When I see something, hear something or read something, I like to share. Some consider it gossip when you are talking about others, but in this case, it is not. You need to be careful today to make sure you fact check, but this is the truth!

Dan Rockwell, a.k.a. Leadership Freak, is one of the first people I learned about while working with my friend Becky Robinson at Weaving Influence. He has such great insight on leadership!

I want to share his latest blog with you because it is a simple, but spot on approach that follows my structure of asking questions to guide yourself when making choices or decisions.

So many times, at the end of a day, we can feel defeated as we have those negative thoughts and find the negative self-talk remarks on our way home. The day may not have gone the way we wanted. You experienced some difficult conversations, and the list can go on. Regret, anger, sadness, and all the emotions fill up your mind as you replay the scenes of the day.

Dan Rockwell has written the blog for you! Follow the steps he provides to stop the negative thoughts and shift you mind to re-think the day.


Did you know you could set up your playlist to support you unwind, rewind or windup? I have selected music playlists to encourage me with whatever situation I may be experiencing, so I can improve myself to be ready for the next part of my agenda (welcoming of the school day, difficult meetings, end of the day, workout, inspiration). I have found several songs about smile. Not only that, but I consider it is always important to smile even when you assume you have nothing to smile about. This is coming from a lady who was in a semi and car crash which did a great deal of damage to many things, especially me! I went without many teeth for two years as they worked on doing bone graphs and implants for 13 teeth. So please smile.

As I have taught children for decades, it is the choices we make which determine the path forward. My Two-Rule philosophy guides children in opening their minds to see their thoughts and learning to ask the right questions.

New Year beginnings

The season has changed to winter, and the cold air is with us now. The fields have long been harvested and are resting until it is time for planting in the spring. I have often compared teaching to farming. Both work hard in planting seeds, caring, nurturing, and bringing in a harvest each year.

Students are returning from a break, and teachers are still working hard in planting seeds, nurturing, and applying additional support to help students develop and grow.


Improvement in academic achievement is realized with an increase in motivation and engagement. (Brandsford, 2000; Fredricks, 2014; Hattie, 2008; Schlechty, 2011). There are many books to advise, suggest, and guide us in ways to improve motivation and engagement. As teachers know, there are many times it is difficult to maintain, but not impossible when we can find the right rhythm to our teaching.

We can begin the rhythm with students returning by refreshing our minds to the routines and procedures and welcoming them to school. Let’s start with these:


As we begin the first week of January of 2023, work on getting back in the rhythm of re-teaching routines and procedures and helping everyone feel welcomed back to school. Begin by making efforts to help bring more attention to social-emotional learning by doing a self-check of “how do you feel today?” You can have kids place post-it notes with smiles and sad faces or utilize other ways to show emotions.

Feedback and questioning will be our focus for a few tips as we work on having students gain leadership in their learning pathways.

A cup full of positivity will bring a smile!

Before you walk out the door, double-check you have not forgotten your smile. Here is the best thing about a smile. When others see it, they smile too! The other thing, they are secretly wondering, why are you smiling? Maybe this will cause them to reflect on the things we can smile about today.

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!

I do like to ask questions, but sometimes when I ask a question, I get a funny look. Like when I ask, how do you see? It sounds like a dumb question, but there is no such thing as a dumb question. Right?

Not everyone or animals can see the same way. A frog, for example, has eyes positioned on top of its head to provide a field of vision of almost 180 degrees. This peripheral vision helps them spot predators and prey.

Like a human with color blindness, cats see shades of blue and green, but reds and pinks can be confusing—the richness of the hues and saturation of the colors they cannot see.


Seeing

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This phrase is a paraphrase of a statement by Greece philosopher Plato and has been used in many ways over the years. The origin of the saying, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” comes from the author, Margaret Wolfe Hungerford (née Hamilton). Hamilton would use the pseudonym “The Duchess” for much of her career. Her book “Molly Brawn” was published in 1878. The real beginning of this statement and its meaning are debated.

