Valentine’s Musings…

Valentine’s…

The day we are told to celebrate our love for others…

Chocolates, flowers, and cards… Priced much higher than usual, just to show how much more we love for only one day? It is amazing to me how the price suddenly drops on February 15.

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Those chocolates taste the same, you know, and they are 75% off. You can truly get an assortment of assorted flavors. Also, you don’t feel bad about not liking a particular type and spitting it out. Paying full price makes you eat the ones you don’t care for.

And the flowers… aka ROSES. Yes, the ones that will die, even if you do use the plant food packet that comes with it… don’t we know they are dead already when they are cut? I tell Heather, “I’ll buy you a rose bush… that way we can plant it, and you can have roses anytime you want, all year long. You pick out the spot, and I’ll dig the hole.” Now that’s what I call love.

And the cards… You know the ones that bring the response, “Oh, that was so sweet of you.” The funny thing about cards… Someone else is really doing the talking for $7.95, and three days later… the garbage can. And if it is not a Hallmark, well… you just didn’t “…care enough to send the very best.”

I know… but you are saying, “It’s the thought that counts.”

Yes, the thought… Where is that same thought for the other 364 days of the year?

The thought… Why don’t we ever say, “It’s the action that counts.” Is love not suppose to be a verb, the action of doing? I can think a lot of stuff, but if action is never there, then what good is the thought. It just falls on deaf ears, mine and yours alone.

So, what does love look like in action? I cannot answer that for you, nor can you answer that for me. What works for you might not work for me and vice versa. But I do have some ideas…

Love…
Makes the bed, picks up in the house, does the laundry, feeds the dogs, bathes the dogs, sacrifices their time for others, watches an action-killing movie instead of a chick-flick (or the other way around), goes to the grocery store, takes walks, rides bikes, drives the vehicle because you don’t like to drive, plans meals to make sure we eat healthy, empties the dishwasher, holds your hand, brags on you, provides a Godly example to our daughter, prays for the family… Love will even read your blog on Thursday nights to make sure it is all in order.

Love can also listen, laugh, and even cry. But more important than all of the above…

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…” (I Corinthians 13:4-8b, ESV).

Happy Valentine’s Day

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2021 J Clay Norton

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Time to Detox Your Mind…

The other night, Heather asked me to order her some more “detox” herbal tea. We will detox our bodies to get the “bad” stuff out (and go major hungry at the same time) and cleanse for so many days. Why? So we can believe the labels that we will feel better and be healthier. After I placed the order, I started thinking about the detox idea and our bodies (I didn’t think long), which lead me to think about detox and our minds.

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But what about our minds? Do we ever detox them? Do you know what all we have stored up there? Yes, much of it is needed as a reservoir to glean from for the future. There are also many happy memory moments. But do you also know what we hang on to? (This is where I tell you, I am really good at this part. Not something I should probably be airing out anyway).

Nonetheless, it happens for all of us. More damaging than that is putting all the negatives that are happening in society in our minds. Now I believe we have to be well-versed on current topics to know what is happening, but if the negatives are all we dwell on, what chance do we have to emit positive leadership?

Think about this for just a moment… We are almost a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, our country is divided, some voices are shouted while others are muzzled, businesses are closed, school is Zoomed, events with little or no spectators, etc… Normal as we know it is not happening for the foreseeable future. TALK ABOUT NEGATIVE!

I guess I am just rambling… that’s what blogs are for anyway, right? Somehow, we have to detox and reset our thinking. If not for ourselves, then especially for others.

So, I figure here are a few things we can do to detox our minds… and yes, it will take a few days…

Hang out with “real” people.
Stay current on what’s happening in the world, but don’t read the threads…
Find something positive to read. By the way, if you are going to believe everything you read, start with the Bible. 
Be thankful about something.
As much as it causes distress when your favorite sports team does not win, it is not the end of the world.
Just be kind (see last week’s blog for this).

Nothing you have read today is a new or original thought. That’s the funny thing about writing a blog on leadership. Almost everything has already been said over time. The only “newness” comes from a different perspective or a twist on how something is presented. However, the problem lies in the fact that there is still “not good” leadership from many. Leadership conventions and seminars are still selling tickets. Books, papers, blogs are still being written. Surveys are still being conducted, and stats are studied to tell us what good leadership should look like.

So… why don’t we know, or why have we not figured it out yet? Your guess is as good as mine, but I will always believe it hinges on the idea of selfishness and what we put into our minds. We could all use a little detoxing; our minds and, I guess, our bodies too.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2021 J Clay Norton

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Genuine kindness – Where did it go?

