For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.

Ecclesiastes 1:

Have you ever thought you know too much? It seems like a crazy question to ask and to think about, but something to ponder for a moment or two. Here is why I think it is something to investigate.

As a child, many could be unaware of so many things in the world when I was growing up. However, today more and more of the protected unknowns are finding their way into the lives of everyone, from young to old.


The rise in stress, anxiety, and depression in all age groups could be connected to this knowledge. It is a thought worth thinking about. How much of the world's negativity are we welcoming into our lives freely without questions? As adults, are we fearful of shutting out those things threatening the values, beliefs, and the core of the authenticity of what our families stand for today?

Shutting out the negative noise of the world is something we can do from time to time. We are helping to establish a time to discuss appropriately as a family what is heard, seen, and the perceptions of what is happening. Provide a balance of encouragement to answer questions to understand and to help guide children with the foundation of the family.


Knowledge

Knowledge is vital to all of us. We need to be informed and understand what is happening in the world in which we live. Having a true whole picture of balance with each issue is what is needed for the depth of understanding we need. Providing our children and others with short little bits of informational headlines repeated can instill fear, uncertainty, stress, anxiety, and depression, to name a few.

Having time to sit down to talk about issues and helping others feel good and safe will relieve many of the symptoms of uncertainty placed on individuals. Knowledge can help us grow if the learning is meaningful and authentic.

What do you want to know? How will you gain the knowledge you seek? What will you do when you learn the answer? Help children feel safe to ask questions at home they want and need to have answers to. Open communication with a listening ear is essential and not a judgmental one. Help them see, hear and learn from you the questions the seek yo understand.

Well, I tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen,
Pour myself a cup of ambition, Yawn and stretch and try to come to life

Jump in the shower, and the blood starts pumping
Out on the street, the traffic starts jumping
With folks like me on the job from 9 to 5
”~Dolly Parton, 9 to 5 released in 1980. This song received a Grammy for the best country song, and she received a Grammy for the best female performance. The song has gone on to produce a movie, musicals, and so much more!

Going to work each day can be redundant. People can feel isolated. So many other issues, and problems come to mind when I think of all of the issues we face today in our work environments. It seems just getting to work; we may be dodging bullets (literally), arrows, and fear to get through or out of the door to begin our work day.

Dodging Bullets

When I write about dodging bullets today, I can mean literally as our world has turned the corner in becoming more violent with the rise of crime. Neighborhoods and cities which were safe are now becoming unsafe. However, it was not my intent to speak about the increased crime but the trauma behind dodging bullets.

Trauma is more than dodging bullets. The phrase, “I dodged a bullet today,” means you escaped a bad situation or something that would cause harm to you. Many individuals around us, or even ourselves, are dodging bullets daily, weekly, or monthly. The circumstances are different for each of us, but the reality is reflected in the environment we all share. Recovering from a global pandemic, higher costs for everything we need, shortages of products, a rise in crime, and the unknowns.

As leaders, we must consider dodging bullets with our staff and arrange a time to address ways to find support solutions.

Arrows

Arrows have sharp points and are shot to have a direct hit at the bullseye. My husband is a great shot! So are those who shoot targeted arrows of negativity at their co-workers. The craft of arrow shooting is spot on when a toxic environment exists within your culture. Individuals have practiced arrow shooting for a long time.

Toxic cultures begin with one. Once they have achieved the arrow shooting with precision with no repercussions, others notice and start to join because of fear. This is when the toxic culture grows, and fear sets in as others remain quiet.

As leaders, we must recognize when these sharp points begin to surface and address them by reminding staff of our core values and beliefs.

Fear

Did you know fear is how people can control you? Fear is an emotion. It is our most powerful emotion and is our defense mechanism. When you are told something over and over, shown something repeatedly and when people you feel are in leadership positions tell you something, fear begins to take hold. Now they have power over you.

Bullying is like this for children. I often tell children and teachers not to give away their power. Power is what everyone seeks. There are lots of steps to take when dealing with bullying, but ultimately it is about placing fear to gain control over you. Children also like to see how far they can go in the classroom to gain more power as well. Why have the power struggle?

We all have fear; it is an emotion to warn us of danger. Fear is a needed emotion but not one we want to get out of control. When our fears overcome us, we have anxiety which can lead to more health-related issues. In the workplace, fear is something we need to address. People should not be fearful.

As leaders, we need to work to help all members of our teams to feel good and safe about being in our workplace environment.

