Let’s Debate

Do we see debates over issues? A debate is a discussion of opposing sides of a specific topic, subject, or issue. An example would be a discussion of the pros and cons of reopening schools after Covid-19. I think I have seen some…. At least they resemble debates.

We most likely would see debates in our legislative branches of government. Have you witnessed debates? I have listened carefully since engaging in researching this topic. We are looking for specific elements in each person pleading their reasoning for their point.

I believe one of the critical skills and elements needed to help children succeed in the future is being able to have essential conversations to debate their points successfully.

The emphasis on teaching children how to protest is misdirected, in my opinion. A focus on how to convince others of the position they have by making points grounded in evidence of value is where the teaching should be focused. Critical thinking skills, knowledge, and strong communication skills will serve all of us in the future with positive outcomes.

Hugo Mercier, in the following TED-Ed clip, explains how an argument can be more convincing when it contains these elements:

  • A good knowledge of your audience you are speaking to.
  • What are the beliefs of the audience?
  • Who and what the audience trusts?
  • What are the values of the audience?

These elements seem like a simple recipe for success. Understanding the audience’s beliefs, trusted sources, and values of others are not always easy for us. As we face an issue, problem or challenge, we do not go first to what we have learned about our audience; instead, we go to our own.

A recipe for success in facing a problem in need of solutions is always to listen first. We hear with more than our ears. To meet issues with debate, reasoning, and convincing rebuttals, we need to embrace all views. Our minds must be open to debate to appreciate and comprehend points different than our set of facts. We have to accept others’ points made convincingly as right and concede when our points are proven wrong.

Every voice has the right to be heard. Actions speak louder than words is often a statement made in high-tempered issues. These actions in no way have ever meant to cause suffering on others, violence, or prevent others from the freedoms granted in this country. Actions moved by the words of others should be in having positive outcomes in the efforts of change. An example would be:

“Today, the sun begins to rise for a new day. It is a chance for each of us to show a new way. To bring to the surface more issues to praise. The life we live changes with every season. Unexpected issues, diseases, challenges, and problems come with no reason. It is our actions, words, and true messages we send out that conveys-The point we try to make.”~Brenda Yoho

Please watch the TED link shared. It is an excellent segment to view. You can find more features to consider as you lead changes and growth in your field. Today is a great day to learn, reflect and lead. Thank you for being part of the solution daily!

Launch into Leadership in all directions!

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” -John C. Maxwell

My friend Jon Lokhorst has written an excellent book titled Mission-Critical Leadership, How smart managers lead well in all directions. It is an opportunity to look at your leadership and how every level of your organization can grow. “Using influence to build relationships and deliver results in all directions within an organization, accelerating it faster and further toward its mission.”-Jon Lokhorst

Jon utilizes his storytelling to connect significant points with real-life events to engage readers. These help to provide a visual and connection. I hope you pick up this book to add to your leadership reading library.

Mission-Critical Leadership focuses on leading in all directions, not in the typical one lane where we are considered the boss. This framework looks at how we lead upward, across, and those below on the organizational chart, but first understanding ourselves as leaders.

Self-leadership is critical in this journey as it is your foundation. It isn’t easy to lead others when you are not confident. What impact do you want to have as a leader? How are you described as a leader? Do you engage in professional learning to grow as a leader?

I have tagged, highlighted, written in, and read this book twice. This is a great way to lead. In my career, I have practiced parts of this concept. I genuinely believe Jon has the right idea!

Reach out to Jon:

http://www.lokhorstconsulting.com jon@lokhorstconsulting.com

Thank you for being part of the solution daily! Lift someone up today!

Lifting up leaders!

Making Memories, Monday

This is from one of our favorite places to get treats! Royal Donut in Danville, Illinois, is one of the places my grandchildren always want to stop!

I had some medical procedures done last week as a reminder never to take life for granted. I reunited with my original doctor from the ’90s, who first diagnosed me with Crohn’s disease. It was great to see him and talk about the many medical issues I have had over the years.

