In the transformative journey of implementing Two Rules—Feeling Good and Feeling Safe—in education, Chapter 2 of "Lead with Two Rules: Feeling Good and Feeling Safe" serves as the gateway to establishing a culture dedicated to keeping promises to students, staff, families, and communities. The focus is on creating an environment where everyone walking through the school doors feels good and safe. This blog post delves into the pivotal aspects highlighted in the chapter, emphasizing the foundational role of trust and the principles of servant leadership.

Addressing Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Historically, addressing the emotional needs of students has not been a top priority in the educational model. However, the chapter underscores the significance of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, emphasizing the necessity of addressing basic needs first before achieving any other educational goals. The commitment to prioritizing the personal needs of students sets the stage for a holistic and student-centered approach.

Establishing Trust as the First Step: The chapter stresses the paramount importance of establishing trust as the initial step in the journey towards a Two Rules culture. Trust is the linchpin that binds the school community together. To support this journey, the resource list at the end of the chapter includes valuable recommendations, with one standout resource being "Simple Truths of Leadership: 52-Week Game Plan for Becoming a Trusted Servant Leader" by Ken Blanchard & Randy Conley.

Key Truths from "Simple Truths of Leadership": The blog post highlights three key truths from the recommended resource, each contributing to the development of a strong Two Rules culture.

  1. Truth #1: "Servant Leadership" is presented as a powerful approach that integrates achieving great results and fostering great relationships. By focusing on both vision and direction for results and working collaboratively with people, leaders can ensure the accomplishment of goals while maintaining positive relationships within the school community.
  2. Truth #5: Building a positive culture and developing individuals is facilitated by Truth #5—catching people doing something right. The importance of authentic feedback, immediate recognition, and consideration for individual sensitivities are highlighted as essential components of this truth.
  3. Truth #8: The Best Minute Servant Leaders Spend: Highlighting the value of investing time in others. Getting to know everyone in the workplace personally, making connections, and understanding their unique qualities contribute significantly to building a strong foundation for the Two Rules culture.

The Two Rules culture, grounded in feeling good and feeling safe, begins with the establishment of trust and the application of servant leadership principles. By embracing these foundational elements, school leaders pave the way for a positive, supportive, and transformative educational environment that benefits everyone within the school community. As the journey unfolds, the commitment to trust and servant leadership becomes the cornerstone for a thriving Two Rules school and workplace.

Two rules book

The Choice is Yours:   Problem or Solution?

In the intricate tapestry of our communities, there exists a powerful and transformative concept that can shape our collective destiny—the choice between being part of the problem or part of the solution.  This fundamental decision holds the key to unlocking a more harmonious and compassionate environment, fostering a sense of responsibility and empowerment among us.  In this exploration, we delve into the significance of choice, understanding how it influences our actions, relationships, and the overall well-being of the community. 

  1. The Duality of Choice: At every juncture in our lives, we encounter situations that present us with a fundamental choice—to contribute to the challenges we face or actively seek solutions. This duality of choice forms the core of our individual and collective agency. Recognizing this power is the first step towards cultivating a community that thrives on collaboration and positive change.
  2. Embracing Responsibility: Choosing to be part of the solution entails a deep sense of responsibility. It requires us to move beyond a passive role and actively engage in understanding, addressing, and rectifying issues. By embracing responsibility, we take ownership of our actions and their impact on the community, paving the way for a culture of accountability.
  3. The Ripple Effect: Our choices, whether positive or negative, reverberate through the community like ripples in a pond. When we choose to be part of the solution, our actions inspire others to do the same. This creates a positive feedback loop, where individual efforts collectively contribute to a more supportive and thriving community.
  4. Compassion as a Driving Force: The choice to be part of the solution is inherently tied to compassion. By understanding the needs and challenges of others, we can respond with empathy and kindness. This compassionate approach transforms the way we navigate conflicts and fosters a community that values understanding over judgment.
  5. Empowerment Through Collaboration: A community built on the collective choice to be part of the solution is inherently empowered. Collaborative efforts become the norm, as individuals recognize the strength that comes from working together towards common goals. In such an environment, challenges become opportunities for growth and innovation.

