Category: #2022

Pledge of Allegiance

Serving as a principal in education was one of my honors in life. I am also honored to be part of a military family, as my husband served in the United States Navy. His father served as well, and his brothers served in different service branches.

My staff and students had the opportunity to hear announcements each day over of loudspeaker system and an invitation from a student to stand to join in saying the pledge daily. It meant a great deal to me, as I know it does to all Americans.

As a teacher, my students stood to say the pledge each day in my classroom. My 5th-grade classroom will never forget 911 as the news came to us with a knock on our door. Our classroom was on the top floor of our school building, so it was natural to ask, “is a plane going to crash into us?” Our first response is always fear when tragedy strikes.

Our class did lots of work to understand what had happened, what steps could be taken to prevent tragedies like this, and all of the questions they had, we could search to find answers. The message was clear I wanted them to learn and receive. We are united as we stand, free as a country, and individuals give to protect them daily. This message is the same today as it was then. It may seem clouded at times, but our nation was built on a solid foundation to withstand many challenges.

The pledge of allegiance is something I believe all should continue to respect, recite and remember daily. Freedom is never free, and the moment we forget, we will regret it. I am proud of my youngest grandson. He can now hold the flag for his pre-school classroom as they recite the pledge. He just turned four years old, so he will get an opportunity to continue to grow before moving on to Kindergarten in a place they are building strong foundations.

Thank you to all of those who are currently serving to protect us, have served, and who have lost their lives for their country. To all of the family members, we thank you as well. As a former Navy wife, I know the sacrifices a family gives alongside those who serve daily. Many blessings to each. God bless.

Put us in, we want to coach or be coached!

Coaching helps every level

The need for coaching support today is more extensive than it has ever been before. Help at each level in the organizational chain needs to be strengthened after being pushed to the limits over the past few years.

Every individual, if asked in a survey, will tell you they have been impacted over the last three years by the events happening in our world. We have experienced illness, death, lockdowns, trauma, soaring gas prices, and supply shortages, and the list can be expanded to many other issues. The critical point is trauma and the stress it has provided.

Building a support system within our organization or bringing in outside coaching will help individuals get back to their center to regain a balance. Stability is the thread we need to sew our environment back to the strength, resilience, and flexible fabric it needs to be as we work to achieve.

Who are Coaches?

Effective coaches treat individuals as professionals. Building a professional relationship knowing and recognizing individuals are capable of making decisions for themselves. People will engage in conversations when they understand coaches are not imposing practices, thoughts, or ideas on them. Coaches are partnering with them to determine the best course of action. When we try to do something different, it is a dehumanizing act, and it minimizes the effect of the potential for professional growth. Coaches need to examine who they are and how their actions affect others. Most importantly, always look at the coaching process as we help make it the best for each individual.

Important questions for coaches to ask themselves:

  • What are my beliefs?
  • What can I do to build trust?
  • How do I communicate?
  • Do I listen?
  • What action steps do I take?
  • How do I lead myself?
  • How do I lead others?

Impact of Coaches

Coaching is unique! Selecting the right coaches for the right team or individual is an essential part of the process. Matching the needs of those being coached with the individual who can provide for them is critical, but matching the personality is also an essential piece!

One of my favorite TedTalks is Rita Pierson! Her best line is, “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.” Adults are the same way! The first step in every relationship is building trust and finding common ground. Establishing a partnership in working together to achieve growth over time is the primary goal. Establishing a clear understanding of what coaching is will help build the foundation for a positive working relationship.

Coaches will bring a toolbox of strategies and resources to support the individual or group they are working to help grow. The method will be selected, implemented, monitored, and then analyzed. They will work on this together to evaluate the next steps. The coach’s impact will result in the efforts of all those involved. Clear communication and record keeping will help them make adjustments as they proceed. This should never be an evaluation piece but an improvement, growth, and innovative approach for individuals to take ownership of their development.

Do I need one?

If you are asking if you need a coach, the answer is yes. I have had a coach, I am a coach, and I have supervised coaches. Coaches are like your own personal trainer, cheerleader, and go-to person. They can help bring you ideas and tell you if you need to think about something from a different lens or if you did a great job communicating that idea. Coaches are so important. My area of expertise is in education, but I am available to help any leader. Please leave me a comment or send me an Email. I am willing to help you at no cost via Zoom, email, and phone. Leadership is significant, and I want you to be successful. My solution is to provide as much support as possible to those who are leading and serving others.

How do you live?

I am all about asking questions. I enjoy asking questions to spark conversations, engage with others, and learn. My grandson Abram has always asked me thought-provoking questions from a child’s point of view. “How do they make leather shoes? Where does the leather come from?” Not a typical question from a then four-year-old.

My question is, “How do you live?” Answering this question can gain a variety of viewpoints. Does it mean physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually? How do you look at the question?

