Monday, December 21, 2015

Blog Post 12/22/15

regard coming from desire or esteem
the opposite of caring is heedless.

This past month over 80 children in 13 families were cared for by Jessica Robinson and her Adopt a Family program and the LNHS Key Club  and Mayor’s Christmas Tree Adopt a Family program.  Each of these families were cared for in a way that was not expected.  True caring is a selfless and unconditional act of giving that is based on a desire to good for others.  While this is the case with numerous LNHS students and faculty, it is also true that the ‘givers’ were cared for as well. 

As Webster’s dictionary notes that the opposite of caring is heedlessness. These acts of mindful and heedful giving to others was truly an act that made those who gave to this project and these families a true understanding of compassion for others.   They took the step of being heedful rather than heedless which is so easy to do in our society.  It is easy to not give heed to the needs of others as we walk by, drive by or ignore in other ways.  These young people and their adult leaders modeled and showed the caring trait in actions far more than words.

This time of year is a mindful time of year for such acts, however, it is a lesson for us to be mindful of such caring year around.  That is why the backpack program run by our freshman leaders (Lisa Fletcher and Janai Howard) and Social Worker (Gina Harrison) is so vital to the lives of many.  Sharing and giving food to families each weekend provides a continual sustenance that underscores caring in a most profound way.

It can be said (and well it should) that these acts of caring convey the meaning of this months Character Trait to the lives of people who benefit from these programs.  It is just as true that our students and staff who carry out these wonderful projects benefit from these efforts as much as any.  This caring engages the souls of all involved in a way that all gain a deep and true attitude of Caring.  May we all remember that this is not just a seasonal trait.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Citizenship November Character Trait

Blog post November Character Trait

On Tuesday November 3rd school was called off for most students in the Kansas City metropolitan area due to the desire of many employees and families to attend the Kansas City Royals World Championship Parade.  This decision by Superintendents and those they consulted was unprecedented.  Like many decisions in life this one may possibly be recorded as a truly brilliant decision that honors the view of citizenship.  There are approximately 2.4 million citizens in the Kansas City area with many different backgrounds and views of the world.  But on this day they expressed a true joy for a singular value, Kansas City Baseball as embodied by the Royals organization.  I would not have been able to attend this parade just as I couldn’t in 1985 because of my responsibilities as a high school principal without such a decision.  However, on this day I had the choice.  This gift allowed me to witness citizenship expressed in nonverbal and verbal ways in a most profound manner.

As I drove toward Kansas City from Liberty North High School, the traffic became dense very quickly.  My option to park at my son’s work place quickly became no option as I approached the Broadway exit.  I proceeded south to Westport and found a nice spot in the garage by the Tivoli theatres.  Since I had arrived early for the rally, I had plenty of time to walk north to Union Station.  I walked along with a few folks clad in royal blue as I departed the parking lot, but quickly the rivulet became a stream of blue and then several streams running parallel to each other heading north.  As I reached Broadway it became the ‘Mighty Mo’ with hundreds of people moving along in a steady peaceful and purposeful pace toward Liberty Memorial.  Once I arrived at Liberty Memorial it was clear I had not left early enough to have a seat near Union Station as the ‘Mighty Mo’ emptied into a sea of humanity between Liberty Memorial and Union Station. 

The amazing aspect of this time from 1145am to 330 pm (the end of the rally) was how purposefully polite were the individuals who gathered to experience this unknown phenomenon  for many Kansas Citians (A World Championship Celebration). People came as individuals, as families, as couples, as groups of friends.  Many rode bikes for two and three to get to the parade route in a most efficient manner.  Everyone was quietly cheerful and mannerly.  They were clearly here to show appreciation and admiration for a feat most have never been a part of.   I found my thoughts centering on why so many had gathered and were still gathering while behaving so well. I believe many came with a singular purposeful intent to show in a strong and powerful way the admiration and kindness one shows a true friend when they have accomplished something great.  It struck me that these folks were the embodiment of true citizens (exhibiting their rights and more importantly their duties to be a part of something special in this city).  So with great politeness this huge crowd came together in a somewhat awkward space for hundreds of thousands of people and maintained their composure to recognize a baseball team that embodies truly admirable qualities.  In this case, mental, physical and emotional toughness and discipline along with great athleticism and baseball intelligence exhibited by each person on this Royals team.  

It made perfect sense that while standing at the top of the stairs in front of Liberty Memorial (a place that demands and requires respectful behavior from all of us) that people would be polite and mannerly when slightly irritated.  After the first wave of folks decided to sit on the steps the next groups found moving past them to the ground in front less than probable.  When those of us standing at the top would say it would be best for these later arriving folks to go to either side to get to the lower field they responded affirmatively (oh, ok, sure, and thanks).  In some places in our great country the response might have been contentious and lacking in good citizenship.  On this day and in this place Kansas Citians were not just good citizens, they were great citizens. 

They represented in their actions the tremendous qualities of goodness that their Royals exhibited on the field each day and night.  It is these qualities that truly show the love of the game and the love for one’s city. 

Thank you School Superintendents (especially mine Dr. Tucker) for making the decision to have a day of singular purpose of honoring Major League Baseball’s World Champions, the Kansas City Royals.  I was able to experience an aspect of citizenship that would not have happened without that decision.  I am a grateful fan of the Kansas City Royals.

