Sunday, November 03, 2013

The Invisible Boy And The Need To Be Appreciated And Accepted

Trudy Ludwig. 

She is a Hero of mine. 

There was a time when I admired athletes, movie stars, and musicians.  Not anymore.  Now I most admire KidLit authors and illustrators.  Trudy is probably on my Mount Rushmore of children's authors.
She has a new book, The Invisible Boy.  You should read it.  If you are a parent it should be on your bookshelf. If you are an Educator of any kind-- Teacher, Librarian, School Counselor--you must have access to it at your school. It needs to be in your hands and the hands of your students.
Every young person needs to experience a true sense of belonging. Every young person needs to feel valued. Every young person needs to BE appreciated and accepted for who they are. No. Matter. What.  Trudy's book addresses these important issues of Being.
So, what's the book about?  Read about it here.  And here.  Here, too.

This activity guide from Peace First may further help to foster a more complete understanding:  Inclusion/Exclusion.

There are lots of adults out there who are like the character in The Invisible Boy.  A book by Susan Cain may enhance your awareness-- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.

The invisible boy and others like him are easy to overlook or dismiss or disregard.  Please do not do that.  Start by reading The Invisible Boy.  It will move you to make a difference in someone's life.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

How Do You Suck?

Do you suck out all the marrow of Life?

                   Or do you suck all the energy from a room?

Friday, September 06, 2013

Words for 2013

Obviously I am reporting back later than I had originally intended,  That happens sometimes.  Especially when your word for the year was CARVE.  I have been putting forth a sincere effort to CARVE space for all that is important to me. Here is my One little word post for 2013-- CARVE. With the start of a new school year underway and heading into the home stretch of 2013 I am being extra mindful to follow the Intentions I set back in January.

Some folks in my PLN also picked their word for the year:

Celina Brennan BELIEVE
Ann Ottmar VOICE
Jeff Delp TODAY

I also put out a call to authors to choose a word for the year and share it with me. Here are their Words:

Julia Cook TRY
Peter Reynolds TRANSCEND
Trudy Ludwig REACH
Heather Frederick DIVE
Susan Hill Long OVER.

So, everyone, I hope your Word has lived up to your expectations and I trust you found the meaning in your Word which you set your intentions for.  Report back to us and share how your special word has impacted your life. And, if you have yet to find a Word for yourself it is never too late.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Top Three Issues Impacting Students

Quick, what are the top three issues most impacting young people today. 

I had the privilege of being part of an Interview Team and that question was posed to the candidates.

I would have loved to engage in a conversation with the candidates regarding their choices, but being an interview and all, there was no time for that.  (Perhaps we need to change the way we go about interviewing. I am thinking it should be more conversational, instead of buzz words and sound bites).

This question has stuck with me and I would be interested in your perspective and feedback. I wish I could have had a meaningful conversation with the candidates and then asked them to express their ideas on how to promote positive change to these issues.

Here are my top three--

Stress. Or maybe you call it Worry or Anxiety.  More and more I think it is a chronic state of being for young people.  To be sure, chronic stress does a lot of damage to one's mental state and physical well-being. Here is a recent study on Stress by the American Psychological Association. While this focus is on young adults, I find it to be true for children.

Social Connectedness. I think there is a lack of it for some of our young people.  Inherently we have a need for a sense of belonging and, yet, that is something that is missing from so many lives. How many students do not feel a connection with their teacher?  How many families have a sit-down meal together?  How many kids do not know how to engage in play?  How many are being intentionally/unintentionally excluded socially? In general, is there a genuine connection being made that is lasting and meaningful?

Thinking. By that, I mean knowing what to do when you do not know what to do. I am a big believer that we all need Alone Time/Quiet Time. I have found that time without constraints can provide ample space for reflection, helps you regulate your behavior, and reaps the benefit of problem solving and figuring out what to do when you do not know what to do.

I imagine your top three issues will vary depending on your student demographics and school culture/climate.  That's why I want to hear from you.  Please leave a Comment.  Or write your own post about it, but be sure to leave a link here in the comment section.

Come to think of it, maybe I'll ask students what their Top Three Issues are which impact them...

Monday, February 04, 2013

To Where It Is Headed


I love this quote (and artwork by Hugh MacLeod).  It is such a challenge, though.  It is a challenge, to me, because  the puck--Education--is always changing, adapting, evolving, moving.  Or at least it should be and needs to be.  Now more than ever we need to be forward moving with laser vision and not grounded in the past.  Another challenge this presents is that it requires caring, thoughtful leadership to inspire/motivate everyone to be headed in that direction and it beckons collaboration and teamwork from everyone.  (Here is a very good post by Lyn Hilt called The Care Effect).

