What are we really saying?

Each week since before Mia was born, I’ve received a BabyCenter tip of the week.  These are great little insights that arrive at just the right time.  This week, I got the below message about body language:

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It’s so true.  Often, I’ll say something while I am distracted and then wonder why my girls don’t listen, until I remember to practice being present.

These same truths about body language apply to leadership.  My most recent mentor is a counselor and she would often speak to us about how body language speaks more volumes than any words we use.

If our body language tells the truth, it’s probably best that our words do as well. Otherwise, we risk sending mixed messages and causing confusion, be it in parenting, relationships or professional situations.

 

Please “Drop the Worry Ball”

My friend Sarah Marslender recommended I read Drop the Worry Ball, which has turned out to be one of my best reads of 2014. Originally, I set off reading it as a parent, but I quickly realized that this is a must read for all educators.

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 1.59.35 PMThe subtitle of the book tells a pretty good summary: How to Parent in the Age of Entitlement. However, this is not a book about spoiled children. It is not a book about helicopter parents. It is a book about the effects of over parenting and rise of two types of children, the anxious teens and the disengaged ones.

As a parent and an educator, I wholeheartedly recommend this book for anyone involved with children. It will change how we view one another, how we judge one another and how we work with one another.

A few of my favorite tidbits from the book:

  • “err on the side of benign neglect”
  • “teachers and parents are playing hot potato with the worry ball” but what are the children doing?
  • “watch, wait and wonder (as opposed to respond, manage and control)”
  • “so remember, when she screws up, and something painful is happening, she’s about to learn”

Essentially, in the last decade, our societies have become consumed with an over parenting culture that is detrimental to our children. Schools have also bought in, often expecting parents to “fix” a child’s behavior from afar. As a parent myself, I realize how impossible this is.

The best thing for our children and our students is for us, the adults, to “drop the worry ball” and let our children pick it up. Hopefully, they’ll fail early on, when the stakes aren’t too high. And if they don’t, eventually, they’ll have to live with the failure.

Well-written, engaging, humorous and honest, Drop the Worry Ball is a must read. Enjoy!

Memories…Perception…Control…

My Morning Working
My Morning Working

You may have noticed my absence of late. I’ve been writing…just not to my blog as I’ve just finished major revisions on my MFA Thesis in Poetry.  I’ve submitted my first round of revisions, so I’m back.  Much of my Spring Break last week was spent on the revisions, and I relished in days spent writing.

However, I also spent lovely days with my daughters. We went swimming, took long walks, lunched and brunched with friends, spent mornings and afternoons at the playground, had dinner out, went shopping and had an all around fun, event filled week. Mia even had her first sleepover when her friend Claire spent the night, and she met another friend out for a movie.

Yet, yesterday, when asked in her KGI class what she did over the break, Mia answered, “I stayed home and played with my sister while my mommy worked in her bedroom.”

WHAT!?!

MimadOn one morning, I holed up in my room to work on my poems. It was also the day I took them swimming and took Mia on a movie date later that afternoon. Yet, that is what she remembers – mommy working in her bedroom.

I’m wowed.

I’m humbled.

I’m reminded again that what others think is totally beyond my control.

At least Mia seemed happy about her story. Perhaps, she remembered it because it was the least normal part to the week. I can only laugh at the irony and remind myself to be graceful in my acceptance of her perspective, for, be it at work or home, regardless of my intention, I cannot control what others think.  And that’s okay…

Is It Ever Okay?

In looking at the above clip, at the behavior of Ortiz in this baseball game, and I wonder, is it ever okay to behave in this fashion?  In anger?  In the heat of the moment?  Is it okay to lose control?  Is winning worth more than character?  What is the cost, not only to the individual, but to the team, the spectators, those watching on television?  What are we saying when we behave in this way?

Recently, I listened to a morning show on gratitude hosted by Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino and the conversation turned to sportsmanship, Little League and what we model for our children.  Sadly, many parents behave in anger and outrage even at Little League games, so is it any wonder things like this happen at Red Sox games?

Apology or not, of which there wasn’t (only some sad justification), I don’t see how it’s worth it.  I’m married to an athlete and a coach, so I know the stakes are high in sports. And I know emotions run high.

Still, we’ve got to get past anger and learn how to model a better form of disappointment. Because essentially, this great man, this nationally recognized star, was disappointed because he struck out.  And rather than accept blame or fault, he blamed the umpire, threw a temper tantrum and then ranted on about how it was justified.

How on earth does this contribute to a positive, well-functioning society?  We adults must recognize our own flaws and emotions, and then decide how we want to portray ourselves because we are all role-models and no one deserves to see this.  And even if the umpire was wrong, isn’t there a better way to solve the problem?

So if it isn’t right in public, is it okay in private?  Is it ever okay to get this angry?  To break things?  To yell and scream?  How do we get past anger and operate from a place of love and gratitude?  In all that we do?  No matter how much it tries our patience?  Or our pride?

What is Your Why?

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Simon Sinek tells us to start with why in our leadership practice.  He claims that “it doesn’t matter what you do.  It matters why you do it.”

Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino challenges us to pause, stay in the moment and listen to our heart because “our heart talks to us alot and tells us what our why is.”

Perhaps “listening to your heart” sounds new-agey and a bit kooky.  Interesting though, that be it in your heart or your head, why is the essential question!

“Why” extends into all areas of our life.

Why are we who we are?
Why are we different people in different areas of life?

Why do we do what we do?
Why don’t we do what we want to do?

Why are we happy?
Why are we unhappy?

Why did we have children?
Why do we make the parenting choices we do?

Why do we exercise?
Why do we eat what we eat?
Why do our days look as they do?

Why…?

Living with purpose requires us to slow down and reflect.  It  requires us to be intentional in all that we do.  It requires us to wonder why.  And then answer the “why.”

What is your why?

What further questions can we ask of ourselves?  Please post more “Whys’” for us to answer!