4/15/2020 0 Comments
Teaching is an intensely vulnerable act of service. It requires us to stand in front of little, honest eyes who judge and watch our every move. We are role models and expected masters of curriculum. We are asked to take our children from every walk of life and with a myriad skills, weaknesses and personalities- and move them along a proposed curriculum that may have little to nothing to do with our student's preferences or interests. We are measured by a series of tests that we are not privy to in advance or even in the moment of administration- and the ants keep marching. We wake up with more questions than answers and often the impending sense of doom that the task is impossible.
Yet, have you considered the point of view of the child in front of you? Each walking blindly into the day- unaware of what will happen, unable to control when he or she is allowed to speak, sit, stand, pee. We ask them to do tasks that demand tremendous courage- from sharing their thoughts on a subject that maybe entirely new to them- to failing publicly on a project. We tell them to dance with their failings and that these are the richest moments of learning- meanwhile, we fear our meetings with our own supervisors and the idea that maybe we are a fraud- because we don't have all of the answers.
Our children are asked to write from their hearts- let the world into the private spaces of their minds. They are asked to read aloud and listen to their voices waiver as they stumble around the boulders of vocabulary that inevitably arise. Some of our students are speaking and reading in a language that they didn't learn at birth and to them, the boulders are mountains. Imagine being asked, on the spot to do the same with your colleagues. It's not easy.
When we step back and consider the bravery of our little ones- the ones with forming, stretching spines and strong, thumping, yet vulnerable hearts- we need to first meet them on the path and recognize that this is HARD work. Talk to your students. Tell them that you remember what it felt like. Recognize the importance of RESPECT.
I created the image above because I believe bravery comes when someone first whispers in your ear, "I've been where you are. I feel you. You will be better because of this" and- when the teacher sets the tone of respect for others
Go teach from your heart today.
Happy Family Friday! Today, look for the strengths in your children. What are they? Talk to them about this. Show them that you see them.
How often do you as a parent, a teacher, or a coach talk to your child(ren) about her or his strengths? Many agree that the "trophy for everyone" mentality is accidentally creating entitlement and inflated egos, but I've been teaching some of the most vulnerable age groups for 19 years and I'm wondering if we've swung too far in the other direction. I see kids who APPEAR confident, but default to the negative when challenged. I see kids who on the surface seem full of sass but when you look in their eyes as they approach novel tasks, so many first thoughts are doubt.
As I think about the boys I raise at home (Phoenix is 12 and Kadence is 8), I also think about the thousands of children I've taught over the years in private and public settings- the majority of those years working with middle school students. What I see might surprise you. We all want what's best for the children in our lives. We want them to develop skills and empathy- to go out into the world self-assured yet kind enough to lend a hand and hopefully repair some of the social, environmental and political damage we've caused. We want them to develop passions and healthy habits. But how often, in the course of their explorations, do you think they hear "Wow, you are really good at that!" Or, "I picked you for my team because you are a really kind teammate- plus- look at how fast you are! Man, you fly!"
Our kids walk around and are redirected by dozens of well-meaning adults- from the parent or caregiver to the bus driver to the teachers, the nurse, the cafeteria staff, to the coach, tutor and neighbor. Each one with a different set of expectations for behavior. None of this is a bad thing, in my opinion, it takes a village to raise children. BUT, what if they are really in corrective mode in every moment? What if they don't get enough moments to catch their breath and trust their own, messy exploration?
As a writing teacher, I recall teachers from my past saying, "Of course they hate me, I'm the writing teacher!" I think the message was intended to convey the sheer mental challenge a student or person faces trying to master the English language. It certainly isn't easy. But, what I heard was affirmation of a myth. Many children walk into my classroom thinking they are BAD at writing. They think that it is HARD. I have to show them that when they trust that they can build from their strengths - it can be easy. True, many are struggling to formulate sentences or to spell. Many need support with basic paragraphing or find challenge in figuring out what to write about.
What they are really struggling with -however- is how to write THAT WAY- someone else's way. They have lost their voice, their instinct, their inner belief that they have a story to tell. They are overthinking and have forgotten how to FEEL their way through the task. We put that fear in them. We did that.