Can we honestly say we are adapting and evolving with focused purpose and passion?  Can we say we are moving in a direction that is driven by what is best for young people and based on good pedagogy?  Are we changing with the times and using all the best of what's available?

We can see where the puck is heading, but often can only make a hypothesis as to the trajectory and pace. Think about it—we are preparing kids for a future which we have no idea what it will be like.  Usually we prepare them for our past. We need to stop teaching and living and leading like that.

Let’s make an effort to go where the puck is headed, and not where it is now.  What are your thoughts?

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Last year I came across the One Word Challenge-- a word that encapsulates how you want to live and who you want to be.   For 2012 my word was Filter.

I am having a bit of a time pinpointing a word for 2013.  There are a lot of words percolating within me:  Gratitude. Easy. Time. Mindful. Breathe.Willingness. Capacity. Transition. Remember.

All good words, all words that would do me good as a point of focus.  All words I will be mindful of as I navigate 2013.  However, the word for me this year is Carve.

Carve time for family.  For friends.  For my profession/right livelihood.  For me. 

I recently took a wood carving class.  It was a fun thing for me to do, as well as an important creative outlet.

It was difficult, though, as it removed me from my comfort zone.  I am a big advocate of Malcom Gladwell and his referencing of the 10,000 Hour Rule.  School counseling is like the back of my hand.  Wood carving, on the other hand, is something where I am a true rookie.  I have logged about 40 hours.  10,000 is a long way away.  So, I hope to continue to practice the art of carving.  I believe it will be a valuable tool for me to be nurturing and understanding to those I encounter on their own journey toward Mastery.

I need to be mindful to Carve out time for my kids.  They are seven and have entered the stage of their lives where they are involved with lots of activities:  soccer, ballet, art, swimming, and on and on.  It can be a hectic schedule.  It seems as if my kids were just born and here they are becoming their own people.  I am so very proud, but I still need to Carve a space for just me and them where there are no outside distractions.

And my wife!  So much of our time is devoted to being Parents and Educators. It can be exhausting.  I definitely need to Carve out more Date Nights with her. 

Professionally, there are times when I am assigned a not so desirable task. I will strive to use this less then ideal situation and Carve it into something workable and to which I can take ownership.

I need to Carve time for myself, too.  I am not much good to others in my life, professionally or personally, if I lose sight of this.  So, it will be important to Carve a niche just for me.

I like the word Carve because it reminds me to be an active participant in life.  Sometimes, a mindset develops that stuff happens to you.  I suppose stuff does happen to you, however, it is how I respond to the stuff that matters.  Mostly, it will mean making space for that which matters most to me and whittling away that which is an impediment. I hope to do a lot of Carving this year to positive, healthy results.

If you have not picked a word for 2013 I encourage you to give it a try. Here are a few folks from my PLN who did--  Jeff Delp, Lyn HiltAnn Ottmar, and Celina Brennan. Click on their names to see their word. Perhaps, by reading about their Word for 2013 they can serve to jump start and inspire you.  Add your Word to the comments below.

I wish you well for 2013.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

School Counseling Linky Party



I am a bit late to this, but here I am nonetheless.  Marissa Rex has an ever resourceful counseling blog, Elementary School Counseling.  Only go there when you have plenty of time as there is alot of stuff you'll want to use in your own work with young people.

She is hosting a Linky Party, where anyone gets to reflect on their own blog from the past year. It is a fun way to reflect on 2012 and gear up for 2013.


My best feature is Set Your Intentions.  Simply stated, it is quotes which inspire me.  I put them out there to share with you with hopes that they provide motivation for you. Here is my very first one- Watering Your Dreams.


For me, this post encapsulates so much of what I value-- a growth mindset, the process of change, and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable-- Learning is a Leap of Faith.  The girl in this video is awesome!


Most of what I write evolves over a lengthy period of time.  This post, however, was written in a matter of minutes-- Advocate.  Erin Mason from SCOPE tweeted a question and it turned into this post.


You want a kid lit book to work on just about anything? This is the place to find it-- Books That Heal Kids

She is connected to the things that matter most-- The Principal's Posts
The Principal's Posts

I wish I wrote like him-- Mountains Out of Molehills

If you are stuck in a rut and need your thinking stretched, this is a place to go--Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension.

If Education is your passion and you think there is such a thing as compassionate leadership then make a habit of checking this blog regularly-- Life of an Educator.