Resilience

The Skies Out Tonight

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The morning of 9/11/2001, as I readied to go to work, and prepared to leave my wife at home with our two youngest sons, aged 19 months, and 1 month old, we were both crying, and upset by the news of the attack. I was a school psychologist at the time, and believed that my family was safe, and that I could be more use at work. So off I went to ensure that the children of the schools I served were doing ok. The rest of the day was a blur. I remember checking on classrooms, teachers, and many students who we knew had parents in the military, and or were on assignment and were out of the area. That night, all the planes were grounded, the skies were silent, and these words came to me. I wrote them down, and tucked them away. I remember reading these words each day, somewhat like a prayer over that first month. Today, as I was reviewing several documents that I wrote during that time, I found these words, and decided to spontaneously record myself singing them. No music, other than me. Well, the result is here for you to view, and the words are written below.

It is sixteen years later, to the day, that I wrote these words, and I believe that more than ever, we need to reconnect to the strength that we collectively have. We are a strong nation, and are stronger when we come together. I hope you find some relevance in these words, and I hope that you hold the hope in your life in high regards.

My best to you always, Dr. Rob Martinez, AKA @ResiliencyGuy on @Twitter

The Skies Out Tonight

Chorus

The skies out tonight are silent.

The skies out tonight are silent.

No planes fly tonight, they lay still.

The skies out tonight are silent.

But I can see

The American Eagle soar

Like I’ve never seen before.

He lives in us all.

And I can hear

The American Voices Sing

You might test our strength,

But we will survive,

And we will shine through.

Chorus

The skies out tonight are silent.

The skies out tonight are silent.

No planes fly tonight, they lay still.

The skies out tonight are silent.

But I can feel

The American Spirit

We’ll fight through the day,

We’ll fight though the night,

To keep it alive!

Our strength,

You cannot take!

Our hope,

You cannot faze!

Our faith,

You cannot break!

Our love,

Will overcome!

Chorus

The skies out tonight are silent.

The skies out tonight are silent.

But soon, they will roar again.

Yes, soon they will roar again.

For we all can sense,

Our American pride,

We’ve gathered as one,

We won’t be outdone,

We’ll fight till we’ve won!

Our strength,

You cannot take!

Our hope,

You cannot faze!

Our faith,

You cannot break!

Our love,

Will overcome!

The skies out tonight are silent.

The skies out tonight are silent.

(To fade)

Written by

Robert A. Martinez, Ed.D.

9/11/01

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Passion! What Will Lead You, To Lead Them?

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Passion! What will lead you, to lead them?

As another school year is just around the bend, I found myself in reflection on the following: “Passion! What will lead me to lead them?” I heard my dad’s feint voice telling me over and over, “If you follow your passion, you won’t ever feel that you are wasting a day.” He said this to me as a child, as a student, as a parent, and every time I would share with him about the toils of my day as an educator, and now I reflect on these words practically every day.

Quite frankly, I have many personal passions in my life: my wife, my life, my children, my friends, my health, having fun, my pets, my children’s friends, and the list goes on. And, then, I think about my professional passions, which I focus on and include many #educational issues such as: #resilience, #equity, #access for #opportunity, #engagement strategies, #inclusion, #support, #thoughtfulness, #puposeful approaches, #empowerment, and #leadership, to name a few.

So, as all of these ideas are flying through my frontal lobe, and competing for priority status within my mind, it could be overwhelming without employing strategies for reflection, self-accountability, strategizing, planning for actions, and actual follow through. I do this by not simply hoping that I can make a difference and improve the state of these issues in the world, though hope is absolutely needed as a strategy to effect change. I do this by making a determination to actually create an impact in my world with respect to these issues, and then by doing something about my thoughts.

Here are my examples: I think, I conducted research, I write, I speak, I engage about #resilience. I provide my mind with data regarding the lack of #equity and the importance of #opportunities for all children by reading, listening, and tracking the issues that interest me. I learn about #engagement strategies by participating in professional development, staying abreast of the latest in technology, and by communicating to those that have knowledge in my immediate circles, and through social media. Yes, a big thank you to #twitter, #Facebook, #linkedin, #instagram, and to those that seek to share ideas through these social media connections.

I am focused on listening, watching, and learning all of the time. I work to be #inclusive in my work place, remain committed to opportunities to learn about people, and strive to offer #support when I can to all. I work hard to be #purposeful in my words, actions, and deeds, to make a positive difference, and to not place any boundaries in front of others. I seek to #empower each person that I meet to think, to challenge themselves, to build a new skill or reclaim an old one, to take that step towards personal fulfillment, and to make decisions that positively impact them and those in their worlds. Dear reader, I seek to #lead!

