Category: Communication

Words are real, Yolo

English Words That Changed Meanings over Time By 15 JUNE 2018 https://www.daytranslations.com/blog/english-words-changed-meanings/ A great look at a few words and how they have changed.

The English language is rich. The history of the language is fascinating to learn and understand. Historians and philosophers are protective in shielding changes to the words and meanings. How many new words are added to our language? How many are changed in their meaning? Do you think about who monitors our language? Who decides when a word becomes a “real” word? Who is in charge of creating the dictionaries we use?

Lots of questions! Listen to this TedTalk below from 2014, but still relevant to the topic. Do you have words you use today you did not use 10 or 20 years ago? Have you heard a new word? In the title, you probably thought I made a typo with my name Yoho. I typed Yolo instead. It was with a purpose, no typo. What does Yolo mean? Check the dictionary to verify, but I believe you will find the first meaning: you only live once. Great! You have learned a new word today! Yolo is a significant focus when you wake up each day to remember! I would not mind if you remembered Yoho too! It is a great name you can connect to being the solution daily!

Snap judgments or decisions

Making snap judgments and quick reactions seem to happen more often than I realized. Our society works at a fast pace, and it continues to speed up. I know I am getting older, but it is still speeding up no matter what age.

It should come as no surprise to me that we are working faster with the advancements we have made with technology. However, our human bodies and minds are not going to change. Our processing speeds and reaction times will remain the same on the trajectory of our life spans.

When we make a snap judgment, we are evaluating something or someone. We look at an individual and determine many things quickly. Our snap judgments tell us if they are trustworthy or not, safe or dangerous, friendly or mean, and can you think of more?

Growing up, we accumulated many experiences which provided us with a basis to influence us in how we view the world. Can we change our minds? Our environments and experiences affect us a great deal, I believe. What do we consider our environment? Our home life, education, community, media, church, and society in general. So as we move through our life journey, our environments change as our relationships change.

Have you made a snap judgment or decision? Can you remember being told this advice: “You want to make a good first impression at your interview.” What did or does that mean to you?

During the past decades of work in the educational world, I can tell you what I advised students what this meant by talking, modeling, and listening.

Every day I wore a suit to work, dress pants, a blouse, blazer, and heels. Sometimes I had flats depending on the suit pants length. (Yes, I could run in those heels if I needed to do so.) I dressed for success and modeled for others what I expected. I respected them and the work I did.

Next, I did every job. There was not something I would not do or ask my staff to do something I was not willing to do. I was visible to everyone picking up trash, serving lunch, riding the bus, covering a classroom, coaching a game, and the list goes on. We are all part of a team working together to serve.

Communication was vital as I spoke to everyone and by name. Saying thank you, excuse me, you are welcome and modeling the character we want to see and hear. Repeating my famous phrase of “You can be part of the problem or part of the solution; the choice is yours to make.” Maintaining a positive communication environment helps to keep the environment positive.

The best lesson came when I was able to go to school with most of my teeth missing, black eyes, and around 50 stitches. “Does the way I look now change who I am?” Students could see my willingness to stand before them, looking like a different person, a pretty scary look. A great lesson is to not judge a person by the way they look but to take the time to get to know who they are first. Standing in front of middle school students takes courage in the first place; try doing it with a name like Yoho and with most of your teeth missing. It’s okay if you just laughed out loud. It happens.

It is my hope as you start back to school, back to work face to face or if you have started a new position, take some time to learn about the place you are and the people you are with before you make a snap judgment. Think about these things as you start to compare or judge:

  • Accountability more than Ability
  • Character more than Color
  • Brains more than Beauty
  • Quality more than Quantity
  • Effectiveness more than Effortlessly
  • Humble more than High Achiever

The list can be expanded to include more things to consider. The critical thing to remember is to pause and not to use snap judgments. You could miss out on important people and things by not waiting.

My concern after working so hard with students on the importance of not placing judgments, including all individuals, and being kind to all, we are taking steps backward at a faster pace. The conversations being held about possible curriculums seem to place students in positions to judge others, just as our society is doing this daily. As I have stated, our environments influence our thoughts, actions, and behaviors. Take a pause and reflect on what is currently happening by exploring all aspects of the places I indicated influence us: homelife, education, church, community, media, and society in general. A solution-focused mindset allows for positive ideas to guide changes, where a problem-focused agenda fills the minds with negativity and not allowing solutions to move forward.

Leaders are essential in leading this fast pace environment. Thank you for being the solution daily.

The Needs

When you wake up in the morning, the needs hit you right away! You have the need to get to the bathroom, find coffee, food of some kind, and find out the needs of the world around you!

