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.


Resilience is not just a buzzword; it's a vital component of a child's ability to navigate life's challenges. In recent years, it has garnered significant attention as researchers delve into its importance in shaping a child's mental health and overall well-being. As educators, parents, and community members, we play a pivotal role in fostering resilience in our children, providing them with the tools they need to thrive in the face of adversity.

In the pursuit of understanding and nurturing resilience, resources such as the twelve childhood resilience factors outlined in Chapter 4, serve as invaluable guides. This chapter underscores the significance of building a supportive culture and climate within homes, schools, and communities. It emphasizes the crucial role of trusted adults and accessible resources in empowering children to overcome challenges and develop resilience.

Each of us is an integral part of the support system that contributes to a child's resilience. Whether we are educators, parents, or community members, we have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the lives of children every day. By fostering trusting relationships and creating inclusive environments where every individual feels valued and supported, we can help children navigate trauma and adversity with resilience and strength.

Think about all of the people you encounter in a day and the ways you can approach the interaction in a more meaningful way. Trusting relationships with students are a pathway to healing and sometimes even survival for students who have experienced trauma. For many students in your building, trauma will not be a past experience. They will be in the midst of trauma that is with them every day.

We Can

What I would like all of us to work together to do right now is three things to help our homes, schools, and communities to begin to “Feel Good & Feel Safe.”

I suggest prioritizing three key areas to make a meaningful impact. Trying to tackle more or fewer often leads to ineffectiveness. Especially now, it's crucial to offer positive role models who exemplify how, what, and why change is necessary. We must cultivate inclusive environments where everyone feels valued and belongs. It's essential to address challenges with tangible actions, not just words, and ensure accessible support systems for those in need.

Let me clarify an essential aspect of our blueprint's intentions. We're not fostering individuals who succumb to victimhood, make excuses, or seek others to solve their problems. I've crafted this blueprint from my personal journey of choosing resilience over victimhood, emphasizing proactive responses over reactive ones. When faced with setbacks, we rise stronger, gaining insight and confidence. I emphasize the significance of our choices and the accountability we bear for them.

We cannot control things that happen to us, but we can control how we respond. We choose daily.

Lead with Two Rules: Feeling Good & Feeling Safe released last week with a great start! I feel very blessed for all who have purchased a copy, wrote a wonderful review on Amazon, attended the virtual or in person book launch. I want to tank all of the individuals who worked to help with the launch by taking pictures, setting up food, putting out the books and supporting me.

The importance of my book is in the message I want every school, family, community and work place to have in order to implement. We can be the solution to feeling good and safe, when we work together!

The celebration of the release of Lead with Two Rules: Feeling Good & Feeling Safe continues for me as I send out more books in the mail, talk with people about the book in messages and schedule to be a guest on podcasts. I would love to do more and help people with bringing this to their school, community and workplace. We can do book clubs, workshops, talks and much more. It is not about money for me, but making a difference.

Please reach out to me if you would like to continue with Two Rules

I encourage you to purchase a copy of the book and discover what it is about. Please read the reviews left on Amazon and write a review on Amazon after you read it. I enjoy reading them each day and seeing the points people make about the book.

The reviews can be found on Amazon if you scroll down past the book, Authors page and you will see a row of stars. There will be a button to click to leave a review and to rate the book. I appreciate all of your help, support and being part of the solution.

Have you ever went back to your neighborhood where you grew up? Do you still live in your neighborhood or community where you grew up?

Having lived in various places, we settled back home since our daughter was almost three, and now she's a mother of three herself—aged 16, 9, and 6. While my childhood neighborhood has changed, a few familiar faces remain, like Charlotte and Kirby.

Charlotte contacted me about my book, prompting a delightful visit where we reminisced about our tight-knit community's vigilance over us kids. We talked about all of her family and shared a little about mine. Kirby shared anecdotes about my dad I did not know or recall. It was fun to hear about the two of them working together for the city. My dad then began work at the GM plant. He later even produced a brick from the old Frazier school, where I went to school as a child and later taught before its closure.

Our neighborly bonds were profound and secure, their pride in my achievements evident. They wanted to know a little about the book and I told them it was about my approach to education. Kirby, however, intrigued, leaned back and asked, "How did you venture into teaching when your dad couldn't read or write?"

I explained to Kirby that my journey is detailed in the book, yet on that day, I didn't offer a clear response. I believe I didn't simply choose education as my career path—it was a series of doors closing and opening by a higher power. God guided me, instilling a passion for service and altruism, where giving without expectation became ingrained. Witnessing the smiles and successes of those I've touched fills me with profound joy. My initial teaching role, bestowed upon me by Minister Leon Korb at Cumberland Presbyterian Church, teaching Sunday School to young children, seemed insignificant at the time. Only later did I realize it was my true calling.

