Three Steps to Resilience

The Three Keys to Resilience

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Photo by Yugal Srivastava on Pexels.com

I’ve often wondered what the difference is between those who are able to bounce forward from adversity versus those who get bogged down by their challenges. I recently stumbled upon the work of Martin Seligman, the “grandfather” of positive psychology. He states that there are three keys to resilience (that can be taught) that contribute to a more positive outlook on life.

  1. Personalization “It’s all my fault” – Someone who encounters difficult times may tell themselves the story that they are to blame for the hardships they endure. Resilient individuals tend to recognize that challenges are part of life and not their fault. Do you often find that you blame yourself for the hard knocks? What if you depersonalized your struggle?
  2. Permanence “I will always feel this way. Things will never change”- Despair is the belief that things will always be the way they are. Hope is the belief that there will be a better tomorrow. When you believe that your circumstances can change, you develop a more resilient mindset. Tell yourself: “This is temporary. This will not last forever. I can get through this tough period.”
  3. Pervasiveness “Bad luck always happens to me” – Pervasiveness in the context of resilience is the belief that bad luck will permeate every corner of your life and that you are predestined to be a victim to it. What if you challenged the notion that challenges permeate every aspect of your existence by seeking out the good. Gratitude practice is a great way to counter the negative effects of adversity. What’s good right now?

 

E 60: Supporting Students through Learning Challenges (With Delphine Rule)

 

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/kindsight-101/id1412489005?mt=2

Have you ever wondered what to do when a child in your class has a learning disability? How does one adequately ensure that the child maintains a strong sense of self, in spite of the fact that he or she may feel as though he/she is losing a race. What about parents? How do we support parents in navigating the rocky terrain related to having a child with learning difficulties? If you’ve ever taught or had a child with learning challenges, you’re going to love this conversation. You’ll learn some of the practical adaptations you can do at home and school. You’ll also learn the one thing you’ll need heading into a parent-teacher conference.

Delphine Rule is the mother of three children, two of whom have ADHD as well as learning disabilities. And she, herself, has a learning disability. She has spent the last 14 years working with students with learning challenges, both in and out of the classroom. Parents often have questions that are not always answered. Her goal is to be that support and sounding board for families through Access to Education.

https://www.access2education.com/about

 

One of the videos mentioned in the podcast…

 

E 59 – Trauma, Meat Trays, and Bottom Hands Only

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If you want to make a big impact on those around you, to truly make positive change in your school, workplace, and community, check out this game-changing episode with the one and only, Dr. Jody Carrington!

In this episode, we talk about trauma, ways to connect with the kids in our lives, and some of the ways we can take care of ourselves along the way.

Jody is a passionate believer in the power of the relationship with the people
we love, lead, and teach. Her favorite thing on the planet to do is to speak with
educators – they have the power to change the trajectory of a life every single day.
It is time, she believes, that we need to start focusing less on Kids These Days, and
more on those of you who hold them. The core of everything she speaks and writes
about comes down to this: We are wired to do hard things. We can do those hard
things so much easier when we remember this: We are wired for connection.

Jody Carrington is a clinical psychologist, mom, wife, author, minor hockey coach, and game changer. She grew up in rural Alberta and was inspired by a teacher, way back when, to pursue a career in psychology. She received her undergraduate degree (with distinction) from the University of Alberta, and her Masters Degree and PhD from the University of Regina, in Saskatchewan, Canada.
After completing her residency in Nova Scotia, Canada, she spent ten years working at the Alberta Children’ Hospital on the Mental Health In- and Day Treatment Units in Calgary. After having an (impressive) three babies in two years, she and her (lucky) husband Aaron moved to rural Alberta, where they currently live. There she runs a small private practice, is growing her business of changing the world, and raising her sweet babes.

