Reflection time 23.11.2014

Gratitude.
I got the chance to spend all Saturday with my two children alone because my wife started her new job. I had so much fun and really enjoyed my time with them. It was tiring physically, but energising spiritually because they made me feel so young. We had fun, watched movies, ate good food together and Ava had a nice nap as well. Great times.
Annemarie and I got the chance to have a second date night of the month. We had a great time and ate a lot of Mexican food that was really tasty. I wanted to show gratitude to Julie A.K.A Iron fist because she is crazy strong. She is Annemarie’s mum and looks after the children when we are out and about or really busy getting something done. She has also given me many lifts to and from work when I need one.
Big up to the following virtual mentors who have contributed to my understanding this week: Robin Sharma, Eric Thomas, Zig Ziglar, The Hodgetwins, Charlotte Ord and Jon Gabriel.
Health.
I’ve been trying to abandon my ideas of being on a diet and have focused on adding in as much healthy nutrition as possible without depriving myself or having thoughts of deprivation. This has been going quite well, but I am only now realising just how broken my signalling to my body was. My eating is starting to slow down, and I hope my intuition will kick in far more with eating and I will be able to get to the point where my eating is effortless and natural rather than forced and mentally draining.
Achievements
Not mine directly, but one of my athletes qualified for the next round of the cross country championships. She performed really well and I was really proud of her and all the runners from my cross country team.
What memorable things have happened in your week?
I wish you the best
Shaun

Focus on the positive

When working with the children in the classroom I sometimes have to resist the temptation to be negative and focus relentlessly on the positive. There are times in the classroom when the children will be very challenging and it is at these times that this skill is the most important, for you and the child in question. This is a difficult technique to develop and goes against the natural instinct to immediately correct the child or person with which you have an issue but it has many benefits.
* It allows the child to get back on track without conflict.
*It allows you to avoid getting stressed and burnt out with poor behaviour because you constantly focus on the good.
*It gives the children a clear frame of reference for good behaviour from the positive role models in the class without comparing them to each other and belittling them.
Here’s one way that it could be done. Positive directing.
Child misbehaves in some way.
“Do you notice what we are doing right now? You can do that can’t you? O.k then, let’s go.”
If at this stage the child continues to play up, I don’t ignore it, but calmly give them another chance to fix it before going down the route of sanctions. The minute I see the child doing what I asked, I get another reminder in.
“That’s exactly what I was looking for. Now keep that up.”
It works, and leads to positive dialogue in the classroom. When this isn’t going so well, the atmosphere in the room changes and there can be a tendency to single a pupil out for not doing what they should be. We want to break the loop of the child expecting to be in trouble with the teacher and the rest expecting the ‘naughty child’ to be in trouble. How the child sees themselves has to change, and then the behaviour can develop from there.
This can also work internally.
Question: When you make a mistake, how do you react and what do you say to yourself?
If you are negative, what value will this have for you? Will it really encourage you to become better, or will the effort to create change not be worth it?
Can you see how positively talking to yourself will allow you to be kinder with yourself and start seeing yourself in a different way.
I am speaking from lots of experience here. Negative talk leads to exasperation, anxiety, anger, disappointment and limited thinking. Positive talk leads to encouragement, hope, seeing things differently and eventually positive change.
None of us are perfect and so this does take lots of work, but it is worth it.
Listen to how you speak to yourself and others and think. Am I really as positive as I think I am? Or am I horrible and nasty to myself in my own head.
Realising that you could be far kinder to yourself is a great way to start changing this dangerous habit.
I wish you the best.
Shaun

The power of commitment

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Today I want to reflect upon the power of commitment in my life in order to help you see the value of developing the capacity to stay committed.

Commitment is as important as goal setting when attaining success and fulfilment in life. The areas where I am most committed in my life are to my wife,  my children and myself. Through examining the principle of commitment through these areas, I found really interesting patterns that can be applied to create commitment in other areas.

During our wedding ceremony, my wife and I made a commitment to each other. The vows we spoke to each other, explain the principle of commitment extremely well:

I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part

The words are so powerful because they show that commitment means constancy. We made the choice to stay together for the rest of our lives. Good times are easy, and everyone can enjoy those, but it’s those hard times when the commitments we have made have to be at the front of our minds and they call on us to remember what we have promised to each other and ourselves.When I lost my father, my wife was the one person who helped me through it and who I opened up to the most. She supported me when I was broken down and burnt out at work. She has reassured me during times when I doubted my own strength and capabilities. There have been times during the relationship where I have done the same for her. We support each other and make each other stronger. This is the principle of commitment in real life.

