Diversity

Diversity

School is the centerpiece of the community. School leaders must not take for granted that the community is a vital part of the success or lack of success, that any school experiences. Failure to communicate the needs of the community will bring about several “roadblocks” created by disgruntled community members. Individual leaders are faced with a dilemma, the school leader must ask whether people must earn their respect, or if respect is inherent. When respect is to be earned, the process is comprised of negativity influenced interpretations about variance. Leaders must assume that misrepresentation will ensue. Respect that is inherent comes to pass based upon the constituents interpretation of the strengths that are worthy of recognition. Trust is integral to the successful development a community of learners; “We must internalize the importance of placing trust in others’ abilities to enhance a learning community” (Wilmore, 2001) Thus, members of a learning community must be diligent about work-related outcomes. This, according to Burns, is the mode of transformational leadership; “Burns (1978) stated that transformational leadership is a process within which “leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation [p. 20]” Therefore, the transformational leadership process must help the community, both school and residential, begin to care intrinsically for the “peace” of others.

The strategies for developing a community within the school and through the neighboring community involve several factors. According to Leithwood (1992), “Transformational leadership is a form of consensual or facilitative power that is manifested through other people instead of over people.” Three elements of this leadership are as follows: a collaborative, shared decision-making approach; an emphasis on teacher professionalism and empowerment; and an understanding of change, including how to encourage change in others. Communication in regard to this is integral.

Diversity of race, gender and socioeconomic background must not be an excuse for lack of student performance. Every teacher must hold students to a high standard of achievement. Leaders must be certain that rationalizations are never accepted. The community expects this and so do the students, “the administrator must be proactive at all times. Because school and community demographics will never be static again, it makes no sense to continue treating school leadership and governance as we have in the past” (Wiltmore, 2001). Administrators must keep a constant eye on issues and problems that schools currently face and will face in the future. Proactive administrators must work together with staff and community to develop common values. Everyone has a part in their development. Leaders will no doubt face increasing demands on their skills and resources in the future. According to Janas, “Mastering the art and science of communicating is a basic step in responding to the evolving tapestry of diversity in our nation’s schools” ( Janas, 2001) With all of the labels assigned to groups, classes, schools, students, or neighborhoods, the immediacy of the individual is most vital. Leaders must seek opportunities to communicate the needs among individuals, groups, and communities in order to build a solidified and successful future.

References
Burns, J. M. (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper and Row.
Janas, M. Getting a clear view. Journal of Staff Development v. 22 no. 2 (Spring 2001) p. 32-4.
Leithwood, K. (1992). The move toward transformational leadership. Educational Leadership, 49 (5), 8-12.

Leithwood, K. Leonard, L., and Sharratt, L. (1998). Conditions fostering organizational learning in schools. Educational Administration Quarterly, 34 (2), 243-276.

Daily Dose

The love hormone! We want it and we need it. Fortunately, ladies, our bodies produce it. By definition, “oxytocin is a mammalian hormone that acts primarily as a neuromodulator in the brain. Also known as alpha-hypophamine (α–hypophamine), oxytocin has the distinction of being the very first polypeptide hormone to be sequenced and synthesized biochemically, by Vincent du Vigneaud et al. in 1953.” Great news, our brains produce chemicals that, as Halle Berry’s character says in Monster’s Ball, “makes [us] feel gooooooood”.

In recent years oxytocin has been extracted for use in nasal spray and oral hormone therapy to treat symptoms related to autism and schizophrenia. Oxytocin is considered to be the love hormone because of how it is derived, “best known for roles in female reproduction: 1) it is released in large amounts after distension of the cervix and uterus during labor, and 2) after stimulation of the nipples, facilitating birth and breastfeeding.” Apparently, there is something to be said about physical stimulation. The release of these hormones cause a marked difference in interpersonal behavior and interaction.

Have you ever noticed that when people feel a woman is too “uptight”, “stiff”, or “witchy” it is said that she needs to “get some”? Well, scientifically speaking, there is some truth to that. The release of oxytocin soothes and helps to form and maintain emotional bonds. All mammals, not just human babies, need to be touched, held, stroked, and physically stimulated. Physical touch reduces anxiety and calms nervous or hyper over-stimulated behaviors. Physical closeness is directly related to mental well being, “recent studies have begun to investigate oxytocin’s role in various behaviors, including orgasm, social recognition, pair bonding, anxiety, and maternal behaviors. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone.” Thus, physically stimulating interaction should not be rationed.

In clinical studies, the love hormone has been proven to improve social behavior in highly functioning patients with Autism. Studies by French scientists, conducted on 13 highly functioning autistic patients revealed the following: “We demonstrated that oxytocin can promote social approach and social comprehension in patients with autism,” Sirigu and colleagues report. They also suggested that, “the specific effect may be that the hormone reduces mistrust and fear associated with social interactions.”

