Category: Critical Thinking

Measuring Meaningfulness

I constantly measure the meaningfulness of the messages I send, the information I share, and how I impact those who choose to read my posts. I intend to always help with driving solution-focused thinking and increasing the positives we share in day-to-day interactions.

One thing missing is an opportunity for others to share what they would like me to focus on to help them in what they are doing. I want to pause and organize this blog to work for those who need it to work for them. My idea is to dedicate each day to a particular topic. Examples could be: Monday: Motivation, Inspiration, Meetings Tuesday: Teaching, Thoughts, Talking Points, Communication Wednesday: Wisdom, Wit, Things to Ponder Thursday: Takeaways, Things to Share, Activities for team building Friday: Facts, Factors, Leadership Saturday: Solutions, Strategies, Plans. Sunday: Spiritual, Social-Emotional, Mental Health

Maybe you don’t want to read something daily. What if you wanted something in one post? If this is your desire, what day would you choose to receive it, and what do you need the content to include?

Be the solution daily is for you. I want to thank all of my followers and those who have invested their time. Starting today, I will take a two-week break while I gather information on the direction of this blog.

Keep being the solution daily for all as we serve others in making the world better one day at a time.

Quotes and thoughts

I enjoy reading quotes. One of my favorite things is to see a quote and then see others’ responses to the quote. So many thoughts, ideas, and wisdom are shared. Here are a few to review…

Share your thoughts. Do you have a favorite quote you use? What is one that helps you the most? I have a few, but would love to know others.

Turning Gears into Action

One of my first posts was about gears. I made this reference as it was part of the original writing in my book. I did not know everything I needed to know about publishing a book. So even though my gears were turning, I did not have all of the ones I needed to move forward successfully. A rewrite was done, and it will be coming out soon I hope.

The goal I have is to help other leaders in their journeys of success. I will share all of my information, ideas, practices, actions, and everything I have with those who want to continue to be the solution daily for those they serve. Today I want to revisit the thought of gears as you begin to develop an action plan to address your planned improvements.

I utilized my conversations with my husband to talk about the motors he worked on for companies and local farmers, as they compare to the work in education. The importance of these motors for the work being done is critical to the whole process. If one gear is not working, damage can happen, and work is stopped. A farmers’ work depends on the weather conditions; it is critical to get back to work when the weather is good. In education, we weather all of the storms that come our way.

In our educational system, we have gears as well that are critical to the work we do. I divided the gears into the following:

  • Leadership
  • Instruction
  • Curriculum
  • Assessments
  • Professional Learning/Collaboration
  • Culture/Climate
  • Communication
  • Community/Partnerships
  • Systems/Program Evaluation

Gears are connected to a shaft. This cylinder shaped piece of rotating machine element, is used to transmit power from one part to another, or from a machine which produces power to a machine which absorbs power. Compare this to your organization.

Gears are the identified areas of focus. Our focused areas are those in need of attention to produce the successful energy we need. Often my husband has spent time completing a rewind of motors because they have burnt up and need an overhaul. Sometimes they are beyond repair and are scrapped out. New motors are purchased if it is cheaper to do this than to fix the motor.

In education, it seems at times we have situations or things that are beyond repair. However, we cannot scrap them out and purchase new things. We have to make adjustments to try to make it work. I can think of textbooks, programs and curriculum. We spend a great deal of money, time, and energy in the selection of these materials. Our budgets do not allow us to throw things out. However, when new shiny things are the buzz, we through out and turn our attention to the new. Examples could be: Whole Language, Touch Math, Cursive Writing, Phonics, Sight Words and more.

We intend that we will produce enough energy our students will absorb the learning. However, it is not the energy from the materials and tools but those teaching our students producing the energy. It is when our students are engaged and have ownership in their learning the energy sparks.

The shaft is our mission as a foundation. It is what we are doing defined by our vision. Our vision is inspirational and connects emotionally with what we do. A well-oiled, lubricated, or greased machine keeps it turning. This is our values and beliefs. Working together and turning in the right direction is fueled by families, communities, and stakeholders. We have focused leaders, collaborating staff, engaged families, supportive community, and stakeholders, producing achieving students as outcomes are the results.

As you begin your work, identify your focus areas. Which gears do you have in your plan? What do you think at first glance needs your attention first? Be careful not to burn out all of your bags and destroy your shaft. Some things are not repairable, and we do not have enough time to repair them all. We cannot afford to throw anything out.