I am still in remission, so this was great news! A reminder of reducing stress, monitoring your diet, getting plenty of rest, and exercise. The most important lesson is to make memories every day!

My husband and I have always loved to fish! Fishing is one pastime we have in common. He has taken it to a higher level with competitive bass fishing that I support him in when he wants to compete. However, we enjoy going out on the lake. We were able to do a great deal of catch and release on our last fishing trip. We kept a few to share with our family and friends, but this big catch was released. She was able to go back and enjoy bringing more life to the lake!

A 16 inches long crappie

Our grandkids love to come to visit, and we love to have them! We are blessed to have three wonderful ones! Today I will share about our two grandsons and will share next time about our “teenage” granddaughter. Oh, how they grow so fast!

Abram is our Kindergarten student who could remind you of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory with his intellectual approach and sometimes quirky ways. He can name all of the planets, tell you descriptions of animals, and tell you what country has the peacock as their national bird. He remembers this information when it is presented to him. His favorite thing to do is to have you ask him math questions or to ask you questions. The love for dinosaurs is not lost as he has embraced it completely. Yes, you guessed it! He can name them all and tell you about those as well!

We built a T-Rex on his latest visit and several other activities that included making things for his siblings. The love they have for each other is heartwarming. They openly express it, and I hope it never fades.

Alden is our three-year-old who desperately wants to be like his brother! He has captured the art of storytelling, and he utilizes his eyes and facial expressions to emphasize his message. Whenever he tells you about something that has happened to him, it happened on “Wednesday.” Wednesday seems to be his favorite day of the week. This is the day everything happens in his life. We have no idea why, but it is. He enjoys playing with the train tracks, playdough, and building things in general. But he still wants to sit with me and read! Reading is what I love the most. His brother is reading now, and Alden wants to read too! He will read to me based on the pictures. They love Brown Bear, Brown Bear! I know they will get too big before I know it to sit on my lap or next to me to read, but for now, we will make a memory.

Moo Moo let me read you a story! ( Yes they all call me Moo Moo!)

Thank you for following my blog and being part of the solution daily. Together in life, we make memories and share lessons learned to provide hope for the future. Make a memory today as we help mold the foundation for the future.

False Evidence Appearing Real a Clear Vision

“I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them.”-Eleanor Roosevelt

“The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see.” -anonymous

I believe it is a combination of our fears and blurred vision that prevent us from reaching our full potential as leaders. When we can acknowledge, identify and overcome these barriers, our focus can accelerate us to accomplish more.

Recently, I posted two different blogs to help clarify the title of today’s post. The first one was titled FEAR, What do you do? Seeking answers from readers on how they respond to fear. I shared on my Twitter feed asking some of my favorite leaders what they do. It is always great to hear from other expert leaders.

Principal Baruti Kafale echoed the sentiment found in the title. Jim Knight responded, “I think that depends on what frightens me. Fear is a signal, and I need to think about what the signal is showing me. My general response in times of difficulty is to go back to my principles and remind myself of the driving forces behind my actions.” Peter DeWitt agreed with Jim but added, “I usually step back and breathe for a moment and then jump in. However, I have a fear of jumping out of a plane, so I don’t do it!” I appreciated their responses to my question.

In another blog post titled, I can see, but what do I see? I provided readers with evidence of optical illusions along with the question of believing what we see. It was to be a thought-provoking post. If we have been paying attention to social media and media outlets in general, we can see a story on different platforms look entirely different.

As leaders, others look to us for guidance during difficult times and uncertain times. This past year has been plagued with many. As a society, it has taken a toll. Everyone looks to find those leaders who will help them grasp on to hope. Hope for the future. Signs that a glimmer of improvement is happening somewhere. A leader in providing a clear vision of what the future holds. “Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” -George Washington Carver

Do we have a great leader who will be stepping forward with words of inspiration, encouragement, wisdom, and support? A leader to motivate us into action to stand up for life, liberty, peace, and love. She or he may come forward, but why would we wait? “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”-John Lubbock.