Women must not use the production of oxytocin as an excuse to “go wild”. Women should keep their virtues in tact and share their bodies with a deserving partner. Women who practice withholding physical interaction end up hurting themselves more in the long run. If there is a contingency related to your intimacy, you are playing a game that has no real winner. Discerning adults should enjoy healthy physical relationships that are developed over time with trust at the helm.

The problem exists in playing the “game”. A woman who denies the man who cares, physical interaction, in an attempt to determine his level of commitment is shooting herself in the proverbial foot. If a man only wants sex, no amount of giving it away or withholding it will change his mind. So, women actively playing the game; you are thereby depriving yourself of helpful hormones that your body and mind needs to be well. Stop playing yourself : develop some oxytocin! If your worth and value is determined by what you can do for your partner physically, there are deeper issues present that are not related to physical interaction. If you are loving who you are with; show him some love. It will do your body and your mind some good!

References

Oxytocin. (2011, March 11). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:42, March 12, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Oxytocin&oldid=418327314

CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange) (2010, February 17). Autism: Oxytocin improves social behavior of patients, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 12, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2010/02/100216221350.htm

Winning

In regard to the Charlie Sheen rant before his dismissal, he considered himself to be, “winning”. Winning with major media buzz, “goddesses”, tiger blood running through his veins? Tragic.

Unfortunately, poor John Cryer, who I thoroughly enjoyed as “Duckie” in the film “Pretty in Pink”, no longer has a job as a result of Charlie’s win. Everybody has challenges, bad experiences, errors in judgement, but bringing someone else down with you is bad karma.

Celli says you’re winning when:
1. Your family is proud of what you are doing with your life. They tell everybody all of your business, because they have such good things to say.
2. You don’t have to convince yourself that you are doing the right thing. The worst lies you can tell are the ones you tell yourself.
3. The goodness that you give out is returned to you.

Winning is not about wealth, beauty, popularity, or fame. Winning is about creating opportunities for other people to win with you. Reciprocity. If you kill everything around you, who will be able to “cellibrate” with you, tiger? 😉

Struggle Breeds Authority

Someone once asked, what qualifies you to speak as an authority? Experience, my friend. I have experienced enough to be able to advise. Overcoming obstacles helps to develop the qualities we need to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives. The hard times we experience are the tools that we have been given to help others fix what may be going wrong in their lives.

When people know that you have gone through something they are more apt to listen to you. Wisdom is something you can not buy, wisdom is earned.

In every problem that challenges you and forces you to grow, there is an opportunity to gain experience. You learn valuable information that may be applicable to someone else. You may be able to help meet someone else’s needs just by having gone through what you have been challenged with. Your experiences are valid. You have the authority to help steer someone in the right direction. This is your charge!

When people know you have, “been there”, they should respect it. Anything that brings a person closer to a power higher than their own is an asset to share, not a liability.

The loss of a job, a marriage, a loved one, one’s freedom, or peace of mind affords that person a chance to tap in to a strength that is greater than our minds and personal will can create. These experiences are tests of faith and opportunities to teach others about grace. Your experience is your testimony. There can be no testimony without a test. In order to demonstrate praise for the grace you have received, sometimes you have to go through a little something first. I’m cautious of people who have never fallen down before. How can they offer any real advice?

If you think you are too wise to fail, or you are too smart to make an error, if you think someone’s bad experience makes them weak instead of stronger and wiser…keep living! You will get your chance to be an authority too, just wait and see.

What Are Your Core Values?

Many of us think we know what our core values are, especially those of us over the age of thirty. Our core values guide our actions and reactions. Our core values govern our lives. At any given time we are tested to demonstrate our core values. This is how we govern and conduct ourselves on the daily basis. The question is, if we go against our core values, does that make us evil or does it make us merely human? We are natural born sinners who, through grace, are forgiven. We don’t get a pass to indiscriminately sin without consequence. We do, however, have to answer to a higher power who has the ultimate right to judge.

I would argue that at one time or another, although we believe we have non-negotiable core values, we have done things that challenge them. Perhaps we test ourselves regarding our strength and our faith. Maybe we give up on them for reasons only known to ourselves. Maybe we question our values because we believe that following them lead us to some form of disappointment. We have all fallen short. We are expected to : every failure leads us closer to our impending victory. This becomes true only if we believe.

