17/24 – A pain in the ass

On parents and schools.

If I as a parent have thoughts, ideas and/or concerns concerning the schools my children attend, what do I do?

I’m guessing most teachers, principals and anybody else working within the school system, laugh a bit at what Seth answered: You must understand that parental involvement is a pain in the ass.parents

So he flipped it around. Not saying parents shouldn’t be concerned, shouldn’t contribute with thoughts and ideas. No. Not at all.

Instead – asking myself the question: How am I contributing? How can I contribute?

Not to assume I know what do to, and how to do it best. But offer it up, the thoughts, ideas, good examples. Humbly. Earning my voice, by actually providing value, in one way or another. Engaging in a conversation.

Asking the teacher or principal: What can I do? What do you need? Is there any way I can contribute with this thing?

Reflection #17 of 24 from the notes I took and the experience I had at the Seth Godin Q&A-session in London, November 2015. These reflections will constitute my Advent Calendar for 2015, and will be posted daily from December 1st to the 24th.

Podcast 34/52 – The gift of failure

I am very interested in school development and life long learning, with the firm belief that schools and how they are shaped actually shape the society we live in, to a large extent. Hence I was thrilled to listen to Jessica Lahey on Good Life Project, since she’s a teacher with a passion for learning.

And was I ever rewarded! Jessica and Jonathan had such an interesting conversation that when I was finished, and still had several kilometers left on the bike ride I was on, that I just pressed PLAY and started to listen one more time.

BoldomaticPost_The-gift-of-failures-an-opporJessica Lahey wrote an article in The Atlantic in January 2013 entitled Why parents need to let their children fail and since then, she’s written a book on the subject of failure as well. And she’s telling some fascinating stories in this podcast, around failure (amongst other things), and on the opportunity for growth that most (all?) failures bring with them. I especially like the way she balances her own experience both as a teacher and a parent, demonizing neither party, but totally seeing the pro’s and con’s each role can provide in the development of a child.

So, are you a parent? Listen to this episode.

Or perhaps, you are a teacher or work in schools? Listen to this episode.

Maybe you are lucky enough to be a parent yourself, or have any kind of relationship with children, such as being an aunt, uncle, grandfather, cousin, neighbor, scout leader or anything else where you come in contact with children and young adults? Listen to this episode.

There. I think I covered the lot right then and there, didn’t I? Have I convinced you yet that this is simply a no-miss-podcast that you definitely will listen to?

Selecting a teacher

Selecting a Teacher 
There are so many teachers in the world and so many theories about life. 
When selecting a teacher, ask yourself… 
Is my teacher a well-balanced person? Is she or he happy? 
Does my teacher reflect and demonstrate the quality of life I desire? 
If the answer to any of these questions is no, move on in your journey.
Otherwise you may become one of the blind, led by the blind.
Sydney Banks, from The Missing Link

You can exchange the word teacher with other words, such as guide, coach, leader, boss, spiritual guide, enabler. The word doesn’t really matter anyway, but oh, how these words ring true for me.

I remember Lama Kathy Wesley stating in one of my favorite podcasts how important she felt it to be to look at the elders of any tradition of faith that you found interesting. By their appearance, health, harmony, you know, whether or not to venture forth into that tradition or not. In a nutshell, she’s stating exactly the same thing as Syd Banks is pointing to.

And at the same time, well-balanced doesn’t mean a person who is ”perfect”, and never gets out of whack. On the contrary, I would say. I do not require my teacher, coach, guide (yeah, you get it! That whatever-word you place here!) to be ”a perfect human being”, in the meaning that they do not live the human experience.

Because that’s part of the trick for me – living life, experiencing all the up’s and down’s of human experience, and doing it with grace, with balance (that is, returning to balance when off-centered for a moment or two), and a lot of love, laughter and light. Tears commingle with laughter, grief with ecstatic joy, boredom with the feeling of flow where time seemingly disappears. All of that is part of the human experience, but how I live into it, or perhaps, how I live out of it, is what tells a well-balanced person apart for me.

BoldomaticPost_Selecting-a-Teacher-There-areWriting this, I just had an insight.

This quote isn’t only about looking for external teachers. It’s also a great reminder to myself, on my ability to be my own guide and enabler.

When I am well-balanced, happy, reflecting and demonstrating the qualities of life that I desire – then I am a good teacher for myself.

And when I am the opposite (off-centered, miserable, definitely not demonstrating the qualities of life I desire, but rather the opposite), it serves me well to remember to take myself a lot less seriously, as it’s as if I am one of the blind, leading myself. And boy does it hurt when I stumble into all sorts of obstacles along the way, attempting to lead my blind self. In situations like that, the best thing I can do is to pause, to stop in my tracks, and wait for vision to return. Go about my day, doing the routine things that I can do blind-folded, staying clear of making radical decisions, and not expecting too much of myself either. It’s not always easy though.

So am I the only one dumb enough to try to lead myself even when I am in no shape to lead?

My greatest teacher

Today my daughter turns fifteen. Fifteen years ago my life had just turned upside down as me and my then husband split up just five weeks before Alma was born. In all that turmoil, there was one thing which was rock solid regardless of the spinning motion of the world around me, and that was becoming a mother to this little person, who turned out to be Alma (whose name means soul in Spanish).Darling girl

As time went by, the turmoil slowly resided, and everyday life kicked in as we created a life together. Over time, our lives have taken new turns leading us to where we are at today. And when I look at where I am at, as a human being, knowing and looking within myself, Alma has been a pivotal person for my personal development.

Beloved AlmaSo I thank you Alma, for being my greatest teacher. I’ve learned so much together with you, and when I first started to look within myself, being the best mother to you that I am capable of being was definitely a motivating factor for me.

Besides learning a lot from being your mother, I also have a lot of fun with you, and I truly look forward to having a lot more fun with you in the days, months and years ahead.

Being a part of each others lives also means we get to ride the high’s and low’s of life together, and I cherish all of it, as it makes life so much richer. I wouldn’t trade being your mother for anything in the world.

Loka Brunn

Happy birthday, my beloved Alma!

I love you, and I am grateful every day for having you in my life. ❤