Now, I say all this, not to receive a pat on the back, though that would be #awesome! I say this as a way to continue to challenge myself with the aspiration of striving to truly become this person. For the cumulative effects of being this person to those I am passionate about, and improving the work that I am passionate about and focused on, is the goal! If I were to be this person, if I were to strive to become this person, if I am able to get one step closer to being this person, then, I have to believe that the world of others just might be a little bit better, and truly, what loftier goal is there?

So, now, I ask you to consider: “Passion, what will lead you to lead them?” Are you a child, a student, a parent, an educator, a committed individual who wants to change the world? What is your passion? How are you living it? How are you striving to become who you want to be? How are you strategizing and implementing the actions that are part of your goals, you plan, your life? Who is it that you will lead to a better place? And, should you continue to wait to plan, or get started becoming who you want to be?

Caution now, as there is no need to eat the whole apple with one bite! The journey to becoming you, and following your passion, is a trip to be savored one bite at a time. Your steps are each important, and need to be recognized as part of the approach to who you will become. Yet, you do recall that this is a one-time ticket to your life, right? So I truly hope that you make a decision to take that step, think consciously about what you are passionate about, plan just one step, and get moving.

@ResiliencyGuy AKA Dr. Rob, Robert A. Martinez, Ed.D., is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District. He presents and engages on the importance of “Transformational Resilience” and seeks to build the capacity of those he meets to support the development of #Resilince for all children. Follow him on @Twitter as @ResiliencyGuy or @DrRobM_FSUSD, or on Facebook as “Resiliency Guy”

Sometimes, You Just Need to Breathe

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Spring, 2017, Sometimes, You Just Need to Breathe

Sometimes, it’s about being present in your world, and offering support to those that need it without hesitation!
Sometimes, it’s taking a moment to see the love that is in your world and making a decision to give love back to the world!
Sometimes, it’s facing a small issue that has held you back, and making a determination to persevere, that leads to massive growth!
Sometimes it’s about appreciating the life before you, recognizing that each challenge of the past led you here, and moving ahead!
Sometimes, it is about hope, belief, mindset, that help build your goals and passions. Don’t underestimate your human potential!
Sometimes, it’s not just about checking off boxes in your plan, it’s about taking a step, re-evaluating, and then stepping again!
Sometimes, it’s about taking off the limits of the world, and recognizing that every successful person is a human being like you!
Sometimes, it’s about giving trust to those in your world, so that you free yourself to grow and expand your perspective!
Sometimes, it’s about persistence, seeing the future you, and knowing that you have the power to become who you want to be!
Sometimes, it’s about igniting a passion deep within yourself, or others, so that their light within becomes a palpable guide!
Sometimes, it’s about providing others with the skills, tools, insight, to empower them to face their challenges with gusto!
Sometimes, it’s taking on a huge challenge, one step at a time, with dedication and focus, to conquer the world.
Sometimes, it’s about letting your passion soar, unleashing the burst of ideas within your head, and about hoping to connect with another person.
Sometimes, it’s about listening to your heart, mind, and soul, and you simply have to know that you made the right choice.
Sometimes, you simply need to breathe, be #mindful, and be you.
Sometimes, you might need to give yourself a good swift in the behind!
Sometimes, you need to #TakeAction right now, and don’t wait for the perfect time, because the perfect time may never come.

Dr. Robert A. Martinez, is becoming wel-known as @ResiliencyGuy across California. He focuses on building environments where children can learn and grow in peace. He speaks on Transformational Resilience, a concept that focuses providing thoughtful systems that seek to engage and support each child in their learning. You can follow him on twitter @ResiliencyGuy and @DrRobM_FSUSD and on Facebook as “Resiliency Guy.” 

#POWERFUL words, #POWERFUL choices, #POWERFUL actions! Find your words to become a #Learner, #Leader, #Lifer!