In the intricate dance of community life, the choice between being part of the problem or part of the solution is a powerful force that shapes our shared reality. By embracing this mindset, we unlock the potential for a more harmonious and compassionate environment. The ripple effect of positive choices, fueled by responsibility, compassion, and collaboration, transforms not only individuals but the entire community. As we navigate the complex web of relationships and challenges, let us remember that the power to make a difference lies within each of us—the choice is yours: problem or solution?

Building Foundations for the Future: The Power of Partnership and Two Rules

In the journey of nurturing the leaders of tomorrow, the collaboration between home, school, and community stands as a cornerstone for success. Establishing a strong foundation requires a unified approach that fosters learning about the values of self, understanding others, and cultivating the empathy essential for building resilience. The simplicity and consistency of the "Two Rules" serve as a guiding principle in this collaborative effort, laying the groundwork for a brighter future.

Partnership: A Triad of Support:

Home, school, and community are integral components of a child's growth. The synergy created by these three pillars forms a robust support system that complements and reinforces the values imparted in each sphere.

When these entities join forces, they create an environment where a child receives consistent guidance, reinforcing positive behaviors and values across various aspects of their life.

The Power of Two Rules: Simplicity with Impact:

Two Rules serve as a straightforward yet powerful approach to instill essential values in children: respect for self and respect for others.

By focusing on these fundamental principles, children learn the core elements of empathy, understanding the impact of their actions on themselves and those around them.

Value of Self:

An emphasis of the importance of self-respect is a priority. Encouraging children to understand and appreciate their own worth lays the foundation for a healthy self-esteem, fostering confidence and a positive self-image.

When children value themselves, they are better equipped to face challenges and setbacks with resilience, viewing them as opportunities for growth.

Understanding Others:

Centering on respecting others, promoting empathy and consideration for the feelings and perspectives of peers, teachers, and the broader community helps all of us understand we share spaces together and everyone is in need.

Learning to understand and appreciate diversity creates an inclusive environment, preparing children for a future where collaboration and mutual understanding are essential. We move away from victim and villain to value and validation.

Building Resilience Through Empathy:

The combination of self-value and understanding others cultivates empathy, a crucial component of resilience. Children equipped with empathy are better prepared to navigate the complexities of life with grace and compassion.

Resilience becomes a shared endeavor, with home, school, and community collectively supporting children as they face challenges, fostering a mindset of perseverance.

In a child's development, the collaboration between home, school, and community is paramount. By embracing the simplicity and consistency of the Two Rules—respect for self and respect for others—we lay a strong foundation for a future generation equipped with resilience, empathy, and a deep understanding of their own value. As we join hands in this endeavor, we sow the seeds for a society that thrives on unity, compassion, and the shared commitment to nurture the potential within each child.

”Education is something we do with children, not to them.”~Brenda Yoho. It is when we recognize pointing fingers at each other only continues to divide and not provide the solutions needed. “The mirror shows a reflection, but it is up to the reflection to make the changes which are needed. Society is a reflection of what we have allowed it to be.” ~Brenda Yoho

The Choice is Yours: Problem or Solution?

In the intricate tapestry of our school community, there exists a fundamental concept that holds the power to transform our interactions and shape the very fabric of our environment. It's the profound realization that each of us holds the choice: to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Let's explore how embracing this mindset can pave the way for a more harmonious and compassionate community, fostering a sense of responsibility and empowerment. The same is for every organization, company, workplace, community and family. Every individual small, tall, young and old, have the power of choice.

The Empowering Concept of Choice

At the core of our community values is the belief that every action, every word spoken, and every decision made is a choice. It's a recognition that we have the agency to shape the narrative of our shared experiences. This empowering concept is not just a philosophy; it's a call to action, a reminder that our choices influence the collective well-being of our community.