I have heard people say, “I want to be remembered by….” “I want my legacy to be…” or “I want to leave this place better than I found it.” Do you think of statements like this? Maybe your thoughts are about what you are looking forward to in life and the afterlife.

When do you think people begin to start thinking about how they live life? Is it when they are preparing to retire? Is it when they receive news of a terminal illness? Do we begin thinking about how we live life on the day we are born?

No more questions

I have provided many questions to allow you to ponder over many thoughts. I will provide you with my thinking on when we begin to think about how we live life.

Life is a precious gift we receive. On the day we are born, I believe life is mapped out for us with a purpose. Our brains provide us with the ability to learn at our pace and to discover our freedom to make choices. In many other countries, the privileges we have in the United States are not the same, and we can recognize this with the power of choice.

We go through our lives making decisions multiple times throughout the day. It is through those choices our life develops shape. The core values and beliefs are designed as a foundation based on the surroundings, which influence our choices.

Using myself as an example, I feel very blessed to have been raised by parents who were uneducated, hard-working, service-oriented individuals who encouraged many things in my life. I went to church regularly, was involved in outside activities, education was a priority, and I learned how to work early.

I do believe people do not think about their lives until they are faced with the reality of retirement, nearing death, or a traumatic event. As I have watched people for some time now, I have observed people going about life as usual, and something happens to cause a significant change—a sudden loss of a spouse, job change, accident or illness, and life changes.

Measuring Up

In our lives, we are always looking at others. We compare ourselves to others regularly. Judging others, well, this is done all of the time. It drives me crazy! I have battled against this judgment and being compared for decades now! We need to stop comparing and judging now.

Today begin looking at life differently. As you wake to greet the morning sun, pause to be thankful for a day full of opportunities. We do not want to only look at the days in our life as a measurement of length. In each day, we will find in those opportunities the width of our reach in providing support to others, sending strength to those in need, or planting seeds of growth covering many countries. Along with each day, the depths of our blessings are measured in the volumes of water served to those who are thirsty as wells are dug. Our innovative ideas reach into the depths of space and travel through connections to every sparsely populated place on earth as we keep communications open in times of need. Life is measured not in days, length, width, or depth but in living fully in each moment: no judgments, comparing, or hate. Every life is a gift with a purpose. Choose to live yours!

The colander

I did not receive many material things when my mother and father passed away. The memories of the pictures I have and those I can still keep in my mind and heart are enough for me.

My daughter could get a few things for herself and me as I was out of town when my siblings decided to close things up. One item I know many will think I should throw away, but I am not, is the white colander. I will keep using it, and it can be thrown away when my journey leads me home.

The white colander

My mother’s colander-you see cracks on both sides and a cracked slit down the center. However, it still works for what I need it to do. Sure I have other ones, but I get this one out when I am cooking family meals, especially spaghetti or cleaning fruit.

A colander is a kitchen utensil that is primarily used to rinse vegetables or strain foods such as pasta. The bottom is perforated, which allows for water or liquid to drain through while holding on to the solids inside. Drain has been a focus for me for a few weeks as I have thought a great deal about the stress of life for so many in the world.

I recently wrote a blog post about “Drainout” which I believe is the replacement of “burnout.” Our lives are being drained of valuable resources we need. We are pulled in many directions at every moment of the day and the hamster wheel of life moves faster with never enough time to catch up so it seems.

Colander Rinse

When I buy fresh fruits like grapes, I love to put them in the colander and run the water to wash them off. They seem to sparkle and shine with freshness. Maybe we need to think about this as we look at our lives and those close to us.

We are fighting against “Drainout,” and if you look at my previous blog, you will find some things to do to help. However, are we also fighting to hold onto things we should let go of and allow through the colander?

Often we tend to hold onto things of comfort during times of extreme stress. “I have always done it this way.” “Even if it takes longer, I want to keep it this way.” “We cannot make any changes now.”

Listen to yourself and each other, and then pause to look at how things are going. Is it time to let go? Make some changes and take back control.

I am thankful for all of the different colanders I have, but the one from my mother is special to me. I know how hard it is to let go. You can hold on to them if they are not holding you back or preventing you from living the best way possible.

  • Rinse
  • Review
  • Reflect
  • Renew

Face new days with it your way!

Solution Weekly May 22-28, 2022

How Do You?

Asking questions is something I think is essential to do. It gives your mind a chance to be engaged in thinking deeper and to explore ideas you may not have opportunities to provide time to think.

How do you? It is a question you can fill in the blank with the remaining substance of the question. I was driving to a doctor’s appointment and looking at the many things I saw along the way, and I thought…How do you? Try it out and see what you want to know more about.

Put me in Coach

It is time for the baseball season. My grandsons are busy at the ballpark! It took a little while to get things going as they were looking for additional people to be coaches for the little ones.