As we reflect on fear, vision, and hope, we can gather our thoughts to develop a plan.

  • Identify fears and barriers
  • Overcome fears by taking actions to address the barriers
  • Look clearly at our goals
  • What do we see we need to improve, remove, redo?
  • Do we see all?
  • How will others see what we are doing?

Don’t let your ears hear what your eyes did not see. Let your mouth speak what your heart is saying. No matter if you are one voice in a big world, your heart will echo for many miles. Speak up, stand up, spread positive points and always be the solution daily.

Saturday SMILE

“Each day is a gift we unwrap. As you open your eyes to greet the day, find a way to set your mind to make it the best in every way. No matter the forecast outside, our hearts will bring a smile from inside to outside to brighten the day. If not you, then who will start to make this positive change today!”

Just one question for you?

Are you a pooper, scooper, pointer, or passersby? Have you ever heard about a dog and a soccer field? It is a great story, and I have used it for a staff learning opportunity.

I love designing great presentations, workshops, events, and celebrations. It is so important not to waste the time of others when you are asking them to be present. Make it the best time ever!

There it is….poop! It is right there in the middle of the soccer field. A man walking his dog was just here, and that dog must have pooped on our field.

What are we going to do?

I don’t know, as the team of boys walks around the poop and then heads back to the school.

A group of kids comes running by the pile of poop when one sees the poop and points at it. “Look, everyone; there is poop, don’t step in it.”

Another group sees the kids as they all start pointing at the poop on the field. This group of kids passes on by without saying or doing anything.

Then out comes two groups with a soccer ball. They want to play. The poop is still on the field, but this group works together to get some tools to clean the poop off the area so they could play soccer. The game began!

My story is different than the book, but it contains the same message and lesson.

After I tell my story, I say to the participants you will notice on your tables are scoopers. Now that we have heard this story, what are our thoughts? Are we scoopers, poopers, pointers, or passersby? If we saw poop, trash, or something in the hallway, would we point, walk around it, tell someone else or scoop it up? With the right tools, of course!

Here is another question. As we begin to work on improvement plans, what role will you play? Will you point out problems, scratch your head and walk around the issues, or scoop up to the table to dig in?

It takes collaboration between all of us to get the tasks complete. If you are willing to be part of our team, take your scoop and see what you can scoop up from the can so we can begin.

Look at all of those hugs and kisses you scooped up! You have to love Hershey! Plus, all of those teacher supplies for your classroom. Wow!

There is so much more you can do with this story and lessons to provide from Kindergarten to adult. It is a lesson of leadership, teamwork, kindness, and more. The link below will allow you to hear the read-aloud.

I did a similar activity with my middle school staff. I purchased cat litter pooper scoopers at the local dollar store along with the chocolate. I placed them on all of the tables. If you know middle school staff, we are a little crazy. We have to be to keep up with the kids!


Thinking outloud

I was speaking with my doctor after my cancer check. It is always great to talk to my medical team because I trust them, and we have built a great relationship.

My results from my testing were great. I had no signs of anything active, so I remain in remission. I am so thankful and feel blessed each day.

Each day we may face issues, challenges, criticism, and trauma, but we will be provided with ways to overcome. My life is full of all of those described, but I can provide examples of overcoming them. It is up to us to believe.

Thank you for being part of the solution daily. You could be part of the reason others achieve overcoming critical issues.

Professional Development or Learning

What’s Key to Sticky PD?

Education Leadership Article by Fred Ende February 2021 | Volume 78 | Number 5
Making Professional Learning Stick Pages 38-43

“The before and after of a professional learning event is as important as the event itself.

Before reading any further, take a few minutes to consider the following two questions:

  • During this past year, what has been the most valuable professional learning experience you’ve had?
  • During this same period, what has been the least valuable professional learning experience you’ve had?

