Updated: Jul 15, 2022
Who’s in your village? That may seem like a strange question however, it is an important one. When we grow up, we have people in our village that we are related to by blood or marriage. As children, we do not get to pick who we will surround ourselves with. We may be taught that as part of being in a family it is important to tolerate or accept poor behavior for the sake of the family unit. I’m here to tell you that you get to choose as you grow into adulthood. If people come from a perspective that they must, at all costs, keep the family unit together, we ultimately create victims. That is never acceptable.
When we work outside of our homes, we have also village people at work. I am abundantly blessed, as my village at work feels like a healthy family. I know that not everyone has this dynamic. I have not always had this dynamic in all of my workplaces, but when I did, I embraced it. We can’t necessarily “pick” who our work village will be, but we can be selective in our interactions with people.
I am sure that most of you have felt hurt by someone, either a loved one, a friend, a partner, or a co-worker. I know in my earlier years, I could play the role of victim, whether it was warranted or not. As I got older, I understood that being a “victim” by staying in dysfunctional relationships did not encourage my growth. Please know that when I say I could play the role of victim, this was a perceived victim role, not actually a victim of someone or something tragic. I was literally victimizing myself with poor decisions and choices. This went across the board for love relationships, friendships, or any other type of relationship that I allowed to steal my peace. The beautiful thing about learning life lessons is that when you are reflecting on them, if you pause, you can also see how you impact your family's systems, your work environment, and your friendships. I have always told my children, “You have two choices every time you interact with another person. You can be a helper or a hurter. Choose wisely.”
We are not all blessed with perfect storybook relationships. It’s the struggles and the beauty that define us. It is the “your right, I’m sorry” that makes a difference. My daughter Katelyn McGoldrick was making a speech in May of 2019, where she raised more than $92,000.00 that was donated to a Domestic Violence Organization in North Eastern PA, in an attempt to tell her story of domestic violence and how she overcame that. What she said was, that she honored all of the participants in her life that helped her and her children through that difficult time, from officers to judges and family and friends that supported her. She talked about her village and how it was not perfect, but it was a good village. She said, “There are no victims in my village, only survivors.” That was a proud Momma moment for me, as I knew she understood the importance of a village that would not victimize her but lift her up when she needed it most. She chose well.