What Matters Mondays – June 27, 2016

June 27th, 2016 by admin Leave a Comment

To make the most generous assumption about a person rather than judge them is something I try to do every single day. It’s not always easy. Sometimes we feel like we are going to explode with anger/frustration, so we lash out with hurtful comments, we gossip about the person’s actions behind their back and in doing so, we move away from who we want to be. It may feel good momentarily, but that feeling fades and we are left to sit with our own actions. Could I have done this differently? Could I have offered this person more generosity?

I’m not saying that when someone does something that is really frustrating, that you now have to decide to like it. No, not at all! I’m saying that you get to choose to hold generosity for that person and you get to choose to stay in your own authenticity.

Let’s say that you are at your child’s sporting event. Maybe there is a parent in the stands who is yelling robustly at their child on the ice/field. The hair on the back of your neck stands up and you glance over at him/her. What do you do next?

Do you think, “What a jerk! Someone should shut him/her up!”

Do you turn to the friend next to you and begin to talk about the parent?

Do you walk over there and say hurtful comments like, “You are a joke! You should be banned from this sport!”

Do you go into the lobby at the next intermission and talk about it with other parents?

Do you go right to the coach to complain?

OR

Do you think, “That’s not like _______ to act this way. Something must be going on in his/her life right now. It’s out of character.”

Do you walk over and say, “You seem upset this morning. Is everything okay?”

Do you get together with your friends and ask, “How can we help?”

Do you feel compassion?

From my experience, most people tend to react with the first four things. They go on the attack. They judge, they shame and they add hurt to an already hurting person.

People who can stop and offer generosity first, have a gift. They realize that it’s not about them and they realize that the other person is suffering. If you have ever had a bad day, been so overwhelmed with life that you can’t keep your head above water, been struggling with life issues, felt stuck…then you likely know that being judged and shamed for your actions never helps. Having someone come to you and offer generosity, however, could change your whole day.

The greatest benefit to holding generosity for others is that it does not drag you into judgment, shaming and being inauthentic. You don’t have to attach yourself to the person’s actions. You just get to be generous and compassionate and in doing so you will find your most authentic self. It feels so good!

Next time you find yourself in this position (and you will)…try choosing generosity and notice how it impacts you and the person you are offering it to!

 

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What Matters Mondays – June 20, 2016

June 21st, 2016 by admin Leave a Comment

The school year is quickly coming to a close and I feel an overwhelming amount of gratitude. My gratitude is for two key things:
First, I’m grateful for incredible friendships. Three years ago we made the decision to move our boys from a school in the city to our community school in the country. One of the best decisions we’ve ever made for so many reasons. I remember their first week like it was yesterday. Both boys were so nervous and scared. We had stomach aches and tears. It was so hard. But there was one key that turned it around. Both boys found friend groups that are truly like no other. Spencer was quickly surrounded by Jeg’s humor, Connor’s kindness and Evan’s energy. Nolan was surrounded by the three C’s- Connor, Cole & Corben. These boys have been nothing short of hilarious, supportive and fun every step of the way! And I have to add that my nieces Kaylee, Alayna and Laurel were there for them every single day too!
The people you surround yourself with are the key to your success and my boys are the luckiest kids in the world to have found friendships like these.
The second piece of the gratitude puzzle goes to the adults – the people who anchor my kids webs (see Webs of Support by Derek Peterson). From the teachers to the custodian, to the office staff, to their friends’ parents…I am beyond grateful! You will never know the impact you have had. Thank you for being such an important part of their journey as they learn, make mistakes and grow.
To the school staff:
If I had a dollar for every time our dinner conversations started with…
Mrs. Eisenkrein told me…
Today I scared Ms. Shute…
Ms. Ganny was talking to me in the hallway…
Mr. Swenson was so funny today when…
I’d be rich! Each of you have made an incredible difference!

To my kids’ friends’ parents:
My kids speak so highly of you. They love being at your homes. They retell your jokes & stories. You matter to them because you’ve shown them how much they matter to you.
I ask that you continue to be anchors for my kids and I promise that I will always anchor your kids as well. I adore your kids and love nothing more than a house full of laughing kids! Thank you for raising kids to be true friends…my boys are so lucky!
Lastly, to the aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends who love our kids…thank you! They have an incredible cheering and support section called family.
So, as I make my last few lunches, I want you all to know from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your role in my boys’ lives. It really does take a village. 💗

 

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What Matters Mondays – June 13, 2016

June 13th, 2016 by admin Leave a Comment

Last week when I did my interview on Global News, I had so many things I wanted to say about mental health and schools and kids and parents, and then I blinked and three minutes was over. So today, I want to share with you a few more of my thoughts. My hope is that we continue conversations around the globe about mental health and that we look at how ALL of us can make a difference. This is not a school’s job, or a family’s job or a community’s job….it’s a job for all of us! Please know that these are my thoughts and that I am not claiming to be the expert, but rather someone who wants to begin conversations around a really difficult topic.

My first belief is that we have to build capacity in schools, families and communities. We have to strengthen the knowledge base of staff, parents, community members and students around the topic of mental health. Mental health has changed…it is not the same today as it was years ago. In fact, in a recent youth panel on mental health in Edmonton, Dr.Glynnis Leib said, “I’ve heard this referred to as the least mentally well generation of youth in our colonized history. ”(Dr. Glynnis Leib, executive director of the Lieutenant-governor’s Circle on Mental Health and Addiction and the panel’s moderator.) We need to be better educated, we need to be better prepared for what is right here right now. And when I say WE…I mean all of us!

As adults…whether you are a parent, school staff member or a community member, we ALL need to do our own work. We are the example. We are teaching our kids how to grow up and be adults. We are imperfect, amazing, messy humans, and we are given this incredible opportunity to be an example every moment of every day.

NOT an example of how to do it right or how to be perfect all the time. We need to be the example of everything awesome and flawed all at the same time. We ALL need to own our stories exactly as they are….the goods and the not so goods.

As adults…

We need to let down our guards and be vulnerable.

We need to share with others when we are struggling.

We need to let go of perfection and needing to be an expert of ALL things. Saying, “I don’t know. Let me find out and get back to you,” is an incredible lesson to our youth.

We need to be anchors for our kids. Every youth needs at least 5 adults who support them, have high expectations for them and provide them with opportunities. Every adult can be an anchor.

We need to watch how we are handling anxiety and stress.

We need to practice self-compassion.

We need to rise from our falls with a deeper learning rather than anger and resentment.

We need to embrace our authenticity and be who we are!

What a gift we have been given. We can be the change each day for one youth who crosses our path simply by showing up and being real. Not photo-shopped…I’m talking the real deal!

 

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