Learning to Be Responsive, Not Reactive: The Power of Choice

When faced with a problem, our immediate reaction can often be driven by emotion, leading to impulsive decisions that might not serve our best interests. Learning to be responsive rather than reactive is a vital skill that can transform our interactions and outcomes. This shift involves recognizing the power of choice and leveraging it thoughtfully to promote a sense of well-being and safety for ourselves and others.

The Power of Choice

Every situation presents us with choices. While we may not control the events that unfold, we have control over our responses. By taking a moment to pause, we can move from a reactive state to a responsive one, ensuring that our actions are aligned with our values and goals.

Teaching the power of choice at an early age is crucial for the growth and development of our children. Take a moment to think about very young children. Before they learn to talk, they rely on their emotions to communicate their needs. They cry to signal hunger, discomfort, or the need for attention. This pattern persists until they develop language skills, enabling them to express their needs through words.

As children grow, you'll notice emotional outbursts they initially used to get what they wanted. Have you ever seen a child throw a tantrum for a toy or candy at a store? I've witnessed some intense outbursts and families giving in, which reinforces the idea that emotional reactions are an effective way to get what they want.

It is up to all of us to teach the power of choice and equip children with the tools to respond appropriately to situations, rather than reacting impulsively. By guiding them to understand and manage their emotions, we can help them make thoughtful decisions and develop healthy ways to handle challenges.

Utilizing "Lead with Two Rules"

The principles outlined in "Lead with Two Rules: Feeling Good & Feeling Safe" provide a framework for making this shift. The first rule, "Feeling Good," encourages us to seek positive outcomes and maintain our emotional health. The second rule, "Feeling Safe," emphasizes creating an environment of trust and security.

When faced with a problem, ask yourself:

  1. How can I respond in a way that makes me feel good about my actions?
  2. How can I create a sense of safety for myself and others in this situation?

Focusing on Asking Questions

One of the most effective tools in becoming responsive is the art of asking questions. By engaging in inquiry, we open up possibilities and gather information that can lead to better decisions. Here are some questions to guide your thinking:

Helping Self and Others

By making a conscious choice to be responsive, we not only improve our own outcomes but also set a positive example for others. Our thoughtful responses can inspire those around us to adopt a similar approach, creating a ripple effect of positive change.

When we focus on feeling good and feeling safe, we contribute to a supportive environment where everyone can thrive. This approach builds trust, encourages open communication, and fosters a sense of community.

Let’s Sum it Up

Learning to be responsive rather than reactive is a powerful way to harness the power of choice. By utilizing the principles from "Lead with Two Rules" and focusing on asking insightful questions, we can navigate challenges more effectively and create a positive impact on ourselves and those around us. Embrace the power of choice to promote a life where feeling good and feeling safe are at the forefront of every decision.

When children consistently learn these skills each year of their educational journey, reinforced at home and modeled in the community, we will see significant positive changes reflected in our society. Understanding that we are responsible and accountable for our choices will encourage us to take the necessary time to ensure we are choosing to be part of the solution, not the problem. This collective effort will create a culture where thoughtful decision-making and emotional intelligence are valued and practiced, leading to a healthier, more supportive environment for everyone.

Lead with Two Rules: Feeling Good & Feeling Safe by Brenda Yoho
Be part of the problem or part of the solution, the choice is always yours to make.

Team Structure to Serve the Whole Child with "Lead with Two Rules: Feeling Good & Feeling Safe"

In our school, we embraced a holistic approach to education by integrating the "Lead with Two Rules: Feeling Good & Feeling Safe" philosophy. This approach emphasized addressing the emotional needs of students as robustly as their academic needs. We understood that emotional well-being and academic success are deeply intertwined, and we aimed to create a nurturing environment where students could thrive in both areas.

Holistic Approach to Education

Our belief was simple yet profound: if a student was struggling emotionally, they would also struggle academically. By prioritizing emotional well-being, we removed barriers to learning, enabling students to reach their full potential. We instilled this philosophy across all grade levels, creating a cohesive and supportive community that functioned like a family.