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Each of us is on a journey; a journey towards self-discovery, self-improvement, self-awareness, and hopefully self-actualization. While we are on our individual journies I believe that each of us has the capability to choose the words that guide us as we head towards our personal destinations. I believe that we have a responsibility to be thoughtful about those choices, and that we can effectuate positive changes in our worlds and the worlds that those we care about. I believe that if we do this we can all become expert #learners, #leaders and #lifers. Meaning, those that choose to learn, lead others, and appreciate each moment that lif has to offer. 
I bring this challenge to you to focus on the words that can support you on your journey. This challenge would be to take a look at the picture below that contains a number of words that I have dubbed #POWERFUL words, and to make some choices for yourself. Choose the words that reflect who you are as a #POWERFUL person. Maybe you are a #learner, a #leader, or a #lifer, like me, or maybe you are simply seeking to be a little better than the day before, or quite possibly you are seeking to change the world with your magical powers. I think that no matter which level your journey is on that you can choose to make it a #POWERFUL one by forcusing on the words that give you your internal power.


For me, my current set of words includes: #Positive, #Outstanding, #Wise, #Empowered, #Resilient, #Forthright, #Unbelievable, and #Loving. Let me explain:
#Positive: Each moment of each day I choose my attitude. I choose to be positive, to look on the bright side, to relish the good that occurs in front of my eyes, and then I seek out the good that might go overlooked. Sometimes its the simplest of actions that people, I don’t even know do, such as holding a door for someone, or picking up a piece of trash that lays before them, to witnessing the engagement of an exceptional educator who is guiding the development of a group of students and educators all day long. 
#Outstanding: As I maneuver through my day I seek to be a shining light to those that might catch a glimpse of me in action. Not that I need to be the star of the show, but it’ that I feel a sense of responsibility to seek to be my best for the people I serve. I strive to give others an authentic look at how I go through life with what I hope are exceptional behaviors, actions, and positivity. I want to get that smile from an onlooker. I want to include people in my life. I seek to engage, and be present in what I hope is a memorable way towards the good.
#Wise: I have had the opportunity to learn many life lessons, to become a learned man, to build a set of skills that guide my decisions and actions. I learned these things from life, from my parents, from those in my lives, from my teachers, from my colleagues, my children, and if I don’t act with regard of these lessons that I have learned, then I think that I wouldn’t give justice to these life experiences. I want to be thoughtful, be cognizant of the intelligence I have, use it for good, and allow my thoughts and actions to demonstrate who I truly am.
#Empowered: It is my life. It is my choice. It is my heart, mind, and soul, that creates me, so it becomes a real action to be empowered through myself. If I were allow myself to be only directed by others, would that be enough? If I allowed myself to be swayed one way or another because of popular belief or persuasion or group mentality, would that be enough? I think not! To be empowered is to be aware, to know you have choices, then to choose consciously, and to let yourself recognize that you have independent thought and have acted on your own accord.
#Resilient: If you know me at all, you know that at my inner core, the issues of resilience ignite my life. Having the capability to come up against adversity, then to battle, fight, overcome, be the relentless individual that I can be, to persevere through any hardship that presents itself, is truly a learned skill set that I use each and every day. I also seek to help others recognize that they too have experienced resilience, and that each of our minds are afforded opportunities continuously to overcome the roadblocks paced before us. This power word is essential to my and my development, and for me represents a deep commitment to living.
#Forthright: While there is always the need for tact and courtesy in providing information to people, especially information that might not be seen as positive to all ears, none of us have time to beat around the bush or to engage in miscommunication about important issues, topics, concepts, or with feedback that is designed to improve the lot of children, their parents, or those that work to build communities. So, to me, I feel a need to know my stuff, to know my positions, to know what I want to have occur, and then to work to communicate effectively with those that have interest or motivation to make things better. I find that by being thoughtful in my approach I am better able to hold crucial conversations with those in my life.
#Unbelievable: Our world is filled with common and general experiences. Going to get gas in our cars, stopping by the grocery store to pick up a few things, or maybe even making a quick pit stop on a long journey to take care of business, are several of those common experiences. I want to give people an unbelievable experience when I am with them. Maybe it’s with my greeting, maybe its my customer service, maybe its just offering a warm hand to shake, or possibly its by exceeding someone’s expectations in a meeting, offering just a bit more that they were thinking our conversation would provide to them, or by busting out in a little song to lighten the mood. It isn’t always about showmanship, but the style in the show that you decide to provide.
#Loving: I care about people. I truly want each person to succeed in their lives, and and I strive to be a loving person in my interactions with others. I love having an opportunity to work with people, to communicate with others, and to work in the education arena, where what we all do on a daily basis matters, and supports our shared future world. I love my family, my friends, my career, and my life. I love it! I am a #LIFER! What I mean by this is that I work to focus on the precious moments that I am given, and value the good and difficult moments that occur in my day, and I hope that you will join me in loving your life.
The beauty of engaging in a process such as this and reflecting on the #POWERFUL words presented in this challenge, is that you do not need to choose my words! You can choose your own. You also do not need to choose words that I have provided as you can add your own. Your choice, your power, your actions, your opportunities to grow yourself, and then your opportunity to work to build the #POWERFUL attributes in each person that are in your world. Think about it, if each person you know actually focused on choosing their words, and enhancing their powers, then worked to build themselves up, and then focusd their energies to build the powers of others in their worlds, then we could actually instigate a dynamic change to our collective world by simply building on the super powers we all have to improve the world! 
Rob Martinez, Ed.D. is known as @ResiliencyGuy and AKA @DrRobM_FSUSD on twitter, and can bfound as “Resiliency Guy” on Facebook. He is becoming well known for his presentations on Transformational Resilience across California, and serves the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District as the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. 

