If you are like me, you have heard many things. I love to collect quotes and listen to others talk. All of the stories people tell me have been so enjoyable.

I can’t go for that” is the title of a great blog post from Seth Godin.

“The question is: If no one else was doing this, arguing for it, insisting on it–would we? Is it something you felt strongly about before the tribe and its leader took it on?”

“Standing for something is a good way to avoid having someone stand on you.”-Seth Godin

I have always heard, “If you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

“Groupthink,” “ “Going along with the crowd,” “Being part of the popular group,” “Winning,” and “Not being different” are all part of the reasons little changes happen to result in significant change one day.

What do you think? Can you go for that?

I know what I stand for, and if you follow my blog and read any of my posts, reviews, or articles, it will not take long to understand my views. I am a servant leader who focuses on what is best for children. My faith is the true center of my life with a purpose it has provided me to follow. I do not go along with the crowd, have my thoughts, am never afraid to say what I think, and will always do what I believe to be the best for those I am serving.

One person told me, “You should not let them know you have a brain injury and any details.”

My response was, “Really, why not?”

“They will use it against you.”

“Wow, thank you for your advice. However, I am who I am. I will not hide a thing about who I am. It is a medical condition for which I continue to be treated and work daily on ways to maintain and improve. I can not believe anyone would use anything like this as a weapon against me. If I am not performing well, then yes, I should be called on not being able to perform my duties. It should not be used as a weapon against me. Job performance and doing what is expected are what should be judged. I can go for that any day!”

I have had a brain injury since 2010. During this time, I moved from being the principal of a middle school to the Director of Educational Support Programs, overseeing all grants for a large unit district. In that position, I also managed many other programs and developed additional ones. I also served on serval boards in leadership positions, read manuscripts for potential authors, and performed other duties.

In the years following my departure from that position in 2018, I continued to coach and mentor principals, write a daily blog, work on writing a book, and re-wrote the book, which is now with a new editor and will be coming to publishers.

I write all of those things and leave out several things because we do pre-judge individuals, especially children. We forget about grit, resilience, and perseverance. Yes, limitations exist but never underestimate the will of those striving to get the best out of life. This is why my students always hear me say, “I will never give up on you.”

I don’t know about you, but I can have some crazy talks with myself! I can talk myself into, and out of some situations I never thought I would be in my life. Negative self-talk can be very harmful!

During our last vacation with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, my husband and brother-in-law thought it was fun to call me different names based on my response to things. “Well, hello Karen,” when I was sharp in my response. “Thank you, Pudding, when I was thoughtful in my response.” All in their interpretation of coarse! We would all laugh and have fun with all of it. However, some individuals have a very difficult time getting themselves out of the cycle of negativity. Getting to know yourself is a priority.

As an educator, I know how much we take home with us each day. Children are not little boxes we stuff things into each day. We build relationships with each one of them and are connected with families. When we see children having difficulties we do everything we can to help pull them up and sometimes it is not enough.

I have told many students to remember, “I will never give up on you.” Many of them gave up on themselves and had no one to continue to support them during challenging times. It hurts educators when a child is lost, no matter their age when life is taken.

Our message is to never give up on you! Always reach out for help when you need it. Remember, there is no need to look back through the rearview mirror, but don’t forget all those who loved you in the places you left. The windshield is big and broad with many places to go. There are many people to get to know and to share life’s journey with as you spread the wealth of knowledge you have in not giving up on being the solution daily in a world that needs you.

Questions ?? YES

If you are in a large group setting, do you ask questions? I am asking this question because my next question is this: When you were in school, did your teacher encourage you to ask questions? For some of us, it may take a little more time to reflect on the days of sitting in a classroom as a student, but take the time to think back. How were questions asked of you, and how did you ask questions?

Now think about how you approach questions if you are a teacher, a leader, a parent, a friend, or a spouse. How different are your approaches or reactions to questions in these roles?

Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, written by Dr. Marilee Adams, tell us there are two mindsets the Judger and the Learner. Depending on the mindset we are in, this has a direct effect on the questions we ask ourselves and others.


As humans, we all have both of these mindsets at times. What is important is to identify when we have them and take time to change our questions to change the direction of the way we want to go.

Have you experienced negative self-talk before? “What was I thinking? How stupid was that of me to do?” When we have this judger mindset in our minds, we cannot focus on what we need to do to get our situation under control.

The importance of understanding these mindsets we all have is in learning how to balance them in life, how to identify when we are thinking, asking, relating or listening as a judger or a learner. In the workbook that goes along with the newly released 4th edition of Change your questions, Change your Life, you can complete a mindset check-in and work through the mindset identifications. It is a great piece and reflection time.