Creating Grade-Level Teams

To implement this approach, we organized our school into grade-level teams, each dedicated to understanding and meeting the unique needs of their students. These teams focused on building strong connections with students, recognizing that relationships are the foundation of effective education. Each team worked tirelessly to:

  1. Know Their Students: Teams made it a priority to understand the strengths, weaknesses, interests, and challenges of every student. This knowledge allowed for personalized academic and emotional support.
  2. Teach Practical and Executive Skills: Beyond academics, we taught students essential life skills, including self-regulation, time management, and problem-solving. These skills were crucial for their overall development and success.
  3. Develop Academic and Behavioral Strategies: Teams collaboratively developed strategies to support both academic progress and positive behavior. They designed interventions tailored to individual needs, ensuring that every student felt supported and capable.

To support the grade level teams, we had focused support teams to provide additional layers to serve as intervention, prevention and additional resources.

Building a Family Atmosphere

As our teams invested in their students, the school began to feel more like a large, interconnected family. This sense of belonging fostered a positive and inclusive atmosphere where both staff and students thrived. Some key elements of our family-like environment included:

Outcomes and Benefits

The impact of this approach was profound. By addressing the emotional and academic needs of students simultaneously, we witnessed remarkable transformations:

Conclusion

By adopting the "Lead with Two Rules: Feeling Good & Feeling Safe" philosophy, we redefined what it means to educate the whole child. Our commitment to meeting the emotional and academic needs of students created a nurturing family atmosphere that fostered both personal and academic growth. This holistic approach not only improved outcomes for our students but also brought our entire school community closer together, reinforcing the idea that education is most effective when it addresses the complete well-being of every child. It is when we work together home-school-community, we will have the solutions we are looking for.

"Lead with Two Rules" is more than just a guiding principle; it's a blueprint for building a comprehensive system of support for students, ensuring their needs are met and their potential is maximized. When we commit to meeting all student needs, we create a foundation that allows us to achieve the ambitious goals we set for our educational communities. This approach transforms our climate and culture into a positive, trusting environment where solutions are the focus, and every student feels valued and understood.

Building a Supportive System

Lead with Two Rules focuses on creating a supportive system by emphasizing two essential rules: feeling good and feeling safe. These rules are fundamental to fostering an environment where students can thrive academically, emotionally, and socially. By prioritizing these rules, we address the holistic needs of our students, ensuring they are well-equipped to face challenges and seize opportunities.

Establishing Teams for Comprehensive Support

To effectively implement the principles of "Lead with Two Rules," it is crucial to establish dedicated teams that work collaboratively to support students. These teams are composed of educators, counselors, administrators, and other stakeholders who share a common goal: to ensure that every student feels good and safe. Here’s how these teams can be structured and function:

  1. Multidisciplinary Approach: Teams should include diverse professionals who bring unique perspectives and expertise. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that all aspects of a student's well-being are considered, from academic performance to mental health and social integration.
  2. Regular Collaboration: Teams should meet regularly to discuss student progress, identify emerging needs, and develop action plans. This ongoing collaboration fosters a proactive approach to addressing issues before they become significant obstacles.
  3. Student-Centered Focus: Every decision and action taken by the team should center around the student's best interests. This involves actively listening to students, involving them in decision-making, and tailoring support to their individual needs.
  4. Data-Driven Decisions: Teams should utilize data to inform their strategies. This includes academic performance data, behavioral reports, and feedback from students and parents. Data-driven decisions help in creating targeted interventions that yield measurable results.
  5. Positive and Trusting Environment: The core of "Lead with Two Rules" is building a climate of positivity and trust. Teams should work to create an environment where students feel safe to express themselves, take risks, and grow. This involves consistent encouragement, recognition of achievements, and support during setbacks.

