Adding The Cherry On Top

April 24, 2017 at 6:46 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I love lending out books. Whether it’s a book that has really moved me and just has to be shared with a family member or friend, or I receive a request from someone for a particular title or to surprise them with a variety of selections, there’s always books in motion. One that has been a constant boomerang since first reading it is Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I loved it, and of course then wanted to share it with as many people as possible (it has been a go to present over the past couple of years). When I got a series of texts from a friend last week I was again reminded of some really important themes that the book explores.

“Always try to be a little kinder than is necessary.” – J M Barrie

The first text said simply, ‘I finished Wonder’. I replied, ‘What did you think?’. What came back was, ‘Really good. Particularly liked the quote always try to be a little kinder than is necessary’. We went back and forth for a while exchanging comments on different characters, events and themes, I was so pleased that my friend had enjoyed and was moved by the book as well. Kindness isn’t some abstract thing for us as human beings. It’s the daily lubricant that helps foster ‘informed, connected and empowered individuals believing deeply in their own and others potential’ (our vision).

“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” – Dr Wayne W. Dyer

So fast forward two days from those texts and I receive a Facebook message from my friend. It contained the video linked at the beginning of this post. He had seen it online and it had reminded him of a real life example of the quote that had moved him most within Wonder. After watching it I shot him back a message. Within that conversation I loved his observation, ‘What’s necessary? Who knows, but if we all try to be kinder than we currently are, isn’t that a positive step forward in showing humanity that we’re bound together by something other than social media, fear, etc.’ Each day, we can be adding that cherry on top if we’re prepared to notice, connect and act on the opportunities that exist to with kindness make a difference in our own and others lives.

“We carry with us, as human beings, not just the capacity to be kind, but the very choice of kindness.” – R.J. Palacio, Wonder

As seen in the video, our attempts to embody kindness aren’t always met with enthusiasm, trust or belief. But I guess that really isn’t the point. As we interact with self, others and the world around us our choice of what that looks, sounds and feels like is up to us. We can’t control how that will be met, just our own responses along the way. Kindness is best served people to people, as seen in the video above. How much kindness will you choose is necessary? And then will you add the cherry on top?

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.” – R.J. Palacio, Wonder

Battery Life

April 17, 2017 at 7:05 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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As I pushed on the screen, and nothing happened, I giggled. It’s amazing how something that used to feel so familiar was now bringing on such a disjointed response. A simple text message was the task at hand. But because it was on a phone that was not mine I was taken back to life before smartphones.

“Nothing is stronger than habit.” – Ovid

This other phone now had me curious. Phones I used to have came flashing back into my mind. I was also making connections to how each of my past handsets had to be navigated to complete various tasks. This line of thinking reminded me of a big difference I was now observing. This other phone, once charged, had battery life for up to a week. This was something I could only dream of with my current one.

“Energy flows where attention goes.” – Anonymous

Internet, apps, GPS, music, the list goes on and on for what’s now available to complement the phones primary function of calls and texts. I would never have believed it was possible all those years ago when I got my first Nokia. As they’ve evolved, so too has the way that we as individuals and groups interact with them. I wonder how this interaction impacts our own battery life (energy levels) and why their mindful use is so important?

“Hoping drains your energy. Action creates energy!” – Robert Kiyosaki

L.E.A.D. with me

April 10, 2017 at 9:24 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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What would you say is a key to success when navigating a challenge as a group? There’d be many that would come to mind I assuming, especially when you consider all the different situations, complexities, who’s involved and circumstances that could be thrown in to spice up the types of problem solving required. Context definitely matters. But…

“Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery.” – Warren Bennis

A few weeks ago, when posed with a similar question, a Year 6 student responded in this way: “A key to success is giving space for others to lead”. It was at the beginning of the day and we’d just completed our first small groups challenge (approximately 8 students in each group). This girl shared this connection as she unpacked the journey her team had just been on: excitement, preparation, planning, experimentation, distraction, failure, experimentation again, near success, failure, disappointment, regrouping, refocussing, experimentation again, achieving success, celebrating, regrouping, refocussing, attempting the next level of the challenge, and so it goes on.

“The great leaders are like the best conductors – they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players.” – Blaine Lee

So I wonder, what individual and collective thoughts, words and actions help us create space for others to L.E.A.D. with me?

“You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

A Celebration Of…

April 3, 2017 at 8:47 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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As we near the end of first term I know there are a lot of students and teachers who are looking forward to a refreshing holiday break. What a term it’s been! It’s been a wet one (thinking of all those students and teachers who’ve been stuck inside a lot). It’s been a busy one (so many fantastic school communities to support). It’s been an interesting one (plenty of incredible individual and collective examples of exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically). There’s always so much to celebrate!

“Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it everyday.” – Anonymous

As I reflect back on the past ten weeks I am reminded of feedback I received last year from an accompanying teacher. The comment read, ‘thank you for celebrating their quirkiness’. It made us smile at the time but also remember that as we engage, challenge and inspire the groups we have the pleasure of supporting, we are also celebrating the uniqueness, wisdom and contributions of each individual. Thanks to all those courageous students who inspire us each and every day.

“Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.” – Mia Hamm

I hope all students, staff and school communities are enjoying the opportunity to celebrate … , as they navigate the final few days of this term. Stay safe over the break and we look forward to all that second term will bring.


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