When we remove barriers to writing and allow kids to tap into their creative sides again, they stop hating it. They think it's much easier than they thought it was in the past. They are natural story tellers from birth, so they REMEMBER. They clamber for more of it. And, ironically, they begin to CARE more about it. Catch a student who previously hated writing in the act of creating a funny phrase or image and man- she feels like a star. It translates into a can-do attitude in other areas of my classroom- including the formal and dreaded essay and in social situations, too. Writing is really a metaphor for just about anything.
We ask a kid to do new things all the time, but do we point out along the way the nuances of their strength building? Do we wait for it to be perfect before we praise? If you coach a child, you correct their technique, smile, and pat them on the back for getting close or accomplishing the task you set before them. This interaction means the world to them. How about we go a step further, when they are not in full swing, boost them up for being a strategic player and ask them to share their knowledge of play with others.
What are we waiting for? Our kids should know their strengths so that when it is really hard, they don't DEFINE themselves by the HARD. They are willing to take more risks because they know they can fall back on that STRENGTH you shared. OUR voice is going to become a voice they hear internally for years. Let that voice be one of encouragement.
As parents, we need to point out the moments our children do the thing we want without being asked, but also, remind them of their innate goodness. It might be as simple as pointing out to them about that trait you always brag to your family about, but realize you don't often say to them. Wow. You have always been so curious and that- will help you solve really big problems one day, or invent something! Imagine- how wonderful it is to have that skill!
Given the closures of schools across the US, I made some resources that would work as well with my 6th grade son as they would my 3rd grader. Join in as we plan, build and start to grow seedlings for raised garden beds. Try out the resources, and share if you build and grow your own healthful plants in the midst of all this fear.
I also wrote a simple, spooky story prompt, and if the weather is good, we might share stories around our own campfire at the house this upcoming week! Join in the fun and let us know how you're doing. Share photos on my FB site @LeeAnnSinclairEmergence or contact me through this site!
So, goal getter... How are you doing? Making great gains? Wish they were faster? Hmmm...Have you stalled out? When was the last time you asked for help?
I grew up in a house where I prized my mother's selflessness. She waited on the world. From making meals, to cleaning, to delivering breakfast to working and a million other things- she did it all. She fixed things. She mended hurt feelings. I idolized her and I still do. What I know now, however, and what I wish I told her then was...
YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO IT ALL. You are so loved and special that you don't need to solve every problem. You can rest. You have a goal? A dream? Chase it! I'll help.
Hindsight is an amazing thing. It can be a genuine teacher. Slowly, I am learning that I have to ask for help, too. WE can not strive in silence, praying someone we love or a perfect stranger will swoop in and offer a hand if we are afraid to ask. No one can read our minds.
So, I started to think about our no payment for chores policy. We already have our kids make their beds, clean up after themselves in the bathroom, take out the trash, pick up after themselves and put away their laundry. All of this is in the spirit of the family team. We provide their needs.
We realize they are capable of more- and they have a desire to make and save money. So, we decided to interview them for a vital task the team needs more than ever as I launch my website and work to submit my book for publication- housework. Above and beyond. The things they weren't doing but could be. We had a family meeting tonight and proposed a system where they clock in and fill out a checklist to show the jobs they do to help carve out time for our growing goals. Phoenix is now taking on the laundry for the house (if I am crumpled and stained for a bit as he learns, please forgive me!) Petey is taking on dishes and deeper cleaning of the countertops and floors. Both are helping with meal prep.
Our hope is that it will teach them how to do things they will need to know how to do by the middle of our ten year plan (not sending them to college unaware of how to cook or do their laundry). Also, one day, they will be the kind of partner (we pray) that lends a hand in all of the household tasks. Money management? It's part of this picture. Bonus, they see how important our teamwork is- and how hard their moms are working to reach their dreams.
Who can you ask for help? Is there a new way to look at this simple and powerful task that empowers both parties?