Achieving Goals Through Collaborative Efforts

When teams are effectively established and operate within the framework of "Lead with Two Rules," the entire educational ecosystem benefits. Here’s how:

"Lead with Two Rules" provides a structured approach to establishing teams that support students comprehensively. By meeting all student needs, we create an environment where goals are achieved, and every student can flourish. The result is a positive, trusting culture focused on solutions and continuous growth.


Monitoring Students from the Start of the Day: The Trifecta Approach

Every school day offers a fresh opportunity to positively impact the lives of our students. From the moment they step into the building, our interaction with them can set the tone for their day. Using a trifecta approach—focusing on what we see, hear, and think—we can gain valuable insights into their well-being and needs, ensuring that we provide the support they require.

1. What We See

Observing students as they arrive gives us crucial visual cues about their emotional and physical state. Are they smiling or do they seem withdrawn? Is their attire appropriate for the weather, or are there signs they might need assistance? Noticing changes in their appearance or demeanor can be the first indicator that something is amiss. A child who is usually energetic but appears lethargic or disheveled might be experiencing difficulties at home or health issues. By keenly observing these visual signals, we are better positioned to offer timely support.

2. What We Hear

Listening to our students is just as important as observing them. Their tone of voice, choice of words, and even the silence can tell us a lot about their current state. Are they engaging in conversation or responding in monosyllables? Do they sound excited, anxious, or upset? Greeting each student and taking a moment to listen to their responses helps us detect subtle changes. A child who typically shares enthusiastically about their evening but is suddenly quiet may be dealing with unspoken issues. Through attentive listening, we can better understand and address their concerns.

3. What We Think

Our thoughts and reflections after observing and listening to students are crucial. By combining what we've seen and heard, we can form a holistic understanding of each child's situation. This synthesis allows us to identify patterns or anomalies in behavior. Reflecting on these observations helps us determine the appropriate steps to take. Should we check in with a particular student later in the day? Do we need to inform a counselor or a parent about a concern? This thoughtful consideration ensures that our actions are deliberate and impactful.

The Starting Point, Not the End

Greeting students each morning is not where our responsibility ends but rather where it begins. Consistent, daily interactions allow us to build rapport and trust, making it easier for students to open up about their struggles. It also enables us to recognize and celebrate their successes and milestones, reinforcing a positive and supportive school environment.

This trifecta approach—seeing, hearing, and thinking—empowers us to be proactive rather than reactive. By identifying changes early, we can intervene and provide the necessary support before issues escalate. It fosters a culture of care and vigilance, ensuring that every student feels seen, heard, and valued from the start of their day.

Monitoring students from the moment they enter the school grounds is a vital practice. Through keen observation, attentive listening, and thoughtful reflection, we create a supportive and responsive environment that prioritizes the well-being and success of every child. Let’s embrace this trifecta approach, making our morning greetings the beginning of a continuous journey of care and support for our students. When we work together in a collaborative and systemic process with procedures in place with teams to ensure we address issues quickly and take care of all needs.

The Importance of Building Resilience for Students and Teachers

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, resilience stands as a cornerstone for success and well-being. For both students and teachers, cultivating resilience is essential in navigating the challenges and uncertainties that arise in the academic environment. Resilience, the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, not only fosters perseverance and adaptability but also promotes a culture of growth and learning.

Lead with Two Rules provides a chapter titled “Building Resilience Based on Trust and Relationships” to support this critical element which we all need. “High childhood resilience is related to substantial reductions in lifetime mental illness.”-Welsh Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) and Resilience Study


Resilience in Students

Empowerment and Confidence: Resilient students are better equipped to face academic challenges, social pressures, and personal setbacks. This empowerment builds confidence, encouraging students to take risks and embrace new learning opportunities without fear of failure. This is part of feeling good and feeling safe. When you look at page 73, Figure 4.1, you can find the twelve resilience resources which apply to supporting this as you implement Two Rules.

