Jerry Tello has appeared in Time, Newsweek, Latina and Lowrider magazines and has received many major awards including: the Maria Shriver’s Annual Advocate for Change award; the White House Champions of Change award; the Presidential Crime Victims Service award, presented by President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno; two California Governor’s Awards and the Ambassador of Peace Award presented by Rotary international.
Jerry is considered an international expert in the areas of trauma, healing, men and boys of color, fatherhood, family strengthening, racial justice, racial healing, community peace and mobilization and culturally based violence prevention and intervention issues.
He is co-founder of the National Compadres Network. He has authored numerous articles, videos and curricula addressing the issues of Fatherhood, Male “Rites of Passage,” relationship and gang violence prevention, racial justice, teen fatherhood, pregnancy prevention, family strengthening, fatherhood literacy and community peace.
Jerry is the author of “A Fathers Love”, a series of children’s books, co-editor of Family Violence and Men of Color, a series of motivational health and healing CD’s and author of the recently released award winning book “Recovering Your Sacredness.”
Jerry is from a family of Mexican, Texan and (Koa-wilt-con) roots and raised in the south central, Compton areas of Los Angeles.
Recently, a friend was telling me about his experience leading a team of woofers, an acronym taken from the term, Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms(WWOOF). These are people who are somewhat nomadic and travel across the state, country and the world working temporarily on organic farms. The pay consists basically of food, shelter and an environmentally friendly culture within which to work.
Because of the nature of the work and the adventurous nature of the woofers, turnover was naturally somewhat high. This, not because the work was hard, environment was bad or the leadership poor. In fact, it was quite the opposite, even though some of the tasks were harder than the others and required working outside and getting sweaty. This was more than offset by the beautiful setting, the organic meals and how the somewhat transient team was led by my friend.
Work had come to a pause for the season and the last of the woofers had just moved on. My friend expressed how relieved he was not to be leading the woofers for a few months. He loved each one who had come to work, but he recognized he had earned his time for retreat and renewal, and taking off the mantle of leadership for awhile felt good.
Having kept up with him over the past couple of years, I shared how impressed I was with his situational leadership abilities. To this, he gave me a quizzical look. Even though situational leadership was innate to him and he used it daily, he had not given the technique conscious thought in many years. This sparked me to go back to my notes from the 1980’s to review Paul Hersey’s and Ken Blanchard’s theory on Situational Leadership.
In short, Situational Leadership is based on the theory that the best leaders vary their leadership style to fit the competence and commitment of the person or team being led, and there are sound principles and techniques that are well worth considering. This video is an excellent introduction:
Ram Dass wrote a letter some years ago to a family who had lost their young daughter, Rachel. Although he wrote it to these two parents specifically, everything in this letter applies to anyone who has lost a child.
Dear Steve and Anita,
Rachel finished her work on earth, and left the stage in a manner that leaves those of us left behind with a cry of agony in our hearts, as the fragile thread of our faith is dealt with so violently. Is anyone strong enough to stay conscious through such teaching as you are receiving? Probably very few. And even they would only have a whisper of equanimity and peace amidst the screaming trumpets of their rage, grief, horror and desolation.
I can’t assuage your pain with any words, nor should I. For your pain is Rachel’s legacy to you. Not that she or I would inflict such pain by choice, but there it is. And it must burn its purifying way to completion. For something in you dies when you bear the unbearable, and it is only in that dark night of the soul that you are prepared to see as God sees, and to love as God loves.
Now is the time to let your grief find expression. No false strength. Now is the time to sit quietly and speak to Rachel, and thank her for being with you these few years, and encourage her to go on with whatever her work is, knowing that you will grow in compassion and wisdom from this experience. In my heart, I know that you and she will meet again and again, and recognize the many ways in which you have known each other. And when you meet you will know, in a flash, what now it is not given to you to know: Why this had to be the way it was.
Our rational minds can never understand what has happened, but our hearts – if we can keep them open to God – will find their own intuitive way. Rachel came through you to do her work on earth, which includes her manner of death. Now her soul is free, and the love that you can share with her is invulnerable to the winds of changing time and space.
“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
In this rare clip from 1972, legendary psychiatrist and Holocaust-survivor Viktor Frankl delivers a powerful message about the human search for meaning — and the most important gift we can give others.
This video was created for a graduate-level Theories of Counseling Psychology course at The University of Texas at Austin. Its intent is to provide some insight into Viktor Frankl’s life and his work in Logotherapy.
Article Excerpt: “Logotherapy is composed of three basic principles. The first basic principle is that life has meaning in all circumstances, even despondent ones. The second principle is that the main motivational force is the desire to find meaning in life. Lastly, the third basic principle states that humanity has the freedom of attitudinal choice, even in situations of unchangeable affliction (Frankl, 1959). Thus, Frankl purports that people can discover meaning through creative, experiential, and attitudinal values (Hatt, 1965). Creative values consist of achievement of tasks such as painting a picture or tending a flowerbed (Boeree, 2006). Experiential values consist of encountering another human, such as a loved one, or by experiencing the world through a state of receptivity such as appreciating natural beauty (Hatt, 1965). Attitudinal values speak of the potential to make meaningful choices in situations of suffering and adversity (Gelman & Gallo, 2009). Frankl contends that everything can be taken away from a person but the freedom to choose one’s attitude (Frankl, 1959). He stressed that people should not suffer unnecessarily in order find meaning but that meaning was possible when suffering is inevitable. For example, a person subjected to an incurable disease or placed in a concentration camp can still discover meaning even though his or her situation seems dire (Hatt, 1965). Moreover, tragic optimismmeans that people are capable of optimism in spite of the tragic triad. Frankl believes that all humans will be subjected to the tragic triad, which consists of guilt, death, and unavoidable suffering (Ponsaran, 2007).”