If you have pets, children, spouses, or others in need of your attention, then you are already running late! It would help if you had been up hours ago, or maybe getting sleep is overrated. I was kidding!

I think you understand we live in a world where “the need” is at an all-time high. However, I believe need has been confused with some other words to make life harder for all of us.

A need is something to help provide a safe and healthy environment. We need clean air, water, land, food, clothes and safe environments in order to live. We may want to have the latest version of television, phone, gaming system, shoes from famous brands, and others wants. These wants and wishes are not essential to our health and well-being.

I, like many others, felt the loss of loved ones during the global pandemic. I did not feel the loss within my family, but distant relatives and friends. The needs of others were at an all-time high. We are so lucky to live in this country so needs could be met. Even then, it was not enough as we saw politics get in the way.

There is still a need and even bigger needs in our country. It is so important to look through all of the lenses to see the needs. When looking for solutions, you should always look at all viewpoints to fully understand.

One word echoes through clearly when we talk about addressing difficult topics…..the word is fear. Fear of the cancel culture, being labeled, having negative things said about you, and the list goes on. Well, I will tell you all of that can be true.

Assuming the responsibility of being a leader is a big job. If it were so great and easy, everyone would be one! I have been beaten up (not literally, although it felt like it) several times. Remember “the need.” Behavior is driven by need. Always start with why and what. Why are they?… What do they need?…

When you are faced with these situations it is easy to fall in line with similar behaviors of anger. Pause and remember not to take it personally (trust me, I know it is hard). There is always a reason behind the actions and reactions we take to situations we face. Everyone has a story.

I always like to reflect on words from Mother Teresa. She always provides me with the wisdom I “need.”

“See how nature-trees, flowers, grass-grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”~Mother Teresa

The world’s noise can be so loud we cannot hear the sounds of the needs calling from those so close to us. If we are quiet for a few moments, we can clearly hear the sounds coming from their hearts…the need! I hear the call, To be one nation under God. A desire to all live together in peace, harmony–equally in a safe and secure environment.

We have survived so much, won many battles, achieved so much, and have so much more to do together. Listen to the silent voices as they speak. Watch for the ways you can begin to help as you build trusting relationships. Leaders can be found in many places, not always with a title.

Do you have to agree with everything to like someone?

As I began to write, I reviewed what I have done to this point. What am I trying to accomplish? Is anyone reading, do people like what I am writing, and how do I know?

The purpose of my writing is to provide help, support, encouragement, and to gain interest in my writing to publish my book Two Rule School. I am not seeking to make lots of money but to be the solution for others as they seek out answers. We know we get into professional careers of service to serve others, not ourselves.

In my blog title, I ask an essential question that holds people back when looking for solutions. We limit ourselves when we eliminate others because of positions, religious beliefs, political parties they belong to , and biases we place on others.

Opening our minds and hearts provide us with opportunities to see different perspectives on issues to find solutions. It is the egos and wanting to gain power at times that get in the way of the greater good for all.

In order to find solutions, our ears must be used to hear others. Right now leadership is needed more than ever in our society. “In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.”-Marianne Williamson

One of my favorite Presidents is Abraham Lincoln. It is not because of all the things that first come to mind. He was from the Republican party, and many other factors come to mind that contributes to why someone would select him as a favorite. Mine comes from studying him as a child. He failed many times, but he never gave up. He was not that attractive, but he did not care what people said about how he looked. He fought to make things fair for everyone. As a child, this inspired me. I was battling some of these same things. I wanted everyone to be treated fairly; it did not matter how you looked and failed to try again.

We need to look at communities. We have all decided to have a home in a place we call community. However, the community of today is not the same as the communities from many years ago. We do not know who lives next door in most cases.

To begin to pick up the pieces and start healing, we have to reconnect our communities. We need a collective we in our community to grow, start healing, stop violence and start working together to raise together.

Our country is better than anything we have seen since this Covid-19 hit our country. It has placed a tremendous amount of stress, fear, and unrest on us. We need to begin to make a shift to get back together to solve our issues together. We can work in a respectful, peaceful, and logical way.

Start today with understanding your community and its history. Volunteer, get involved with a group, or attend some events. Meet some of the people in your community. Start with your school if you have children, the library, grocery store, and the post office. Many ways to begin to connect!

Thank you for being the solution daily! Let’s connect!

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!

Do you have a sense for solutions?

When we begin to discuss problems, solutions are not the first-word selection used to describe the next steps. Often a few sentences full of explanations, excuses, and finger-pointing or blame are used. When you try to make sense of issues you face, utilizing some of your senses is needed!

Our senses can help with many aspects of our problem-solving and solving issues before they develop into bigger ones. Can you think of a time you utilized your senses to find solutions?