When we look at the time and effort of the individuals who work with the kids, it is terrific. We need coaches not only on the baseball fields but in other areas of our lives. Do you have a coach? Are you a coach? Do you want a coach? Think about what coaching can do for you and others. What questions do you have about coaching?

Trust

How important is the word trust? If you answered right away with yes, trust is vital, then I have another question. If trust is so vital to us, how do we demonstrate trust? How do we show value in the word trust? Let’s think about trust and how it is used, honored, and valued.

Thank you

“Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2022 will occur on Monday, May 30. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings, and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.” History Channel

This coming weekend we celebrate with family picnics, parades, and celebrations. We want to thank all of those who have served, are serving, or planning to serve in protecting all of the individuals of this great country!

What is one topic you would like to learn about, discuss or share?

Please send in any ideas you have on topics, questions, or ideas to discuss. The purpose of being the solution daily is to help find solutions. Together we can find solutions. Blessings for a fantastic week as the first day of summer is June 21st! We are almost there!

Memory Lane

When you get the phone call that your former coach is coming to town, and she wants to include you in the group to meet with her, you say Yes! Also, because she was the teacher you replaced when she retired. Then she was the teacher who had your daughter, niece, and nephews. She is the one in the pink striped shirt! I am sure she will not care if I tell you she will be 80 years old in September!

The group also included my music teacher from my elementary school days, the same teacher for my daughter, niece, and nephews. She was also the music teacher during my time as a teacher in the district. She is right behind coach P, next to my sister in red. The teacher right behind me worked with me when I was a teacher and worked alongside all of the ladies for years. I had her niece as one of my students.

As many students are moving forward to the next grade level or on to the next journey in their life, please remember the place you left and the people who are glad you were part of their lives. Many blessings to teachers, students, principals, and families!

Are you facing “Drainout”?

In our current situations, we have all faced many critical, unpredictable conditions not seen before. We have dealt with in our years of service overcoming what many have referred to as “burnout,” not motivated, exhausted, and leads me to what I believe is replacing all of these words in our workplaces today: “Drainout.”

Think about how you and your co-workers feel right now. How do you feel overall? What are the topics of conversation you are having? When do you have a time in your day you feel completely at ease? Do you have a place where you can relax?

“Drainout” does not happen just at work; it can occur in every aspect of life. We have for decades heard about “burnout” in reference to how people get at work when they feel stressed or overworked. Still, We know we need to add several more layers to this phase due to Covid-19, trauma, inflation, and shortages of supplies, and the list can be expanded to include many more topics creeping into our lives.

“Drainout” results from a trauma to our workforce, families, communities, churches, and overall life. The emotional stress, changes, and demands drain each individual as the energy is being pulled in many directions. Employees, leaders, and families are exhausted of the emotions, energy, and ability to think, create or engage at the levels needed to achieve and thrive. People are feeling they have no control over situations and leading to a massive increase in mental health needs as “Drainout” is hitting every profession, industry, home, and community.

What can we do?

This is an enormous problem with not one solution. I believe there will be many solutions to work on to help elevate the number of issues facing individuals today. Continuing to throw money at problems I can identify as not the solution. Money only adds a layer to the issues we face, as we have to pay the money back. It is a cycle of repeating bad decisions. Inflation reduces the value of our money and increases our debt.

We can begin to look at what we can do as individuals to help stop the “Drainout” for ourselves:

  • Admit we have a problem- The first step in finding a solution is to admit we have a problem to solve. Once you have acknowledged the problem, we can begin to address the next steps.
  • Identify the areas to address- We have admitted a problem; now, we need to break down the problem into areas to address. Example: Not anytime to have fun with my friends. Spending too much money and not enough to pay all of the bills. I am always tired.
  • We are setting action steps: Problem-Areas and now action steps. Examples of actions to take for those we mentioned above. *Utilize a calendar to schedule activities, meetings, everything we need to do, and what we want. Color code it to identify the areas you are spending your time. *Develop a budget to monitor spending. *Set a scheduled time to go to bed and utilize a sleep application to monitor the amount of sleep you are receiving.
  • Analysis: Problem-Areas-Action Steps=Analysis Now, take the time to review the data you have collected. What have you learned? What changes could be made to improve?
  • Implement: Now, you are ready to implement the solutions you have identified. This will help you reduce areas you are wasting and improve the quality of time, money, and priorities.

Additional Support

As one glove does not fit all, we may need to have immediate solutions for the issues we face. “Drainout” is how it sounds. Individuals may be so drained they need immediate help from professionals. It is perfectly acceptable, and you should always ask for help. Coaches, mentors, support groups, networking groups, and other professionals are there to help you. I have used them all, and I am one as well. It is essential to have a structured system to support you today more than at any other time in our history. Here are some additional ideas for support:

  • Eat healthier- Grab some fruit instead of chips
  • Excercise- Take a walk during lunch
  • Listen to music- Find some tunes that help you relax
  • Journal write- Sometimes writing can help you express, reflect and decompress
  • Creating a safe space/time- We all enjoy having a particular spot with things that help us feel safe and good.
  • Track your stress, feelings, and events that cause anxiety
  • Learn strategies to use when you feel stress, anxiety, or anger. Breathing
  • Do something you like to do!