4/15/2020 0 Comments
4/13/2020 0 Comments
4/13/2020 0 Comments
This morning, my container for holding my anxiety burst open. I shared my anxiety nightmare with Patty. She didn't like it much, but even with my strategies, this COVID has infiltrated my energy. It's time to explore other options because that is not something I like laying on someone else. So, I made a vow to myself to up my protocols for well being today. I woke up and turned to my learning about Chakra Dancing. Sounds funny, right? It's not. It's a simple, uninhibited showing up for your body and your energy. It is moving to release blockages and allow energy to flow.
The root chakra, Muladhara in Sanskrit is located at the base of the spine and supports our feelings of security and connectedness with the earth. Red and Adventurine (crystal) are associated with healing and balancing this energy center. I applied patchouli and cypress to the base of my feet and closed the curtains. I put on my music and danced. 12 minutes. No one as an audience, just a chance to inhabit my body without judgement. There is hip movement, there is a rhythm to it, but the rhythm is ours to create.
A few years ago I spent four days with Dr. Jalaja Bonheim, a circle leader and healer of women across the world. Our work was in essence, connecting with our inner divine feminine and the first thing we did was dance without a routine, without a plan. I was like a lump of coal- completely afraid to be in my own body. By the time the weekend was over, I knew dancing without worry had to be a part of my healing process and world.
If you're curious and would like to try it out in an unrecorded, judgement free zone, check out my Sunrise and Smiles group. We will Chakra dance on Saturdays- three in a row so you can get a sense of what it is. The first dance- the root will offer grounding benefits. Get something red to wear or inspire you. If you have patchoulis or cypress oils, they will deepen your experience. Join me. It's actually quite fun! It's grounding and freeing at the same time.
#wellness #chakra #energy #healing #journeythroughthewilderness #smilesatsunrise #20minutesfor21days #startyourdayright #goodvibes #spirituality #doterraessentialoils #healingwithnature #nojudgement #uninhibited #inhabityourbody #presence
Sit comfortably on your bed or in a chair. Place one hand on your heart, the other on your belly. Feel the air swirl in and swirl out. Be gentle. Be easy. Acknowledge the many, many tasks you did. Maybe it wasn't a perfect day, but there are always things that we can be grateful for. Did your coffee taste just right? Did the sky look soft, the sun come out? Did you hear a song you love or feel the warmth of freshly cleaned clothes? Were your intentions good?
Take a moment to acknowledge that there maybe things you didn't get to. There is always work left undone. That's ok. That is life. There is always more, always more. We can put those tasks aside for now. If your mind has a hard time doing so, write down some of the things you need to do tomorrow so that you can rest knowing you have a plan.
Do you have essential oils? Lavender, Vetiver, Serenity and Balance are amazing for promoting a restful night sleep. You can diffuse a few drops in water by the bedside, or try rubbing the oils on the bottoms of your feet. Our pores are larger there and able to carry the message through our system- the message is one of calm and peace.
With repeated practice, a nightly ritual of downloading your chore list, acknowledging your good, and then signalling sleep with oils will help ensure you are primed to wind down.
Slumber. You deserve it.
Love yourself always.
We've been conditioned. Years of life. Years of education. Years of comparison. Years of experience. Each year is made up of many, many tiny moments. Times when we've taken in a look, a word, a lack of words. We've measured and compared and competed. We've made up stories about who we are and who we are meant to be. But, just because we've bought the lie, does that mean we can't return it? No. We can trash it. We can recycle it or up-cycle it. BUT, why hold onto a truth that isn't yours and was never meant to be yours?
The day we start to look beyond our nagging lies and false stories, the day we start writing our own truths and deciding that we can stretch our arms- push back the box we've made for ourselves, and step into the truth we want to create, is the day we start with a list of "Who I Am"s rather than "Who we aren'ts."
Let's decide to create a person made up of traits we value most. Choose the mark we want to leave. Let's tell ourselves we already ARE amazing, talented, loving, beautiful, strong, fit, skinny, attractive, radiant, powerful, effective, insightful, artistic, etc. When we affirm that we already are, we begin to apply those traits that fit the person we used to admire to our own day, our own person, our own path.
Oils that inspire confidence.... check out the picture for the oils that can help you support your path to confidence and embodiment.
Love you all!