My… “A Charlie Brown Christmas” thoughts and its tree…

The other day, Heather was getting her Christmas decorations out for her office at school… When Heather came home that afternoon, she said she brought the Charlie Brown Christmas tree home to let me know she almost threw it away. But… in her mind, she heard me say, “Noooooooo!”

Upon inspection of the tree, the brown wrapping for the “tree look” was coming undone, the music button playing Linus and Lucy didn’t work, the blue blanket was dirty, and the red ornament was missing… At that moment, I knew exactly how Charlie Brown felt when he picked the tree out in the show…

For those who do not know… I’m a huge Charlie Brown fan. For me, it doesn’t get much better than Charlie Brown. Charles Shultz had it going on with A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Anyway… My three take-a-ways…

Sometimes we need to see beyond what the surface shows.

Charlie Brown infamously selects the worst looking, saddest, bristles falling off, limp limbs tree in the lot…

Look at this dialogue between Charlie Brown and Linus at the tree farm…

Charlie Brown: This little green one here seems to need a home.

Linus: I don’t know, Charlie Brown. Remember what Lucy said? This doesn’t seem to fit the modern spirit.

Charlie Brown: I don’t care. We’ll decorate it and it’ll be just right for our play. Besides, I think it needs me.

Much happens between that scene Charlie Brown picks a Christmas tree and afterwards. To make matters worse, he is reminded of it by all his friends except for Linus. However, by the end of the show, the tree is decorated, bringing everyone together A Charlie Brown Christmas — Ending Restored!.

Be the person who sees what others cannot or do not want to see. The value that we can bring someone by doing just that, many times will show others our heart.

We all need a Linus in our lives. 

Ever notice how Linus is always there for Charlie Brown. Linus is the voice of reason, advice for what it is worth and what Charlie Brown needs to hear. As Charlie Brown takes the tree home to decorate, he stops by Snoopy’s 1st place award-winning dog house and places an ornament on the tree. Still, even then, to make matters worse, the tree sags and droops to the ground due to the weight of the ornament. Talk about being deflated… but, Linus comes along and says, “I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.” I never thought it was such a bad tree… Yea, we need a Linus in our lives, if for nothing else, to help us remember why we need to do stuff for the right reasons.

Lastly, what might be the best question Charlie Brown asks, Linus is able to answer…

Charlie Brown: “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

Linus recites Luke 2:8-14:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.

When Linus finishes that last line, he says, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

That scene just might be the best 1 minute 25 seconds in animated history. Linus and the Christmas story

I love Christmas… it stirs emotions that should be stirred more often. A Charlie Brown Christmas is a good reminder of what we need to do and have in our lives.

tempImagef4I922Back to my Charlie Brown Christmas tree… I taped up the brown “tree look” paper, put batteries in so the Linus and Lucy theme would play, found an ornament, straightened the branches, and cleaned up the blanket. A few of the wires are still showing, but I did what Charlie Brown did, “This little green one here seems to need a home” and “Besides, I think it needs me.”

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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Twitter @thebookchamber

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Nature’s Touch of Time

Happy Thanksgiving

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If you would like to download a printer friendly version of this with a washout watermark background, click here: Nature’s Touch of Time

 
Nature’s Touch of Time

The sky, more vibrant...
Hues, only Fall can bring.

A new scent in the air,
A smell earth and wood...

Trees different colors,
Showing time, once again.

Wind pushing warm breezes,
Held over from summer.

Leaves - blowing, falling...
Creating whisper sounds.

Blanketing the ground,
Nature's mosaic of color.

A harvest of memories to rake,
Piled high for enjoyment.

Reflections kindling the heart,
Small fires to warm the soul.

Fall, a season of change,
Restful...

Thankful for time.
The time of Thanksgiving.