So blessed by the greatness of so many who were and are part of my life journey. I am grateful always.

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.

We receive messages, read reports, and heed recommendations to address issues in our school systems. However, we often fail to fully implement them with integrity, lacking inclusivity and consistency. Programs and curriculums come and go in a continuous cycle, yielding minimal progress akin to a hamster on a wheel. "Lead with Two Rules" offers a straightforward and consistent approach to laying a solid foundation for acquiring the skills outlined in the CDC video you watch below.


The video offers valuable insights that support our understanding of the current increase in youth violence and the widespread lack of skills across society. It emphasizes the importance of prioritizing factors to protect young people from violence for everyone's benefit. Implementing Two Rules, which focus on fostering problem-solving skills, positive relationships with trusted adults, and a commitment to education, can empower youth and give them purpose. These strategies align closely with the six approaches suggested in the video: promoting supportive family environments, ensuring quality education, strengthening youth skills, fostering a sense of belonging, creating safe community spaces, and intervening early to prevent harm and provide opportunities for safety and well-being.

Together We Can! Lead with Two Rules and be the solution each day in a world that needs you.

In the realm of education, the Two Rules serve as a powerful promise to students: a commitment that the school environment is designed to be a space where they not only feel good but also feel safe. These rules form the foundation of a unique approach that aims to foster social and emotional growth among students, addressing challenges that extend far beyond the classroom.

The issues that bring students to the office are not trivial; they are the beginning of a profound journey of self-discovery and learning about the complexities of human relationships. Some students grapple with understanding the concept of consent, while others navigate the intricacies of friendship. Some are in the process of learning how to control their tempers, while others are discovering how to gracefully handle moments of defeat and loss of face. The overarching theme is that each student is on a unique path to becoming a trusted and responsible individual.

The strength of the Two Rules system lies in its ability to frame every conversation in a manner that highlights the benefits to the students themselves. Instead of placing blame, condemning, or focusing on punishment, the conversations with students facing challenges revolve around demonstrating the influential power of their choices. This approach empowers students by showing them that, in every moment, they possess the agency to make choices that can either enhance their lives or complicate them further.

It is crucial to clarify that the Two Rules system is not about coddling students or making excuses for their behavior. On the contrary, it upholds the highest standards of behavior. The emphasis is on accountability, self-reflection, and personal responsibility. By guiding students through conversations that illuminate the consequences of their choices, educators using the Two Rules system encourage a deep understanding of how individual actions shape the trajectory of one's life.

In essence, the Two Rules create an environment where students are not only educated academically but are also equipped with the essential social and emotional skills needed for success in life. Through this approach, students are not merely recipients of rules but active participants in their own personal development, preparing them for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

As an educator, providing students with authentic learning experiences is always a priority. Eva Kor provided me with the opportunity to give students her perspective of what the Holocaust was like as a twin. She and her sister were part of the experiments conducted during the Holocaust. Witnessing her engage with students and share her personal story was truly remarkable.

We need to continue to have these conversations with those who can provide us with rich value from history. Eva and her sister have passed away, but her recorded interviews, the field trips students attended and her writings provide us with her knowledge.

History is important and I am thankful to learn from it.

Dianna Kirk was the Human Resource Director of Danville District 118 when I first met her. I was at that time a first year administrator in a neighboring district. We met at an Illinois Principals Association Region meeting and our friendship began.

In the journey of relationships, building a strong foundation begins with getting to know someone on a personal level. In my experience, taking the time to understand her and her family before she became my boss laid the groundwork for a lasting connection.

Even after retirement, our friendship endures. Her guiding principle of leading with the heart in both life and work has left a profound impact. Considering the human factor and always being a listening ear, she is not just admired but cherished by those fortunate enough to know her.

During a meeting with Superintendent Nanette Mellen Finkle, she expressed that Dianna Kirk stood out as the most exceptional Human Resource Director. Dianna's approach was marked by a genuine love for people, adept listening skills, effective communication, and collaborative teamwork. Her meticulous attention to detail and organizational prowess reflected a purposeful and commendable dedication to her role.

It took me a very long time before I could address her as Dianna. I called her Mrs. Kirk for years even though we were friends. We were professionals and she is respected.

Leaders need to build trusting relationships and need to model for others the importance of each individual they serve.

It feels great to have one of your former bosses be so excited about your book! Mark Denman has been part of education for more than four decades. He retired not that long ago and as he retired one of the schools in the district was named after him. What a tribute to him and his service.

We have continued to stay connected since his retirement and it is such a pleasure to know how much he truly loves the district, people and community he served. He is still very active in the community and serves on many boards. He really is part of the solution daily in the Danville community.

