“It’s okay.” “I’m with you.” “It’ll all be fine.” ~ Why Children Need to Hear These Words More Than You May Know

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“It’s okay.” “I’m with you.” “It’ll all be fine.” ~ Why Children Need to Hear These Words More Than You May Know

“New research at Stanford University encouraged middle school teachers to take on an ‘empathetic mindset’ when students were being disciplined. The study found that the number of pupils who were suspended across the academic year halved, from 9.6% to 4.8%.” ~ Study: Focus on Empathy, Not Punishment, Improves Discipline We all know how well children saturate themselves in the present moment. Lost in doodling, leaves, bugs and clouds, the present moment wraps itself around young ones like a warm, secure blanket. Here children enter a deep state of relaxation where they trust all is good in life. One reason children rest so well in presence is because they rest well in their heart. The heart dwells in what I call the “zero point”: The child […]

Discerning Unspoken Needs from Spoken Desires: Remembering What Matters in Relationships

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Discerning Unspoken Needs from Spoken Desires: Remembering What Matters in Relationships

“Learning is a result of listening, which in turn leads to even better listening and attentiveness to the other person. In other words, to learn from the child, we must have empathy, and empathy grows as we learn.” ~ Alice Miller When a boy asks his mom for a toy car at the store or a woman asks her husband to do his share of the household duties there is a spoken desire and unspoken need at play. In the first example, the boy’s spoken desire is for the toy car; the unspoken need is to be heard, validated, seen, valued. In the second example, the spoken desire is for the husband to clean the oven; the unspoken need is for shared responsibility and rest. […]

Beyond Feelings it is the Unmet Need that Deserves and Desires Empathy

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Beyond Feelings it is the Unmet Need that Deserves and Desires Empathy

“Sometimes someone isn’t ready to see the bright side. Sometimes they need to sit with the shadow first. So be a friend and sit with them. Make the darkness beautiful.” ~ Victoria Erickson When feeling frustrated, angry, sad, overwhelmed, or any other unpleasant emotion, it’s because a need is not being met. A child disgruntled at school may have an unmet need to move. A parent overwhelmed may have an unmet need of relaxation. A person struck with anger may have an unmet need of safety. Anger is their response to not feeling safe. The feelings are signals for a very important human need not being met.  Acknowledging someone’s feeling is a beautiful gift. Saying, “I can see how sad you are”, or, “This is really painful, isn’t […]

A Complaint is an Unspoken Request ~ Practical Keys to Asking for What You Want

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A Complaint is an Unspoken Request ~ Practical Keys to Asking for What You Want

A woman complained for years that her husband did not give her an anniversary card. One day a friend inquired if she had ever asked for one, and she said no. And so the woman mustered up the will to ask and from that point onwards her husband always gave her an anniversary card. A simple story, a true one, and one full of meaning. If only we’d just ask! A complaint is an unspoken request. Otherwise said, when we don’t ask for what we want we tend to complain about our needs not getting met. Given how much humans love to complain, we can safely say that asking for what we want is not easy. And why should it be? It’s vulnerable to put […]

5 Ways to Smooth Out Potentially Messy Conversations

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5 Ways to Smooth Out Potentially Messy Conversations

Conversations can be messy. When we account for different communication styles, varying worldviews, stress, timelines, competing agendas, children, chores, fears and trauma, we have good reason why a simple dialogue can spiral into triggers and chaos. And when a pattern of unhealthy communication forms, the walls get thicker and it becomes harder to speak candidly and address the meat of the problem and matter at hand. And so what can be done to limit this possibility? Here are five ways to smooth out potentially messy conversations: 1. Create a Signal: You and whoever may benefit from agreeing in advance to have a signal that an important conversation wants to be had. For instance, you agree that whenever one of you desires to speak to the […]

Inspiring, Troubling and More: Research and Stories on Child Learning and Development

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Inspiring, Troubling and More: Research and Stories on Child Learning and Development

“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” ~ Stacia Tauscher For a while now, participants in my keynotes and playshops have asked me to share the growing collection of research and stories I have on child learning and development. Teachers, in particular, want to share these finding with parents and education faculty to broaden perspectives on the importance of such things as play and nature in learning and development. Each piece below is listed as an excerpt of useful information with a link to its associated article making your perusing easier. Feel free to come back to this page as I will add new findings regularly, listing them at the top of their respective category. Scattered amongst […]

Kids Hunger For More Meaningful Conversations and Less Direction

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Kids Hunger For More Meaningful Conversations and Less Direction

“Teachers expect kids to act like adults, but they treat them like children.” These are the frustrated words from a mature grade seven student. When asked for an example, she said, “I remember in kindergarten sharing ideas and dreams with my teacher, and she would respond by saying, ‘That’s nice, dear. Why don’t you go and draw a picture about it.’” I then asked how her teacher could have responded differently. She said, with a degree of irritation, “All she had to say was, ‘Tell me more about it.’” *** Scroll to the bottom to read 15 Questions Kids Hunger to Hear *** In the same way that recess is learning, engagement is teaching. “Conversation is gold. It’s the most efficient early-learning system we have. And it’s […]

Becoming a Leader as Coach ~ 100 Questions to Motivate and Inspire Your Team

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Becoming a Leader as Coach ~ 100 Questions to Motivate and Inspire Your Team

It is quite tempting to manage employees by chasing them down, and telling them (perhaps over and over again) what they should be doing. In fact, that is what the word “manager” implies—being on top of staff, making sure they do what they said they would do, when they said they would, and in a proper manner. But an imbalance towards hounding, telling, advising, and admonishing can be incredibly exhausting for both the manager and the employee. In the long run, it does not serve to empower anyone. What is needed is a win-win situation rooted in a coach-approach. The coach-approach model of engagement and leadership takes into account the fact that people are naturally creative, resourceful and capable—meaning, they have the answers within them […]

Start With Empathy ~ The Gift of Being With Others in Their World

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Start With Empathy ~ The Gift of Being With Others in Their World

Many years ago, when I was naïve and not exactly socially intelligent, I left an indelible mark on a relationship with one sentence. It began when a colleague shared with me that she had cancer. My response was something like this: “Well, you know it is all meant to be. There is something you are meant to learn from it.” Yes, I can hear you cringing from here. I don’t blame you. Fortunately I have learned since then—a lot—and am now teaching what I have learned. Here’s where I missed the mark. Resting in the receptive One of the core principles that I teach, as many of you now know, is the Spirit of Yes And. The “Yes” of Yes And is the receptive—it is […]

One Simple Question to Help You Avoid Misunderstandings

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One Simple Question to Help You Avoid Misunderstandings

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci Assumptions and misunderstandings are a natural part of relationships. Communication is, after all, complex. Like relationships, it is not straightforward. There are plenty of reasons why we would mishear or misinterpret what the other person is saying, and veer off our desired course of discourse. Here are a few… 6 reasons we misunderstand “Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” ~ Bob Talbert Skill deficiency – Few of us have ever received communication training. We have been taught how to spell, count to 10, and to know who shot whom in 1910; we have been trained to run a database, create a business plan and file a […]