"Seeing is believing, but the feeling is the truth." —17th-century English clergyman, Thomas Fuller. When making this statement, Fuller thought believing and truth were two separate things.

Believing helps us see things with our spiritual eyes and senses. The world tests us daily of our deepest beliefs, it seems. Today, we may find ourselves “questioning” more and more. “Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”—Chris Van Allsburg


Choosing to see

The structure of our bodies provides us with what we need in our abilities to see. Many animals are provided with night vision to see at night to protect themselves from predators or to find survival food.

When we are injured and lose sight, the other senses become more vital to help us for protection. Sight is an integral part of our essential needs and should never be taken for granted.

Choosing to see or how we see has a different meaning. What do we choose to see in our environments? When we dig deep into our core beliefs, values and understandings are where we find vision. If we choose to look at things with a negative, “Judger” or pessimistic way, it is the problem. As we look at ways to “see” improvements, pause to ask the question: How do you see? It can lead to many conversations, great discussions, more questions and maybe even a change in lives. Changing how we see may change our lives! Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus—-well in the way I see things there is!

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.

Judger/Learner

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.

Questions

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.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.— Proverbs 27:17 NIV

This scripture is a statement calling each to understand that no one is alone. To improve yourself, there is a mutual benefit to making others better through mentorship, fellowship/follow-ship, and leading. Together we all get better; alone, we will never know how far we could go. To learn more about the scripture, if you have more questions, I have found a fantastic website to continue asking more.

Many times I have shared the importance of questions. In all aspects of life, we should ask questions. Questions are an essential part of learning; however, the right questions are the key!

Dr. Marilee Adams is the author of several books, and I had the privilege of meeting her in a virtual room while attending a conference with Barrett-Koehler Publishers. Her focus is questions! The Art of the Question is her first book and features the best quote; “with our questions, we make the world.” Her new book is the 4th Edition of Change Your Questions, Change Your Life. I highly recommend all of her books!

The release of Change Your Questions, Change Your Life also has a workbook to provide additional support for self-coaching. The focus of Question Thinking is explained to readers and is an approach with tools to not only help professionals in careers but in their personal lives. You will have the opportunity to meet Ben, the fictional character in the book, but at times you may find yourself replacing his name with yours.

Sharpen

In our life journey, we receive many messages from others on ways to improve, set goals, and just about any other advice you can think of as you reflect. I did some reflecting as well and thought about all of the things I have been told. What are the key factors to take away?

Be the solution daily in a world that needs you to sharpen them up.

Sharpen Up

In our life journey, we receive many messages from others on ways to improve, set goals, and just about any other advice you can think of as you reflect. I did some reflecting as well and thought about all of the things I have been told. What are the key factors to take away? What can you share about the advice you have been given?

Professional Learning

One glove does not fit all was a post last week. Professional learning is an important part of growth for each of us, but are we utilizing all the resources and tools available to maximize the time and cost?

What is the best way to receive professional learning? Do you conduct book studies? Attend Podcasts? Zoom meetings? Share your thoughts. How are you changing the way professional learning is happening in your corner of the world?

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? Can you reflect on your experience with 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?

Motivation-Inspriration

Motivation and Inspiration are essential parts of every organization. Often you will find an individual within an organization who is the key to propelling others into these positive feelings and transforming cultures. Individuals like this spread and awaken others to the possibilities. It is exciting to watch others join in on ideas, celebrations, and opportunities to lift all.

When you see those individuals who are always doing for others and keeping everyone up, pause to ask who is helping to motivate and inspire them.

Mentoring—Coaching—Supporting

One, two, and three different ways of working with others in reaching goals and achieving them—Mentoring looks at the future and potential; coaching looks at the present and how to improve to a future state and is skill-focused, and supporting encourages the growth process.

Have you been involved with mentoring or coaching? Share your experiences.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2023 Brenda Yoho
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