For Desmond Tutu meeting Trevor Huddleston determined the path of his life. In my own life there are many defining moments that led me to who I am today. Teachers, coaches , community members and a School Counsellor had an impact.
In grade 12 (1976) my School Counsellor Mrs. Brown gave me $100.00 towards my post secondary education. My family could not afford to pay my way. I was the first in my family to go to University so it was certainly a big deal. I did not realize at the time just how much money that was or even how incredible it was that she did that. What a gift and an impact she had on the trajectory of my life. A lacrosse scholarship and a bursary ( both recommended by community members) paid for all four years of my Bachelor of Child Study degree. How fortunate was I ?
I never underestimate the power of a small (albeit grand) gesture in forming who we are and what we choose to do in our lives. I intentionally make sure each day I work with students I keep that in mind. I intentionally pay it forward on as many occasions as I can.
All it takes is a defining moment and you might be the one that makes that happen and if someone makes that happen for you tell them.
In this world we encounter a few people who change how we feel about life. Around 30 years ago you entered my life. I was not looking for a new friend, but oh how the loss would have been mine if I did not open my heart to new friendships. A lesson that has sustained me to this day.
Today is your birthday and I want to celebrate you and all that you are.
Funand spontaneous Remember the time we were Thelma and Louise (without the driving off the cliff part) ? We bought new hats, scarves and dresses took off in your moms convertible and laughed and created memories to our hearts delight.
Intelligent Remember the times we have chatted about life’s problems and concerns and while often we agree, sometimes we don’t and those can be great conversations with you.
Generous I have watched you be generous to others in so many ways you never get acknowledged for. You have given me so many beautiful and thoughtful gifts over the years. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.
Accomplished I have loved celebrating and watching you do what you do best.
Courageous You have encountered many challenges in your life and have overcome them with grace and determination.
Champion You are a champion for so many and especially care about those with severe challenges.
Dependable I can count on you to be there anytime I need a friend.
Sensational The many times we spent together with our children laughing and doing silly things. Oh what fun. You are an outstanding auntie to my kids. They love you.
Effervescent I love spending time with you. It is never dull. Our trips together together to Vegas, Palm Springs and Mexico or wherever we are in the world are always full of joy. Even when we just vegetate together it is fun.
Beautiful heart and mind. You are beautiful inside and out.
You are optimistic, unwavering, determined, vibrant, accepting, kind and so much more. I cannot imagine my life without you in it. We have created so many memories that make me smile every time I think of them. We have laughed (too many times to count) and cried together. We have weathered many storms, trials and tribulations and come out on the other side knowing that we are and will always be here for each other.
I appreciate all that you are and all that you do. I value YOU. You enrich my life and make it better because you are in it. I love you my friend and look forward to all that life brings us as we journey through it.
Just for Today I will think about what makes me happy and snowball ( use paper snowball or a real one if there is any snow) any negative thoughts away. Barb Brown
Just for Today I will visit my old neighbourhood and call an old friend. Graham Kennedy
Just for Today I will acknowledge that I am worthy and loved . Louise Hamilton
Just for Today I will learn a new skill and tomorrow a new life skill. Kim Souillet
Just for Today when I brush my teeth I will pretend that I am a zookeeper brushing a hippos teeth. Carol Stevenson
Just for Today I will read my favourite book. Kate Kucharski
Just for Today I will smile and wave at every person who passes by my house. Susan Viveiros
Just for Today I will tell my teacher about the things I do well and help them understand what makes me feel happy and safe. Verena Roberts
Just for Today I will reflect on where I have been, where I have gone, and the road I have built upon, I will take a step forward into the unknown world with familiar faces … holding hands would be nice too Kristen Copes
Just for Today I will call, text or video chat a peer who needs encouragement. Cynthia Nunnally Morton
Yesterday we published 101 Ways to Kickstart Your Day In A Positive Way : A Guide for Educators Parents and Students. Erin and I love the response we are getting. Thanks George Couros for inspiring the post and for sharing our thoughts. We were hoping that educators would use them and they are already doing just that. Here is one from a school in Missouri …
We would love it if you would continue sharing and using. If you have a Just for Today thought please share it with us.
Just for Today we hope your day is filled with wonderful people who bring you love and joy.
