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!
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.
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.
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”
My focus is on #Resilience development, and my concept is simple to comprehend. I believe that each person has the capability to support others with developing #resilience skills. I also firmly believe that it is an obligation for adults, especially educators, to build environments for children, and especially their students, that foster the development of the latent ability to be #resilient that resides in each child.
I believe that there are steps that each person can take to support the advancement of #resilience skills, and this simple graphic is representative of those actions that can be taken to build these skills in our children.
Ask yourself these questions and reflect if you are taking steps to build or hinder #resilience development:
1. Am I acting to #engage my students? Meaning, Am I offering relevant interactions that are intended to build their skills, knowledge, creativity and innovation skills?
2. Am I offering #positivity to my students? Meaning, Am I focused on the growth, the development, the advancement of my students, while providing authentic meaningful feedback that encourages my students and inspires them?
3. Am I being #thoughtful in my approach with my student? Meaning, Am I considerate of the unique needs and interests of my students, and I am reflective in my process, and then, in turn, able to be flexible in my approach to connecting with them as individuals?
4. Am I #supportive towards each of my students no matter what? Meaning, no matter the needs, no matter their behaviors, no matter the trauma that they may have been exposed to, do you accept them, without reservation, and do you recognize that they deserve the best you can be?
I believe that working to support our children is the most important work that can be accomplished by educators, parents, and adults. If we don’t, who will? If we don’t act, how will our children learn and grow? If we don’t accept this responsibility, act as mature, well-functioning adults, how in the world can we expect our children to become more advanced well-functioning adults? It is that important! It is the most essential work that we can do! It is up to each of us to build environments for children where they can grow, flourish, and activate the latent ability to be resilien! Please join me in this effort to help our children grow in peace!
Dr. Rob Martinez is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, and is a proponent of supporting #resilience development in all of our learning environments. He would be happy to assist you and your schools in building and fostering environments where #TransformationalResilience can grow!
You can follow Dr. Rob at @ResiliencyGuy on #twitter as well.
Individuals who demonstrate resilient behaviors tend to be able to recognize and manage their personal perceptions and feelings, and are cognizant of their personal locus-of-control. They can perceive and understand feelings of others, understand that they matter to others, and also see that they can make a positive impact on the world. They tend to believe in themselves, reach out to others when required, and accept help from others. They insulate themselves from self-blame, and deprecating behavior, make peace with negative events, and live a healthy life. Meaning they eat well, get their rest, excercise, and accept change.
The tricky part is of course building environments that support and promote health living, engage minds, create places where these skills can develop and flourish, and where resilience thrives! Is it doable? Can we create healthy environments where it becomes the norm to develop resilience skills? I surely hope so, and with some specific strategies we can all be on our way to these types of schools!
Action Steps For All Educators, Parents, Students:
-Encourage the Development of Positive Attitudes: By connecting with students, and providing positive feedback, encouragement, connections, and communication we can elicit healthy responses. We can keep barriers from building that stifle growth, positive attitudes from developing, and connections with other people from propelling students forward.
-Increase Support Networks for All: Ensure that each person in the environment has someone to be with, talk to, chart with, share with, and create a culture where listening to others is a premium behavior that is rewarded, over and over again. How many times do we see students talk at each other without really listening? The skill of listening has been demonstrated to be a consummate winner in evolving our societies. Listen people, just listen!
-Encourage the Building of Trusting Relationships: By fostering mutual respect for each other as people first, whether the relationships is between students, students/teachers, parents/teachers, etc. It is imperative that we build a culture where each one recognizes that we are there because of the others that are present. An old South African saying, “I am because you are,” shared often by Bishop Desmond Tutu, means that I exist as part of your world, and we are in this together. Let’s build schools where we are all in this together!
-Increase Student Engagement: We must build schools and deliver instruction for the students we have, and in response to their needs. We must be flexible in our methods, styles, instruction, curriculum, performance, measurement of success, supports, and work to provide meaning to the learning that matters to our students. If we continue to treat students as they have always been treated, then why would we expect a different result? The time is ripe for change!
-Foster a Positive and Inclusive Ethos: Our students need to be connected and belong to their environments. Hence, we must work to ensure that each student not only feels a part of their school, but that they truly identify themselves as being part of the school. By including them in decisions, acting on their interests, celebrating their diversity and uniqueness, and authentically connecting with them first as people, than as supporters of their development we provide more opportunity for them to belong to, not just attend school.
-Enhance Extracurricular Activities: The days of after-school sports need to be modified in order to provide both #Access and #Equity to all students. During the day school clubs, technology, activities, sports, visual and performing arts, drama, (and the list goes on), must become a thing of the present to support our students with having opportunities to engage, connect with, and pick up a multitude of talents. Especially for our students who may be marginalized, and/or who cannot afford after-school activities, we must ensure that their opportunities are provided and enhanced!