Emotional Well-being: Resilience helps students manage stress and anxiety, which are increasingly prevalent in today's fast-paced world. By developing coping mechanisms and emotional regulation skills, students can maintain a positive outlook and mental health, essential for effective learning and personal growth. As we continue to see, hear and read about the tragic loss of young life to suicide, we know the importance of building of resilience. Implementation of Two Rules will teach the skills needed to reduce bullying, remove the toxic climate of bullying, but as we know from history, each individual needs to build resilience and work to achieve the twelve resilience resources.

Problem-solving Skills: When students encounter obstacles, resilience enables them to approach problems with a solution-oriented mindset. This not only enhances their critical thinking abilities but also prepares them for real-world challenges, fostering independence and resourcefulness. The foundation of Two Rules is building on the approach of a solution focused mindset and pausing to ask questions. Students work on problem solving with trusted adults and utilize many skills as they practice in order to prepare for life.

Academic Achievement: Resilient students are more likely to persist in their studies, even when faced with difficulties. This perseverance often translates into improved academic performance and a greater likelihood of achieving long-term educational goals. Two Rules builds consistently each day choose to overcome. Students were supported for every step forward they took and celebrated for each success.

Social Relationships: Building resilience helps students develop healthy interpersonal relationships. They learn to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and support their peers, creating a positive and collaborative learning environment. The implementation of Two Rules begins to change the climate and culture of your school. Everyone is consistently repeating, “Do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution?” “Is this going to make me and others feel good and safe?” Modeling is happening daily, you can see and here Two Rules in practice and everyone working together to accomplish the same things brings smiles, joy and success to all.


Resilience in Teachers

Professional Growth: For teachers, resilience is crucial in adapting to the ever-changing demands of the education system. Whether it’s integrating new technologies, adjusting to curriculum changes, or meeting diverse student needs, resilient teachers are better prepared to embrace change and continue their professional development. Lead with Two Rules provides supports, resources and ideas for teachers as they continue to work on resilience.

Emotional Health: Teaching can be a highly stressful profession, with pressures from administrative tasks, classroom management, and student performance. Resilience helps teachers manage their stress, prevent burnout, and maintain their passion for teaching, ultimately benefiting their students as well. Self-care is important. Implementation of Two Rules is not one more thing, it is the thing to shift away from the daily disruptions, fights, disrespect and disregard to responsibility for actions. In the book you will find chapters with information for support for teachers. Teachers matter!!

Role Modeling: Resilient teachers serve as role models for their students. By demonstrating how to handle challenges gracefully and bounce back from setbacks, teachers instill similar values and behaviors in their students, creating a culture of resilience within the classroom. The daily consistency in our practices and routines is the key to the implementation of anything we do. Adults can facilitate the development of a child’s executive function skills by establishing routines, modeling social behavior, and creating and maintaining supportive, reliable relationships. Two Rules is fine tuning what we have always done, but in a more concise and simplistic way.

Effective Classroom Management: Resilient teachers are better equipped to handle disruptions and maintain a positive classroom environment. Their ability to stay calm and composed under pressure ensures that learning continues smoothly, even when unexpected issues arise. The key point with implementation of Two Rules is to build up children’s executive functions to self regulate and to learn how to self control. We model and teach more than the academic content. When students can recognize to pause to ask the questions, they are looking at self, others and understanding the bigger picture.

Collaboration and Support: Resilient teachers foster a supportive community among colleagues. By sharing experiences, strategies, and resources, they create a network of support that enhances collective resilience, benefiting the entire school community. Together we can is what I believe. Alone we may be able to help a few, but together we help all and support each other.



Fostering Resilience

To build resilience in both students and teachers, educational institutions can implement several strategies:

Creating a Supportive Environment

Promoting Growth Mindset

Teaching Coping Skills

Encouraging Self-care

Building Strong Relationships

In conclusion, resilience is a vital trait that empowers both students and teachers to thrive amidst challenges. By fostering resilience, educational institutions not only enhance academic and personal outcomes but also contribute to the overall well-being and success of their communities.