As you wrap up your reflection, think about what these two events have in common and what separates them. In some cases, it will be obvious how your best professional learning experiences differ from your worst. In other cases, it won’t be as clear. For instance, even a well-facilitated professional learning session may not have led to a significant change in your practice or to more successful student learning outcomes. While we know that well-delivered professional learning is more likely to be engaging and useful than poorly facilitated professional learning, there is more at play than simply how well a learning session is led.

Several years ago, I wrote a short book for ASCD titled Professional Development That Sticks (2016). In the book, I used the work of education researchers, as well as the experiences I had amassed as a teacher, regional coordinator of science, and assistant director of curriculum and instruction to make the case for a multidimensional view of professional learning. The way I saw it (and still do), professional learning will only truly “stick” if we allow ourselves to think beyond the event itself. Much like a hamburger with all the fixings, or a sandwich cookie, professional learning is a full-flavored experience. In both cases, the full flavor only arrives if the burger or cookie is eaten as a unit. The lettuce by itself is just lettuce, much as the cookie filling only provides one flavor and texture.

In the same way, professional learning will only be effective if work is put into what comes both before and after the facilitation of the learning itself. This points to the importance of planning for professional learning and following up on a professional learning event.”

The rest of the article can be found at the link provided and is well worth reading. Also, Fred Ende’s book Professional Development That Sticks is an excellent addition to your reading list.

As you work to look at improvements and professional learning, keep these ideas that“stick” in your mind. Learning for everyone is essential as we take action steps to improve overall.

Thank you for being part of the solution daily as we learn each day!


I can SEE, but what do I SEE?

A picture is placed in front of you. What do you see?

What do you see in this picture?

Courtesy of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

It is an optical illusion that plays tricks on your vision. Our brain receives clues about the picture we see. The messages include depth, shading, lighting, and position to help interpret what we see. Does it stop with just these clues?

“It’s really important to understand we’re not seeing reality,” says neuroscientist Patrick Cavanagh, a research professor at Dartmouth College and a senior fellow at Glendon College in Canada. We’re seeing a story that’s being created for us.” https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/20978285/optical-illusion-science-humility-reality-polarization

“Most of the time, the story our brains generate matches the real, physical world — but not always. Our brains also unconsciously bend our perception of reality to meet our desires or expectations. And they fill in gaps using our past experiences.

All of this can bias us. Visual illusions present clear and interesting challenges for how we live: How do we know what’s real? And once we know the extent of our brain’s limits, how do we live with more humility — and think with greater care about our perceptions?” https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/20978285/optical-illusion-science-humility-reality-polarization

Horse or seal? Which do you see? Can you see both? The study was completed with a test group; they gave points for seeing farm animals and took points away for seeing sea animals. They were seeing if this would influence outcomes by providing an incentive. It is included in the article link.

The bottom line is, we see what we want to see. Our life experiences have a role in our vision and biases. These can cloud or enhance our vision based on our approach to situations. My parents did not have a chance to attend school and were uneducated. I am biased in making sure All children have opportunities to attend school and receive an education.

I can recall several times in my lifetime where I have seen racism used against others and then used to attack me unjustly. A positive solution was reached in all cases, but I know not all situations work out this way. This is troubling to me. In one situation that I can reflect on today was a case of intimidation. I was notified that a relative of a student I had disciplined would be flying in from Washington, D.C., to talk to the Superintendent and myself. He was a lawyer and believed my discipline was based on racism due to my skin color and his nephews.

The meeting was scheduled, and everyone was present, including my student, Joe. I never like to hold conferences without students if they are the topic of conversation.

“It seems Mrs. Yoho, after I investigated you, I have discovered a great deal of information as I talked with the community.”

“Well, I did not know I was being investigated, but I will be happy to hear what you have discovered.”

“It seems you are involved with the community; I found that no one thinks you are a racist, and I spoke to a gentleman named Tim Blank who said he worked with you for years and you treat everyone the same with high standards.”

“Glad to hear all of that information, but I think Joe could have told you himself all of that information. My focus is on Joe. Joe, please tell your uncle how it works at SVMS.”

