Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Waiting for Superman?

Einstein would be shaking his head in disbelief to see that we are still doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results!

Kudos to those behind the making of the documentary Waiting for Superman! I haven't even seen the movie yet, although I will, but the clips that I and others have seen have certainly started a conversation... and that's a really good thing!

The question is what kind of conversation are we having? It's not about taking sides, judging, pointing fingers or casting seems to me that this movie is serving a greater purpose than just exposing the changes needed in the education's much much bigger than that!

This film is a gigantic wake-up call for all of us...not just teachers, not just parents...but for all of us to become aware of and take responsibility of how we are showing up for our kids...what kind of role models we are.

We all do the best we can...I don't believe there are 'bad' teachers or 'bad' parents...we all have a good and not so good side to us and which side we choose to behave from is a choice we make. The unfortunate part is that in most cases we make that choice unconsciously.

So let's keep having the conversations that this movie is evoking, however, if you ask me, the most important conversation we can have is the one we have with ourselves...examining our own behavior more consciously, making the shifts that so many headlines are pointing for us to make, letting go of the hypocrisy and just start focusing on being the change that we have been condemning others for not being!

We're all a work in progress... ;o)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shall we dance?

Did you know that most kids think that the adults in their lives aren't happy? I don't know about you but I think we need to change that perception!

Now I know we all have stuff going on in our lives, but many of us may not be aware of how we wear it everyday like a fitted suit! We can just as easily change gears and pull a different suit out of our of happiness, and the fastest way I know how to get there is by dancing!!

I was watching Ellen DeGeneres yesterday as I do when have time because every time I watch her show I laugh...out loud! She is so funny and as many of you know, she loves to dance!

Well as I listened, she tongue and cheekily (a word?) was taking credit for the dance movement that seems to have taken over our television screens in the recent years because before her, shows like Dancing with the Stars and So you think you can dance didn't exist!

But it's true...true that there is a growing dance movement and I for one am on that train... just ask my kids, although they would probably prefer that I curtail my movement when they have their friends over!

Dancing is a great way to shake things up...literally and figuritively, as in our mood. Just try to be stressed while your doin' a little jig...can't happen!

So today why not give it a try...lighten up a bit and bring out your inner John Travolta or Tina Turner and dance like nobody's watching even though they are!

Let's show them we're not a bunch of wall flowers after all! Here's to being a happy role model! :o)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Creating a Positive Culture

(x) + (y) = z     I recently did a presentation for a group of high school teachers and I used this math equation as an example to build the awareness of how we can create a more positive culture...not only in our classrooms and schools but a home as well.

I know math wasn't everyone's favorite subject like it was for me, but I promise, it's not a hard concept to get! Z represents the culture we're creating and the (y) reflects kids/students  behaviors and attitudes.

So I plugged numbers into the equation (x) + (y) = z  on the white board giving these two examples:
(2) + (-5) = -3    and   (6) + (-3) = +3

It was pretty clear to see that the outcome of a positive or negative culture (z) was dependent on the X matter how negative the (y) factor was....a variable which we can't control!

I think you can figure out where I'm going with this...the (x) is us...the adults...role models and we're in control of only one positive we are.

Even without doing the math, we know that we can't create a positive culture if we are negative...the math example was just a little reminder which we can all use every now and again :o)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Are you getting the thumbs up?

We all do our best but some days, depending on which side of the bed we rolled out of, we could maybe use a little tweeking as we show up in our day as role models. The term role model in and of itself is neutral...the positive or negative slant depends on us!

It's not just parents like me, teachers, sports coaches or others who work with kids who should be mindful of what they're putting out there! We might not have our own kids...we might be aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, neighbors or the grocery clerk at the check out that frequently has children around them.

Most of us probably don't know where we stand from their point of view, so what if you took a big breath and asked them if they would give you a thumbs up or down in whatever role you play in their lives...what do you think the answer would be?

Now don't beat yourself up or anything...sometimes it may be up and others down....but the way to getting more 'up' days on the calendar is to ask them why they voted the other way! (Actually keeping track on a calendar isn't a bad idea !)

Hope to connect soon on my new facebook page a great resource with information and inspiration to get a thumbs up everyday!

I hope today is a thumbs up day for you!! :o)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Young Role Models

Most of my time is spent creating the awareness of how we as adults can be the best role models we can be for kids! But there is a growing number of kids and young students who are being amazing role models!

My daughter had an amazing experience through the Free the Children foundation this past summer as she travelled to Kenya with a group of students to help with the Clean Water Projects and the construction of a library among many other events. I was so impressed with the organization that I wanted to help bring more awareness to We Day

Free The Children’s We Day is more than just one day of celebration and inspiration. It’s a one-of-a-kind event and part of an innovative year-long program created to celebrate the power of young people to create positive change in the world.

The dates are almost here...Toronto - Sept. 30th   Vancouver - Oct. 15th   Montreal - Nov. 12th!

These kids are going to change the world... help them reach their goal of 1 million likes on facebook!    Talk about role models!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Being Happy

Do you ever wonder what your purpose in life is? It's a common conversation that takes place around dinner tables, water coolers, amongst friends and sometimes in our own heads!

Yesterday I was reminded, yet again, that we all share a common purpose and that is to be happy...joyful! For some it seems like a given and to others it may sit at the bottom of their list.

Years ago I had polled some seventh & eighth graders and asked them if they thought that the adults in their their life were happy and how they knew if they were or weren't. As I reviewed their answers it was very clear that the adults in their life were unhappy the majority of the time and in turn it made the kids feel sad and unhappy as well.

I guess this gives credence to the phrase, "If mom ain't happy no one is!"

Life ebbs and flows...that's just the way it is! Some days 'stuff ' happens and other days run smoothly, but how we respond to life's challenges and allow our happiness to erode in reaction to them teaches the kids around us to also be that way.

No matter what is going on in life, we can still choose to be happy and that's one of the best lessons we can teach our kids!

Hope you have many Water off a duck's back days!

Jo-Anne :0)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Banana Blunder

Being present...really present with who we're with or what we're doing in any given moment is something that many of us are striving for yet struggle with.

I'm still laughing at myself (a very healthy thing to do!) as I had one of those struggling moments this morning!

As I was preparing my breakfast I was cutting up some fruit and got a rather simple yet clear message that I was not being very present.

As I peeled my banana I started to slice it up and didn't notice that not only did I put the peel in the compost bin but I was slicing the banana into it as well!

Once I caught myself I just started to laugh...where was I that I didn't notice until the end of the banana that it wasn't going into my bowl?

I managed to salvage most of it as I rinsed the coffee grounds off some of the pieces :)

This may seem like a silly example but can you imagine, if we are this unconscious (I know I'm not alone here!) in these seemingly inconsequential moments in our day, what the impact would be if we did the same thing with our kids?

So here's to a very present day and have some fun with it by keeping track of how many times you catch yourself not being quite all there!