE FIELD!

Will you join me in supporting a more balanced and “truthful” message to others that the majority has spoken?! Please write and let me know what you think.

Yours in love,

Tanii

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