I thank him for his continued support, encouragement and belief in what I do to support education. We can together be the solution we need in education today.

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.


Embark on a transformative journey of personal growth as we delve into the profound impact of the Two Rules philosophy on cultivating essential life skills. This philosophy serves as a guiding light, illuminating the path towards not just personal development but also a robust foundation for success.

At the core of the Two Rules philosophy is an emphasis on social awareness—an awareness that extends beyond oneself to the broader community. By navigating the intricacies of these principles, individuals embark on a journey of self-discovery that intricately weaves into the fabric of social dynamics. The philosophy prompts introspection and a heightened sensitivity to the impact of one's actions on others.

Decision Making

One of the cornerstones of personal growth is effective decision-making, and the Two Rules philosophy stands as a beacon in this regard. As individuals explore the intricacies of these two rules — "Will this contribute positively to my or others' well-being?" and "Will this foster a sense of safety for myself and others?" — they unlock the keys to making informed and constructive choices. This process not only builds resilience but also hones the ability to navigate life's complexities with a thoughtful and proactive approach.


Embracing the Two Rules philosophy lays the groundwork for a strong foundation, providing individuals with the tools to navigate the challenges of the modern world. The journey involves not just acquiring knowledge but applying it in a way that fosters personal growth and contributes positively to the collective well-being. As we explore the multifaceted impact of the Two Rules philosophy, we unravel a tapestry of skills essential for success, where social awareness and adept decision-making converge to shape individuals into resilient, empathetic, and successful contributors to the world around them.

The Power of One Word

In a world filled with constant noise, complexity, and the perpetual pursuit of improvement, finding a way to simplify and focus can be a game-changer. One such powerful method is the concept of choosing One Word for the year. This intentional practice has proven to be a catalyst for life-changing transformations, offering a pathway to clarity, success, and fulfillment. Several books have been written about One Word. The most popular is probably the one authored by Dan Britton, Jimmy Page and Jon Gordon. Another book is authored by Mike Ashcroft and Rachel Olsen. I have utilized One Word with all of those I coach and mentor.

The Problem with Resolutions:

New Year's resolutions often set us up for failure. The enthusiasm for change is palpable in January, but as the year progresses, the initial zeal wanes, and resolutions are left by the wayside. Resolutions are easy to make and to break. The need for a targeted approach to support the overall well-being is the best approach.

The Simplicity and Focus of One Word:

In contrast to the overwhelming nature of resolutions, One Word encourages simplicity and focus. By selecting a single word that encapsulates your intentions for the year, you cut through the clutter and complexity that often lead to procrastination. This focused approach brings clarity and success by addressing the core of your intentions.

The Three-Step Process:

1. LOOK IN: Prepare Your Heart

In the midst of life's chaos, taking a deliberate pause allows for introspection and the contemplation of essential queries: What do I truly need, and what obstacles hinder my path? This intentional break from the clamor sets the stage for the profound introspection necessary to identify your One Word. Despite the common advice to "listen to your heart," conflicting messages caution against leading solely from the heart. Leadership guidance often presents a paradox, creating confusion. However, when embarking on the journey to select a guiding word for the year, it is the heart where the exploration begins. Within its chambers resides your "why" and the essence of your life's purpose.

2. LOOK UP: Discover Your Word

Once your heart is prepared, plug in and listen up. This step involves creating a peaceful space to allow your word to come to you. It's not about forcing a decision but rather being open to the word that resonates with your aspirations for the year. Many words can dance around your head as you think about all the things you have on your list to do. Slow your thoughts and focus on what is the common word which develops from all of these thoughts. In this tranquil atmosphere, let the essence of that word guide your intentions and actions throughout the upcoming journey.

3. LOOK OUT: Live Your Word

Armed with your chosen word, set forth on the adventure of embodying it across every facet of your existence. This marks the true enchantment, as you integrate your word into the realms of your mental, physical, emotional, relational, spiritual, and financial dimensions. Extend this commitment to your inner circle, fostering both accountability and support. By keeping your One Word at the forefront, you establish a daily compass for purpose and passion. Consistently revisiting your chosen word becomes a guiding force, steering you in the right direction and anchoring your journey.

The Impact of One Word:

Choosing One Word transforms your life across multiple dimensions:

Live Your Word:

One Word is not just a concept; it's a call to action. By strategically looking in, looking up, and looking out, you pave the way for a year of growth, purpose, and fulfillment. So, embark on this journey, live your word to its fullest, and witness the positive impact it has on every dimension of your life.

If you're ready to embrace simplicity, focus, and transformative change, join the One Word movement and make this year the most rewarding and exciting one yet. Please share your One Word with all of us as you welcome in 2024!

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.

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