A child sitting in a classroom raises his hand to answer a question in class. All eyes turn to him. Inside he is asking himself, “Why did you raise your hand to answer the question? Everyone is looking at you, and if you get the answer wrong, they will all laugh.” The Judger has come out to pose questions before he has a chance to answer. He answers, and it is correct.

I talk a great deal about making efforts so that everyone feels good and safe where they are. Recognizing even at a young age, the mindsets of judger and learner are at work helps all of us know we need to help each other.

My Two Rules, everyone should feel good, and everyone should feel safe at school also needs to have two foundational pieces in the educational system: Social-Emotional Learning and Trauma-Informed practices. Every one of us has a story to tell, and our children have many to know before they arrive at school.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are the traumatic and negative experiences children have had, but the positives they encounter can counteract some, and strategies we teach can prevent additional trauma.

My mother always taught me to look for beauty in the eyes of others. When you look at the eyes of others, it is a window into their heart, soul, and hope.

As a child growing up, I was picked on a great deal. I was a pale small-framed little girl; I was picked on a great deal. Most people do not believe me, but I was a timid girl and had no confidence at all. I would say I was afraid of everything and everyone. These things added up for an easy target for others to bully.

My parents were older; they were not educated but were the kindest and most giving individuals you would ever know. My mother had some health issues, and she had eyes that were crossed. Looking into the eyes of others was an excellent lesson for her to teach me, as she knew I needed to learn how to look up and not down.

Eyes are windows

As I continued to grow, people picking on me at school continued. I listened to my mother and did look at the eyes of all of the people who surrounded me each day. They did not always notice my eyes looking at them, but I was taking notes in my mind of what their eyes were telling me.

Many of the kids picking on me had eyes that told me a different story. I could look at them and see emptiness, sadness, anger, hurt, and so much more. I was not sure I was looking the right way. How could this be? These kids were so mean, strong, not afraid, and so popular, I thought.

I went home and thought about what I saw and what I would do with the information I had. Then I remembered that my friend and I sang at the church on Sunday. The song we selected was “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” The lyrics “Can we find a friend so faithful, Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer.” I would do exactly what our song selection was telling us to do.

Filled with Hope

I want to tell you the teasing and bullying stopped. It did not, but it changed for me. I no longer looked at it in the same way. I needed to continue to look at their eyes and work to help fill them with hope. My purpose would be to show others how to be a friend. My efforts had to be developed, and I needed to work on things, but it is a process. I needed a support system to help me, and I found it with several different people. It was when I got to high school that the shift came to be.

It took some amazing teachers; Mrs. Arnold was one of the standouts to help make the shift in me. I am thankful for the encouragement I received from my church family, teachers, and most importantly, God. Filling eyes with hope is an important part of the work teachers do each day. Please value this part of the work they do, which is not measured in an assessment, but in their lives, the impact which reaches beyond the curriculum taught.

I still look at the eyes of others. Many stories are told without a word being said if you take the time to look deeply. Please do your part in filling them up with the hope we all need as you work to be the solution daily in a world in need.

It is so exciting to receive a gift! The beautiful packages with the dazzling bows colors that sparkle and glitter make your eyes light up. You can’t wait to see inside! What could it be?

Have you ever judged a gift by the wrapping of the package? Does it matter what the present is wrapped in to make what is inside spectacular? How much do we judge by the looks of something before getting to know what is inside?

My mother-in-law lived with us for a short time, and it took me back to the days with my parents of watching daily the Price is Right and Let’s Make a Deal. These game shows are fun to watch, especially Let’s Make a Deal, when contestants are tricked into picking something without knowing what is on the inside.

How are you wrapped? Can people see who you are by how you are wrapped? I am not sure about this question. Does the responsibility rest with me or with others who view me? Do they need to like my wrapping before they know the inside?

How much of your inside is outside?

Does it take a long time to get to know who you are? If we were to meet today briefly in an elevator and I said hello, would that be the end of our conversations? When you are in a space with others, you do not know how long it takes to get to know yourself?

I think sometimes I say too much about myself! I can talk to people with ease and maybe talk too much. I love meeting other people and learning about who they are and what they do. It enriches my life in many ways. I do not hold anything back and freely talk about my life experiences, my values, and just what makes me.

My wrapping does not clearly define who I am and my complete story. There is so much more to know than the wrapping you see. So I hope we do not judge just on the wrapping but wait to see what is on the inside before deciding.

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