-Make it #FUN at Every Level: Schools, school communities, classrooms, extra-curricular activities, staff meetings, must all have a component of fun! If not, then what is the purpose, really? As humans, we laugh, we giggle, we smirk, we guffaw, we snort, we are silly beings, and if we are not engaged and having fun, we generally look for something else to do. So why, not? Why not make it all fun? Why not take your class outside to hunt for moon rocks (ala Dave Burgess, “Teach Like a Pirate” guy? Why not bring some wild music into the classroom, and see how it livens up the place? Why knot? (The word knot was used to see if you were paying attention, and to make you laugh!)
-Develop Life Skills: Possibly through internships, service-learning, taking leadership roles in the classroom, or at school, or volunteering to help younger kids read, or by simply being a buddy to another student, there are ample ways to help students realize that their life skills matter, that they can have a positive impact on people in their worlds. As students develop it could become so easy to simply allow each one to believe that they are the most important child in the world, and if we work just a little bit, we can help them realize that they could in fact become the most important person in the world to another person who needs them. If we did, we sure would have some tremendously skills children on our hands.
Summing up: I do believe that as educators come to not only recognized the need for these types of supports, and that we collective begin to act on them to build the types of schools that are surely needed, we can positively change the world, one student, one classroom, one school at a time. And, if we really get to it, we can change our communities for the good that much faster!
Dr. Robert A. Martinez, AKA “Resiliency Guy” on Facebook, and @ResiliencyGuy on #twitter @twitter strives to support the ideas of Transformational Resilience #TR to all who come in his path! He co-moderates #Resiliencechat on Monday evenings on #Twitter at 7:00 PM PST. Join him in his quest to create schools where children can “Grow in Peace!” He is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District.
Take a moment and consider your current understanding of the word “Resilience.”
Do you consider your understanding of #resilience to be deep, or surface level? It seems that in our day-to-day culture the word has become more of a descriptor of character or action, rather than as a true understanding that the word more accurately describes a person’s ability to persevere through an adversity, a challenge, a trauma, a life-changing circumstance, and to demonstrate a strength in their resolve that comes from the experience.
What is true #resilience?
It’s not just about winning a sporting event, or getting through a test, or even making it through a day. It’s more about having and demonstrating the ability to recognize that whatever the adversity was, or is, was more than likely not a personal descriptor of the individual experiencing that adversity, but something that has occurred to them, that they have dealt with, and have learned from. Resilience is about overcoming, battling through, surviving, and growing from adversity, and limiting the negative impacts from derailing future success for that person.
What does research say?
Researchers have recognized the ability of an individual to reframe events so that they do not internalize them, and use the adversity as a means for growth and success. For many people these challenges are recognized as launching pads for new ideas, new strategies, new ways of acting, or for new ways to limit the impact of adversity from negatively affecting themselves any longer. The stories are numerous of those individuals who have come through adversity, and who then have not only improved their lives, but the lives of others.
Further, it has been found that those that demonstrate resilience tend to have a firm locus-of-control on where the problem exists, how it came about, and they are able to distance themselves from the trauma. Now, this doesn’t mean that people don’t feel the pain from trauma, or are not affected by it, yet they tend not to own it, ruminate over it, and allow it to remain in their frontal lobe exhausting their energy, resources, thought process, or ability to move forward.
So, if the ability to maintain a powerful locus of control, and to reframe events to be able to limit their negative affects on us are two assets that can be utilized to build resilience, then why wouldn’t we seek to support the development of these skills in our children and each other. If people can learn to reframe, if they can distance or remove themselves from traumatic events, then they have more of an opportunity to demonstrate resilience, and to enhance this skill for when they will need it in the future.
We know that one person’s challenge is another person’s trauma, and that each person may react differently to the same circumstances, and in turn may react on different timelines to trauma, and this makes the point even more important that we must seek to build the resilience of our children, and each other, each day, for we never really know when the next traumatic event might initiate a down-turn for ourselves or someone in our world.
Let’s build each other up! Let’s build skills in each of our children! Let’s build resources in our communities! Let’s share the message of supporting the development of Resilience skills in our children! Let’s focus our energies on engaging, supporting, and providing the healthiest environments that we can for all of our children!
Are you with me? I hope so!
Robert A. Martinez, Ed.D, @ResiliencyGuy on Facebook: ResiliencyGuy
Dr. Martinez is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, and has been focusing on building the idea of Transformational Resilience in people, our schools and our communities. He also co-moderates #Resiliencechat on #twitter each Monday night at 7:00 PM PST.