Seeking Balance, and Allowing Resilience to Lead You Forward

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When stress and anxiety are provided a window of opportunity into your heart, mind, soul and body, they quickly focusing on creating imbalance in your world in order to be able to invite their close friends depression, anger and frustration to the party. Seeking to find and keep your balance, and allowing your resilience to support you in moving forward, are ways to limit these windows of opportunity that tend to pull us even farther off the balance we seek.

Is there a sure-fire way to avoid stress, anxiety and their friends from attempting to tilt you over? Of course not, and yet, if you take action on several or all of these steps to build your resilience skills you will be better able to walk tall, keep your alignment more steady, and ward off these mental beasts that seek to tear you down.
A few simple excercises to stay in balance:
-Be thankful: Yes, be aware of what has been provided to you, what you have access to, and that you can use to take care of yourself. Be it food, shelter, clothes, or even crumbs, consider that you have something. If you have family, loved ones, a job, a place to call home, a place to visit, you have something to be thankful for, and 
-Be kind: Taking a moment or two to provide an act of kindness, to care for someone else, or to provide something to someone that needs a pick-me-up.
-Be active: By getting your body going (walk, jog, run, ride, bend, stretch…) you inform each and every cell of your body that you are alive. You let your whole system know that this life must be lived, that you want to be part, and that you are readying yourself for your next great adventure.
Be present: If you work, be at work, and take care of the things that work calls for without allowing yourself to be engaged in, for lack of a better word, “DRAMA” that pulls you away from your work. If you are at home, be at home, be there for those that need and depend on you, yes, that is your life, these are the people you love, and they deserve the very best of you each opportunity you have to be with them. By being present, you remain an active part of your life, their lives, and show them the way to engage, stay in control, remain calm, fight your way through, and to be ready for a new day! 
Build your skills: Personal, professional, creative, or even athletic skills must be targeted and focused on. If you recognize you should, and want to improve in a given area, you must put in the work to advance your skills. If it’s by becoming a better person, well, maybe you start by reading a little blog such as this, or it’s by taking a class, or it’s just by having a conversation with someone you know. If it’s professional, again, focus on the area of need, target that specific skill set you have identified, and get yourself going. If you want to develop a new part of yourself, there are literally millions of ways to “Google” it, and then take action. It is your life, you are the lead of your own show, and you can modify the script as you see fit.
BOLD CRAZY SENTENCE: You, are only the you, you believe yourself to be, and if you want to be a new you, well then identify a path, take a step towards your journey, and seek to become the new you you long for!
Here’s hoping that you each find your balance, that you seek to engage in being: thankful, kind, active, present, and that you build your skills accordingly. While I can’t guarantee that the stress and anxiety won’t be able to find you if you engage in these behaviors I can tell you with assurance that you will have more skills at hand in your resilience tool kit if you do, and that you will be more able to right yourself should you feel yourself tilting one way or another.
So, with that, Happy Thanksgiving to each and everyone, and I do hope that you reflect and plan on bringing the best you to each and every day. Remember, some of the best days of your life may have not happened yet.

 
Dr. Martinez is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District and is also known as @ResiliencyGuy on @twitter. He can be found on Facebook at “Resiliency Guy” and is Co-Moderator of #Resiliencechat that occurs each Monday, at 7:00 PST on @Twitter 

#Resilience Chat with Crystal Middle School Students, 10/28/16

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Had a fantastic opportunity to share some thoughts about #resilience with some of our students at Crystal Middle School.