Understanding the responsibilities, accountability and possibility of choice is a missing link in the fullness of what is needed when we talk about rules, feeling good and safe. We have to understand our responsibilities for our self and others. When we break a rule of safety, consequences follow.

Harmony Through Responsibility

Choosing to be part of the solution implies taking responsibility for our actions and their potential impact on others. It's a commitment to contribute positively to the community, fostering an environment where everyone feels heard, respected, and supported. Embracing this mindset can lead to a harmonious coexistence where conflicts are approached with the intention of resolution rather than escalation.

As I stated, consequences follow with the choices we make. They can be positive or negative consequences based on the choices we make. In order to understand the power in choice, we have to understand the power of responsibility.

Compassion as the Guiding Light

The choice to be part of the solution is rooted in compassion. It's about understanding that everyone faces challenges, and our responses can either contribute to the problem or become part of a solution that promotes understanding and empathy. By choosing compassion, we cultivate an atmosphere of support, kindness, and collective growth.

In the Two Rule philosophy, we work to support each individual in finding the resources they need as they continue to build foundational skills. The skills of self-regulation, social awareness, self awareness, self management, relationship skills and decision making.

Fostering Empowerment

The power of this choice extends beyond mere conflict resolution—it's about empowerment. When individuals recognize that their actions can contribute positively to the community, a sense of agency and empowerment emerges. This mindset shift empowers students, teachers, and staff alike to actively engage in creating a school environment where everyone feels valued and supported.

The importance of helping others understand they not only belong, but are valued brings meaning to their lives. When they can identify how they are part of the community.

Joining Forces for Positive Change

As we navigate the complexities of our daily interactions, let's remember that the choice is always ours to make. By choosing to be part of the solution, we embark on a journey of collective responsibility and empowerment. In the upcoming weeks, we'll explore real-life examples and practical strategies that demonstrate the transformative impact of this choice. Together, let's weave a narrative of positivity, understanding, and shared responsibility, creating a school community where the choice to be part of the solution becomes second nature.

The official publication of Lead with Two Rules: Feeling Good and Feeling Safe is February 7th, 2024. It is now available for pre-order on Amazon. In the meantime, join me as I walk you through the journey of joining us in establishing a foundation for your school, workplace, organization, community and home.

Introducing the Two Rule Philosophy: A Journey Towards Well-Being

Welcome to a transformative journey where feeling good and feeling safe take center stage – welcome to the Two Rule philosophy. In the bustling corridors and vibrant classrooms of our school, these two simple yet profound rules form the cornerstone of an environment dedicated to positivity and support. My book focuses on the stories from education, but it does not start or stop there. Feeling good and safe is part of what every individual wants in life from the minute we are born into this world.

The application of these two rules is a foundational piece which can be put into practice in every place and corner of the world. It is my belief to place it into practice in schools because of the high needs we see reflected in our school data, violence, trauma, mental health and society itself. Society is a reflection of what we have allowed to happen with a breakdown in systems, responses, procedures and foundations.

The Power of Feeling Good and Feeling Safe

Imagine a space where every student, teacher, and staff member walks through the doors and immediately senses a welcoming atmosphere. The Two Rule philosophy believes in the inherent power of feeling good and feeling safe. It recognizes that emotions shape our experiences, and by fostering positive emotions, we can create a foundation for growth, learning, and well-being.

Setting the Tone for Positivity

At the heart of the Two Rule philosophy is the commitment to set a tone that resonates with positivity and support. It goes beyond the traditional rules and regulations, emphasizing a mindset that influences every interaction within our community. This philosophy is not just a set of guidelines; it's a cultural shift that radiates through our school, shaping the way we communicate, collaborate, and learn together.

We can set this tone in our workplaces, organizations, and communities. Home, School and Community working together is part of what I believe will bring the true change we all want to see reflected in helping all students achieve. When we are able to change our mindsets to emphasize positive, supportive and collaborative interactions in all we do, change will be seen.

A Community That Thrives

Thriving is not just about academic success; it's about creating an environment where individuals flourish emotionally, socially, and personally. The Two Rule philosophy paves the way for such a thriving community. It encourages everyone to be mindful of their impact on others, fostering a sense of shared responsibility for the well-being of each member.