©2021 J Clay Norton

To view previous year’s Thanksgiving thoughts, download here:

2018 – Thanksgiving Grace

2019 – Home

2020 – Pause and Reflect

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…

Twitter @thebookchamber

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To be a “Dunce” or not, that is the question…

Preface and a disclaimer… the idea for this blog came from reading a snippet in Robert J. Morgan’s book, On This Day – 365 Amazing and Inspiring Stories about Saints, Martyrs & Heroes. Once again, reading can seriously damage your ignorance…

John Duns Scotus… born in Scotland, studied theology at Oxford (not Mississippi), birthdate unknown. Lived in the late 1200s to early 1300s. Scotus had a brilliant mind and challenged many things in medieval theology. However, like many great thinkers, he had more questions than answers… Becoming a master philosopher, linguist, theologian, and metaphysical thinker, he was also professor at the University of Paris.

Now… to the blog…
When you think of the word “dunce,” what comes to mind? Maybe a slow learner with a pointed cone hat, sitting in a corner from times old? Me too. Punishment for not knowing? Well, I’ll have to wear a “dunce” cone for it then. Keep reading…

Here’s what I did not know… John Duns Scotus; Scotus, identifying his Scottish heritage, Duns from his village name. Known as “The Subtle Doctor,” his students were tabbed as “Dunsmen.”

Back in the day, pointy hats were in style. Start thinking very old times and remembering wizards. It is said that the “cone hat” look inspired that image. Anyway… conical hats meant you were wise. “Dunsmen” started wearing them as a symbol of being wise and also a follower of “Scotism.”

Somewhere down the road, the “cone hat,” symbol of knowledge and wise, went a different direction. In the 1500s, the “Dunsmen” were thought to be “behind the times” and were labeled as slow, stupid because they would not accept “new views.” John Duns Scotus’s views troubled so many that the word “Dunce” was coined from the “Duns” in the middle name.

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Can you now see where we are going?

“Dunsmen” became known as “dunces,” and their pointy hats became a symbol of ignorance… When public education in Europe and America came into being, per se, the “dunce cap” was used for discipline, punishment, etc. Now, thankfully, it has phased out.

So… as we have segued into education… do we still think of students being dunces? If so, why? The cap and the corner might be no longer used, but how often do we “label” a student? Yes, some students might not be as quick to get an answer, or maybe they are processing something differently. This doesn’t make them a dunce. Believe it or not, there are things that I have not caught on to as quick as others.

Education should help bring out the best in students. While best can be relatively defined, too often, teachers will quickly place their focus on those who can instead of those who cannot. Maybe they just need a little longer or a little more help. Why would a teacher not?

Time has a way of changing things… as you can see, this is exactly what happened… today what we view as a symbol of failing, once showed intellect and respect. I think I’ll go get a pointed hat…

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…

Twitter @thebookchamber

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Getting rid of the bitter taste of leadership…

Ugh… that tastes bitter. Even worse, that bitter taste can sometimes linger, and it begins to be all we think about; talk about distracting. It will probably hinder us from tasting the good of other things also.

But… what does bitter look like? Good question. Better yet, what does bitter leadership look like, and why is it such a thing? First, what is bitterness? A quick lookup gives this definition – having a sharp, pungent taste or smell, not sweet. Hello… not sweet, pungent… Talk about a bad quality of leadership… How about this statement, “I have a bitter taste in my mouth about…” Yep, been there, said that. Pungent… doesn’t even sound like a good word to say.

I would say, most of the time, our bitterness is always going to be with something or someone else. It mostly comes with disappointments which leads to frustrations, not only with yourself but others. Bitterness in your life affects so many things; confidence, mood, performance, likeability, respect… most of all, love. It deprives the sweetness of what leadership should be.

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One area I see bitterness is in leaders who only think their way is “the only way.” They lead with blinders that prevent them from seeing anything anyone else has to say. By default, others begin to question, respect is lost, and their leadership becomes a facade, seen right through. I guess, in the end, bitterness comes and goes, but the effects can last much longer. A full circle runs through all people, especially when we do not get our way.

So… how can we fight bitterness? I am not sure there is an absolute answer. However, I have seen enough leaders with bitterness that I have some ideas on how I do not want to lead. First, be open to ideas and not have a closed-mind set. Second, be transparent with your leadership. If we can incorporate both of these concepts in our leadership, we will lead better, and others will not have to be bitter because you are.

Go figure and it sounds easy. However, when our EGO gets in the way, bitterness is going to taste bad. Let’s lead with a sweetness.

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…

Twitter @thebookchamber

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