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Ashley Wolff graciously allowed me to record and share this story with all of you. You can find her books at The Vermont Bookshop!
Michele Borba was one of the keynote speakers at a conference I attended this week. She is passionate, dynamic, and empowering. If you ever have the chance to hear her speak, do it!
Anyway, so much info so I’m just going to make a list of highlights that I wrote down, and hopefully you are able to glean some key information from it. Any statistics or definitions came from her presentation and can be found in her book or on her website. She talked so fast, it was tough to note sources. My thoughts will be added in italics.
- 1 in 5 teens will have a mental health disorder wow!
- “Unless parents realize it (empathy) can be cultivated, it will become dormant” parents, guardians, caregivers…and it can be cultivated at ANY age
- Around the year 2000, empathy decreased 40%. Lack of empathy creates exclusion and polarization which is what we are already seeing in society, and if you think it’s no coincidence that this coincided with the smart phone and screens everywhere, you’re not alone
- The average middle school kid is more comfortable texting than talking to another person
- Some easy and specific suggestions and her list of habits to use: face to face contact, read picture books to your kids that have a moral dilemma, weave in the 9 essential empathy habits listed here:for more detailed information, I encourage you to buy her book Unselfie
- “Empathy is transformational. Empathy is a teaching tool” it doesn’t cost a dime and can change the culture of the classroom
- 66% of kids say we (adults) are too plugged in.
- A person learns new skills best by doing it, seeing it modeled, not by telling it.
- “You change the culture with the trickle down effect” she told a powerful story about a teen who changed the culture at his school just by holding the door open in the morning and greeting everyone
- “Look for the Helpers” Fred Rogers. She says a statement like this, “Galvanizes the good. Share the good with kids everyday.”
- “What would’ve made the difference?” She responds by sharing lyrics to the Cheers tv show theme song and what happened next was moving beyond words
In closing, you can make a difference.
More to come from the workshop she did following this presentation!
So I’ve decided that a great way to beat the blues when you are with young children is to just fake it till you make it.
Before I figured this out, I did a couple of things: owned those feelings, shared those feelings, and took some deep breaths. You see, I was given sad news just before my work day started. I had to continue with my day, and luckily, we were able to splash in some mud puddles. The kids noticed that I was sad, and so I just said, “yes I feel sad” and guess what? They gave me hugs. After that, they went back to their mud puddle. Deep breathing and watching the splashes were just what I needed to clear my head.
The rest of the day, I tried to just be in the moment and enjoy. At times that it was more difficult, I chose to fake it. It worked, I faked being myself until I just felt like myself.
But seriously, mud puddles are like magic!