What Matters Mondays – Nov 30, 2015

November 30th, 2015 by admin Leave a Comment

Today I want to tell you the most incredible thing about doing values work in groups with young people. A few weeks ago, I had a group of girls and we spent time talking about what values are and why they matter, and then they spent time finding each girl’s top 10 values. They made their value fans with their words and then we sat in a circle and shared.

The first thing I always ask is for each girl to share her top 10 words aloud with the others. When I do this, my purpose is for other girls to build connection and understanding with the girl speaking. I ask them to really listen as each word is listed. They connect when they realize, “We have that in common,” or when they think,“That’s cool, I didn’t know that about you” and then they get curious and want to know more. But they also create understanding when they think, “I think I get you when you do/say_________”. That’s what I want. I want the youth to see, understand and connect in a way they never have before. It’s so amazing to watch.

Secondly, I ask them which value is easiest for them to live each day. You instantly see the smiles as they acknowledge how awesome it feels to live their values. As they share, there is laughter and smiles. And the other girls often comment saying things like, “I knew you’d say that” or “I can see that in you”. It’s so affirming to the girl speaking to know that she is living that value and that others are seeing it! Remember, when we live our values we feel happiest! We end our days with smiles on our faces!

Lastly, I ask them which value they find most difficult to live. Which one gets stomped on most often by themselves or others around them. There is always quiet when I ask this….it doesn’t feel good…but it’s necessary if we want to begin closing the gap between who they want to be and who they are being. They begin to look at the words they most want to live and then they have to be honest about which one feels furthest from their life right now. Remember, when we don’t live our values we feel sad, anxious, depressed, and unfulfilled. We often have that pit in the stomach feeling as we go about our day feeling like something is missing. And it is….one of our top 10 values.

In this particular group, I want to tell you what happened. As we went around the circle and shared aloud which one was not present in our lives right now, one brave young girl started to cry and said, “Belonging…I don’t feel like I belong”. In the next hour, what I witnessed were the most incredible examples of compassion ever! When she spoke the word belonging and burst into tears, I heard other girls one at a time share that they too had felt that, that they knew what it was like, that they were there for her, that she always belonged with them and this specific group, that she could hang out with them at recess, and then I saw girls writing phone numbers and emails on small pieces of paper and passing it her way! I was in tears and in awe of the power of common humanity and compassion.

I wonder if this girl would have continued through her school days feeling like she didn’t belong if it weren’t for the values talk and these amazing girls!

What an honor it is to do this work with brave, compassionate kids!

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What Matters Mondays – Nov 23, 2015

November 24th, 2015 by admin Leave a Comment

Choosing Curiosity over Judgment

 

In my opinion, our world has far too much judgment in it. You can barely go anywhere or talk with anyone without a judgment popping into the conversation. As humans, this is normal. However, choosing to speak the judgment is a choice. I would like to suggest we do something new with judgment. Try to notice when it enters your head, and make the conscious choice to switch it to curiosity. Today I was at a school working with a group of 8 and 9 year old girls, and we had the most amazing conversation about this exact topic…and they totally get it! Imagine the world if we began to teach all our kids the value of choosing curiosity over judgment.

 

Here’s what it looks like from the kids’ perspective…

Example 1: A student goes out at recess and tells all the kids whose team they are on, what the rules of the game are, who can do what…etc. We all know this kid. We all went to school with him/her.

Our immediate judgment: He/she is so bossy! Stop telling us what to do!

Choosing curiosity: Ask yourself what value is on this person’s list? What do they value?

Answer: Leadership, rules, organization, order…etc.

Isn’t it so much more beautiful to look at someone through a values lens than through the lens of judgment?

 

Let’s try another…

Example 2: A student at school hollers out their mark of 100% on the test.

Judgment: Stop bragging! Who cares?

Choosing curiosity: What values are on their list?

Answer: Achievement, accomplishment, success, recognition…etc.

 

When judgment pops into my head, I will speak it aloud and get my kids to help me figure out what value that person has on their list. It’s fun and it feels amazing to allow yourself to choose to look at people’s choices with understanding and curiosity.

 

And here’s the thing…if we truly want to live authentic lives…there is no room for hurt and judgment. We need to do our best to understand what matters to the people around us.

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What Matters Mondays – Nov 16, 2015

November 17th, 2015 by admin Leave a Comment

Gratitude is one of my top 10 values. I love to be grateful, and I also like to be appreciated. Gratitude is what allows us to truly feel joy and stay out of a “not enough” mindset. Having a gratitude practice is so important. For me, my gratitude practice happens in the morning before my kids wake up. I like to make a cup of tea, take out my box of thank you cards and allow one person to pop into my mind and then write them a note. I pop it into the mail or hand deliver it, and it feels so darn good. And let’s be honest…who doesn’t like a little snail mail these days?

The thing is, it’s while I am writing the thank you note that I feel most grateful. It’s not handing it to the person and waiting for the response. It’s the moment when I think about who to write it to and why that my heart warms, my smile gets bigger and I realize how truly blessed I am.

Last week, I was in a school and when the kids came back for the afternoon, I told them about gratitude. I shared with them how it makes you feel, how it makes your worries smaller, and how it focuses you on what is right. I asked them to allow someone to pop into their mind and then just begin to write.