This is a collaborative blogpost by Erin Luong and I along with a few ideas from friends. As mental health educators we believe that a focus on our mental health and well being is foundational to all education. It is impossible to focus on academics if students are not feeling secure. We believe it’s important to intentionally embed a focus on well being into every lesson with young people. All of us need to use positive self talk and coping strategies to feel better . We can all do one thing a day that will help us cope during this unprecedented time.
Hoping some of these tips help you start the day as an educator. You can post a tip for the day using Canva or just text your student the tip to start their day. As an educator I am sure you can find many creative ways to use this as you move online.
Just for today I will start and end my day in a positive way.
Just for today I will remember that I am ok and all will be well with the world.
Just for today I will be proud that I stayed home and did my part to help.
Just for today I will be grateful for all the front line workers that are helping us.
Just for today I will celebrate our shared humanity.
Just for today I will head outside and let the sun hit my face. I will take some fresh air breaths and listen, it may sound quieter and more peaceful than usual. I will think about what I hear, how the sun feels on my face and how those deep breaths make my body feel. Susan Fueller
Just for today I will send some positive intentions out into the universe.
Just for today I will think of ways to make the world a better place.
Just for today I will learn to say I love you in as many languages as I can think of.
Just for today I will post a positive message in my window and or use sidewalk chalk to write a message for others in my neighbourhood to see.
Just for today I will connect with two people that lift my spirits.
Just for today I will write or talk about one thing I am grateful for no matter how small. Helen MacKinnon
Just for today I will remain hopeful.
Just for today I will look back at old photo albums and tell stories from the past which made me who I am today.
Just for today I will look in the mirror and recognize that I have a purpose for being here.
Just for today I will make sure I am moving my body for at least 30 minutes.
Just for today I will be kind to my mind.
Just for today I will have an eye staring contest. Juliana Miller – MacPherson
Just for today I will tell the people that I care about that they matter to me.
Just for today I will not worry about what is in it for me, I will think only about what I can do to help out in every situation. Gail White
Just for today I will dress in my favourite colour and eat my favourite food. Laurel Hunt
Just for today I will listen to one of my favourite songs and sing along. Leena Booth
Just for today I will say I am courageous, strong and can make a difference.
Just for today every time I wash my hands I will tell two silly jokes and laugh. Karen Hudson
Just for today I will talk about helpful and unhelpful worries with an adult.
Just for today I know that I am safe and I can control my thoughts.
Just for today I will wish upon a star.
Just for today I will remember that challenges can be opportunities.
Just for today I will go for a walk and notice all the beauty around me.
Just for today I will remember that all my feelings are ok. It’s ok to be scared etc.
Just for today I will remind myself that just because I made a mistake doesn’t mean I am one.
Just for today I will stay strong and well.
Just for today I will share my favorite song/poem and we can sing or say them together or to each other. Sheri Edwards
Just for today I will not give up.
Just for today I will ask God to get me through today.
Just for today I will look at one way I can see the opportunities because of the challenges of today.
Just for today I will reevaluate my priorities and tell someone what I think.
Just for today I will let go of any thoughts that don’t help my peace of mind.
Just for today I will remember not everyone reacts to events in the same way. I will be positive today.
Just for today I will remember that I am loveable and capable.
Just for today I will take a break from watching or listening to any alarming news.
Just for today wear my clothes inside out and walk backwards. ( Laura Cormier)
Just for today I will take care of my mind by listening to some soothing music.
Just for today I will do one activity that I love and enjoy.
Just for today I will check in with my parents and/ or grandparents to bring a smile to their day.
Just for today I will find a calm space just for me.
Just for today I will write about my feelings in a journal.
Just for today I know that I can deal with life’s difficulties.
Just for today I will smile often.
Just for today I will say to myself I can cope with this uncertainty.
Just for today I will draw out my worries.
Just for today I will talk to an adult about what is concerning me.
Just for today I will visualize my safe place ( a beach, being with my favourite friend , playing and singing in the rain).
Just for today I will do more of what makes me happy.
Just for today I will find two ways to distract myself if I start to catastrophize.
Just for today I will let go of anything that upsets me.
Just for today I will reassure myself that all will be well with the world.
Just for today I will calm my wandering mind by doing something that is fun.
Just for today I will unwind by taking time out of my day to draw, paint, sing, dance or play a game I love.
