Category: Solution-Focused Leadership

Butterflies mean more

The beauty of nature is impressive to me, and I enjoy it all the time we can appreciate it all. We just had the opportunity to spend nine days with my sister-in-law and her husband in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Each day from our balcony, we saw dolphins jumping, swimming, and diving. In addition, we saw groups of stingrays, pelicans, seagulls, and cranes. Then one evening, we found a baby bat. On our fishing trip, we saw a sea turtle, more dolphins and moon jellyfish, so many little lizards and crabs in the sand. The funniest thing was we had butterflies everywhere we went.

I captured this picture while we were enjoying an outside snack break at a beautiful little cafe’.

We went to dinner and asked a young lady to take our photo. She was so lovely and thoughtful. She shared with us she traveled here often for a vacation. She asked if we liked to read? Everyone looked at me. “Yes, I love it!”

She asked, “Do you know the author Andy Andrews? He is my favorite. He lives somewhere here in Orange Beach.”

I remember reading some of his work, and it hit me, The Butterfly Effect! I enjoyed this book. It is a quick read with a significant impact.

In 1963, Edward Lorenz made a presentation to the New York Academy of Sciences and was literally laughed out of the room. His theory, called the butterfly effect, stated that a butterfly could flap its wings and set air molecules in motion that, in turn, would move other air molecules—which would then move additional air molecules—even- tually becoming able to influence weather patterns on the other side of the planet. “Butterfly effect” theory says that one small change can influence a big change later. The theory leads you to believe we are all connected, and anything is possible.

As we ended the day, my brother-in-law said it was supposed to happen that we met this young lady to remind me about the book. To remember everything we do matters and makes a difference.

How true it is to know everything we do matters! Even if the “Butterfly Effect” can or cannot be scientifically proven, we do know by our choices and actions, change happens. We can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

What can you do today, tomorrow, or the next to have an effect on the lives of others?

Have you ever……

When you are trying to entertain during a long drive on vacation, when there is not a lot to see, you play games. Often we play: I spy with my little eye, something green. Then others take turns guessing what you see.

It is fun to learn about others when you play games. So asking the question, “Have you ever?” So my question today is, have you ever seen a sunrise like this? If you have, where did you see it? This is Gulf Shores, Alabama.

September 2021

Have you ever…….what? We had to travel today to leave our sunsets behind, but we will be home in time to see the sunset at home.

What is your Intention?

One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions for the word “intention” is “a determination to act in a certain way.” As we look at words and their meanings, we often find ourselves thinking of additional ones.

When you think of intention, what do you think of? I think of commitment. We take time to establish goals, make plans, and aim to accomplish. As we look at other words, how do they impact our intention?

We can start with good intentions, but without actions, we will fall short of our intention. Are you intentional with your actions to focus on what is essential?

Students “Don’t Care,” Do they?

Have you heard this, thought this, or said this? As you glance in a classroom, talk to students or staff, you get an idea of this statement.

Sometimes we are quick to place a label on something without further examining the roots to discover a solution. Engagement is our go-to word. Students are not engaged in learning, so they do not care. Whoa, stop! This is a snap judgment call without really diving in to look at solutions.

I have included a link below to a great article from EL Magazine. It is a quick read packed with great insight on how to look at barriers students may have as they face learning.

Standing in front of the class and giving information in hopes students will receive it with learning, as a result, is not a reasonable expectation. Then to think they can take this information and apply it. Well…

Students are not always interested in what we want them to do in the classroom or to learn. This does not mean they do not care. We have not uncovered how to motivate them with their interests, ways of learning, removed barriers or found the right strategies.

Students need clear feedback, a success that is important to them and to know peers are not judging them. Helping students reach their full potential can be accomplished.

http://bit.ly/2WbJ2pK

Thinking vs Knowing

A thinking thought for today!

“There’s a difference in thinking you are a champion and knowing that you are.” Matthew McConaughey

What is the difference?

Is it because you hold a title?

A young mother fights breast cancer and becomes cancer-free. She is a champion. She knows what she has overcome and does not need a title.

How do you describe champions? Please share your thoughts.

It is a no-good, horrible nothing going right kind of day!

Have you ever had a day where nothing seems to go right? How does it make you feel? What do you do to get yourself back on the right track?

When I was little, my mom would tell me it was because I got up on the wrong side of the bed. “But yesterday was fine, and I got up the same way.” It just happens some days. You need to lay back down, take a deep breath, and get up on the other side, thinking positively.

I enjoyed reading the post from Jane Perdue. The link to her post from Lead Change is below on her “everything turns to crud.”

When Everything Turns to Crud

What to do:

When things are not going well…

  • Stop, think about your actions.
  • Take some deep breaths
  • Reflecting
  • Listening to music
  • Painting
  • Do something that helps you relax and refocus
  • Talk to someone you trust

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

If this is your first time reading a post of mine, let me please tell you I am not an ordinary individual who always does things the way you expect them to be done. So….I love Walt Disney, crazy acronyms, inspirational videos, music, and thinking way outside the box people feel comfortable being inside of with no complaints, well, a few. When asked, “Who else has tried this or is doing this?” No one, I don’t follow the paths of others; they follow mine. This needs to be your response to get things going!