I couldn’t believe how much these kids wrote. I asked them to share who they wrote to and why and the stories were amazing. The dance teacher, mom, dad, uncle, neighbor, teacher….the list went on. Then I asked them how it felt to think about the person and to write, and they told me they LOVED it! To take time to be still and to be grateful really resonated with these kids. One girl commented that she wanted to do this everyday…it felt so good.

Sometimes we get so busy in the day to day hustle that we forget to stop and be grateful. Grateful for all the little things that happen in a day.

It’s our job as parents to teach our kids gratitude. How can you instill a gratitude practice in your life?

When I packed up to leave that day, I found a thank you card on my chair…it absolutely made my day!

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What Matters Mondays – Nov 9, 2015

November 10th, 2015 by admin Leave a Comment

BEE Authentic

My work surrounds the concept of Authenticity – being courageous enough to be who you are, to own your story and to love yourself in the process. About a year ago, a lady in one of my workshops painted every lady in the group a BEE rock. She said she made them to remind us all of this work…that every day we get to choose to BEE authentic and brave or choose not to BEE.

The BEE is a reminder of all the things we want to be, but sometimes we allow fear, shame and not enough to stop us. I loved this idea, so I asked her to make me some more BEEs. She made me an entire box full. The cool part is that her young son, goes on walks with her and helps her pick the “right” rocks for the BEEs.

For me, authenticity is one of my top 10 value words. I want to BEE authentic, I want to be around authentic people and I feel most frustrated when authenticity is lacking. It is the first thing that I want to see in others…I want to see real!

I have had the privilege this year of speaking in some pretty amazing classrooms. Last week as I prepped for an upcoming day in a school, I picked up some of my books and wouldn’t you know it, a BEE rock dropped on the floor. Now I believe things happen for a reason. I looked at the BEE and knew that I had to bring BEEs for these kids.

We did a full day of values talk – how to BEE yourself, how to BEE kind, how to BEE curious instead of judgmental, how to BEE a good friend and more. At the end of the session, I handed each girl a BEE and they LOVED them! They talked about what they would do with them, where they would keep them, and how seeing their BEE everyday would remind them of the work we had done. It would remind them to BEE authentic even when it’s hard.

Today I went into the same school and a girl came up to me and said, “Are we going to get BEEs too? My older sister was in the group last week and she told me all about her BEE. I want one for myself.”

At the end of the session, I handed out the BEEs again and we talked about all the things these girls want to BEE and the words “I want to BEE myself” came up over and over.

I never would have guessed that a simple rock could be the reminder to people of all ages to truly show up and BEE seen in your life. BEE who you are!

Tracy, your BEEs will be on many nightstands, in many young girls’ pockets and every time they are touched or seen, it’ll remind them of exactly who they want to BEE. What a gift! Thank you!

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What Matters Mondays – Nov 2, 2015

November 2nd, 2015 by admin Leave a Comment

As I do this work with values, these questions and comments keep being asked:

I’ll do this with my daughter, but I’m not sure my son and husband will be into it…

My husband will never go for this…

My boys will think I’m crazy….

How did you talk your husband into learning his values?

My boys may be too old and they won’t be interested….

Your boys were really okay that you painted these words on your kitchen wall?

…the list goes on and on!

And this is exactly why we HAVE to do this work with our boys!

Rosalind Wiseman wrote an incredible book called Masterminds and Wingmen. If you have boys…you will want to read it! In this book it explains how society has taught our boys so many unfair expectations about how to be a man. Don’t cry, suck it up, be tough, don’t talk about your emotions, don’t try too hard in school…

And society also has an unwritten rule that if you are not all of these things (tough, strong, detached…etc.) , then you are not a man. You will be less popular than the “cool” kids.

And we all, at some point, have bought into it!

You may not realize it, but the things boys say, think and do are often dictated by this Act Like a Man mentality.

Here’s what I want to tell you…

Every time I go into a classroom and talk to kids about values, how to find your own path, how to notice when you are off your path and how to choose friends that honor the path you are on….at the end of class, I have a line up of BOYS waiting to talk to me! Yes, BOYS!!! They tell me story after story of how this makes so much sense to them, that they are trying way too hard to fit in and be “cool”, that living their values is scary but they also realize in these moments that NOT living them is what is giving them this empty pit in the stomach feeling…the feeling like something is missing.

I have had many boys in tears talking to me after a session because through our values session, I allowed them to talk about their feelings without judgment, I gave them words for their feelings, and I helped them to see that they are not alone.

One boy in particular told me that he was hanging out with a crowd of kids who, when he was with them, made him live in his ACT (where we step when we are off the path of our values). He was being someone who wasn’t the real him, he was saying and doing things that weren’t aligned with his values, and almost every single day, he went home with that pit in the stomach feeling. At the end of my talk, he voiced all of this and then told me that he needed to reconnect with the friends he had last year. That it wasn’t worth it. That he had people who liked him for the person he was, but that he chose popularity over those people. He said he wanted to get back to feeling like he did when he was with his old friends.

Now…if talking values with a kid for an hour can have that kind of an aha moment, imagine if it became part of your daily conversation in your home.

We need to teach our boys how to BE with their emotions, the language to explain what they are feeling, and we need to stop the messages attached to the “Act like a Man” mentality.

Are values conversations scary with boys? Only because we make them. Because we have bought into the Act Like a Man mentality that somehow this isn’t “cool” for boys.

Let me tell you, BOYS ARE HUNGRY FOR THIS. Even if they resist at first, trust the process. You will have the most incredible conversations, you will give them a language to explain their feelings, and you will show them that having emotions is the new cool!

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