John Mason, best-selling author and speaker, suggests ways for us to define our core values and live in a fashion that will cause us to act in accordance to that. Mason provides ways for us to do this; “make yourself valuable to somebody today…tackling a problem bigger than yourself…getting to know God by reading His Word…helping someone who can’t repay you…doing three things that take you outside your comfort zone…giving thanks for your daily bread…leaving others a little better than you found them…not being afraid to ask for help…giving the best time of your day to God…doing today what you want to put off till tomorrow…remembering the time and place to be happy is here and now…taking small steps to conquer a bad habit…and evaluating your actions not by the harvest they produce, but by the seeds you’re sowing.”

Core values are simple to define. You simply remember everything that you were taught in kindergarten and basically live your life that way. Sometimes the clutter of our adult lives, that we hold on to in our minds, cause us to go against or forget our core values. Clearing the clutter in our minds makes room for the flowers to grow. There is nothing wrong with stopping to smell the flowers, they smell so sweet.

I’M SO BUSY!

The month of January has been on fire. Busy ,busy, busy me: living life, putting out fires, managing the lives of me and my Gents, dealing with the stress of single motherhood, fretting over the health of my own mother, heart aches, heart breaks, and life in general. The latest and greatest addition to my life as a freelance mother and writer involves my oldest child and his class trip to DC…stay tuned.

The Point System

The Point System

There are two young men who enjoy the finer things in life, like: frequent trips to Burger King, movies, trips to GameStop, vacations, and ordering Pay Per View TV. Fancy, huh? These two do not have jobs anywhere in America. I, their devoted and nurturing mother, am a divorced educator who does not receive child support or alimony. Nor am I independently wealthy. So, how does one accommodate the spur of the moment needs of two growing boys? Should I ask a friend for $ 40 to make ends meet until my next paycheck? Should I apply for a loan from the bank of Mom and Dad? No, that is not always going to be sufficient. What I can do is develop a system to help me and them. I can structure in my budget ways to accommodate entertainment needs for them both; however, they must earn the things they crave by being responsible for completing tasks that build their own sense of independence, maturity, and development.

First, we make a schedule. I learned this from watching Super Nanny on TV. A posted schedule provides both young men with a visual of the tasks that must be completed on the daily basis in order for us to be successful as a family unit. We need to live in a clean and organized environment. I can not be the only one to make sure these things are done. Everyone needs to have chores to build responsibility and to help keep this ship a float. Most importantly, they must have time to study, eat balanced meals, and rest. So, on the schedule the Gents can see what they need to be doing and how long they have to complete each task. As they complete each task they earn a point.

Next, the point system. For each completed task the Gents earn a point. Each day has an automatic 5 point opportunity (consisting of daily chores, study time, practice time, homework completion, and organization). With the completion of additional chores each of the Gents has an opportunity to build their points (while sneaky Mom gets housekeeping done on the cheap). Once they have received a certain number of points the gift cards start flowing. I can purchase a few gift cards with money from my budget designated for entertainment. I will save money and have more left over in my emergency fund for unexpected expenditures. For example: for 200 points earned, a $20 Burger King Gift Card; for 250 points earned, a $30 gift card to Game Stop; for 300 points earned, a trip to the Movies, Arcade, and dinner at a restaurant of their choice; for 1000 points earned, drum roll please, a trip to Disney, Bush Gardens, or Universal Studios (I can save for this out of a different area of my budget, uh, there aren’t gift cards for this).

Some don’t like to use incentives to motivate however; children need to understand that NOTHING in life is free. Benefits are earned. I work very hard to provide for them, I do not have disposable income to spend on things that are nonessential to their needs, growth, and development. While I would like to be able to do that, I can not. Hopefully, from this they will develop a greater sense of independence, an intrinsic motivational cue to work for things that they want, and understand that their needs must be met first. They need to be healthy, educated, responsible, mature and prepared for challenges they will surely face as men. Since they do not have a man in the home to emulate, all I can do is provide them with opportunities to create themselves into the type of men they aspire to become.

Haiti: 1 Year Later

Haiti is not yet healed. People are surviving on less than $1.00 per day; 4,700 escaped prisoners are free on the streets to rape kidnap, murder, and steal. Violent criminals viewed the earthquake as a blessing from God to be on the streets and once again wreak havoc; clearly, Haiti is out of control. The world promised to help, sent many donations of medicine food and clothing, only to be held back by governmental red tape and lack of political organization.
Gangsters take control in chaos. The politician and Gangster have a symbiotic relationship. They need each other to survive. The lack of political will to act on criminals- true hardcore criminals- is the difference between a healed Haiti and a Haiti that continues to die slow. Haiti is in a state of extreme devastation and chaotic despair. There is no glamorous way to say that Haiti needs our help. No amount of celebrity involvement can yield improvements. Popular justice is the order of the day; the UN can not control the street justice. Blood is trickling through the streets like open sewage. Only through our constant prayer and diligence will Haiti survive what has become “Hell on earth”.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/v/?id=frol02s470aq1028&w=514&h=366