Just for today I will read a book for 15 minutes for pleasure.
Just for today I will be easy on myself.
Just for today I will look for solutions.
Just for today I will talk kindly and gently to myself just like I would my best friend.
Just for today I will watch a funny movie or talk to a funny friend. I know laughter will help.
Just for today I will remind myself that I matter.
Just for today I can journal for 10 minutes.
Just for today I will open my heart to new ways of thinking and doing.
Just for today I will spend some extra time with people I love.
Just for today I will use my imagination to imagine the best that can happen.
Just for today I will remind myself of one good thing I can do for the world.
Just for today I will love with all my heart.
Just for today I will tell myself that life can be tough sometimes , but so am I.
Just for today I will say I am strong, I am kind and I can do anything I make up my mind to do.
Just for today I will recognize that I cannot change the circumstances, but I can change my reaction to it.
Just for today I will practice breathing deeply.
Just for today I will write 3 things I am grateful for.
Just for today I will look at some old pictures and think of the positive memories of that time.
Just for today I will make something new.
Just for today I will create a song, a piece of art , a new recipe, or something I have always wanted to create.
Just for today I will take a picture of something that brings me joy.
Just for today I will lift someone else’s spirits.
Just for today I will spread some kindness and love in the world.
Just for today I will make hot chocolate and eat my favourite cookie.
Just for today I will write a love letter.
Just for today whenever I find myself thinking negative I will challenge those thoughts.
Just for today I will reach out to someone who needs it.
Just for today I will jump for joy.
Just for today I will start a blog, a vlog or share something that makes the world a better place.
Just for today I will share at least 2 jokes with others.
Just for today I will connect with someone from a different generation than I am, to learn more about how they see the world.
Just for today I will try a new recipe from a different culture.
Just for today I will learn to make a friendship bracelet.
Just for today I will collaborate with a friend on a project to make the world a better place.
Just for today I will make a playlist of songs which inspire me.
Just for today I will play a board game with my family.
Just for today I will make a short video.
Just for today I will try a zoom chat with friends.
Just for today I will focus on what I need.
Just for today I will share something I am passionate about.
Just for today I will tell my colleagues and friends how much I appreciate all they do.
Just for today I will reach out to see if I can help someone else in the world.
What is your Just for Today ? Please share with us so we can share with educators from around the world.
You have them , I have had them. You know that student that you had no idea you had such an impact on, but they let you know years later. Sometimes 36 years later as I did two years ago. A young man came into the office at the High School I was working in at the time. He wanted to see me to tell me how I had influenced his life. He had googled me and tracked me down because he wanted to tell me his story . I am grateful he did as I would have never known that I had affected his life in the way he let me know I had.
I have been blessed with letters and notes from students who have told me they believed I had saved their life. It is an honour and privilege that they believe something I said or did had impacted them in such a positive way. More often than not we don’t get these notes, calls or letters and we may not know the impact we have had on students. Not because we did not , but because the person may not have put their thoughts to words for whatever reason.
A couple of days ago one of my best friends who is also a retired School Counsellor , got one of those notes from a student whom she had known 18 years ago. The note was from a young woman reporting she was now happily married with two children , She told my friend that she was the reason she was alive, happy and successful today. She let her know it was World Suicide Prevention Day and that maybe my friend would like to know the impact she had on her life when she was in High School.
The woman had tracked my friend down on Facebook and felt compelled to write her the beautiful moving, heartfelt note (I’m purposefully leaving out the details, but trust me we both cried a lot reading it) . Of course she had no idea that particular student felt that way. So what a gift it was to receive a note like this. It is truly why we do what we do choosing to be in education.
If one young person is impacted in this way by what we have said or done, then our years of dedication to a career we have loved is all worth while. We both agreed that we were so fortunate to work in schools with amazing young people and feel truly blessed to have had a career we both were passionate about.
So many still do not fully understand what a School Counsellor does behind closed doors, but know and trust that you need to keep doing what you are doing as a School Counselor wherever you are in the world. You can never know the impact you can have. Small gestures and words can matter.
The effect you have as a School Counsellor is not always measurable , but that does not matter. What you say and do everyday does.
This year I was so lucky to be at Ascension Elementary and Junior High School as a part-time counsellor for #pinkshirtday. In discussion with students we decided on the theme YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN GOLD . You can get an idea of how our celebration went below .
