My name is Dao Tran-Boyd and this is my brief story of leading with love.
I have three amazing children, Jessica 25, Alexander 23 and Anthony 21. One of the subjects that has always been very close to my heart is instilling respect as a core tenet in all of my children’s lives. As someone who grew up with a lack of respect, I didn’t want my children to just understand what respect meant, but to infuse their lives with it.
When I talk about respect, I see this sentiment extending to everything that they touch: nature, themselves, others, their bodies, elders, possessions, homes, relationships, food, the world they live in, money and education.
I didn’t want my children to just understand what respect meant, but to infuse their lives with it.
I am thrilled to share with you that my daughter, Jessica, has built a career around respect. For the past two years she has worked for the NFL in the UK, where her main focus has been collaborating with young American Football players to develop educational programs around domestic violence, sexual assault, masculinity and leadership. The NFL UK partnered with Hestia to help deliver this fantastic programme.
Being very interested in the subject of domestic violence myself (and my daughter’s plus-one to all events!), I attended an introductory training day to learn more. The teachings echoed the life lessons that I have striven to provide to my children, and also created an open and safe forum around sex and consent.
During my childhood, sex and consent were cultural and familial taboos akin to saying the word “Voldermort” aloud. I disrupted that pattern of silence and secrecy and made sure that shame had no place in my home. I chose to cultivate a safe space in which to talk to my children about ‘the birds and the bees’, and everything in between, so that my children could ask me any and all questions, rather than go out into the world unaware, unprepared, fearful or with misinformed and misguided intentions.
During my childhood, sex and consent were cultural and familial taboos akin to saying the word “Voldermort” aloud.
Sex, like life, isn’t black and white. I therefore cannot give my children a “one size fits all” formula for sex, relationships, consent, dating and everything else that occurs in the fray. Instead, what I am able to do is to make myself available to them, and equip them with lifelong lessons around respect, communication and honesty. I give them these tools to keep in their back pocket and refer to in times of uncertainty or limited clarity to elucidate what is right.
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