In a world that is constantly changing, resilience provides the stability and strength needed to navigate the future with confidence and optimism. Fostering resilience in children is not only essential for their individual growth but also for the collective advancement of society. By understanding and implementing strategies that build resilience—such as cultivating strong adult-child relationships, enhancing self-efficacy, and promoting adaptive skills—we can counterbalance the adverse effects of significant stressors.

The collaboration of schools, families, and communities in creating environments rich in support and positive experiences is key to this process. Remember, it's never too late to start building resilience. With concerted efforts and a nurturing approach, we can ensure that more children are equipped to overcome challenges and thrive, laying the groundwork for a healthier, more resilient future for all.

Lead with Two Rules is a blueprint for success in helping to build and nurture a culture of teaching and learning. The focus of using two rules of value and safety, builds the life long skills needed to succeed.

Nurturing Success: The Power of Building Relationships with Students

In the words of Carol Ann Tomlinson, "When students lack a sense of safety or of belonging or of contribution, learning takes second place to meeting those needs." This statement encapsulates the fundamental importance of fostering strong relationships with students in educational settings. As educators, our role extends beyond imparting knowledge; it encompasses creating an environment where students feel safe, valued, and empowered to learn and grow.Setting the Stage for Relationship BuildingThe journey of building meaningful relationships with students begins with a collective effort. Educators should engage in discussions with colleagues to explore ways in which the entire faculty can set the stage for framing relationships that best support student learning. This includes creating a welcoming atmosphere, promoting inclusivity, and fostering a sense of community within the school.Taking Action in the ClassroomReviewing classroom lists is a crucial step in identifying students who may lack existing relationships or feel disconnected. Once identified, educators can take proactive steps to build these relationships. Simple gestures such as calling students by name and encouraging classmates to do the same can significantly contribute to creating a sense of belonging.How Can I Help?As educators, our role in building relationships with students goes beyond the classroom. We can actively engage with students, parents, and caregivers to understand their needs, concerns, and aspirations. Regular communication, both in-person and digitally, can strengthen trust and rapport, leading to more meaningful interactions and support.Why Relationships MatterResearch and experience consistently demonstrate that a sense of belonging is fundamental to academic success. Students who feel connected and supported are more engaged, motivated, and resilient in their learning journey. Here are some key reasons why relationships matter:

  • Personalized Support: Building relationships allows educators to provide personalized support tailored to students' unique strengths, challenges, and learning styles.Emotional Well-being: A supportive relationship fosters a positive emotional environment where students feel safe to express themselves, seek help when needed, and navigate challenges with confidence.Motivation and Engagement: Feeling valued and understood motivates students to actively participate in learning, explore new ideas, and take ownership of their academic goals.

  • Implementing Strategies for Relationship BuildingTo cultivate meaningful relationships with students, consider implementing the following strategies:
  • Know Your Students: Take time to learn about students' interests, backgrounds, and experiences. Personalize interactions and activities to make learning relevant and engaging.Create a Welcoming Environment: Foster a classroom culture that promotes respect, empathy, and inclusivity. Encourage collaboration, active participation, and open communication.Be Approachable and Available: Let students know that you are there to support them academically, emotionally, and personally. Establish clear communication channels and designated times for student interactions.Celebrate Diversity: Embrace diversity and create opportunities for students to share their unique perspectives, cultures, and talents. Foster a sense of pride and belonging for all students.

  • ConclusionBuilding relationships with students is not just a task; it's a commitment to nurturing their holistic development and well-being. By prioritizing safety, belonging, and contribution in our educational environments, we create spaces where students can thrive academically, emotionally, and socially. Remember, a meaningful relationship is the cornerstone of academic success and lifelong learning.

