Can We Stop Talking Long Enough to Have a Conversation?

Can We Stop Talking Long Enough to Have a Conversation?

The Interrupter: Your Write to Education


July 5, 2020

Can we stop talking long enough to have a conversation?

Have you ever seen something that was a bit comical and sad at the same time?  That was the video opener for an orientation I participated in recently.  In the clip, an African American male is out and about and runs into a friend, who happens to be a Caucasian female.  They are attempting to have a conversation but are finding that at every turn they have broached a topic that they “probably shouldn’t talk about.” After the clip is over, the people participating in the orientation were given opportunity to debrief about what we had seen.  One of the persons in the group, she happened to be Caucasian, and a high-performance coach for professional athletes, began to reflect on her experience of sending a text to one of her clients, an African American athlete.  As she began to reflect, she began to tear up.  As she sent the text, she found herself evaluating every word because she cared so much about this person and didn’t want to say anything to offend.  The clip in the orientation made light of a very real situation and my friend’s reflection brought it into a tangible, heartbreaking reality.

We all love MLK quotes.  I have found that Dr. King is usually easier to quote than to emulate.

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

This quote sums up perfectly much of what we are seeing but seemed perplexed on how to respond.  A part of what is required to have that healthy and civil communication and move past the fear and hate is a thing called emotional capacity. Unfortunately, for a myriad of reasons that is lacking for many.

Interrupting inequities is what we are about at Every Child Whole and justice is our core value, so I am humbled to say I am not saying something that I had to be a quick study on its what we are committed to and it’s what I am about.  I say that to say, when what already existed blew up in the streets across America, I reached out to some of my friends to check in and one of them was my friend Cierra Hall-Hipkins of Network Connect.   Network Connect works with urban youth to equip and empower.  I listened to Cierra share about some of her experiences, all of which did not reflect her heart.  She said “Dr. Ivy, those were not our youth in the streets looting and vandalizing.”  Peaceful protests, yes; an instigator of tearing down and creating chaos, not at all.   I began thinking what can we do, what is the disconnect?  I began to think of this solution my friend and partner in Canada had called EQ2iQ.  It is an EQ intervention. Through gamification and brain science, you begin to retrain your brain, build and strengthen your emotional intelligence.  I reached out to Ed at YouEQTM and proposed the idea of creating a version of the game that could help facilitate the conversation around racial inequities.  Within 72 hours, Ed had turned around the beta prototype. For the last couple of weeks, with the support of Network Connect and others we have been beta testing, and getting EQ2iQ Race to Empathy to its finished state.  It’s really incredible.

There is a myriad of opportunities for sponsorship and involvement.  If you are a school or organization working in the social and emotional learning arena, this EQ intervention will only make your life and work better.  I participate in my state in the SEL work, and the concern I want to make sure we are addressing is the ability to crosswalk students from the origin of trauma to the desired outcomes of SEL.  EQ2iQ helps do that very thing.

Every Child Whole is proud and excited to be a part of this very important work and over the top that we and Network Connect have had a very small part in bringing EQ2iQ Race to Empathy to market.

If you are a business or organization and want to learn more about sponsorships and how you can support a school near you, you can email YouEQTM President, Brenda Jacobson, at and use the subject line: SPONSORSHIP INQUIRY. If you are a school, a teacher, a service organization that could use this resource,  you can learn more about the EQ2iQ program by checking out the mini-course.  Here’s to building emotional capacity so that we can truly begin to hear each other when we are talking.


Dr. Ivy Bonk is Consultant and Educational Psychologist, at Every Child Whole, LLC.  Author of The Day Trauma Came to Class and LOST: Finding My Way Back to Place I’ve Never Been, and Architect of The Lost Child Theory and the Grounded Learning Framework. She is also the founder of the non-profit, ReThink Learning, Inc.