This was on my mind ...
Last night, I gave a high school commencement speech. I shared a lot of random advice and I made people laugh. I belong to the brevity and levity school of commencement speaking. I suffered through my high school and college ones. (I showed up late to the second) How many times do I have to listen to someone say, “Chase your dreams and find your place in this world” before I get to pass?
In my case, the answer was twice. When I received my Doctorate in Law I skipped the ceremony altogether. After my last exam, I gave the registrar my parent’s address and told them to send my diploma there. While my classmates were strutting across the stage I was two states away chilling on my parents couch.
Anyway, last night I made everybody laugh, then ended with a story about my dad. He was born in 1919. He worked in coal mines as a teenager to help support his mother and brothers because his dad was disabled. Everything about his circumstances said he had no business being successful. The two great advantages he had were his mind and his drive. He proved everybody wrong.
Pops was dying when I became a judge. We had to drive the car up on a sidewalk to get him in the building because he could only walk a few steps. This picture, me all in pink is the moment they gave me the robe. Seconds later, I looked over at pops and he was crying like he was two. I never saw him cry before. Never. Not once.
I told that story at the end of my speech last night then said, ‘Never miss an opportunity to make your parents proud. Not for them but for YOU. That memory still lives with me today and brings me such joy and satisfaction I can’t even explain.” I was in tears by the time I stopped talking and the audience was on it’s feet. Had I had an opportunity to do it over again I would have sucked up my boredom and gone to my Law School graduation for THEM. But that’s water under the bridge and I hope I made up for it later giving my dad that one extra high before he left this world.
Love you Daddy.
To feel good about yourself.
To be in a healthy relationship in which you feel valued and cared for.
To be comfortable in your own skin.
To respect and honor both yourself and others.
This is a word from a woman who’s seen things designed to help you get it done.
When Control Masquerades as Romance.
People never go into relationships intending to be abused. But it often happens because abusive behavior can be so subtle in the beginning. In fact, sometimes early abusive behaviors resemble expressions of love. Though they can look like each other, they are not the same. You should know the difference between the two.
Take Sarah and Bobby. They’ve been dating for a month. Bobby calls Sarah a couple of times but she doesn’t answer. Next thing you know, he’s calling her every five minutes for an hour. His explanation, “It bothered me when I couldn’t reach you. You should always answer my calls. I was worried. You need to understand. It’s because I love you so much.”
That sounds nice but it isn’t true, even if Bobby believes it himself. Bobby’s behavior is not about love. It’s all about control. A lot of abusive behaviors can look like that.
– She wants to know where you are all of the time. She loves you just that much.
- It drives him crazy when you talk to other guys because he knows how they think and he can’t stand the thought of them taking you from him.
- He wants you to tell him about everyone you talk to and what they said anything about him. “I’m trying to protect our relationship,” he says, “because I’m so in love.”
While those things sound reasonable, they’re not true. Love is not restrictive and controlling. It isn’t fragile either. You both should be comfortable with yourselves and your relationship even when the two of you are not in the same room.
If the person you’re dating becomes upset when he or she can’t have you all to themselves that’s not love; that’s control. Being in a relationship should not make you feel like a prisoner. If it does … it’s something you should address.
Check out Bloom365.org Reach out if you feel the need.
Be strong. Be confident. Be caring.
More from JudgeLynn
You’ve asked. She’s answered. In Dear Sonali, Judge Lynn speaks to all the young women who call her Mom2 or the Auntie in their Head.
Judge Lynn Toler became the host of the longest running television court program, "Divorce Court" in 2006. Prior to that, Judge Lynn Toler graduated from Harvard University and The University of Pennsylvania Law School. She began practicing law in Cleveland in 1984. In 1993, at the age of 33, she was elected judge of The Cleveland Heights Municipal Court. Judge Toler volunteered actively in her community creating innovative programs for young offenders such as Woman Talk, a program designed to intensively mentor young, at-risk girls.
Toler also headed the Cleveland Heights Coordinated Community Response to Violence against Women, a countywide initiative for the coordination of community resources to assist women who are victims of violence. She was also active as an advisory board member for Templum House, a battered women's shelter. As a result of her work in the area of domestic violence in 2002, she was awarded The Humanitarian of the Year Award from The Cleveland Domestic Violence Center.
Judge Toler's dedication to ending domestic violence continues. Currently, she is on the Board of GoPurple.org, a non-profit organization that addresses the issue of domestic violence through education. GoPurple.Org sends educators into classrooms teaching students about healthy relationships, signs of potentially abusive relationships, and ways to help both themselves and others who are in abusive situations.
Judge Toler has served as an adjunct professor at Ursuline College, where she created and taught courses on Civil Rights Law, and Women and the Law. She was also a frequent instructor for the Ohio Judicial College, where she helped create and taught continuing judicial education course for other judges.
Judge Toler is the author of three books including her most recent "Making Marriage Work: New Rules for an Old Institution." Her first, "My Mother's Rules: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Emotional Genius" published in 2006, is a humorous memoir in which Judge Lynn recounts a childhood lived in the shadow of mental illness and provides a practical guide to the emotional lessons learned from that experience. And her time on the bench. Her second book, "Put It In Writing," coauthored with Deborah Hutchison, was published in September, 2009. It gives readers concrete, conflict-free solutions to the difficult situations that arise between family and friends.
Judge Toler has written for a variety of magazines including Divorce Magazine published through out the United States and Canada. In 2009, Judge Toler was given The Voice of Freedom Award by the Philadelphia Chapter of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. joining former honorees Colin Powell and Vice President Al Gore, in ringing the Liberty Bell on Martin Luther King Day.
Currently, Judge Toler appears regularly as a guest expert on WeTV's Marriage Bootcamp. Born on October 25, 1959, she has been married to Eric Mumford since April, 1989. She has two sons and four stepsons.
Last night, I gave a high school commencement speech. I shared a lot of random advice and I made people laugh. I belong to the brevity and levity school of commencement speaking. I suffered through my high school and college ones. (I showed up late to the second) How many times do I have to […]
Y To bloom. To feel good about yourself. To be in a healthy relationship in which you feel valued and cared for. To be comfortable in your own skin. To respect and honor both yourself and others. To bloom. This is a word from a woman who’s seen things designed to help you get it […]