I sometimes wake up at crazy times during the night because of my commitment to my children. If Ava needs something at any moment day or night, we take care of it. Every night I put Nathan to bed. We read a story then he lies down and goes to sleep. I stay with him because I’m committed to spending time with him that is just us. That can be hard to do when work starts to pile up and I am only arriving home an hour before his bedtime. But the most important thing is that Nathan and I  have quality time every single day that we can. It is our responsibility to raise our children and we don’t take that lightly at all. This commitment does not waver and does not change. It is a powerful force that transcends mood, energy levels, and at times sanity. We do what we have to do for our children.

I have recently made the same level of commitment to myself in a few key areas of my life. In the past, I have allowed myself to be sidetracked by circumstances or my feelings about what I was trying to achieve. However, my growing understanding of the power of commitment has compelled me to try the things that were unsuccessful in the past. I now appreciate that having a reason why is the essence of true commitment. I have now created reasons why I must achieve those things I am striving for. Although this does not guarantee 100% compliance, it does mean that I am protecting those things that I hold important from my moods and feelings that can be influenced by so many different factors. There is no compromise or excuses to hide behind. I get the job done.

3. In order to get different results, I understand now that different choices need to be made. In order to take my life to a higher level, I must develop as a person. Keeping my word to myself is one of the key ways I can affect personal growth. For example, the lifestyle that I now lead is completely different to one that I used to have. Paradoxically, now that I have two children, I’m finding I actually spend more time on activities that will lead to personal growth. This is down to choices and the importance I see in becoming a role model for my children that they can really learn from. Down went the x box pad, and instead I spend my time listening to audiobooks and reading, writing blog posts, working out, spending time with my family and meeting with my mentor to help with my personal growth. I now see time as a currency to be spent and to be spent wisely. I have made the choice to focus very heavily on some key areas. I’m committed come rain or shine. My devotion will not falter.

What commitments have you made to yourself that are going to help you develop yourself and others around you?

Are you aware of the actions that you take and what this says about your commitments in your life?

Are your behaviours in congruence with your values?

These are the questions I have started to ask myself to make sure that I am on the right path. Being honest with yourself can be challenging, but it is worth it. Make some commitments for your own life that are going to get you to the places you want and need to be for real fulfilment.

Choose success

 

Post 16: Welcome to the world

Post 016: Welcome to the world.

As I look back on 2013, I have much to be thankful for. On the 27th December 2013, my daughter Ava entered the world and since then has enriched my life immensely in her short time with us. She is so beautiful that I find my-self staring at her for hours on end and cuddling her constantly.

My family unit is my main source of motivation in life. I get out bed and go to work for them. I write my goals and aspirations down and am trying to reach them to show my children and wife that we literally can have whatever we want in life. The example that I set for my family with my focus on self development and improvement, I see as one of the greatest gifts that I can pass on to my children. The reading, writing and gathering of wisdom of great characters and thinkers will serve them well and help them to reach their goals in life when their time comes.

Just yesterday, my wife was talking about how it would be nice to go away on holiday to a hot sunny place this year. We have set a goal of paying off all our bad debt over the next 2 years, so realistically this probably won’t happen. This hurt me because I want us to be in a position where we can decide to do something like go away for a holiday without having to worry over money so much. But we’re doing the right thing. Delayed gratification will mean that when we finally do take that luxury holiday, we will be doing it on our terms without limitations and with the feeling of being free from consumer debt. That motivation is far greater than the need for a lavish holiday right now and the realisation that we are on that track already really cheered us both up. Plus, if I raise my income level then that debt might be written off earlier and we could be packing our suitcases sooner than we think.

2014 is a big year for us where I plan to make a career change that is more in alignment with my goals and dreams. Yes it will be challenging, but the reason why I must persist is stronger than any fears for my future out of the comfort zone of my current working position.

Welcome to the world Ava, we’re going to have a great time together.

Post 013: Let’s just be who we are

Inspiration can come from many sources.

I was just marking my class’s P.S.H.E work from last week. (Personal and emotional aspects of learning) The question we had tackled was ‘What makes me special?’ The responses that the children had come up with were fantastic and really made me appreciate just how creative and free thinking children can be when we ask the right questions. However, one response blew me away especially considering the child in question is 8 years old. After listing some things about what makes her special in her opinion, she then said. “I know that in the future I will learn lots of skills, but for now let’s just be who we are.”