Some of the audio quality is not the best here, however I think that some of the video segments are pretty good examples of connecting to students, and that I was able to connect with them about what #resilience is all about.

I presented them with the concept that adversity comes in all shapes and sizes, and that I believe that if they have more #assets in their control that they will be better able to get through any roadblock that gets in their way.

I targeted four areas of development: #academic focus, #value development, social #competence, and #self-#empowerment as ways to build their personal #resilience skills.

I am hoping to hone this type of presentation, and I seek to reach more and more of our students, and possibly students across the states.

Let me know what you think.

Dr. Rob Martinez is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, and is known as @ResiliencyGuy on twitter, and throughout northern California. He is focusing more and more on sharing his knowledge on #resilience development with both #educators, #Students, and our broader educational communities.

 

#Resilience Reflection – Each Moment An Opportunity to #Inspire

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As many of you might be aware I focus a lot on the issue of #resilience development, its importance as a personal skill for all, as an essential asset for our students, and as a trait that can be nurtured in each of us. 

 

Well, I heard a story of a student at one of the elementary schools in my district, who, a few days ago was identified by a teacher as simply sitting alone during the day, when he should have been in class engaged in a learning opportunity. She explained that this boy appeared to be  seemingly lost in personal thought, and possibly in need of a friendly smile or kind interaction. The teacher sharing this story with me said that she was drawn to this young boy to check on his welfare. 
She shared that once she said “Hi” to him, he seemed to be generally fine, and though indeed, he was lost in thought, he came around after this brief interaction. He re-entered the learning environment, and this simple action changed the direction of his day. He readily accepted the friendly gesture, re-engaged in the lesson at hand, and enjoyed the remainder of his school day.

 

You might ask, what’s so special about that? Well, in my work as a school psychologist, as site administrator, and even as an administrator in Human Resources, I often try to focus on the little things that might go unnoticed in our day-to-day activities with children and with each other, and I seek to positively impact those little things to make a stronger impact on the big things. 
What I noticed about this simple story was that the teacher telling me this story took notice. She noticed a boy, seeming lost to his thoughts when he should have been engaged in his class and learning opportunity. She noticed that he needed a kind, reassuring, guiding voice, to re-engage him in his learning environment, and she took action, and he responded. She noticed that a child, a human being, had removed himself from his opportunity to learn, place where he could advance his knowledge, participate with his peers, and have an opportunity to change his life, and she knew that she needed to make a difference for him. She didn’t wait for him to care before interceding, she took action!
 

Let me return to the story for a moment. At the end of that day, the boy was participating in class, connecting with other students, and even hugged this teacher prior to leaving for the day. A simple interaction by a teacher brought about a significant change to a situation where a student had removed himself from his learning environment. Indeed, this story could have gone so differently. If the teacher might have judged this child, took his detachment personally, or felt that some form of punishment was needed to “get his attention” this situation could have been escalated quickly, could have deteriorated this boy’s thoughts about education, and possibly confirmed for him that people don’t care. Again, it could have gone badly.

 

A few days ago I went by the school to meet this young man. I talked to him about his #resilience. I asked him about the other day, and he remembered. I shared with him that I thought that he had the power to make positive choices each day, and that he truly demonstrated resilience that day by returning to class, by participating, by taking hold of his own education, and that I believed that he has the ability to build on his success. I asked him if I could check in on him next month, and he said, “Sure.” 

 

I share this story with you because I see it as a significant reminder that no matter where we work, no matter what our formal job or position is, that we can all work as individuals to positively impact our students every day. Whether it’s through a kind, reassuring, guiding voice, whether it’s by providing the most engaging lessons and instruction that we can each day, or even if it’s safely driving our students to and from schools if we are a bus driver, we can all positively impact our students. We can all afford a smile, a kind word, a positive engagement moment, or even simply by lending an ear to a child.  It doesn’t cost a lot of money to be #kind, #compassionate, #empathetic, and to make a connection. In fact, it cost nothing at all, except for your time and energy to do so.
I challenge you to take advantage of each moment that you have with children/students and let’s strive to make a connection with them whenever possible. I implore you to let children know that you care, and that you are there to assist them in building their personal skills and assets, especially their #resilience.

 

Each Day an Opportunity to #Inspire!
Dr. Rob Martinez is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, and is known as @ResiliencyGuy on @twitter He strives to build the capacities of his employees in fostering #resilience across his District. Follow Dr. Rob at @ResiliencyGuy on #twitter and #intagram, and on Facebook at “Resiliency Guy”