An Open Letter to Bridget Anne Kelly: Help us with Our Leadership Deficit

Bridget Anne Kelly

Bridget Anne Kelly

Dear Bridget,

You have been described as professional, friendly and nice; a supportive, caring mother of four children who has a just value system.  So I have to ask myself:  Where did a young, beautiful, smart mother who had so much going for her lose her moral accountability? 

You were on a fast track, in a position that could have potentially led to a nice position in the White House.

When and why did you lose your moral compass?

Did anyone who made these decisions think about the outcome of the action?  What if it was your children on the school bus for hours?  What if you were the one that called 911 because you thought your child was missing?  What if you were the one whose mother went into cardiac arrest and you were waiting and waiting for help to show up?  How would it feel if you were in these people’s shoes?

This is what the empathy deficit is about.

We have so many questions to help us understand and make any sense out of what happened.  Did you believe this is what the Governor wanted?  Is this the path you felt you must take when you enter politics?  Did you just let the power get to your head?

As the “Bridgegate” story unfolded, I could not help but wonder how all of this came to head.  I cannot imagine the pit in your stomach and the disappointment you must feel right now.

There is hope.  You are given the gift of a new opportunity and a fresh start. There is so much we can learn from you.

Help us understand where moral accountability breaks down so that we can influence our children to make better choices.

Teach children about obstacles that get the way to being a great follower.  Help us with our ability to say no to the wrong things and yes to the right things.

Make a difference by role modeling how to take accountability and turn a bad situation into a positive experience for our future leaders.


Life is like a game of cards, it is time to trump the ace. 


April Lara



Help for Miss Florida: A Final Question Solution

I have to confess:  I love watching the beauty pageants!  The beauty!  The glamour!  I have been watching the pageants since I was a young girl –a TV highlight in my home.  How pageants have evolved from big hair and similarity to natural beauty and diversity.

I appreciate the hard work and dedication to takes to get to the final night, as in the case last night on Miss America. One winner from each state earned a spot as a contestant vying for the crown to become the next winner:  Miss America 2014.

For those who are unfamiliar with the pageants, being the winner of the night comes down to that last question written by one of the judges.  Contestants hopefully displaying their composure, come up with the best insightful answer to the question in less than a minute.  It is not about a right or wrong answer, it is about showcasing the authentic you that propels you to victory.  As I watch and listen to the questions, I ponder what would I say?  How would I answer that question?  For those who missed the show, here is a brief rundown of the topics asked to each of the final five contestants last night:

Miley Cyrus has caused a media sensation…Do you think she was over the top with her twerking?

-Julie Chen admitted to having plastic surgery to make her eyes less Asian.  What do you think?

-Should political wives stand by their cheating, scandalous husbands?

-What do you think we should do about Syria?

-Finally, taking off from the Martin Luther King, Jr. 50th anniversary of the “I had a dream” speech, what should the country do to address high unemployment, low incomes and incarceration rates among minorities?

 Watch the 4 minute question and answer here:

We sit in the comforts of our home and reflect and mull over our feelings on each topic, these girls are being watched by millions of people and have less than a minute to get composed and answer the questions.

Miss Florida, unfortunately, missed the point and did not answer the question.  Led me to thinking:  How WOULD I answer this question?

It all came down to empathy:  Teaching and learning empathy.  In actuality, using empathy as the base answer would have allowed any contestant to provide an insightful response.  Social cooperation is impossible without empathy.

Understanding no matter who we are, no matter our differences, we all have a special gift to offer the world and each other. Imagine a world where we banished judgment.   After all, being judged is what makes us afraid to be authentic.  Who are we to judge others?  How do we really know the circumstances others are in or the choices they are making — our liking it or not.  In other words, how would it feel to walk in their shoes?

So begin today by understanding and walking in someone elses shoes.   Open your heart to someone who is different than you.  Spend a few minutes getting to know that person a little better and you will find your mind in peace and love.

Please share who you “walked in someone else’s shoes” this week.

It’s not about Miley! It’s about our daughters!