Today’s world comes at us every morning with the dog-eat-dog mentality. I have to get what is mine. Yes, I will speak to you or nod your way, but to genuinely acknowledge where the other person felt kindness… not so much. Why? Where did society take a wrong turn, and genuine kindness got left behind.

A few thoughts before I get into my other thoughts…
One, I believe technology has really hurt society in this area. Yes, there are many good, quality aspects of technology… but ultimately, what I see has happened is people are now able to hide behind their keyboards and type what they wish they could say but are afraid of the ramifications. It is almost as if the keyboard is the mask of insecurity they wear.

Ok… enough. Get to the kindness…
I heard Billy Joel’s song the other day, “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” and there is one line in the song… “I can’t take it anymore.” Well, that is often how I feel. We cannot escape… The radio, the TV, the social media, the complainers, the _________.

Ok… the kindness…
Why can’t we just be kind? It might take some effort, but it beats not being kind. Where has that ever gotten anyone?

Kindness is never arrogant. Kindness is humility. Knowing no one is really any better. Find what works for individuals and build a relationship. Quit the “me!” Try having a true interest in others. Not what you can get from them, but what they can give. That’s genuine kindness.

Say thank you that shows value… yes, appreciation. We are so worried that we are not going to get the recognition we deserve. Who cares besides you? One day, someone is going to throw that plaque in the garbage anyway. Genuine kindness celebrates others and fosters success for them.

It does not take long to figure out when kindness is not in the air. It just doesn’t smell right. You know that smell… the smell of “stuff-upedness.”
It is very hard to have a connection with others when that odor is around. As soon as they walk in the door, they say, “You smell something?”

I truly believe genuine kindness helps people motivate themselves. And when that happens, empowerment is felt and seen. Trust and respect take on new definitions, and results are an after product instead of a grind.

Quick question… You want to know if your kindness is genuine? Quick answer with a question… Are others inspired because of you?

In the end, kindness puts others first. I’m talking about leadership here… Your leadership message is for others, not you. Genuine kindness has the ability to relate to others—more about them, less about you.

Genuine kindness – where did it go? It really never left. Maybe we just forgot it was there. Genuine kindness is good for you and good for others.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2021 J Clay Norton

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Teacher and student rapport, how is it in your classroom?

As a teacher, have you really ever listened to what students talk about? Believe it or not, there are some pretty good conversations out there. A casual “ear to the ground” can let you know a lot about what is happening up and down the halls and in classrooms. For some reason, it seems to me, we do not give students enough credit sometimes to be able to think on a more mature level. Now, I am not saying that we should always provide them with a platform, but just listening and acknowledging goes a long way.

For example… the other day, I heard a student talking about another student’s conversation and their teacher in class. Work with me here; you know how this will go… it is worthy of being a case study…

Teacher… Here are the directions. Don’t ask me again, because I am not going to repeat them.
A few seconds go by…
Student… Could you please say what you said again?
Teacher… No, you should have been listening.
Student gets upset.
The teacher sends the student to the office.
The student is now out of class.
Much time has now passed.
The administration walks the student back to class.
Instruction time is stopped again.
Administration, teacher, student all get on the same page.
The teacher gives students the needed information.
The student goes back to class.
All is good?

Wow, know any teachers like this? Ok… I know we all want students to be attentive. My question is, why and how did it get to that point? I know we all want them to come in, sit down, be quiet, sit appropriately, etc. However…

If this is the worst thing you have to deal with, you have it pretty good as a teacher. So the student asked again. Did you set the stage for all of them to pay attention, to begin with? What did you do to help? It would have taken little to no effort to restate the directions. The teacher could have spun it to be a teachable moment of comedy. The teacher could have even gone back to the student’s desk and had a one on one moment. I don’t know, but telling the student no, did not help anyone.

Another question I have is what type of rapport are you establishing with that student and others? Remember, everyone in the class saw and heard the teacher’s response, and you know how student talk gets spread…

I do not know what was going on with the student or the teacher that day. I do not know why the situation had to escalate as it did. I know that we can get aggravated with students. But… I do know that in the end, the teacher had the opportunity to be the bigger, better person.

I have said this before, “If you can create an environment where your students feel invited, regardless of the subject you teach, they are going to give you more than a fair shake.” Be the teacher your students need. It will make a huge difference.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2021 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on…

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