My focus this week is on safety. We find safety in places where we feel comfortable, connected, and relate. Looking at your current surroundings as you read this post, what do you see in your space? I am sure you found elements directly related to your comfort, happiness, and inspiration. Maybe you have pictures, photos, or unique pieces to remind you of the love, joy, and relationships in your life. You have your favorite colors, things, and items placed around you. What about the place you are sitting, comfy blanket, pillow, or cup of your favorite beverage? All of these things add up to provide you with the feeling of safety and comfort.
If I described my safe and comfy place, you would find various things. In my space you find a variety of books from religious, history, thriller, mystery, drama, children books, professional books of teaching, leadership, coaching, mentoring, business, and the list continues. Books are everywhere! You will find notebooks, pencils, pens, markers, and coloring pencils: art materials, paint, brushes, and many other crafty materials. I have a blanket on my chair and all of my technology devices. You will not find the TV remote in my area as this does not interest me as much as reading, writing and creating.
In addition, you will find family pictures around me and throughout the house. Mainly my grandchildren! I have positive, inspirational, and spiritual messages throughout the house. My family says I am like the TV commercial where the guy talks about all of the signs you do not need! We need them. They are there to remind you of turning thoughts into positive ones constantly. One of the most important parts is the smells. I have different smells in each area. I love those scented plugins I get from Bath and Body! I do not have a strong sense of smell, but it comforts me to know they are there.
Your story, your space
As you walk into your work area, what does the setup tell others? As you walk into your building, classroom, office, or restrooms, what story is being said about your space? What goal do you have, and what message do you want to be sent?
I mentioned restrooms because these are so important to outside visitors, as well as those there daily. I once had a visitor come back to the interviewing room and say, “I am impressed by your restroom. You have all of those great soaps and inspirational messages. I love the spiritual messages you have in the restroom.” It was an effort of all staff to create this space, and it was noticed.
One of my former bosses felt that the outside of the building also told a story. He wanted everyone to see the pride we had by looking at our outside and knowing the inside must be great as well! It is what you want your story to be. In creating spaces, it is vital to think about how it makes everyone feel. Do they have input in helping to design the areas to support safety and comfort?
We want environments where everyone feels good and safe. Two Rule philosophy establishes our thought process to always look at these two aspects. Are your environments creating spaces to reflect Two Rule philosophy? How can you make changes to help improve?
Look at the structure of your areas and determine what needs improvement. Ask for input. Make changes and see how it changes the way everyone feels. Designate areas for quiet spaces for others to use when the world’s noise gets to be too loud. Libraries are great spaces to create spaces like this. Look at the rooms in other areas and see how welcoming they are to others. Do you have spots for people to sit and talk? Is the building reflective of all? One of the things I loved to do was put pictures of people up with positive messages. An example:
- Picture of staff with- A staff member of the week because….. Staff member recognized by student name and comment
- Student of the Month for Gratitude (Name of Character trait)
- Perfect Attendance
- Honor Roll
- Friends helping Friends- (Students recognizing other students for helpful acts)
- The list can go on with creative ideas to include everyone. Each individual has something to celebrate!
Tell your story in your space
Let others see, know and feel the story you are telling in your space. Do not let them have the pen to write it or the brush to paint the picture of who you are. Make areas reflect safety, a good feeling, and a place everyone wants to be.