Counting on you to be the solution for those you serve today as they will serve tomorrow!

Transforming before us

Noise

Can you hear it?

The “white noise” of the world “darkens” the “brightness” of our thoughts, deafening our ears preventing us from hearing the wisdom of our father.

Vision

Can you see it?

Our vision is “clouded” by the distortion of the images presented as we question softly with muffled replies of lies. We are transforming; we are patterns in a world being changed unrecognized by our eyes. The sounds become louder, the sights become larger, and our world became smaller as we seek less from it.

Core

Do you know it?

Do not conform to a world, but renew your mind. Morals, values, beliefs, and united together as one are what needs to be done. We live where a click of a button identifies us as a follower in the social media world, limiting the idea of leadership. Where are the leaders?

Yesterday we lived, it is gone, but lessons remain. We cannot live backward, only forward with lessons to apply. The mirror reflects an image of the one who can choose for today to stand to prepare for tomorrow. Live for today, conquer fears no matter the fractures created, focus on the future, the unfailing love for faith, family, and the country as we prevail. The choice, of course, is always yours to make; the solution daily is the one we hope you make.

Reimagine? Imagine? What do these words mean?

As a leader, I heard the use of the word “reimage” by our technology department. They used this to describe their summer work. Each computer in our district would be “reimaged” with new software, updates, and clean-up to be ready for the new school year. So is this what people are talking about when they say they want to “reimagine” something?

I do not think we can “reimagine” without first “imagine.” Imagination is the beginning. When we “imagine,” we form a mental image of something or believe the unreal is authentic, like a ghost. My favorite is Casper, but the rest of my family enjoys all of that scary stuff!

Can you imagine? This phrase expresses a surprise or poses a question in a song to stretch your thinking in questioning what you believe. John Lennon is legendary for Imagine!

I can only imagine. What does this mean, besides one of my favorite songs by Mercy Me? It seems to be the lesson I am learning is imagination is the most important in creative thinking and spiritual hope.

Imagination is where creativity lives. Individuals who can imagine can create worlds for others to escape to as they work their wonders. Walt Disney World is my favorite example. Did you know employees are called “Imagineers”? These are the illustrators, architects, engineers, lighting designers, show writers, and graphics designers. These individuals create, work, and others help with construction and more work to make the magic. There is physical work to making imagination come true.

So to “reimagine” something, you have to imagine first. When you imagine, it does not become absolute until someone makes it, does the work, creates it, and it becomes something. None of this tells us if it is good, bad, better, horrible, or excellent. We just imagined it.

All of this talk can be so confusing for everyone trying to follow this jargon. Dressing language up to be something different does not make it different when the foundation is needed to begin.

Today I will imagine all of those who read my posts will help me in being the solution daily as we “reimagine” a world where we live together as one. Let’s work to make it happen!

Choose Possibility

It is always exciting to me to begin a new book. I read something every day. I started reading The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.

As I began the journey with them, it did not take long to identify the pages were full of thoughts, perspectives, and words engaging with passion for orchestrating a deeper look sure to inspire!

In the first few pages, the thought that circumstances in our life that seem to prevent us from doing things in our daily life may only appear to stop us based on our assumptions. “Draw a different frame around the same set of circumstances, and new pathways come into view. Find the right framework and extraordinary accomplishments becomes an everyday experience.”-The Art of Possibility

This book provides different approaches and practices to help all of us bring the possibility to life. The authors share the famous dot puzzle. Try it out for yourself. The puzzle asks you to join all nine dots with four straight lines, without taking pen or pencil from the paper.

So the greatest lesson of the nine-dot problem is to “think outside the box”. When it comes to truly creative problem solving there is no box.

The solution is in this short video clip. https://youtu.be/XrwnrpFVugw

“More often than not in history is a record of conflict between an Us and a Them. We see this pattern expressed across a broad spectrum: nation to nation, among political parties, between labor and management, and in the most intimate realms of our lives. What framework will transform us AND those whose claims on resources, territory, and the “truth” are irreconcilable with ours? What can we invent that will take us from an entrenched posture of hostility to one of enthusiasm and deep regard?”

It is time to move into togetherness and begin to tell the We story. Working together in the way a family does to reveal a story to tell. All of the doubts, fears, struggles and competition disappear to reveal the courage needed to join individuals together to start the practice of we.

What do we want to do? How can we make a positive impact on the lives of others today? We need to have a solution-focused view with a mindset of being the solution daily. We can achieve many things together as WE have a story to tell.

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!