You can find her on social media by searching Dr. Jody Carrington (and join her on Facebook/Instagram Live on Sundays at 8pm CST) or at www.drjodycarrington.com

Become a Connection Ninja

Become a Connection Ninja

In this growing global world, it continues to be more and more important to create meaningful connections with those with whom we work, live and play.  I recently had the pleasure of interviewing David Knapp-Fisher, who has been nicknamed the Connection Ninja. He shared 4 easy tips for making the most of your interactions in order to live a meaningful, service filled life.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  1. When you engage with someone new, it’s important that you greet them first. Say “hi”, ask them some questions, be authentically interested in who they are!
  2. Offer some support in terms of getting them closer to their own goals. This doesn’t necessarily mean offering to help them move their house on the weekend or babysitting their kids all the time. It can be as simple as offering the title of a helpful book you read or forwarding a powerful podcast that aligns with what they love.
  3. Ask for help. That’s right! In order to push along a reciprocal relationship, it’s a good idea to ask them for help. Maybe they have expertise about something you don’t. Perhaps they’ve learned how to plan a trip to place you’d like to go. It could even be as simple as asking them to give you some feedback regarding a project you’re working on.
  4. Finally, this is often the part that people neglect. Circle back to them. You may have had lofty ambitions to connect in the future…how did that go? Did you follow through? A quick email or check-in text can go a long way in solidifying your new connection.

When I think about the skills we need to be teaching our students in preparation for this uncertain world, connection is an important one. How might you weave these 4 tips into your practice as an educator, leader or parent?

 

When You Lose Your Work…

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I’d like to wager that

every.

single.

person.

has likely experienced the bone-chill that accompanies the realization that the one thing into which you’ve been diligently pouring your blood, sweat, and tears…has vanished.

Forever.

Sometimes, all it takes is a single, fateful moment to undo hours, days, weeks, months, or even years of work, to delete precious and irreplaceable memories, or for achingly important items to go missing.

For example:

  • The near-complete set of report card comments you spend days crafting…poof.
  • Your computer crashes and important documents…gone.
  • The passport you need to board the plane back home… still sitting on the small round coffee table adjacent to the room service menu.
  • The one-of-a-kind baby photos you’ve been meaning to transfer from your phone to your computer…only a distant memory after a clumsy juggling act at your front door.

You get the picture…well, actually not any more.

Too soon?

In moments like those, my breath catches and my chest tightens, skin bristling with kinetic potential fueled by adrenaline. Frozen in time, I can sense the ever-quickening shallowness of my inhalations.

Have you ever mindfully noticed how your body reacts when it’s in panic mode?

It’s fascinatingly similar in likeness to your body being remotely occupied like a desktop computer by some tech assistant from a faraway land, who speaks an unrecognizable language, and keeps instructing you to do things you feel incapable of doing.

In other words, it’s easy to feel completely out of control.

In rapid succession, within the space of one week, three fairly-devastating events took place, delivering me to the very brink of my patience, and if I’m really honest, my sanity.

1. Just yesterday, while in the process of attempting to relocate and move my classroom resources after an extended parenthood leave, it dawned on me that due to a communication error more than 75% of my boxes had completely disappeared. Permanently. (Deep, deep freakin’ breath.)

2. Last week, after having had one of the most incredibly rewarding, gold-mine podcast interviews with a very VIP guest, my computer glitched, the software we were using to stage and record the call crashed unexpectedly and with it went the full hour-and-a-half interview. (Cue panicked hyperventilation.)

3. And, finally, yesterday morning, no sooner had the coffee touched my sleep-deprived lips, did I hear: “Moooooommmmmmyyy!”  To my horror, I discovered one of my blessed angels with ball-point-pen in hand and devious grin on face. There, laying face-up on our couch was the defaced page of Daniel Pink’s freshly-minted library-edition book I had meaning to dig into. (ARGH!!! Seriously, people?) The irony was not lost on me when upon closer inspection, the joyous scribbling had been contained to the opening page of the book, a quote:

 “Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.” -Miles Davis

 

Was it a sign? Perhaps. With the intention of purchasing the book, I ripped the page out with purpose, and taped the quote to my fridge. Thank you, Miles Davis for the timely reminder of what truly matters in this world.

Although I may have lost some really important, seemingly irreplaceable items in short succession, the really important things in life will always remain intact.

These moments provide opportunities for deep practice in patience, letting go of our attachment to things, forgiveness (of self and others), adaptability, or at the very least, resisting the temptation to unleash unrelenting fury on the world.

Nestled within the struggle of ‘opportunities’ is the ability to rebuild a foundation that is even stronger than before.