Wow! I hope that she can stay true to herself and be who she is for the rest of her life. If she can, it will be one of the greatest blessings she ever has. I was amazed and humbled that someone so young could have such an insightful and beautiful view of the world. My job and the job of all teachers and mentors is to allow her and all children to keep their uniqueness alive.

It is a challenge, because for me I spent so long trying to be all things to all people that I forgot about being myself. Far too often in my job as a class teacher I feel the pressure to do this to the children as well. According to the powers that be, they should all progress at the same rate, get fantastic grades in all areas and basically be clones with different faces. At first, this overwhelming pressure was crushing to me. Then I realised that the problem wasn’t mine but the systems and that made the pressure ease massively.

The best thing I can do for the children I teach and my own children is to develop myself into the best person I am capable of and be an example for self improvement.

The spark that really ignited my passion for personal development was the birth of my son. I need him to know that he has no limits and that he can create whatever reality he wants for himself. In order for that message to be authentic, I have to live it myself and pass it on through example. I now visualise our family experiencing so much of what life has to offer. I imagine taking my family to seminars and talks with exceptional people who have positive messages.  I want to pass on the wisdom and knowledge I have gathered throughout my life to help them to get where they want to be. I want my children around adults who will allow them to ‘Be who they are’ by being in touch with their own unique voice. Surely this is true success. Not money, status, or fame. But satisfaction, development, progress and service.

I wish the girl who wrote this all the happiness in the world. I also hope that she comes to recognise that if she can be who she is and stay true to that, the world is hers for the taking.

Post 010 : What should education be about?

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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/suli-breaks-the-secret-of-success-forget-exams–its-all-about-getting-the-breaks-8630036.html

‘I saw one of his videos a few weeks ago and it really struck a chord. As a fifty something year old, I feel that my education aimed to prepare me for narrowly defined roles within an ‘establishment’ society. It didn’t encourage me to think creatively, or to seek less conventional opportunities, or indeed to try to change society. When my son went to school a couple of decades later, much the same was happening, and I’ve no reason to believe it’s changed now. I’ve spent all my working life in a reasonably well paid job which I hate. OK, so its kept poverty at bay, but surely there’s more to life than that. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to realize that my so called ‘good’ education has held me back, and I’m finally doing something about it’

I read this when reading the comments after an article talking about spoken word artist Suli Breaks. He has a problem with the current education system in England. He basically believes that the emphasis on passing exams and grades is to the detriment of the children going through the system.

I agree with this. I am currently a teacher, and it is being turned into a place of cold efficiency, teaching tricks and uniformity. I was recently in a meeting with other teachers where we shared our practices and what we were doing with our children. More than ever before, there is a growing relentless drive on driving up standards of performance in the classroom. So much so, that teachers are feeling burnt out, tired, stressed and uninspired by the massive opportunities that they have to work with the future generation on a daily basis. The ironic thing is that in most cases, the standard of teaching that our children receive is good. However, if you read the media recently, you wouldn’t believe that.

On a personal level, I find the whole business  overwhelming at times because there are according to who you speak to so many ‘priorities’ that it can be easy to get lost in a black hole of paperwork and fads.  I think that this is the main problem with the education system in the u.k today. There doesn’t seem to be a collective spirit anymore of what education should be about. Do we want our children to be able to regurgitate facts, or do we want them to learn how to think? Do we want to challenge and expand their thoughts and feelings about the world around them or do we want them to focus on academics at the expense of building character and a world view. The education system will stay in a perpetual state of chaos until there is unity between all people who participate in it. Either that, or we allow the parents to choose the type of education that their children go on to pursue.

I feel that my time is coming to an end in the classroom simply because I’m not sure that I’m doing the best work that I could with the youth in there. I feel a growing need to leave the classroom and create something new and unique that could help children and adults focus on all aspects of themselves and to learn how to connect with who they truly are. I haven’t got it all planned out yet, but I feel that I will offer much more true value when I do this because I will be connected much more strongly to the principles behind my actions. Young people today need guidance in many areas. When I think back on my school days, the idea that your grades were everything was very strong. We were told on many occasions that the grades we got would be the passport to success. I now think differently. I believe that the character and values we have as well as the actions we take are the true determinant of success in the real world. School is so extrinsically based that the opportunity to go inward and discover ourselves and unique abilities can sometimes be missed.  I want to become a facilitator of that self discovery for as many people as possible and provide opportunities for this to take place in and out of the classroom.

I basically want to help create life long learners.

 What do you feel are the most important aspects of a first class education? 

I wish you the best

Shaun