#RFBookClub Author Spotlight: Brené Brown

July 8, 2019

 Blog Editor: Mark Barry

 

 

 

 

 

For the first #RFBookClub Author Spotlight, it is fitting that we highlight the works of Brené Brown for her contributions to the field of restorative justice education.   A research professor and self-described storyteller, her books concentrate on self-development using the power of vulnerability, daring to change, and building meaningful relationships.  With twenty years of experience studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, Brown highlights the bravery of opening your heart to others and being receptive of others' responses.   

 

Tying together emotion, thought, and behaviour, Brown's works put relationships first and explain how vulnerability, shame and empathy can be harnessed to build strong relationships and a wholehearted character.  She explains how being vulnerable in our relationships is courageous and liberating. Through vulnerability, we can feel a true sense of belonging.

 

There's an old proverb that thought fuels emotion, and emotion fuels thought.  In his book Incognito, neuroscientist David Eagleman describes the human brain as a “team of rivals” with two dominant factions, reason and emotion, competing to control the single output channeling behavior (Eagleman, 2011).   But as we have all experienced in our own lives, strong emotions can often tip the balance and lead to irrational behaviour.   Shame is one such emotion. Grief is another.  Brené Brown has argued that “fight or flight strategies are effective for survival, not for reasoning or connection… the pain of shame is enough to trigger that survival part of our brain that runs, hides, or comes out swinging.” (Brown, 2012, 76).   She argues that the key to truly connecting with people is to accept our imperfections and risk vulnerability with each other (Brown, 2012, 101). This creates “shame resilience” and increases our capacity for positive self-esteem and self-concept.

 

I believe that self-acceptance is essential to social and emotional development.  As Brown said in her TED Talk, “we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly” (Brown, 2011). Through her research, she concluded that the one variable that separated those who believed they had a strong sense of love and belonging, with those who did not, was that they “believed they were worthy of love and belonging” (Brown, 2011). The role of the teacher is to facilitate a social environment conducive to this goal.

 

 

Teaching empathy to children is becoming more widely used in modern pedagogy.  Brown believes that forming true connections with people must come from a place of vulnerability and authenticity.   Children must “let go of who they think they should be, in order to become who they are… this is how you make connections.” (Brown, 2011). Children are “hard-wired for struggle when they get here… our job is to tell them they’re imperfect but worthy of love and belonging… you cannot selectively numb emotions. When you ignore the hard emotions, you also ignore joy, gratitude, happiness…and we are looking for purpose and meaning and we feel vulnerable…and it becomes this dangerous cycle” (Brown, 2011). Brown explains how schools, through their anti-bullying campaigns and holding adults more accountable for their teachings, are encouraging “a quiet transformation…that is moving us from “turning on each other” to “turning toward each other.” Without question, that transformation will require shame resilience. If we’re willing to dare greatly and risk vulnerability with each other, worthiness has the power to set us free.” (Brown, 2012, 101). 

 

In a later talk, Brown explains how she was asked to speak to high school students about innovation, creativity and change, but was told not to mention vulnerability or shame in her speech.   She replied that it was impossible since “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change” (Brown, 2012). Why do we shy away from these emotions when they are central to forming meaningful relationships with one another?

 

 

I believe strongly that the tenets of Restorative Justice in Education can provide the framework and healthy educational setting for these relationships to blossom.    I wholeheartedly believe that the relationships formed through restorative justice practices, including talking circles, provide the safe and nurturing learning environment to cultivate healthy social emotional learning and relationships.   It provides a safe space to be vulnerable and to be seen.

 

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Stay tuned for more Author Spotlights by following the #RFBookClub on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

 

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The #RFBookClub strongly recommends the Brené Brown collection of books listed below.

 

 

 

You can purchase it through Indigo Chapters or Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can purchase it through Indigo Chapters or Amazon.

Read more about this book at Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 You can purchase it through Indigo Chapters or Amazon.

Read more about this book at Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 You can purchase it through Indigo Chapters or Amazon.

Read more about this book at Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can purchase it through Indigo Chapters or Amazon.

Read more about this book at Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can purchase it through Indigo Chapters or Amazon.

Read more about this book at Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where do I start?  Click the picture below to learn more...

 

 

 

References:

 

Brown, Brené. (2010). The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re
Supposed to Be and Embrace and Who You Are. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden
Publishing.


Brown, Brené. (2011, January 03). The Power of Vulnerability: TED Talk. [Video file].
Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o


Brown, Brené. (2012, March 16). Listening to Shame: TED Talk. [Video file].
Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psN1DORYYV0


Brown, Brené. (2012). Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms
the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. (New York: Penguin Random House).


Brown, Brené. (2017). Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the
Courage to Stand Alone. (New York: Random House).


Brown, Brené. (2018). Dare to Lead: Daring Greatly and Rising Strong at Work. (New
York: Random House).

 

Eagleman, David. (2011). Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain. (New York:
Pantheon).

 

 

 

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