S.O.S

Setting up a System of Support is a great way to help the culture of your work environment address trauma and issues faced.

The system of support will not look the same in every workplace. The framework will be the same, but the elements inside will vary based on the needs and wants of the team. Remember to listen to all voices and pay attention to those dominating conversations; you need all agents.

Framework of S.O.S

SYSTEM:

OF:

SUPPORT:

Taking action steps to help teams dodge bullets and arrows from the past and present to avoid fears today and tomorrow will improve our teams. Let’s become bulletproof on our way to conquering fear and overcoming all the arrows shot in our direction. I can’t, you can’t, but we can be the solution daily in a world that needs us!

We want to hear our leaders say those three words when they have made an error or mistake. Many will quickly speak those words, and those will dance around to avoid them. Well, I want to tell you I have been wrong. I look back over things I have stated and the wording used. It is imperative to develop your language, so it expresses your points and positions clearly. Working with my editor, I am learning the importance of crafting your words so they give enough details; readers understand clearly the position, points, and foundation you are establishing.

In the past, I have talked a great deal about accepting changes and being open to new ideas. I still believe this is true, but I need to add more to this statement. Change and new ideas can not conflict with the beliefs, values, and core principles you have established. The importance of staying true to yourself and being authentic is priceless.


I am seeing and hearing fear when it comes to today's changes. The cancel culture, name calling, and labeling of others because they choose not to go along with a narrative, beliefs, or changes is not the American way.

What happened to the art of debate? I am not talking about the level of name-calling, dirt digging, and low blows you can punch. The factual points, claim, reason, support, and warrant. What problem, why do we have this problem, what solutions can we use to resolve the issue, and how do we know?

Stand on a platform and foundation. Do not be afraid to try new things, but be cautious of where they may lead. Always ask questions. Why? What if? I will provide one educational example I was part of during my career.

The whole language was the new shiny thing as I joined the staff working with children with reading difficulties. Everyone switched from teaching phonics to whole language. Did this switch help to improve reading for all children? If you look at the statistics, you will find the answer is no.


I want to know your thoughts about change. What changes are happening you are not comfortable with, and are you making the changes or not? Are you afraid to voice an honest opinion on changes that are happening? I will reference one of my posts, Good Enough, from this week when I talk about those who survived traumatic events. The courage they had to survive these events I cannot do justice to in the words I write. Charlie Dukes stayed a prisoner of war to go on to write about in his book Good Morning: but the Nightmares Never End Hardcover – December 1, 1997. He and his wife Gracie were blessings to me; I worked with Gracie as a young educator. I invited them to come and speak at every location I went. His story and their story are what I wanted my students to know about America.

As fifth-grade teachers, we studied the Holocaust in history. I strongly believe in doing all you can to bring tangible resources to students when you can do so. We were very close to Terre Haute, Indiana, the home of the CANDLES Museum. CANDLES is an acronym for “Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors,” created by Eva Mozes Kor. She, along with her twin sister Miriam Kor survived SS Doctor Josef Mengele's human experimentations at the Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland during World War II. Their parents and two older sisters were killed in the gas chambers at Birkenau.

Eva Kor was the museum, and I am thankful to have introduced this to many students. I invited her to speak several times, and her lessons touched the hearts of all in attendance. She talked to me about a letter she had received and how she was thinking about what she would be doing. She would be meeting Hans Münch, who was part of what she endured. She publicly forgave the Nazis for what had been done to her.

I have their books that are signed, but it is when they gave them to me I remember and cherish the most. They have passed on to a new life journey leaving me with opportunities to continue to share their wisdom.

Always say Good Morning! The importance of forgiveness frees us from the nightmares holding onto us and allows us to continue to move through our life journey courageously. Today is our day to stand for what we believe, free from the worry of what others may think, but knowing “Good Morning” comes when we know we have done all we can. Thank you for being the solution daily in a world we create together with courage, faith, liberty, love, and happiness.

When you make a mistake acknowledge, ask for forgiveness and when you hear the apology acceptance begins our path towards healing.

Troubling times face each of us in many different ways. Some we can see clearly, others hide it and shelter it away. Our news media brings us stories daily, filled with reports locally, nationally, and globally. We can watch these reports on several stations, read in newspapers, scroll through media platforms and catch comments.

You can gather different accounts and opinions of what is reported depending on the “trust” level in those reporting to you. How do they gain your trust?