Many saw the letter to Miley that went viral with hopes of inspiring her to change behavior.  Once I watched her original “We Can’t Stop” music video, I was not as surprised by the performance.  Miley’s display at the VMA’s was not all that different from the music video.    We are all waiting to hear what she has to say.  What is Miley thinking now?  She is thinking:  My twitter account is up, more people have downloaded and pre-ordered my music, I guess I did great! Thanks everybody!

The danger in what we painfully watched is less about Miley and much more about our teens.  We will see more tongues, more twerking, and more obscene behavior from our own children.  Kim Keller wrote an open letter to her daughter thru her blog which is worth sharing. You can find the original blog at

Dear daughter, let Miley Cyrus be a lesson to you.

Yes, this is what happens when you constantly hear everything you do is awesome. This is what happens when people fawn over your every Tweet and Instagram photo. This is what happens when no responsible adult has ever said the word “no,” made you change your clothes before leaving the house, or never spanked your butt for deliberate defiance.

If you ever even consider doing something like that, I promise you that I will run up and twerk so you will see how ridiculous twerking looks. I will duct tape your mouth shut so your tongue doesn’t hangout like an overheated hound dog. I will smack any male whom you decide to smash against his pelvis – after I first knock you on your butt for forgetting how a lady acts in public.

Why would I do that? Because I love you and I want you to respect yourself. Miley Cyrus is not edgy or cool or sexy. She’s a desperate girl screaming for attention: Notice me. Tell me I’m pretty. See how hot I am. I know all the guys want me. All the girls want to be me.

You probably know girls who will emulate this behavior at the next school dance. Don’t do it with them. You are far too valuable to sell yourself so cheaply. Walk away. Let the boys gawk and know in your heart that they see only a body that can be used for their pleasure and then forgotten.

I’m sorry if you’ve ever felt sad because I haven’t gushed over everything you’ve done. My role is to praise when praise is due, but also to offer constructive criticism and correction when it is needed as well. I’m sorry if you’ve ever felt demoralized because your Instagram following isn’t in the thousands, and I’m sorry those “selfies” can never capture how amazingly beautiful you truly are. I’m sorry if you’ve ever wished you had a friend instead of a mom, and I promise you that I will probably get worse when you hit high school.

Dear daughter, I am going to fight or die trying to keep you from becoming like the Miley Cyruses of the world.

You can thank me later.

Teaching Accountability: How Anthony Weiner Can Inspire Our Children To Be True Leaders

“Anthony has spent every day since [the scandal] trying to be the best dad and husband he can be,” she (Huma Abedin) says of her husband, who does all the laundry. “I’m proud to be married to him.”  This is a quote from Anthony Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin in People magazine spread last July.

The family went on record to show us that forgiveness is possible and they were ready to move forward.  When I read this article almost a year ago, I was hopeful.  Hopeful that someone who has the passion to be a community leader got past these indiscretions and was now ready to be a great leader.

I was forgiving.   His wife demonstrated a forgiving heart, and believed her husband was committed to being the best he could be, so why not give him a second chance.  I am now left feeling so let down and disappointed with our leadership choices.

How as parents, educators and mentors to children do we teach leadership when we see leaders who are unbecoming of leadership characteristics?  Anthony Weiner demonstrates four out of the five leadership characteristics I have defined as  Purpose, Trust, Connection, Persistence, and Constructive Action.   His failure is trust.

When you are so blatantly dishonest with your own family, how do constituents trust you will uphold any oath of office?  We want to trust that our leaders will make the right choices and the right decisions for the good of all people.  We want leaders to be held accountable for their own actions.

I am still hopeful.  Hopeful that Anthony Weiner earns the appropriate consequences for his behavior.  Hopeful that Anthony Weiner demonstrates that we are 100% accountable for the choices we make.

Hopeful that Anthony Weiner will be the leader he so desperately wants to be by teaching children how to be accountable for these choices.   Hopeful that our children learn NOT to accept this as expected behavior from our politicians.

Hopeful that Anthony Weiner will teach us more than how to do the laundry.

Read the People article here:,,20612678,00.html