The value of each individual is a key factor in recognizing all of the divisions we are making has no room in a space where everyone feels good and feels safe. We have to understand there is no need to blow another’s candle out to make ours shine brighter. Create the opportunity for everyone to feel good and safe by recognizing we do not need to battle to find an additional space.

Join Us on the Journey

This is an invitation to join us on a collective journey. A journey towards creating a school community that prioritizes well-being, where the Two Rule philosophy serves as our guiding compass. As we embark on this adventure, let's discover together how these two simple rules can be the catalyst for positive change, enriching our school culture and fostering a sense of belonging for everyone.

In the upcoming blog posts, we'll delve deeper into the practical applications of the Two Rule philosophy, exploring its influence on decision-making, interpersonal relationships, and the development of essential life skills. Get ready to embrace the power of feeling good and feeling safe – a journey towards a school where everyone can thrive. You will also find ideas to use in everyday life, in the workplace and community. We all want to feel good and safe.

Thank you Noémi Beres for your endorsement of my book and your continued support. I am so thankful for the friendship we have developed. You are an amazing individual with so many gifts to offer the world. I know we are literally thousands of miles and oceans apart, we can talk so easily.

Thank you for all of the work you do in bringing voices, conversations and individuals together. I am so blessed to know you and grateful for all you have taught me.

I am immensely grateful for your generous endorsement of my book and the incredible opportunity to join the Principal Center Radio Podcast. Your dedication to education, showcased through the impactful interviews with luminaries like John Hattie, Charlotte Danielson, and others, is truly inspiring.

Your growth in the field and unwavering commitment make you a beacon of influence. I look forward to sharing our upcoming episode with everyone, and I'll continue to highlight you as a go-to figure in discussions on walkthroughs and instructional leadership. Thank you for making a lasting impact.

Today, as I express my heartfelt thanks to Danny Bauer, I do so with immense gratitude for his belief in me. His endorsement of my book, "Lead with Two Rules: Feeling Good & Feeling Safe," is not just a testament to the work but a recognition of the shared journey we embark upon as individuals passionate about making a difference.

I am thankful for the many conversations, learning opportunities and wisdom he has shared with me over the past several years. The insights gained from these experiences were invaluable, shaping my perspective on both writing and leadership.

Danny is an individual and leader I often refer individuals to. Those I coach and mentor have been given copies of his book or been directed to pieces of his publications. I also redirect them to one of his podcasts which is about a topic we are discussing. In fact, many times the connections of others from Danny are shared as well. It is the beauty of the work he does with a driven passion in helping others with: “Better Leaders, Better Schools”. The mastermind believes, “Everyone wins when a leader gets better. Everyone wins when you get better.”

Thank you Danny Bauer for all you do!

As the world listens and watches, my message of feeling good and safe is what we continue to seek.

The media outlets are full of images of the horrific events and the loss of life, as Israel is at war.

Innocent children have lost their lives in the most horrific ways. This fact alone is enough for me to pause everything and begin to pray. My heart, mind, and body cannot comprehend the evil of causing harm like this to another, especially children.

Today, and each day, I will pray without ceasing. Let us all unite in our prayers, in our hope for a better world, and in our determination to spread love and peace, for it is in our collective strength that we can make a difference.

We can overcome evil. Feeling good and feeling safe is not what evil seeks.

As I pause, join me in doing the same thing. I want you to think about how our conversations start. Usually conversations are about past, present and future. However, the majority of the time we have conversations focused on the past. We have a need to give meaning to something. This happened, so it means—-? We find ourselves talking about the same things over and over. What went wrong? Why it did not work out? What we could change? The continued conversations about the same thing has us boxed in with barriers we seem to not be able to remove.

As we have these conversations over and over again, our energy and time is spent on the past leaving our present and future out. Nothing is moving forward when we are not able to have conversations to breakthrough to reach a future. When we begin to speak about future possibilities as more realities with actionable goals, we build a bridge to our desired outcome.

