2021 was an extremely challenging year for me. Loss, Covid in many of my family members, eye issues (plenty of those), plus many other unpleasant life experiences, so I need a new story for this next chapter. I need to bring passion back into my life. Life will always bring us tough times, some years more than others.
I will look forward to each day, creating new ways to find hope for myself.
I will do new things.
I will change my story to one of true acceptance of all the things I cannot change.
I will focus on opportunities instead of obstacles.
I will give more love to myself and those around me.
I will remember to be grateful that I am alive and acknowledge that I have much to look forward to.
I will choose to live fully as much as humanly possible each day.
I will be a better version of myself.
I will recognize that I am human and will have sad times, but I will not stay in those feelings.
I’m not finished yet and neither are you. It’s a new year … it’s a new day to really live. #walkalongwithme
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.
We all know that relationships matter, but sometimes we still need reminders. We keep searching for the perfect programs to help kids. In my opinion , time would be better spent being the person who makes a difference in a child’s life and helping increase the quality and number of people who can make a positive impact.
There are so many children who need our help for a multitude of reasons. Find ways to support, nurture, interact, listen to, respect, give hope to, and connect kids with people and resources that can help them.
Be that adult who attends to the emotional health of the children as well as your own. Model your humanity and compassion daily. Provide a safe haven where you and those you work with enjoy going to school each day, no matter the stresses of the world. Be present each day to the best of your ability and forgive yourself and others if things don’t go as planned. It’s more than OK to not feel at your best each day considering the circumstances, just do the best you can for the kids and reach out for support if and when you need it.
It is especially challenging being an educator right now like no other time I have experienced in my past forty years in education. I know what you do matters and I want to thank you for all that you do. Click here for a little gift. I hope in some small way this brightens your day.
People not programs change children. You have an abnormally large heart , I am sure that’s why you became an educator in the first place, so continue to be one of those people who makes a difference in the life of a child while taking good care of yourself.
It gets harder and harder to leave a place I love, leaving behind so many friends and family for yet another year. Being near the water brings me such a sense of peace, except when there is an expected hurricane of course, but that doesn’t happen very often.
I loved growing up near the sea. I love being near, listening to the sounds of the water and just looking out and observing the ever changing Mira River. I am connected to the beauty and the people here and each year I need to let go and go west. The coming and the going like the flow of the ocean, is what I am meant to do.
As I head back west I look forward to that chapter as my family and friends there too. I am connected deeply to both places. Fortunately for me I had the joy of growing up near the sea and can keep coming back.
Maintaining connections with great friends although I moved so far away so long ago, has allowed me to feel like I belong.
Growing up near the sea will always be a part of me.
Today is my mom’s 81st birthday and I surprised her with a visit.Last year we got to celebrate her 80th with a big splash. It’s important to celebrate life everyday, but especially important to acknowledge all the special days. Today I got to spend time with my family. I live 4,836 km away and have for the past forty years. I come home every summer and already got to spend time with my mom , but I am still 397 km away. So today I drove to see my mom for her birthday.
Don’t forget the birthdays, the anniversaries the special occasions, but especially remember to surprise people every now and then with your presence , a gift ,a letter a note or something that will make someone’s day. It’s always been important, but especially now. Celebrate the moments , but more important celebrate the people.
There are a lot of people at work in schools right now doing some pretty amazing things. They are tired, overworked, feeling a multitude of emotions and often underappreciated for what they do. If you are a principal, supervisor, superintendent or someone who has a team working with you, take time to appreciate them. My challenge to you is to carve out 5 minutes to ask them how they are and tell them how much you appreciate them and what they are doing during this time. It matters. A little appreciation goes a long way.
School Counsellors are trained professionals who understand child development, often with Masters degrees in Counselling or more, who partake in ongoing professional development and extensive mental health training . They know school culture and how the education system works, making them readily able to help youth in an effective manner.
Often the first place students present any concerns are in schools because that is where they spend so much time. The educators get to know students well building trusting relationships. School Counsellors have the whole child in mind with access to a comprehensive background regarding the students history in school, so are often able to make decisions collaboratively in the best interest of students.
If you are a new teacher and have never accessed your School Counsellor , please do so. They are there to help you help the student. When all work together to help our youth it is more likely to make a difference in the life of a child. Now more than ever we must do all we can together to help.
School Counsellors -> Students -> Families ->Staff
We all need a little empathy at this moment in time. School Counsellors are a key player in providing these chats with students , families and the staff in their schools. Harvard offers some great tips on how to build empathy in your schools
I had a very wise administrator who once said to me that my job was to look after the students his job was to look after me. We all need support at this time. It is a give and take. All of us need a supportive person in our corner.
Let’s be intentional in supporting one another.
We can all :
Be positive in our interactions
Help others feel understood
Make people feel heard. You can use these creative approaches.
I love finding icebreakers to use with students . This one is a lot of fun and can easily be used virtually. If you want to get to know me better I am adding a little video that I did a couple of years back from our year end production with Second Chants. I put the video in the virtual locker, but if you are like me it is so small (which might not be a bad thing) . I laugh at myself every time I watch it. If it brings a smile to your face that is good too.