One of my former bosses and mentors told me I was a good listener. As we discussed listening to stories of upset parents or others, we identified how vital listening was to these situations. Individuals needed to “see”; we were “hearing” them.

When you find yourself in a situation where an individual is upset and wants to explain their position, let them. Please provide them with your full attention and listen to them. As they finish, I have a statement I feel is the best way to begin your response. I have shared this with my staff and other leaders; the best way to start is: “I am sorry you feel that way.”

I am sorry you feel that way is a great way to begin. This does not admit blame or acceptance but validates the individual in front of you. You have demonstrated your willingness to listen; you validate them by making the statement, and you have calmed the environment with these steps. The tones are softened; you have touched the individual’s heart by providing full attention and time. Now the solutions can begin.

During the listening, you have taken notes of the content revealed. You can begin to help connect the dots as together you retell the story without high emotions, but with facts to help design a solution to the issue. Always reassuring, understanding and providing a solution helpful to all parties. Pay attention to unspoken language. Your senses help you recognize the needs others are not able to communicate. There is always, as I say, a “trigger” for all of us that flips on our anger.

Our senses provide us with the guidance we need. However, not everyone has all of the senses available to them. When this happens your senses naturally accelerate to compensate for the missing sense. Nature knows the significance of having these to support us in our journey. Our brain is our central control center, activating them.

I have shared before that I survived a near-death accident leaving me with lifelong injuries. I have a traumatic brain injury which leaves me without my sense of smell or taste and also a lack of emotion. There are more damages, but these are hard to accept. However, I have learned to accomodate. The brain is amazing so I do have periods where I may be able to smell an odor if it is strong, taste a very seasoned dish or feel a burst of joy. Never consistently.

My message is to be a leader with a heart. I am thankful each day for all the blessings before, during, and after my car crash. Use all of your resources available to you as you lead and serve. Thank you for being part of the solution daily.

Steps with Senses to Solutions

  • See- Identify the body language of the individual, have personal pictures, collections, or special items identifying yourself
  • Hear- Listen to the individual with full attention.
  • Smell- Utilizing our ability to help reduce stress, provide an environment of comfort, or to keep the area your meeting odor-free for safety. (Fresh flowers as an example)
  • Taste- Candy bowls, other treats, water. Consider having something to offer.
  • Touch- Stress balls, gadgets to hold and move, any items to help with various textures. (clay, sponge, etc.)

In addition to the items above, my office stocked pens, journals, snacks, and anything I found to add! Your office or meeting area should bring out the senses in everyone!

I hope I helped in making sense to solutions using senses.

Message received

Every day, we receive messages from others in many different ways. We also send messages in various ways as well. Managing all of these communications can be overwhelming, but we can also mishandle messages.

What we say, the body language we use, and the tones used to send messages to others. I know for myself, my facial expressions can tell you precisely what I am thinking. At least, that is what I have been told.

All of us enjoyed the treats brought in for our “Feast Friday” in the staff lounge as we were placing more plates and food out, in walks, Lauren.

“I can’t believe we still have her as our Principal. She is the worse we have ever had. She left a note on my desk saying she had been in to check out lesson plans and could not find mine. I am hoping to stop back later today to see them. Really? Doesn’t she have better things to do?”

“I am with you, Lauren; I got one of those little notes too! I am tired of being checked on.”

“I don’t like it either.” “Anyone else has anything to say?”

I left the staff room without saying a word but felt awful. I loved our Principal, and this little negative group was saying horrible things. They should not be doing this. I hate to see them coming. I was a new person on staff, and I just wanted to fit in, but I was having a hard time. I did not know what to do about the “TNT club” (Teachers in Tenure club).

I found the courage to go to speak with the principal about the situation. I explained how everyone contributed to a negative conversation about her, and I did not say anything. I finally left the room.

“I see, ” she says. “You are telling me you stayed and did not say anything to anyone, then left the room.”

“Yes, I did not say anything and left.”

“Oh, but you did say plenty.”

“What, I did not say anything.”

“By not saying anything, you spoke volumes to them. They believe you agree with them.”

Wow, this is a lesson I shared with others every chance I could. I included it with the students. If someone is making fun of someone and you do not say anything to get it to stop, then you are part of the problem as well. Standing by and allowing “bad” things to happen without saying something is a problem.

There is so much to learn about messages. What messages are we sending to others? A great book to read is Kids Deserve It! by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome. In their book, they have this question: “What if we looked for solutions instead of complaining about what’s wrong?” It speaks to me, how about you?

Talk to others to understand how they feel about the messages being sent? A friend of our family often says, “I was transmitting when I should have been receiving.” Listen to hear what is needed. Then take action.

Thank you for being part of the solution daily! After all, Kids Deserve It!