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. —1 John 16:33

I see, hear and feel anger, negativity, fear, and anxiety from people ranging from young and old. Who needs to say can we all calm down and bring people together? Daily there is news pulling people apart and not uniting them together for a win today.

We are planting seeds every day. These seeds will be harvested in the days, weeks, years, and decades. Along the way, we need to pull the weeds of anger, doubt, negativity and promote the peace, abundance that will come from All of the work we do together.

I leave you peace; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world does. So don’t let your hearts be troubled or afraid. —John 14:27 NCV

The troubles we bump into may be massive in life's difficulties, but we face them with joy in knowing the days are filled with impossibilities here but possibilities in our love and faith. Our pessimism will lead us to courage, and courage leads to perseverance. We must never forget there are always things we can control and something we cannot control, but we are always in control of our faith, core values, courage, and the peace we find in knowing our roads are never traveled alone.

Today is the day to stand on the values you have and the voice you were given and to always seek to understand first. There is always a solution to every problem; by asking the right questions, we reach the correct answer. Be not afraid to stand up for the rights you believe in, speak up for your core values, and to be visible in helping in the schools, communities, and places that need volunteers.

Thank you for #Bethesolutiondaily in a world that needs you! You make a difference daily in how you speak, the actions you take, how you model for others, the things you do, and the smile you wear each day. All of the little things add up to be big things each day!

Can you look at this picture and find the mistakes? When you look at this sentence, can you find the errors? I can remember being asked to watch a short video and to watch how many times the ball was passed. Then after the video was over, the question was, did you see a gorilla? What? Are you good at seeing illusions? What are the points to all of these things that are asked of us?

We look for the bonfire; we miss the candle. We listen for the shout; we miss the whisper. Are these points we miss? What points are we missing?

Luke 12:15 — “Keep your eyes open and guard against every sort of covetousness, because even when a person has an abundance, his life does not result from the things he possesses.”

Having desires for the things we need in life is normal. We are motivated to work to provide for ourselves. If we can compare the differences between everyday needs and greed, we can easily see the unbalance. When we are camping we need a small campfire to keep us warm and to cook our food. This is a controlled need. Greed is something that is destruction and out of control. So let's review how we think about preparing for the camping trip.

Instead of wanting to gather a small amount of wood for our little fire, our greed to have the biggest and best fire may cause us to make some careless mistakes. Then before we know it, a fire is out of control, creating a blazing fire destroying the forest. This example may be slightly exaggerated, but I am sure we can find other measures to help us not “miss the point.”



The Little Red Hen first published in 1874, this folk tale teaches children the value of hard work and self-reliance. In the story, the little red hen finds a grain of wheat and asks the other barnyard animals “Who will help me plant the wheat?” The response “Not I” said the cat, “Not I” said the dog, “Not I” said the pig. So the Little Red Hen said “Then I will plant the seed myself” and she did.

As the pages reveal, the stages of the planting the seed to making the bread requires several steps (harvest, milling and baking the flour to make the bread). At each of the stages the hen asks the 3 animals for help in the process, and each time the animals reply with the same response “Not I” said the cat, “Not I” said the dog, “Not I” said the pig.

The final stage when the bread was baked, the hen asks, “Now, who will help me eat the bread?” The animals quickly responded with saying yes, I will. The hen looked at them and replied with “No, you did not help plant, harvest, mill, or bake the bread.” The Little Red Hen ate the bread and feed her chicks.

This is a favorite story from childhood, part of the Golden Book series and was a Walt Disney animated film, The Wise Little Hen (1938). As a child I would receive one of the Golden Books each month. The lessons in the books provided points for children to learn. The point to this book is a simple lesson of responsibility and also of helping others. “The fruit of your labor pays off, as you are able to eat with your hard work.” Are we teaching these lessons today or are we missing the point? What are the points we are receiving?

2 Thessalonians 3:10
Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: "Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”

A little reflection on what we teach, preach, speak, and model to make sure we are not “missing the point” to help our children grow to develop the core values they need. When you scroll through the posts you can find individuals who believe money, status, power or any “thing” is what matters in life. Having more of it is what will make them happy.

It is so easy to assign worth and value to external things. Watching commercials, television shows, and looking at magazines in the checkout line, you see all of the glamors on display. How many times a day do you compare yourself to others? Be honest with yourself. Do you look at another person, a car, a home, or pictures on Facebook and compare yourself?

When we begin to design our life around the “things” we believe the world identifies as having value and worth, we spend all of our time chasing after them. One day we may wake up with all of these things but realize we do not know who we are, what our purpose is, and feel the need for more.

