True Family

"The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life." - Richard Bach

I have been working professionally with, for, and employing people for 42 years.  My friend of 44 years, Joe, often says "you don't hire people; you adopt them."  When you are a part of my work team, on a variety of projects, you become a part of my family.

My goal was not to build a business.  My goal was to build a process that helped children, teachers, and schools be the best they could be.  I want to help schools become Whole Child-centered, emotionally safe, nurturing environments.  Our work helps schools integrate social emotional learning with academics.  Our work is a catalyst for transformation.

Our core beliefs are respect for self and others, a sense of responsibility for everything you think, feel, say, and do and developing healthy relationships.  I am blessed to work with people I respect and love.  They are all assets in my life.  I feel tremendous joy as I watch and participate in the growth of my friends, colleagues, students, and schools.


Gratitude Can Lead to Higher Grades

Research points to gratitude as a potential bridge between student’s academic and social well-being.

Studies show grateful youth have higher GPA’s, experience positive emotions and ultimately go on to live more meaningful lives.  

Gratitude can foster an increased sense of hope and trust and a desire to give back to the community.

Practicing gratitude at a young age promotes development of self-control and self-regulation.

Teachers who model gratitude help students think more deeply about why they are grateful.
When we are grateful we are transformed.  We value ourselves and other more and our relationships are strengthened.

The following strategies are from Cultivating Gratitude in the Classroom written by Sarah McKibben.  It was published in the November 2013 (Volume 55, Number 11) edition of ASCD Education Update. 

Think intentions, costs, and benefits - Researcher Giacomo Bono suggests that when students express gratitude, educators should encourage them to notice intentions (the thought behind the gift that they received), appreciate costs (someone went out of her way or made sacrifices to help them), and recognize the benefits (someone provided them with a gift or a kind act that has personal value).

Use a gratitude journal - This may be one of the simplest ways to increase gratitude.  In a 2008 study by Bono and Jeffrey Froh, middle school students who regularly wrote about what they were thankful for reported greater optimism and a more positive outlook on their school experience.

Lead gratitude activities - Have students write a thank you letter to someone in their lives, participate in gratitude circles, or contribute to a gratitude wall or bulletin board.

Pair students to increase cooperation - Gratitude can emerge organically in mixed-ability grouping that allows students to complement one another’s strengths.

Use question prompts - For example, when students come into school on Monday mornings, ask them what their favorite part of the weekend was, says Bono.  Then, follow up with, Did someone help make that happen? Or, if they faced a particular challenge, ask, Did someone help you overcome it?  Bono explains, “It’s easy in the day-to-day conversations that you have with a child to talk about the people who were responsible [for a positive event].”

Encourage service learning - Service learning gives students an opportunity to experience and reflect on the struggles of others.  Each discipline poses opportunities for service learning around a social justice question or authentic community need.

Model it! - The key to cultivating gratitude in your classroom is to make it part of your own routine.  By modeling gratitude, you encourage students to do the same, and, according to the Greater Good Science Center, teachers who practice gratitude “feel more satisfied and accomplished, and less emotionally exhausted, possibly reducing teacher burnout.”


The Work Of Our Masonic LifeSkills Conference

The Work Of Our Masonic LifeSkills Conference

As I reflect on our Masonic LifeSkills Conference, 2014, I appreciate that we ask young adults essential life questions.

We begin with “Who Are You?” and “Why Are You Here?”  These questions ask us all to go deeper to begin to focus on our life’s mission.  Our Masonic LifeSkills Conference focuses on the following lessons:

·      Servant leadership is not an accomplishment; it is a way of life.  It brings it’s own intrinsic rewards; what is essential is our intentions.
·      As servant leadership increases, we become more attracted to love, peace, and beauty rather than in things or short-term gains.  Forgiveness and gratitude become a habit.
·      As we continue to be connected throughout the world, we become aware that as we improve in our private lives, the world improves with us.  What we do to serve others automatically benefits everyone; we are all connected in this life.
·      We can make a gift of our life by being kind, respectful, forgiving, responsible, compassionate, and integrous.  We seek to offer these gifts at all times, in all places, to everyone – including ourselves.
·      Integrity is strong, constructive, practical, and simply “works.”  Our integrity comes from taking responsibility for what we think, feel, say, and do.
·      We decide daily to “be kind to all life” - to respect the sacredness of life.  Dr. David Hawkins stated, “Simple kindness to one’s self and all that lives is the most powerful, transformational force of all.”  The values of compassion, forgiveness, and understanding become prominent.
·      Out of all-inclusive, unconditional, loving compassion comes the growth and health of humanity.
·      We support and focus on the solutions instead of attacking and judging the causes.
·      Acceptance and understanding resolves strife, conflict, and pain.
·      Gratitude is more powerful than retribution.
·      Keeping focus on a goal inspires us to actually accomplish the goal; what is held in our hearts and minds becomes real.
·      All we need to progress towards our goal is patience, faith, and the surrender of resistance.
·      Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to move through it.  We reach out to others, pushing through our fear of rejection, failure, and hurt.
·      Each positive choice moves us closer to additional choices.  Every choice matters.  Choose well.
·      We recognize each other at our highest level.  We see the same Self in everyone.  This unity through community heals us of separation.
·      Make a gift of your life.  Share love, acceptance, and compassionate service.  When we uplift others, everyone is uplifted in the process.  Trust the process.
·      There is no greater calling in life than to be of service to others.