    Ever considered the brain's role in learning? Dive into the world of brain chemicals and discover the untapped potential they hold in our classrooms. Let's explore one of the key players: dopamine. Nestled in the pleasure and reward center of our brains, dopamine isn't just about feeling good; it's a catalyst for learning.

    Here's the breakdown:

    1. Motivation Boost: Dopamine fuels our drive. It's the spark behind our desire to chase success and revel in accomplishment. By triggering dopamine, we create a cycle of motivation that keeps students eager to learn and excel.
    2. Engagement Amplifier: With dopamine on board, attention spans stretch and engagement soars. Learning becomes efficient, and students navigate challenges with ease. Plus, dopamine enhances spatial learning, knitting together concepts for a deeper understanding.
    3. Memory Enhancer: Say hello to sharper recall! Dopamine turbocharges memory, sharpening focus and strengthening working memory. Past events and lessons become vivid, extending the reach of learning far beyond the classroom.

    So, how do we tap into this powerhouse for learning? Here are six strategies:

    1. Embrace Creativity: Encourage artistic expression to ignite dopamine. Let students paint, compose, or perform, fostering a realm of imagination where dopamine thrives.
    2. Team Up: Foster collaboration and teamwork. By tackling challenges together, students find purpose and camaraderie, triggering dopamine along the way.
    3. Set Goals: Empower students to chart their path to success. Goal-setting, progress tracking, and celebrations create a dopamine-rich environment of achievement.
    4. Feedback Matters: Offer constructive feedback that fuels progress. Timely praise and encouragement unleash a flood of dopamine, reinforcing positive habits.
    5. Fun and Games: Inject humor and playfulness into learning. Break routines, crack jokes, and turn challenges into adventures to keep dopamine flowing.
    6. Challenge Accepted: Introduce exciting challenges that demand effort. Simulations and explorations provide the perfect playground for dopamine to thrive.

    And let's not forget the foundation of it all: Lead with Two Rules. Building a safe, supportive environment lays the groundwork for dopamine to work its magic. As Horacio Sanchez aptly puts it, "Humans have automated emotional values that drive their actions." Safety, love, and success form the core of our decision-making—values nurtured by Lead with Two Rules. Everyone is part of working to have an environment where everyone feels good and feels safe. Students learn to practice the skills daily they need to form the habits for lifelong success.

    In a world where learning is a constant quest, dopamine emerges as our steadfast ally. So, let's harness its power, ignite curiosity, and sculpt a future where every student thrives. With dopamine as our guide, the journey to learning excellence is boundless. Reinforcement, consistency and understanding the power of choice, provides the critical elements of importance the brain needs to develop habits.

    I thank Horacio Sanchez for his research, knowledge and expertise in the area of neuroscience. I appreciate so much his endorsement of my book. I sight his book The Poverty Problem, but he has several books that I have which are a great resource for educators.

    I will continue to share more information and help to provide everything I can to help all of you. You matter, your work matters and you are needed to help all of our children.

    Can you lead with empathy? Are you leading with empathy? Why lead with empathy?

    I love to ask questions to get the mind thinking, to reflect and to stretch. What do you know about empathy in leadership and is it important for everyone to know about empathy? Please share your thoughts as I talk about emapathy.

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    Dear Leaders, Teachers, Families and Communities

    The issue of youth violence is a daunting challenge that demands our urgent attention. It's a complex web woven from various strands of societal, economic, and cultural factors. But amidst this complexity lies an opportunity for transformation, a chance to shape a brighter future for our youth.

    In Lead with Two Rules, I ask everyone to help in following only two rules. Help everyone to feel good and to feel safe. Who does not want to feel valued, like they belong and are safe wherever they are in the world.

    The stark reality is laid bare when you read, watch or listen to the news: violence among young people is on the rise, fueled by social and economic disparities, exposure to violence, and a lack of positive role models. But what has changed? And more importantly, what can we do about it?

