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"I Caused a Crack": Strengthening the Ice Below Us

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli


I’ve started and stopped three blogs attempting to talk about the world right now—all the of the fear and hatred and violence and division and what we call “politics.” Started, and stopped, because I can’t figure out what to say. Every word falls short. 

Because this is true: hatred and fear will kill us, literally. They are killing us, every day.

But this is also true: they will also kill us in every other way too. They will kill our trust. They will kill our connection. They will kill our beliefs. They will kill our progress.

Do you feel it happening to you already? I’ve come to dread checking my feed in the morning, and nearly every morning recently that dread has been warranted. It’s not just what’s happening, it’s also how we’re reacting to what’s happening.

I feel like we’re standing on a lake of fragile ice, and it’s starting to crack. Every day, the cracks are getting a little bit wider and traveling a little bit farther. We’re starting to hesitate. Should we keep walking? Or go back? And whose fault is it?

Whose fault is it?

Whose fault is it?

It would be very easy to point to the politician I don’t like, or “those” people I don’t quite trust, or that part of the country that I’ve painted a picture of, or that business deal gone wrong, or that lone nut, or that foreign country, or that group of extremists. Easy, for sure.

But easy is not getting us across the ice intact.

In a much more complex and layered truth: it’s my fault. And it’s your fault too. We all have had a part to play in getting to this moment, on this fractured ice. We got here together, committing a million small infractions for every one headline-grabbing one. If I ever was scared of you because of the way you looked, I caused a crack. If I ever stayed silent when an entire community was being persecuted, I caused a crack. If I ever shut down a conversation because I didn’t agree with your beliefs, I caused a crack. If I ever made generalizations about a place or a group of people without having actual first-hand knowledge and experience, I caused a crack.

It’s my fault.

So, now what?

If I know it’s my fault then I have to stop looking for someone else to blame. I have to stop yelling about the precarious situation we’re in without actually doing anything about it. If I know it’s my fault then I have to start looking for solutions. I have to start looking for ways to get us all across. Because if I got us here, then maybe I can get us there.

We have a bridge to build, and I am reaching out my hand. I am looking you in the eye. I am saying “I’m sorry” and “let’s walk together.”

What can you do today to strengthen the ice you are standing on? 


Interested in having Erika’s blog come directly to your e-mail each Tuesday? Have comments to share?  E-mail her at erika@tlpnyc.com.   Find all her previous blog posts at www.tlpnyc.com/author/erika



“‘I Caused a Crack’: Strengthening the Ice Below Us”, The Leadership Program, 2016


Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.