Life is not about the things you have, the titles assigned to you, the awards given, and the number of followers you have on social media. It is about the value you bring to others and yourself. What is your purpose in life? Everyone has one, and your identity is tied to your defining purpose. I have written about Ken Blanchard, his story of Johnny the Bagger, and how adding value to others is worth the time. Johnny did good work!

Teaching Value, Identity and Purpose

The world of education continues to change daily. However, the core of its purpose, identity, and value do not. Education aims to provide all children with quality development in reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and learning the skills needed to grow in a democratic society. The value of education at the core of teaching consists of helping students gain perspective of life in a better way and lead a successful life as responsible citizens. The identity of education is defined and shaped by the culture. Education has a long history of responding to the actions of the culture, issues, and societal changes. Not to respond to accept the trends, but to help gain understanding of facts to address issues. The teaching goals are to help shape better citizens, gain the skills for better jobs and know the difference between bad and good. Education shows students the importance of hard work and helps students grow and develop. “Education is something we do with children, not to them.”-Brenda Yoho.

If education can form a foundation based on the solid value, purpose, and identity defined, we can shape a better society to live in by knowing and respecting rights, laws, and regulations.

Feeling Good and Feeling Safe

Teaching and learning does not happen when we do not feel good or safe in the place we are. In my previous post, safety was a focus to begin to take steps to get prepared. In preparing for feeling good, we need to have a foundation of our core values, what our purpose is, and how we will be identified as the leader; know our core values, identity, and purpose. You will want to formulate together as a team what this will be for your school. Mission and vision statements are great to have if they are easy to read and applied. I have been a fan of We believe statement pages, We will statement pages, and Assurances from leaders to staff to compliment mission and vision.

Lesson 2: No matter what, follow your “true north.”

Daniel Bauer shares his philosophy. It is your core values that drive who you are and maintain your focus on what you want to achieve.

“I have a personal philosophy: Be an intentional impetus. I have five personal core values:

I have worked hard to identify these values and my philosophy. They act as a personal Obi-Wan Kenobi. In times of success, they remind me to celebrate being true to my values.”-Daniel Bauer

Do you have a personal philosophy? What about your core values? If you do not have them or are unsure, it is time to solidify them. It isn't easy to stay the course if you do not have a solid foundation. How do you know your direction or your “true north” with uncertainty?

My Two Rule Philosophy is a foundation I utilize to help students understand the power they have with choice. Once you know you have the ability, you need to realize with power comes great responsibility and accountability. This leads to developing the five core competencies that help grow their ownership into disciplined individuals with balance. The competencies support social-emotional learning as well as building academic growth. Students' self-discipline develops naturally as they regulate their actions with the choices they make. They align all of this with their established goals, reflected in their day-to-day activities.

Five Core Competencies

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-management
  3. Social-awareness
  4. Relationship Skills
  5. Making Decisions (Responsible, Positive, Solution-Focused)

As for my core values and philosophy, I can confidently express them with ease and clarity.

I am a service leader striving to help others daily. I intend to find ways to provide solutions, guide in developing skills, and inspire, motivate and supply resources. My core beliefs are my faith, hope, integrity, and trust. I believe in all, I never give up on others, and I give more than I hope to receive. The team is how I work best, and I always want more opinions. Providing value to others, celebrating everything, and always looking for positives are what I love best! It is when we have gratitude; what we have is just enough.

Check out Leading at a Higher Level by Ken Blanchard. He is one of my all time favorite leaders. His work will inspire you, make you think and help guide you.

Develop your leadership point of view? What is a leadership point of view?-a leader's personal elevator pitch—is the essential message a leader wants to communicate to the world. A leadership point of view reflects your journey, values, goals, and expectations of others. Write one out to see what you have.

I missed the bus is a phrase referring to being too slow to take advantage of an opportunity. In education, it was an excuse for being late to school, like the video attached to the word bus from 1992. Have you ever used that phrase?

Jumping on the bandwagon is another phrase used to join a movement or cause because it is trendy. “Everyone is doing it.” The phrase itself began back in 1848 when a circus clown named Dan Rice would use his wagon to take politicians around to conduct speeches to local people. The music coming from the wagon always attracted a crowd. Have you ever used this phrase?

These phrases may not be utilized as much today as they did in the past, but the concepts are still practiced. Leaders miss opportunities and jump on shiny new things when everyone else gets the popular item. Why do they do this? They are stretched thin and need to find quick results in a fast pace world. Many pressures are placed on our leaders to perform, meet the standards, and be better than all competitors.