I listen intently to conversations held and I am hearing repeated many of the same things being discussed to resolve issues facing us today. As Israel is at war, they have made some bold statements and are using AI to help them in their ability to fight against the evil which entered an attack on them. We need to build the bridge to the desired future by committed actions. Leaving barriers in place will continue to cause problems in having the future desired. Identifying problems are easy, it is in finding the solution for sustainability which is difficult.

Everyone should feel good and feel safe where they live, work and go to school. We can be the solution for this if we have the courage to believe, take the action steps and encourage others to seek guidance to achieve this together. I believe in home, school and community in working together to see the changes we need.

silhouette of one person helping another person climb up the mountain.  Giving back.

As an educator, I was widely recognized for my positive attitude, ability to motivate others, and my knack for storing away little things that would benefit those around me. It was never a question for me about what I would receive; rather, my focus was always on what I could give to others.

Being a leader in any field means being tested each day, and there will always be individuals who attempt to chip away at the very foundation you stand on. However, it is crucial never to let the voices of a few drown out the needs of the many. I vividly remember one particular day, which happened to be the worst in my entire educational career. Typically, I refrained from sharing the details of my day with my family, but this time it was different. I felt compelled to open up to my husband and daughter. As I stood in the kitchen, he came in to see what I was doing. I told him, "Tomorrow is conferences, and I promised the staff that I would bring in a cheeseball, crackers, and other food."

No matter the circumstances, it is crucial to give your all. The negative voices are always just a few who see the world through a narrow lens. By being transparent in your work and consistently adhering to your principles, approaches, policies, actions, and procedures, you can foster unity. Remember, united we stand, and divided we fall. Each day, strive to be part of the solution in a world that desperately needs all of us to contribute and give back to others.

To my surprise, my husband looked at me with fury in his eyes and said, "Are you crazy? After what they did to you today! You're going to work tonight, after a long day, to make them food to eat? I would tell them to **** off!" I apologize for not being able to repeat all the words he used. In response, I calmly said, "I refuse to let a few individuals change who I am as a person. I have done nothing wrong, and I will continue to be true to myself. I will always follow through on my commitments."

Your core beliefs, values and dedication will shine brightly even on the darkest days.

Two Rules

Bringing Two Rules to your school is reinforced by recognizing the importance of building good habits. One concept I reinforced over and over with students was that when something becomes a habit, it can move you from where you are. A good habit can move you forward; a bad habit can have unpleasant consequences. We can learn what habits will help us as we continue to grow.

The first rule is about feeling good. What does it mean to feel good about the school? What does it mean to feel good about yourself? When someone passes you and says, “Good Morning, How are you?” What do you say? Don’t we usually say, “Good Morning, I am good, or I am fine?” What does that mean?

Understanding the concept of our feelings is the first step in working to help build our habits to reinforce this environment for us and those around us as well.

I wanted them to understand that they had the power to develop habits of thought that would help them face their problems, both now and in the future. In Atomic Habits, James Clear writes about a feedback loop that people can develop when working to make a change: try, fail, learn, and try differently. The Two Rules taught students mental habits that grew stronger each time they were repeated.

James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones (RH Business Books, 2018), 46.

Model How

People shape people. Are you an influencer? Yes, you are! There are many “new” titles for our busy world. You do not need to have millions of followers to be an influencer in the world; you need to have a positive light and words to share.

I never worry about looking at how many people have liked, commented, shared, or looked at what I have posted. All that matters to me is that at least one has read, heard and acted on the words of the message sent. We always strive to have more and more, but showing up to provide others with the support they need is so important.

I am not sure about any titles I have been given in the past or those I may receive in the future, but I do know I will continue to provide all that I can help be the solution daily for others in all of the ways I can. So join me as an influencer as we work on modeling for others ways to help each other. Together we can influence positive changes to shine bright each day!

One Thing

If you could change one thing about education, what would it be? Let’s start a conversation as we prepare for next year.

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