    First and foremost, we must recognize that prevention starts with understanding. We must delve deep into the root causes, acknowledging the multifaceted nature of the issue. From social and economic disparities to mental health struggles, each factor plays a crucial role in shaping the landscape of youth violence.

    But understanding alone is not enough. We must take action. We must equip our youth with the tools they need to navigate life's challenges. Problem-solving skills, positive relationships with adults, and a commitment to education are the cornerstones of resilience.

    To stem the tide of violence, we must embrace a holistic approach. It starts with promoting family environments that nurture healthy development and providing quality education from an early age. We must strengthen youth skills, connecting them to caring adults and meaningful activities that ignite their passions.

    But our efforts cannot end there. We must also create protective community environments, spaces where our youth can thrive free from the shadow of violence. And when harm does occur, we must intervene swiftly, not only to lessen its impact but to prevent future risks.

    The time for action is now. We cannot afford to wait while our youth bear the brunt of society's failings. We must rise to the challenge, addressing these issues at their core and starting from a young age. We must be vigilant in guarding against the negative influences of technology, social media, and harmful programs.

    Together, we have the power to shape a brighter future for our youth. Let us lead with compassion, courage, and conviction. Let us stand as beacons of hope in a world too often overshadowed by violence. And let us sow the seeds of change, nurturing a generation empowered to build a better tomorrow.

    The task ahead is daunting, but together, we can make a difference. Let us seize this moment, for the sake of our youth and the future they deserve.

    With determination and hope we are the solution needed for our youth. Together home, school and community, We Can Be the Solution we need. Please join me!

    Brenda

    In the year 2024, as the echoes of a nation ring with calls for change in education, we find ourselves at a pivotal moment in history. The sentiments reverberating across communities and classrooms alike are clear:

    "We need a change in education." "Education needs to reform to meet the needs of students." "Education is going through an adjustment period now." "AI will help to facilitate the needed changes to support learning with more technology usage." "Recharging education is needed to retain teachers." "Rethinking education to support what students need for the future." "Focus on social emotional needs of learners to address mental health."

    These sentiments, while echoing from various points in history, carry an urgency that demands our attention. It's a call to action to not just improve what we've always done but to fundamentally rethink our approach to education.

    ”Only education is capable of saving our societies from possible collapse, whether violent or gradual.”~Jean Piaget

    ”Human history is a race between education and catastrophe.”~H.G. Wells

    ”As we face an increasingly febrile future, the answer is not to do better what we’ve done before. We have to do something else. “~Sir Ken Robinson

    As we stand on the shoulders of giants like Jean Piaget, H.G. Wells, and Sir Ken Robinson, we're reminded that education isn't just about imparting knowledge; it's about shaping societies, preventing catastrophe, and navigating the uncertain future with agility and wisdom. I have been influenced by all of them through my studies, listening to TED talks of Sir Ken Robinson and his books. One of his books titled, “Imagine If…Creating A Future For Us All” is where I found the quotes I shared. As leaders, we need to read daily and stretch our minds to always ask questions, reflect and strive to answer why.

    The truth is, our current systems are fractured, failing to deliver on promises of equity and excellence. Despite our best efforts to "raise standards" and "leave no child behind," and promise “every child will succeed”. Equity, to me, means ensuring that every child in our nation has equal access to opportunities. However, it's clear that we're not allocating resources to schools evenly or providing consistent levels of quality staffing. The reality remains stark: we're falling short of our aspirations. The question is Why?

    The reality is that our existing systems are fragmented, falling short of their pledges to uphold equity and excellence. Despite initiatives to "raise standards" and ensure no child is left behind, and assurances that "every child will succeed," the truth is evident. Equity, to me, means ensuring that every child in our nation has equal access to opportunities. However, it's clear that we're not allocating resources to schools evenly or providing consistent levels of quality staffing. The harsh truth remains: we're not meeting our goals. The question arises: why is this the case?