There is much to discuss “Drainout” as we face many troubling issues. Let’s work on replenishing everyone by providing a kind word to each one we see and meet. Provide opportunities to share in networking, groups, and connecting. Show patience, understanding, and empathy to others. There are many things we can do to help fight against “Drainout.”

Donuts, Veggies or Ice Cream? Choices

Do you hold meetings? If you do, do you provide a snack? When people walk into your meeting, do they find chocolates or candy on the tables? What do you think about offering food or something for meetings?

I am curious about this idea. I know I have, it seems, always had candy on the tables and offered snacks. During my career, I never used a line budget for my building expenses. I thought doing this was my choice, and I usually paid for it myself. Sometimes I had vendors who would send stuff, but mostly me or sometimes my Assistant Principal would get things.

Eating together promotes teamwork and family

While in an online meeting, one of the ladies talked about what she was trying to do. Her goal is to work on creating recipes for families to get them back to the table together and not forget to leave a space for Jesus. I thought she had a fantastic idea. How many families are sitting down to eat meals together? So many wasted opportunities to share stories, strengthen bonds, and create memories.

When serving food at meetings, we are trying to create this environment. Staff will come up with better ideas, get to know each other better, and share fantastic food helps everyone feel better. In education, I know we miss plenty of well-balanced meals.

The staff appreciates all of the efforts to bring everyone closer together and strengthen the bonds. We are creating environments and cultures of trust, and collaboration, along with health and wellness supplies staff with what they need to continue to grow. However, we have to caution ourselves about what kinds of foods we serve. This is where it gets tricky for me.

Choices? I will always choose…..

I am no fan of eating healthy. I will choose ice cream first! My second choice will be candies and last donuts. I will not check the box next to vegetables. In my previous district my hand was always the first to go up to volunteer to delivery the trays of cookies to the buildings for appreciation days. This is my kind of treat! When we needed to take veggie trays, not my kind of thing.

I do realize the large portion of sugar which is present in most of the snacks I select initially supplies the brain with energy and achieves awareness. Then, it leads to a very rapid rise in blood glucose levels, and you will find yourself crashing just as fast with a decline in the power of concentration.

We need to sustain an energy supply level. Eating the wrong things makes us slower and concentrate less. However, I still believe ice cream is my superfood. It makes me happy, and I can accomplish a great deal when I have some.

When selecting meeting snacks:

Donut worry, I will eat these if no one else will! You donut know how much I love sweets! I believe you should always eat dessert first!

It is essential to consider the length of your meeting, the time of day, and who you have attend. This will determine the quantity of food you need and the presentation of the food. If you are having a meeting over lunch, it is a meal, not a snack—the same for dinner meetings. However, lunch foods are to be light as people still need to return to work. Dinner meetings people will be leaving to go home.

You want the foods you serve to fulfill the purpose of your meeting and to not fight against you. The foods should not just fill the stomach but fuel the brain. We do not need a short burst of energy but long-term concentration. Meetings are held to maximize time to accomplish the tasks, make important decisions, and achieve.

Meeting snacks should:

  • Supply the brain with fuel and energy
  • Be free from possible allergic reactions, separated and labeled clearly
  • Be easy to serve and eat
  • Variety of foods for all tastes (I think you can have a few of my sugar choices, or people like me will be upset.)
  • Provide comfort, fuels our human side

Word of the Day

I am a big believer in vocabulary! We do not spend enough time exploring, providing, and giving children time to explore “words.”

It could be because I come from a home where my parents did not know how to read. When I would go to school in my early years, I can remember my Kindergarten teacher saying, “I am sure your parents have read this story to you, but I am going to read it today again.” Nope, my parents had not, and I heard it for the first time. We forget many children do not have rich conversations or have exposure to reading materials or opportunities to visit other places. How can we help to improve their vocabulary for them?

You can join word of the day by having it sent to your email daily. It is a great way to provide yourself and those you teach with opportunities to enjoy a new word daily.

Emolument: Compensation, based on time and length of activity, for employment, services, or holding office and is generally used in a legal context. Emolument is derived from the Latin term “emolumentum,” which could mean either effort or labor, or benefit, gain, or profit.

You can decide to choose your own words for each day. Maybe you want to focus on positive words, vocabulary words used in your curriculum or special topic words. It really does not matter the focus of the words as long as students are able to engage, explore and explain the words they are learning.

Encourage students every chance you can to read, write and share!

Brenda Yoho