[Own Your Life Wed] What’s Your WHY?


What’s your WHY?

I believe you and I have a lot in common as to why we got into Education, because…

We are here to make a difference. It’s what re-charges our emotional batteries. Reaching out to make a connection says: You matter to me, and I believe in you. Choosing to be affirmative is a powerful and profound way to positively influence today’s children.

Today’s blog is a “think this” then “do that” and you’ll “make it better” in 30 seconds or less.

In the upcoming blogs this month, I will share specific, fundamental principles that really do work to make educating and raising children a rewarding, life-fulfilling experience. The rich content and touching stories illustrate how to turn even the most severe and unsettling situations with children of all ages completely around by how you connect.

So let’s begin.  As you well know it’s …

1bExcerpt from Make A Difference with The Power of Connection

Connection goes straight to the heart of the matter. This book gives you concise, instructive ways you can immediately begin “thinking differently” to positively affect children and be the difference you want to make. Loving and understanding connection, even in small doses, has tremendous power to heal a life.


My entrepreneurial trek, which has included work with adults and children in educational, corporate and personal settings, began over twenty years ago when I started to realize I knew something about youth at risk that a large percentage of the educators I worked with would want to learn and would be able to easily incorporate into their daily classroom structure.

My special gift was that I knew, intuitively, how to heal behaviorally challenging children. My ability to create for them a sense of community and “belonging” helped them achieve measurably high levels of success, no matter how overcrowded my classrooms were.

I realized early in my teaching career that I had mentally done away with the “bell curve” and the “labels” put on behaviorally and academically challenged children by other well-meaning teachers before me.

When, as a sixth-grade teacher, I collected data from previous years of Stanford Achievement Tests, I found that the children arriving in my classroom each year were, on average, a year or two behind their expected grade level.

With my determination and guidance, through engaging instruction and the elimination of labels, they not only gained back what they had previously lost, but they achieved an additional two to three years of academic growth on their test scores.

In 1988, when I understood the effectiveness of my techniques, I began writing continuing educational programs to assist educators in learning how to heal all of the students in their classrooms who were living unhappy lives and not succeeding academically or otherwise.

The results of these programs were even more amazing than I could have predicted— teachers now had the tools they needed to deal compassionately and effectively with all children’s learning styles and behavioral needs.


Then life happened! Legislation was passed that cut all funding for school programs such as mine.

I found myself redirected—led—into the corporate arena, where I quickly realized that we are all just little kids in big bodies! The principles and strategies I had been teaching educators, about breaking cycles of failure, worked in very diverse business environments, as well as day-to-day life.


When parents learned how to heal themselves through the principles I taught them, their children thrived, and my teaching had a positive effect on adults and their children alike.


Now, nearly two decades later, I have spoken to tens of thousands of people, about the power of labeling and attitudes in communication. I’ve written six books, and started writing motivational poetry again for the first time since I was 18. My poems have become flash online movies and are available for anyone to watch at no charge and to pass along to others who would appreciate them. Available at: MakeADifference.com/movies

And this brings us to 2006, when I was sent a musical rendition of the Teddy Stallard story – a story, autobiographical in nature – written by Elizabeth Silance Ballard in 1974 about a little boy who almost fell through the cracks of the school system. I knew in a heartbeat that it needed to be a flash movie.

A year later, I received another true story about a Blue Ribbon Ceremony ™ created by Helice “Sparky” Bridges that literally saved the life of a 14-year-old boy. As I found myself now creating these flash movies, I realized that I had come full circle.

What I have found in the span of my personal and professional life is that connecting with compassion creates a ripple effect that changes attitudes, reinforces the positive, and can have an impact far greater than we realize. It is a simple act that leaves an imprint upon those to whom the affirmative attention is given.



Compassion turns “me” into “we.”

The moment that the “we” in “me” occurs, new understanding is revealed. In the midst of compassion we are able to instantly lay down our old habits of disapproval and judgment, and become highly discerning about what’s really trying to happen for the greatest good.


Compassion is an old idea made new, because science has caught up to ancient literature and philosophy to prove that “the only way out” of resentment, anger, harmful or unskilled behavior is through compassion.

It makes you protective rather than controlling and when this occurs, you simply stop using fear and shame to modify unskillful behaviors. This one mental shift is what will dramatically and positively change unproductive behavior in an instant!


It’s about more than kindness; its about the essence and the power that compassion offers all humanity.

10You will notice in this book that I don’t talk about love. Love is ever unfolding and will ultimately be demonstrated through how you show up for the children in your care. I’ve worked with professionals, as well as parents, who, in their upset, say they just don’t think they can love or help certain children.

My response is simple: begin with compassion. I understand fully how challenging it is to feel love toward a child who walks through the door with the “difficult” factor. Compassion moves you right past what’s difficult and on to matters of the heart. When you make an effort to see through the glazed-over look in these children’s eyes, straight into their hearts, you will find your way. It’s the affirmative connection that begins healing the negative beliefs these children embody.

I’m writing this book because, as a teacher who later became a counselor, I learned to keep it simple and straightforward.

I listened until I was able to learn some important basic information:

1. How the child was labeled at birth through his or her first five years of life, including both parent labels and school-related labels.

2. When working with parents, what was going on in the parent’s life that the child could be carrying a symptom for.

3. If working with a teacher, what emotional buttons this child pushed for the teacher—necessary to determine how to best align the teacher with the child.

If I didn’t readily see what needed to happen, I kept listening until I did. Wait for it. You must learn to resist the urge to analyze and fix too fast. When a problem seems so big that you don’t even know where to begin, wait for it. Lean into the knowledge that this book provides.

11It is unifying, because it transcends the need to use force to counter unacceptable behavior that arises in disturbing circumstances and situations which an individual feels are beyond his or her own control.

There has been a significant amount of research about compassion, in the areas of human development and behavior.

In the most current research-based assessments, psychologists have observed that a compassionate response to challenging individuals and situations yields a positive reaction 70% of the time. Whereas, responding with resentment or anger produces a negative reaction 100% of the time!


As I’ve illustrated in my Academic Success 101 Online Course, if you want the problematic situations in your life to dissipate and improve, start “throwing compassion” at the person or at the problem behavior.

Reaching out …
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PS … To Make A Positive Difference by becoming a TurnAround Specialist, check out my Make A Difference with the Power of Acknowledgment UTrain Program and my Academic Success 101 Faculty & Staff and/or Self Paced Online Course for professionals and parents.