Monday, September 28, 2015

September LPS Character Trait Blog Respect

The concept Respect is the theme for Liberty Public Schools Character Trait of September and coincidently the first foundational value we espouse at Liberty North High School in our core values. Respect can be divided into 3 facets illustrated in this missive: Respect for Self; Respect in the workplace and being Respectful people.

In reflecting on this concept in the context of teaching and learning at LNHS I think it is appropriate that we consider the deep values inherent in this powerful word.  As we continue our journey to go more deeply and broadly into the development of teaching and learning as individual educators, students and team members, the trust and respect we have for each other will continue to grow in importance.  We can no longer afford to tacitly ignore or obliquely tolerate people.  We need to engage with each and every person to find new learning ideas, creations, experiences and practices for all.  Just as we need to maximize our students’ knowledge and skill we adults must be mindful of ways and processes that allows this to happen with each other.  By modeling excellent ways to respect and regard each person we show each other , each student and our families ways to develop respectful relationships with peers and adults as well. 

While we do very well in this respect (pun intended) it is always good to reflect on our current status so we can continue to develop this concept in all of our work together.

I have taken a plethora of words and ideas by cited authors John Daly (The Key to Class) and Barbara Richman (HR Mpact) and numerous unknown authors to share their thoughts about self respect, respect for others in the work place and respectful people.

These are good reminders for us and our respectful relationships as we grow our team work in the context of growing our institution, Liberty North High School.  These ideas offer ways to model for and develop respect with students that are far deeper than our positional authority. They can also remind us as to how we need to maintain and develop respect for each other as we work with different view points regarding the teaching and learning process.  Respect is built on a foundation of caring and trust for and with each student and colleague.

Anonymous thoughts written to illustrate self respect:

You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce

I’ll take character over reputation.  Your character is what you really are. While your reputation is merely what others think you are.(AJ Perez)

Do justice to yourself,  Watch your words, watch your actions, watch your habits.  Respect yourself.

Respect yourself and others will respect you. (Confucius)(Pythagoras)(Proverbs)(Koran)

Ten thoughts regarding respectfulness in the workplace by Barbara Richman

   Before acting, consider the impact of your words and  
    actions on others.
   Create an inclusive work environment.  Only by recognizing and respecting individual differences and qualities can your organization fully realize its potential.
   Self-monitor the respect that you display in all areas of your communications, including verbal, body language, and listening.
   Understand your triggers or “hot buttons.”  Knowing what makes you angry and frustrated enables you to manage your reactions and respond in a more appropriate manner.
   Take responsibility for your actions and practice self-restraint and anger management skills in responding to potential conflicts.
   Adopt a positive and solution-driven approach in resolving conflicts.
   Rely on facts rather than assumptions.  Gather relevant facts, especially before acting on assumptions that can damage relationships.
   Include others in your focus by considering their needs and avoiding the perception that you view yourself as the “center of the universe.”
   View today’s difficult situations from a broader (big picture) and more realistic perspective by considering what they mean in the overall scheme of things.
   "Each one influence one” by becoming a bridge builder and role model for civility and respect. Act in a manner whereby you respect yourself, demonstrate respect for others, and take advantage of every opportunity to be proactive in promoting civility and respect in your workplace.

Written by
Author: Barbara Richman
Organization: HR Mpact
May 28, 2014

Traits exhibited by Respectful People
By John Daly
       Trait #1: They’re honest. They don’t lie. People can depend upon them. Think of the heroes we admire in books, movies and real life. Don’t they act with honesty and integrity? Aren’t they generous with others? Doesn’t everyone look up to them?
       Trait #2: They don’t lose their tempers, scream, yell or strike out against others when things don’t go their way. In other words, they rarely lose control. When negative things happen to them, they remain positive. They treat people as they would like to be treated.

       Trait #3: They are tenacious. They don’t give up easily. They become resourceful when the going gets rough. They totally get that they can’t change other people or the circumstances, but they can change their attitudes about situations.
       Trait #4: They admit when they’re wrong. Instead of sticking to their guns (no matter what) just to be “right,” they fess up to their mistakes, particularly when it lets another person “off the hook” or eases a situation.
       Trait #5: They aren’t lazy; they strive. They are hard workers who always want to “get it right.”
       Trait #6: They have their priorities straight. They put what is truly important, what will really help others or a situation, above their own needs.
       Trait #7: They have an inner sense of right and wrong. They innately know the right thing to do, and they understand clearly when an injustice is being served.
       Trait #8: They tend to be role models for other people. Others admire and look up to them.
       Trait #9: They are givers. Most successful people are. They know the “secret” that the more you give, the more you receive when you are genuine about your gifts. We’re talking not so much about money but time and expertise. They operate on Zig Ziglar’s quote, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough people get what they want.”
       Trait #10: They have high self-esteem. They believe they deserve success and know they can do anything they go after. They know that a mistake is something that they do and not who they are. They keep a positive self-image because they know that self-esteem is a state of mind that they have chosen.
       Trait #11: They are loyal, even when it’s tough to do so. They stand behind those with whom they have forged relationships and don’t betray them.