02/25/2015 01:43 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Stay Weird. Stay Different. Why Our Kids Have Got To Know We Love Them For Being Exactly Who They Are.


Graham Moore, who's just won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay gave a powerful and moving acceptance speech on stage, how as a teenager he had attempted suicide.

When I was 16 years old I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong.

Moore went above and beyond being courageous in sharing his story by passing the torch to all young people who are navigating the shape-shifting world of middle- and high-school conformity and cliques to be true to themselves and not lose heart.

I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she's weird or she's different or she doesn't fit in anywhere.

Yes, you do. I promise you do. You do. Stay weird. Stay different. And then when it's your turn and you are standing on the stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.

Within our families, all too often we get prerequisites for worthiness -- this is who you have to be and what you have to achieve. What if we chose instead to try and empower every member of our family to feel that being truly seen equates with abiding worthiness?

Here's three reasons why your family needs to embrace being weird and staying different to do just that for every member of our tribe:

1. When our kids hit adolescence, the belief that they need to armor up really comes into play -- which makes being seen and appreciated for who we really are at home and with family so crucial.

As our children get ready to enter the arena of life and start living bravely, independently and authentically, they need:

Somebody who's willing to pick you up and dust you off when you get your butt kicked and absolute clarity of values -- you have to be sure of your value.
-- Brené Brown

2. Brené's groundbreaking research into shame, vulnerability, courage and authenticity has uncovered that shame is best defined as the fear of disconnection. "If other people find out (how weird or different I am), I will be rejected."

3. So why did Graham's wholehearted Oscar acceptance speech get the standing ovation it deserved? Because he was willing to be vulnerable enough to share who he was as a part of what's he's become -- he was courageous and authentic and we loved him for it.

By making our families a place where we can show up, be seen and celebrated for who we really are -- weird, different, ordinary and extraordinary -- is what builds and deepens our family's bonds of trust and love.

That's a powerful belief that I'm convinced we all need to experience -- and never more so than during adolescence.

Try these discussion points to be courageous and vulnerable within your family:

  • Look back on times in your life when you have experienced adversity and challenges. Where were you courageous?
  • Where were you willing to ask for help when you were vulnerable?
  • Where did you take risks?
  • Share your understanding of what life asked of you from that situation? What did you gain as a result?

For more activities and a free download, visit the Fun, Loving & Connected Family website here.


US Magazine, Graham Moore, Imitation Game Screenwriter, Reveals Suicide Attempt in Moving Oscars 2015 Acceptance Speech

Brené Brown: Things You Need to Start Living Bravely, OWN Network

Fun, Loving & Connected Family

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Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.