    But amidst this challenge lies an opportunity for transformation. It begins with a commitment to repair broken systems, starting with those within our control. Whether you're a teacher, administrator, or leader in any capacity, the path forward is clear: lead with intention, empathy, and a relentless focus on building relationships.

    In my book "Lead with Two Rules," I emphasize the importance of consistency and connection in leadership. By addressing students and staff by name, fostering an environment of trust and camaraderie, we lay the groundwork for meaningful change.

    This isn't just about policy reforms or technological advancements; it's about the human touch—the simple act of showing up, being present, and truly seeing those we serve. It's about recognizing that education is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor but a deeply personal journey that requires tailored support and understanding.

    So, as we confront the challenges of the present and chart a course for the future, let us heed the echoes of change that resound across our nation. Let us embrace innovation, empathy, and a steadfast commitment to building a brighter tomorrow—one student, one relationship, at a time. For in the end, it's not just about what we teach but how we empower the next generation to shape a world that is yet to be imagined.

    It is home, school and community working together to solve the problems we face. I hear, I see and I know we are lacking self-regulation, respect and the motivation needed to achieve. We will not be able to fix these issues over night because together we have created the issues we face for years now. However, we can begin today with Two Rules and trust. Together We Can e the solution today for a better tomorrow.

    As the author of "Lead with Two Rules: Feeling Good & Feeling Safe," I am deeply committed to the message and practices outlined in this book. At this time, I am not looking to publish another book, as my focus is entirely on implementing the principles of this book effectively.

    One of the key aspects I emphasize is the importance of understanding what it truly means to feel good. This concept holds different meanings for various individuals, including staff members, students, families, and community members. When we delve into discussions about feelings, we often uncover a wide range of factors that contribute to feeling good.

    For me, feeling good encompasses a sense of happiness, fulfillment, and being valued. It involves positive self-esteem, how we perceive ourselves, and the way others perceive us. Our internal dialogue and the messages we convey to others about themselves play a significant role in shaping how we feel. It also reminds us of the power we have with influencing others by the choices we make. Our words have great power as well as the actions we take.


    As children, many of us were taught the phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me." However, this is far from the truth. Words and actions can deeply impact our emotions and well-being. Therefore, it is essential to address how we respond to both external influences and our own self-talk.

    Instead of reacting impulsively based on emotions, which often leads to negative outcomes, we should focus on proactive and constructive responses. By understanding the power of words and actions in influencing how we feel, we can work towards creating environments where everyone feels valued, respected, and safe.

    In essence, "Lead with Two Rules: Feeling Good & Feeling Safe" encourages a shift from reactive behaviors to thoughtful responses, fostering a culture of empathy, understanding, and positive communication. It is through these practices that we can create lasting and meaningful change in our schools, communities, and beyond.

    My question for today is one that delves into the core of our well-being: Do you feel good? How do you define feeling good? I invite all of you to share your thoughts and perspectives on this topic.

    Feeling good encompasses a spectrum of emotions, from joy and contentment to peace and confidence. It's about more than just a fleeting moment of happiness; it's about a deeper sense of fulfillment and positivity in our lives.

    If you find yourself not feeling good, I encourage you to reflect on why that might be. Is it due to external circumstances, internal struggles, or a combination of both? Sharing your feelings can be a powerful step towards understanding and addressing them.

    Remember, you are not alone in your journey towards feeling good. There are many professionals trained to help with specific needs, whether they be related to mental health, emotional well-being, or personal challenges. Reach out, seek support, and believe in the possibility of finding solutions that work for you.

    I often use the term "we" because I believe in the power of collective action. It takes a community, a team, a network of support to navigate life's challenges and triumphs. You are never alone, and you should never feel that way. Together, we can find the strength, resilience, and solutions needed to overcome any obstacles we face.

    Chapter 6 in Lead with Two Rules is dedicated to using teams. A team approach was something I experienced and utilized throughout my professional career. It is best practice for finding solutions.

    "I only have 2 rules!"
    © 2024 Brenda Yoho
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