As the leader of your organization, you have a great deal of responsibility. There is no more significant responsibility than taking care of those you serve. All of your team members need to know your vision, but most importantly, they need to know they can trust you. A solid foundation builds a team that knows who they are, what they are doing, and where. Our vision is our dream. What we want to achieve in the work we do is the culture created.

The culture of your environment is critical. The vision you have can be incredible, but a toxic environment can destroy it before you begin to build. Culture is how we work each day to move us forward to our vision. In our culture, this is where the actual work is done to make the vision clear for all to see.

What can you do as a leader? Let’s ask hard questions, design plans, and develop habits, processes, and purpose together. Which is more important to have a vision or a positive culture?

Vision and Culture-Both are needed

VISION

A vision is a cornerstone of the organization. It is a statement of what an organization would like to achieve in the future but is more than a goal. A vision inspires and connects employees to purpose. As leaders, we need to work together to develop a vision statement with clarity in decision making, help guide others, and make it part of our daily work. Today's vision statements need to reflect the changes as we lead out of crisis and into the building.

CULTURE

Our culture is designed by what inspires us daily. It is our interactions together in working to achieve the vision, mission, and purpose. The core beliefs, values, and behaviors of the individuals within the organization reflect the culture. For a continuous improvement cycle to be in place, culture and vision are connected to gain purpose.

Everyone in our organization has to be all in on the vision we have and be actively participating in a positive culture to achieve the momentum needed to grow. Just like putting a puzzle together, when one piece is missing, it can not be completed. When you have one individual bringing negativity to the group and fighting against the group's beliefs, pieces begin to pull apart.

Start your Phrase……

Jon Gordon has the Energy Bus. What can be yours? Do you need one to begin to develop what you need to lead out of a crisis and into building back the foundation for the vision and culture required to succeed? Be the Solution Daily in a world that needs you! No need for catchy phrases, just a solid foundation with core beliefs, a vision , and a design of how to get there. It is fun to think of names, phrases, and crazy ways to remember things. However, the importance of the work is what the focus needs to be on. It cannot be like it was, and we must decide what works now.

With the transitions to Covid from Covid and now additional issues facing us, we need to outline the needs in all areas to focus on our realities.

Fitting the puzzle pieces together

Now that we are looking at our needs, it is time to complete a deeper dive into a needs assessment. This is the best place to start when beginning to look at building a foundation for continued growth.

Just a basic format to begin to gather data on needs. Deeper dives as you go into specific areas, skills, departments, policies and procedures.

Can we work together to ask hard questions? Can we listen to all voices? I would like to have honest conversations about what we are facing. This isn't easy because we will not all agree. Doing what is right is not what is easy; jumping on the bandwagon or missng the bus. It is in having the integrity of doing what is best for all of those involved and those we serve. Ken Blanchard, one of my favorite leaders, found that integrity is what everyone seeks out in leadership. Jon Gordon, another famous leader, has a fantastic book just released called The Sale along with his co-author Alex Demczak which is a tremendous tribute to learning about integrity. Please get your copy today. If you think you deserve to have a free copy from me, tell me what you gain from reading these blogs and how you share it with others. Please send me an email after you like the post at yohobren@gmail.com. Thanks for sharing time and space with me daily.

The pandemic brought attention to education. Education should always have our attention and focus. It is the key to the success of our society as our next generation learns, creates, and discovers.

Critical Race Theory was/is a big topic for discussion on what was being taught. What other programs, curriculums are being taught in schools that are designed or disguised by the name. Many question Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). What is behind this name? What are children being taught and learning?

One of the very first things I learned as an administrator was the importance of respecting parents and families. Parents trust and share their children with us. Under no circumstances should we ever try to tell them how to parent. Our role is to provide a support system, resources, and quality education.

Parents look at programs and curriculums that sound like or look like they are invading parenting. It is a partnership together in helping children grow. It is my belief as well that the community be part of this partnership in providing the supports to fill in gaps and to enrich where possible.

When you are preparing to add a new program or curriculum to your school, what steps do you take?

Do you Consider?

My husband is a straightforward kind of guy! He says, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.” So in my understanding, do not try to dress up your programs with fancy names, but state what they are. Provide all of the information needed to understand what is being taught with no room for questions.

What would you like?

If you could design the curriculum for the schools what would you include? Please share your thoughts! What would you like to see schools teach?

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