Our society tolerates gross unfairness every day. It tolerates misogyny, racism and the callous indifference to those born without privilege.
I think that most of us are programmed to process the little stories, the emotional ones, things that touch people we can connect to. When it requires charts and graphs and multi-year studies, it’s too easy to ignore.
We don’t change markets, or populations, we change people. One person at a time, at a human level. And often, that change comes from small acts that move us, not from grand pronouncements.
Every year the Banff Mountain Film Festival travels to a nearby theater for two nights of mountain-adventure themed films that always leave me creatively inspired, hungry for movement outdoors, and primed to soak up more of the marrow from my days. This short five-minute video shown last night is a particularly captivating narrative on taking hold of the moment, on refusing to let schedules and devices and to-do lists (though necessary and real parts of our worlds) pre-determine our levels of happiness and connection.
I refuse to believe that joy costs something.
Or that we have to get on a plane to find it.
Or that it has to happen on our vacation.
Or that dreams can’t come true on a Tuesday.
My heroes…are those who discover that inside we are all capable of surprising ourselves. –Brendan Leonard
Read this brief piece by Tina Fey titled “Rules of Improvisation that Will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat*”. As only Tina Fey can, she provides the perfect pairing of wit and wisdom and translates common rules of improvisation to real-life lessons. And, in all seriousness, what day of teaching young children doesn’t feel like a thorough exercise in improvisation? The sound bytes:
Rule 1: Say “Yes.” Respect what your partner has created.
Rule 2: Say “Yes, AND…” Don’t be afraid to contribute.
Rule 3: Make statements. Whatever the problem, be part of the solution.
Rule 4: There are no mistakes, only opportunities.
Not untimely reminders as we navigate a time of year peppered with unpredictable weather, schedules, children, families, and colleagues.
Listen to Kelly McGonigal (a health psychologist) share research studies that are changing the way scientists think about stress, it’s impact on the body, and how our mindset about stress in our lives makes a profound physiological and pyschological difference.
“The harmful effects of stress on your health are not inevitable. How you think and how you act transform your experience of stress. When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage. When you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience…Stress gives us access to our hearts, the compassionate heart that finds joy and meaning in connecting with others and yes, your pounding physical heart working so hard to give you strength and energy. When you choose to view stress in this way you’re not just getting better at stress, you’re actually making a pretty profound statement. You’re saying you can trust yourself to handle life’s challenges and you’re remembering you don’t have to face them alone.” - Kelly McGonigal
How can I teach leadership skills to all my students? Read Teaching Leadership to All
How can I create a culture of inclusion in my classroom? Read In Pursuit of the Multicultural Curriculum
How can I develop my own creativity so I can model it for students? Read Embracing our Creativity
What is innovation and why does/should it matter to me and my classroom? Read The Innovation Imperative
One of my favorite experiences each year is watching students on the ski slopes during Tuxedo Park School’s annual ski program for students in grades 3-9. From the beginners to the experts, students sharing laughter and movement together on the downhill is the perfect antidote to winter doldrums. This is a brief (1:49) ski-and-student-related video that will remind you of the courage it takes to try new things, and the exhilaration that comes from conquering fear of the unknown. Here’s to all the students and adults out there who take the risk….and jump. As Tina Fey writes,
You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.