Epilogue:

  1. Due to the generous nature of my podcast guest (and some reconfiguring of technical equipment), I was able to reschedule and rerecord the interview. I’d like to say that it was even better than the first.
  2. Those lost boxes enable me to enter a more minimalist approach to teaching, one I had always been meaning to adopt, anyway. No day like the present, I guess.
  3. In a way, I’m grateful for the quote. It was worth the $30 to be reminded to stay present in the now. It’s all we really ever have.

 

Power of Moments

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What makes for a powerful, memorable moment, in school or otherwise? Naturally, we all seek to be memorable. Nobody dreams of living an unremarkable life. We all want to be special to somebody. Some of us seek accolades from the masses, while others seek to be important to just a select few. That’s part of what makes us all so unique. We can all agree that there are magic moments that permeate our lives, but the tricky thing is creating magic, memorable moments for those we seek to serve. How do we make ourselves and the experiences we offer those around us, remarkable enough to make an indelible mark on our souls?

I recently read the incredible book The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath, which outlined an easy-to-follow framework for creating remarkable memories.

Here’s the framework:

E: Elevate – Rise above the every day

Rise above the every day by marking transitions in special ways (100th day of school, 50th book read), building peaks, sensory appeal, raising the stake, and creating an element of surprise for the people you seek to serve.

P: Pride – Build in a sense of buy-in and pride

Celebrate those who have worked hard to achieve their goals! Help them to see their growth. Help them to develop affiliations with you and your tribe. The #1 reasons people leave their jobs is a lack of recognition. Break tasks into small and measurable goals…celebrate every milestone. Always be appreciating and noticing people…but know whether they want the recognition to be quiet or public (that’s important to note, especially with kids). The tribe’s win is everybody’s win!

I: Insight – Help people to learn about themselves in a supportive environment 

We tend to want to protect people from risk, but discomfort is where growth lies.

High standards + Assurance + Direction + Support = Insight

C: Connection

When we share our positive and negative moments together, lifting one another up and celebrating one another’s successes, it solidifies the bonds we have in a group. We feel tied to one another on a neuro-chemical level.

 

How might you apply these four pillars to create powerful moments for those you serve?

#26: What you Can Say to Help Someone Living with Cancer (Hint #1: Say Something…Don’t Avoid the Topic) (with Genevieve Stonebridge)

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Cancer is a far-reaching, often-devastating illness that touches everyone either directly or indirectly. Oftentimes, navigating grief and loss can be complicated and confusing, especially for children. In this surprisingly uplifting episode, you’ll hear from a very special guest about her personal experience living through Cancer at the age of 18, how the experience enabled her to gain a unique perspective on the effects of cancer on families, and actionable ways teachers can support children affected by the disease.

Through her positive storytelling approach, you’ll learn the 7 specific needs that well-children (specifically siblings) require in order to develop resilience in the face of familial cancer. This is such an important conversation; I hope you learn as much as I did!

Genevieve Stonebridge is a clinical counsellor (RCC) at InspireHealth (www.inspirehealth.ca) supportive cancer care, as well as at Rise Health (www.risehealth.ca).

She is devoted to creating safe and inspiring places for people to explore their experiences. This includes holding space for both the suffering and joys of life. With compassion, creativity and openness she believes in meeting patients wherever they are at. She is passionate about helping people explore their relationships with themselves, their loved ones and their bodies.

Her research thesis entitled, You Matter: Retrospectively Exploring the Needs of Adolescents who had a Sibling with Cancer developed into a short film called [You Matter][1]. You Matter succinctly summarizes her research in a digestible way for the general public and was accepted to premiere at the 2015 Boston International Kids Film Festival. For more information check out (https://siblingsyoumatter.squarespace.com/)
Genevieve lives in Victoria with her husband. She loves good quotes, gardening, dinner parties, random acts of kindness and pondering the meaning of life on the bluffs of Dallas road.

The seven needs are:
1. Familial social connection
2. Acknowledgement and attention
3. Clear communication and information
4. Validating difficult emotions
5. Emotional support for the well-sibling (coaches/teachers)
6. The need to be a kid (help with the losses of childhood)
7. The opportunity for Humour and lightheartedness
For more information about [Genevieve’s Video and the 7 needs][2] she identified visit my website [smallactbigimpact.com][3] and search for episode #26.