I was an Assistant Principal in my hometown middle school with an enrollment of 300. It was not too long that I found myself as Principal of a middle school in a large unit district with an enrollment of 600. A very diverse group of students, low-economic and other challenges the students and families faced to thrive. Staff also faced many challenges as they had administrative changes often and did not have opportunities to connect for sustainability. The first words I thought of when I looked at the big picture for all of them was: relationships, trust, connections, and solutions. They all had been through so much and needed the essential foundations to build. We needed solutions that would not be complicated, simple to apply, gave all of us ownership, but most importantly, trust in ourselves, peers, staff, and community.

It takes work, time, and effort to make this kind of climate and culture change. It does not happen on day one. Consistency in what you say and do, today, tomorrow, and every day after. Believe entirely in what you are doing because the perspective of others is what counts in making the change!

On day one with the students, I asked them all to the gymnasium to sit in the bleachers to introduce myself. I asked all staff to leave. Say what? The looks on the faces of the staff matched that of the students. “This lady is crazy; she is not going to make it on day one!” I repeated, “It is okay staff, Take a 10-minute break.” Finally, they began to move. I could still see them standing in the outer hallway. Did they not trust the kids or me? Maybe both of us?

I raised my hand. I started asking kids to raise theirs. Soon everyone had their hands raised. No one was talking but looking at me, all 600. This is how I start to speak. I will raise my hand; you do the same and look at me with no talking so we can begin. I trust and respect you, so I do not want to yell. Could you show the same to me by following this procedure? Hands down

This is when I also tell them about only having two rules. We will talk more about how to implement these at a different time.

“How many of you looked in the mirror today? Come on; it is middle school. I know you did! In our main hallway, you will find a mirror I placed there. I will place some particular messages around it each week, so when you look in the mirror, you can think about my message.”

The one for this week is:

“Mind is a flexible mirror, adjust it, to see a better world.”

Amir Ray

I was placed here to be your Principal. Many people from my hometown thought I had done something wrong. I asked why? They said because this was a horrible school. No way. It is not, and we will show you!

Now, please think about their perspective. People have a perspective that this school is not good. I am looking at you and know we can change that perspective. All we have to do is make a few adjustments in their minds to see through the mirror the greatness inside this school. It will take trust, connecting with our community, building relationships, and working on solutions. This will take time, effort, and hard work, but this will be the best school ever!

Active lessons in the halls

The mirror in the hallway costs $3.00 on clearance. It was one of those dorm room mirrors for doors. It worked out perfectly in our hallway, hanging horizontally. All students passed this intersection so they could all look in the mirror and receive my message. I am happy to help you with messaging if you have a specific area you want to address. It did help and was successful, along with a few other things we did. Our staff, students, families, and community worked hard to turn this school around to find success.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, what do you see? Students and staff working to achieve!

  • “The mirror reflects what you want to see, but those who see you reflect on what they see.”-Brenda Yoho
  • Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.
  • “Reflect what you want others to see and be.”-Brenda Yoho
  • Mirrors don’t lie. They only show part of the truth.
  • “What you see in others has more to do with you than them!”-Brenda Yoho
  • “Your words are a mirror of your character; choose them carefully.”-Venkat Desireddy

Imagine, what words would you choose?

In 2004 Rolling Stones labeled John Lennon’s song Imagine the third greatest song of all time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_Stone%27s_500_Greatest_Songs_of_All_Time The list was updated again in 2010, and it remains in its same ranked position.

I have utilized the theme of “Imagine” several times over my career in education in different settings and ways. It is a timeless vision of hope and inspiration. The word has been used in the last couple of years as “re-imagine” to view how things already established should be changed. Could manipulating the word imagine like this take the elements of hope and inspiration away?

I am guilty of getting caught up in the overuse of word verbiage and trying to do catchy phrasing to grab the attention of others. Creativity should never risk the foundation of the meaning. Imagine is creating “new ideas.” We need foundations as a world to stand on for us to begin to live as one.

The song Imagine by Lennon was recorded in 1971. During this year, society was feeling the turmoil of the ’60s as demonstrations were being held against the Vietnam War. Apollo 15 landed on the moon. Gloria Steinem spoke in America at the feminist movement. A hectic time in society.

Looking at our society today, we are living and feeling turmoil as well. We have experienced demonstrations, an established Space Force now, and a “Me too” movement to support women’s healing involved in sexual violence. In addition, dealing with a global pandemic, mistrust in government, clear divisions, continued rise of social and mental health needs, and the list could continue. Parents are apprehensive about their children’s education during this time of shutdowns, mask mandates, vaccination mandates, curriculum modifications, and how to address the needs of all children.

Music and education reflect what happens in society during the points of time in history. One of my favorite songs is Heal the World by Michael Jackson; he released it in 1991. It is a beautiful song and reminder of clips of history we have overcome but still work to keep moving forward in making things better for the next generation. This short video clip of Kids United is from 2016.

If you could write a song for today to help inspire those worldwide, what would be the key phrases you would use? Would you please share a few thoughts and impressions? I look forward to words of encouragement, wisdom, inspiration, and more!

A foundational piece we can stand on to move forward with improvements for the next generation and to fuel our souls with hope begins with_________________.