A couple of weeks before the celebration ALL students at Ascension got to make 5 ART CARDS where they were to celebrate their champions, those people who are worth more than gold in their lives. We displayed the beautiful cards on a couple of bulletin boards. You can see our singers from Notre Dame and Diefenbaker standing in front of some of them .
Students made 5 cards each and are going to eventually give those cards to their champions. You can see a few of the great cards below.
Processed with MOLDIV
We started the celebration off with a slide show shared by one of our grade 6 students. You can find it here called One Kind Word.
A student from Notre Dame sang a beautiful rendition of Brave.
3 grade 7 students sang Don’t You Worry by Star.
A grade 8 student did slam poetry on anti bullying.
The Bishop Carroll High School Sassy Jazz singers sang two great songs that students clapped along to.
Then we showed this version of your worth more than gold that the students loved …
5 of our most important people in the school received YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN GOLD trophies., Our caretaker, our librarian and our three of front office superstars.
Students from ECS to grade 6 all stood up front flipping the letters to YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN GOLD spreading the message to all their classmates.
To end we had a student from John D Diefenbaker sing a beautiful rendition of Perfect which was a perfect way to end our celebration.
As students left for the morning they all got a gold piece of chocolate and a positive affirmation . We also had dogs around all day to be with our students.
I love working with elementary and junior high students. They helped bring awareness to an always important topic anti-bullying and hopefully our new generation of young
people will grow up more aware than ever that it is always cool to be kind and will understand the message that they are worthwhile.
My biggest lesson this week is what a simple thank you can do to turn your day and your mindset around. I rarely have one of those days and this week I did. I did let my administrator know (at least some of what was going on) and he did one of the best things a true leader can do . He simply thanked me for all the work I do with students . He let me know he was there for me and glad I was there for students and yes it made a difference.
I felt heard and valued. It turned my mindset around. It freed me from the negativity I was feeling and was such a great role model for me. As a leader I forget that my staff needs a simple thank you too. I really try to remember to do that often through a note or a comment, but sometimes I forget to make the time to do what is so important. So I sent each person I work with closely with a little personal note this weekend and next week I will try to finish by sending all those who help me by giving them a note.
I was extremely honored to recieve an award last week from the University of Calgary Counselling Psychology Program. Ph. D students I had previously supervised took the time and effort in their busy schedules to recommend me for an excellence in practicum supervision award . It was their BIG thank you and I am truly, truly grateful. They took the time to write such beautiful words and say thank you in a big way. Taking the time to thank people is truly a gift that you can give others. You have asked me to display it proudly and so I will.
However, this week that simple thank you helped to change my mindset and I believe will impact what I do next week and in the future with others.
Be on the look out for my thank you to IMMOOC.
Who will you send a simple thank you to … this week?
Having worked in schools for 36 years I absolutely recognize the importance of a great leader. I am grateful to have worked with so many.
Fortunately for me I get to work with an outstanding leader everyday. He is forward thinking, innovative, positive , intelligent , has great sense of humour , cares deeply about students and staff , is extremely supportive of School Counsellors and most importantly kind. He makes a difference. Thanks @neilof12.
On this Canadian thanksgiving day , I think it is very important to tell the people who you care about and are grateful for that you do. Too often people think it , but don’t say it. I try to say it as often as I can because I recognize life is precious.
I make a point of telling those that have impacted me that they have including my students.
As a leader myself , I make every effort to be the kind of leader I want others to be. I gave my principal The Innovator’s Mindsetwhen it came out knowing that he was already an innovator, but also knowing like me he too is a lifelong learner.
Today most importantly I am grateful for my husband and children who have had the biggest and most positive impact on my life. Because of them I can be the kind of educator, leader and person I want to be.
I am so… so… so grateful for the wonderful friendships that I have in my life. They have and still do enrich and transform my life.
I am grateful for #immooc and @gcouros for having the insights and passion to make a difference in students and educators lives including mine. Thanks to all those in #immooc who have connected and shared with me. I am grateful. I believe very strongly when we are excited about learning we pass that on to all those around us and can make a real difference in the life of a child. Isn’t that why we chose this profession? Yes, George relationships do matter … they are absolutely everything.