“There are two rules. Everyone who walks through the doors will feel good about being there and will feel safe. So we can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution; the choice is ours to make. If we are part of the problem, the solution is in the handbook. We find which rule we broke, feel good or feel safe.”

“It works well for us if we stop and think about these two rules and then focus on being part of the solution. We can work on a plan together to help Joe.”

Thankful we could “see” things together to develop a plan. It is my hope we can continue to look at solutions without biases. Focusing on a problem, then sidetracking by creating additional problems, never provide a solution for our original issue.

Vision is a complex system in our brain. When we see with our eyes, we are very hesitant to believe something different even when told it was wrong. Magicians are so fascinating to many of us for all of their illusions!

Today’s blog post is not to tell you not to believe in the reality you see, but to be open to listening to the other views. Politicians are masterful in creating illusions for us to see to capture the vote. It is always up to the person casting a vote to see through the tricks and optical illusions to get what is best.

Right now, I believe we have several systems in need of repair as vision problems are occurring. Work together to repair the vision so everyone can “see” focusing on a problem by creating more problems is not the solution for better vision.


  • Meet with your team, test their vision
    • What do we see as our priority?
    • What is one thing we can improve today to help everyone feel good and safe about being here?
    • One word to describe us____________.
  • Develop a vision board
    • In a safe place, post a Vision Board with the following ideas of things people can post.
      • 20/20 Vision-Ideas to keep us focused
      • Picture perfect vision-random pictures of staff working on positive vision work.
      • Great insight!-Positive messages.
      • Eye know we can see clearly with___________.
  • Organize special teams
    • Visitor Team- welcoming in others to, learn and observe our Vision approach.
    • Innovation Team-creating new ideas to keep our vision alive and moving forward.
    • Skill Team-maintaining skill development and training to facilitate our goals. Keeping new staff informed and increasing our capacity.
    • Inspiration Team-keeping up the motivation of all teams by providing celebration, incentives and daily goals.
    • Open Communications Team-organizing communications chains to ensure all voices are heard and informed.
    • Navigation Team-keeping a GPS of our goals and roadmap for our vision.

It’s Time for the Truth!

It is time for the truth! To achieve, find joy, and conquer your dreams, is up to…..you! The power has always been with you! We can chase all of the shiny things, try all of the new features out there and surround ourselves with the very best of everything, but it comes down to you.

Jordan is here to see you Mrs. Yoho. “Please send her in.”

“Jordan, how are you doing today?”

“Not very good. I am still not happy about moving; my friends are here, and I don’t know what I will be able to do.”

“You know Jordan, I have had to move a few times, and I know it can feel scary. However, I think you are missing out on the truth hidden in this adventure.”

“What adventure? Moving? What truth are you talking about?”

“Well, it took me a few times of moving and also a few hard lessons in life, but I would like to save you by sharing the truth hidden in plain sight. The truth is, you have the power to overcome any situation you encounter. All you need to do is believe in yourself.”

“Mrs. Yoho, you sound a little crazy right now.”

“I know it is hard to grasp, but stay with me on this as I explain. Understanding yourself is your advantage. No one knows you better than you! This gives you the benefit of knowing all of your likes, dislikes, things that make you smile or sad, and what you want to accomplish.”

“I can continue with so much more, but I think you understand the point I am making. You can run away or move away from things, but never yourself. You are with you forever! So you have the power to make it the best!”

“Mrs. Yoho, I do not see anything good about me.”

“Jordan, that is because you are not looking at the truth. I always talk about solutions. You are trying to look through the lenses of everyone else or what you think they see. If you look at everything with a focus on truth and solutions, you will continue to grow to become what you know you can.”

“Do not let the voices of others direct your path. Make sure to make the choices for yourself and always reflect to see if you are achieving what you believe. The truth is inside you! You will achieve so much!”

The path before you is amazing! Believe in yourself! The truth is within you! Sometimes we are hit hard, and our path forward pushes us back. In those times, it is the core of who we are that lifts us to overcome to continue and with determination to see ourselves in the truth of what we can do!