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNHt54zUtAU
[2]: https://www.childhoodcancer.ca/sibling-support
[3]: http://smallactbigimpact.com

#25: How Sleeping on the Streets Taught These Students an Unforgettable Lesson About Homelessness (with Alan Barwin)

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In this episode, you’ll hear how sleeping on the streets taught these grade 8 students an unforgettable lesson about homelessness. I interview a passionate middle school teacher to learn how he was able to navigate understandable constraints to implement such a dramatic real-life lesson in empathy and how you can bring elements of his approach you’re your practice. You’ll also hear from three students whose lives were forever changed as a result of their experience. Get ready for your mind to be blown by this assumption-busting episode.

Alan Barwin is a teacher at Central Middle School in Victoria Canada, where he specializes in Grade 8 French Immersion, Media and Social Justice and Outdoor and Environmental Education. Activities like the annual Grade 8 overnight trip to the Juan de Fuca Trail, connecting with the local homeless community, and fundraising and awareness building campaigns for social justice causes are now part of the fabric of his school.

When not teaching, Alan can be found exploring the wilds of Vancouver Island by canoe, kayak and foot, reading and writing, and spending time with his wife, Pam, and their three daughters. For more information visit my website smallactbigimpact.com and search for episode #25.

For more information check out my website [smallactbigimpact.com][1]

[1]: http://smallactbigimpact.com

 

E 35: But, I’m Not Indigenous: How to Explore Indigenous Ways of Learning, Authentically (with Adrienne Gear)

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With the advent of more ethically-conscious curricula that challenge the outdated colonialist outlook on history, educators are more responsible than ever for carefully and accurately talking about cultures and ways of knowing that may not be personally familiar to us. In light of the Canadian government’s reconciliation efforts with indigenous people, the way we teach has to reflect a more culturally conscious approach.

“But, I’m not indigenous,” many people say. “How do I teach about indigenous culture?”

In this conversation, you’ll learn specific lessons, books, and approaches to teaching indigenous ways of knowing in an authentic, integrated way. Hope you enjoy this short, illuminating mini-episode with my esteemed guest, Adrienne Gear. Be sure to check out her full-length treasure trove interviews (E #9 and #10)AdrienneGear_600x480-300x240

Adrienne Gear has been a teacher in the Vancouver School district in Canada for over 18 years working as a classroom teacher, ESL teacher, teacher librarian and District Literacy Mentor. Adrienne developed Reading Power almost 10 years ago and has been since working with teachers in many districts throughout the province presenting workshops, giving demonstration lessons and facilitating Reading Power leadership teams. She has also presented workshops in the United States.

She is the author of six bestselling books including, Reading Power and Writing Power, and has just completed her sixth book Powerful Understanding : Helping Students Explore, Question, and Transform Their Thinking about Themselves, Others, and the World. Find her online on her website  or on social media by searching Adrienne Gear.
For more information about her books, book lists, blog, resources and workshops visit her blog.

#24: The Trauma-Informed School Making Waves Across the World (with Mathew Portell)

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Have you ever wondered how to authentically hold space for students who have experienced adverse trauma, uphold a successful results-based academic program, and maintain your sanity? Well, you are in for a treat. My guest has been featured on a number of viral educational videos for the incredible work his school is doing to realize the trauma-informed schools movement. In this episode we discuss 7 keys to developing student leadership and agency, creative ways to reduce compassionate burnout in teachers, specific strategies for developing growth mindset in our students, and explore two proven transformational strategies for reaching at-risk students within your classroom. Please enjoy this conversation.

Mathew Portell has dedicated over a decade to education in his role as a teacher, instructional coach, teacher mentor, and school administrator. He is currently in his third year as principal of Fall-Hamilton Elementary, a nationally recognized innovative model school for trauma-informed school practices in Metro Nashville Public Schools. National Public Radio, Edutopia amongst other organizations have highlighted the school’s work.

In 2008, he combined his passion for literacy and cycling and founded the local double award winning non-profit Ride for Reading. The organization promotes literacy and healthy living through the distribution of more than 500,000 books via bicycle to underserved children. Portell also heads up Paradigm Shift Education which is focused on providing professional learning experience to assist in creating or cultivating a trauma informed school culture.

You can find him on social media by searching his name. For more information visit my website [smallactbigimpact.com][1] and search for episode #24.
[1]: http://smallactbigimpact.com