The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

This powerful prayer, shared at countless support group meetings worldwide, has always been a guiding force in my life.  To me, it says: 

First, change the changeable.  What in my life, or in myself, can I change?  Do it.  

Then, accept the unchangeable. If this is not in my power to change, accept it and let go.

Finally, remove myself from the unacceptable.  Whatever or whoever is no in alignment with my value system, I must find a way to remove myself.  I can remove myself (another form of letting go) either physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, or - the best way for me - spiritually (loving detachment).  I can send love, forgiveness, and gratitude.

I work to look for these changes only in myself.  I can't change anyone; I can only change my behaviors and attitudes.  I can make peace with the past.  I can reframe an old hurt.  I can see when a past loss opened up a new opportunity for growth.  I can let go.  Again, this is with love, forgiveness, and gratitude.  

Finally, I refuse to be held hostage by negativity.  No judgment, simply discernment.  We all dance a different dance.  I am choosing the dance of love, joy, peace, and service.


Building a School Community

School Community Requirements
A community is a place where everyone works together for a common goal. In order to have a community, you need to have three things happening in your school.
  • Respect - of self and others
  • Responsibility -  for yourself and that of your group
  • Relationships - the ability to work collaboratively in a group and set aside all your differences.

Connecting the Community and Education
Every school, like every community, has its own distinct culture, values, and
rules. By building a community in the school, teachers create a common feel
connected to others. For children to participate in a school community - to
relate positively to others and become successful learners - their basic needs for
sustenance, safety, and belonging must be met. Only after basic needs are met can
human beings crave more.
  • Physiological needs - the most basic needs of living creatures. Children who are hungry think about their bellies instead of learning.
  • Safety - the feeling of security, comfort, and being out of danger. When teachers create a safe classroom community, children are able to positively relate to others, explore their environment, and engage in learning.
  • Belongingness - the feeling of being accepted and loved. In an effort to seek acceptance and love from adults, these children often exhibit behavior that tests acceptance. These children need adults who can create a school environment where everyone feels accepted and valued.
  • Self-esteem - the sense of one’s own worth. Children who feel competent as learners are more open to new experiences, better able to empathize with others, and more willing to persevere in learning tasks than are children who consistently feel inadequate.

How to Get Your School Started
Discuss with your students about the characteristics of a team. 
Have a team building vocabulary word of the day or week, such as respect, responsibility, cooperation, dependability, loyalty, etc. 
Build lessons and activities. 
Divide your class into small groups or teams. 
Assign specific duties to each member. 
Have the group come up with a team name, symbol, logo, mascot, etc. 
Integrate team building activities into your curriculum.

* Work on a math problem as a team.
* Work on a science or social studies project as a group.
* Write a story about their team.
* Read a story as a team using buddy reading, and then present the story in play form to the rest of the class.
* Design a poster with a team name and a self portrait of each member.
* Design and decorate a classroom bulletin board on an academic theme.

For the first week or so of school, have a “question of the day” which would be a daily question that students would answer about themselves.  If time is an issue, have them pair and share their responses with a different partner each day.


A Shared Beat

If you place two living heart cells from two different people in a petri dish, they will, in time, find and maintain a third and common beat.  - Molly Vass

Hidden in our biology is the secret power of relationships.  The essence of life is to join together.
This is love.
This is life.

As our school year begins across the country, share your compassion.  It is only natural; it is what we were designed to do.  It does not matter how different we are.  Inside we all search for connection; we yearn to beat in unison with others.

Share your heart's song and invite others to sing along.



In old Africa, there is an ancient custom called Ubuntu.  
Ubuntu means “I am because you are; you are because I am…”

One of my core beliefs is unity.  We are all connected.  The spiritual teachers have taught this for thousands of year.  Now the scientists are teaching a similar message.  In our deepest pain and our greatest joy, we are all connected.  We are united.  We are one.  Ubuntu!

I see it in the eyes of a hungry child.  And in the tentative smile of the child recovering from abuse.  I feel it in the hug of the young person searching for identity.  And in the depth of those finding their voice.

It is in all teaching.  Jesus said “where two or more are gathered in my name”.  Buddha taught us compassion.  Saint Francis prayed to be an instrument of peace.

Ubuntu!  I am because you are; you are because I am…

For the 150 souls who just completed our LifeSkillsConference – 
We are united. 
We are one.