Graduates

On yesterday evening, I paused action on my “productivity” list and decided to attend a graduation program that celebrates youth in foster care.  I was completely unsure that I would see anyone there that I knew (and sure enough, I knew NONE of the graduates) and I had no significant emotional ties to any of the staff and guests.  I only knew that I wanted to be a part of the celebration that honored these young people.  Here are some of the things I observed and appreciated:

  1. Not only were graduates honored, but so were their caregivers (foster parents, program supervisors, social workers, counselors, etc).
  2. A spoken word artist’s encouragement to embrace and share your story, no matter what it is.
  3. A reminder that all things (good and bad) work together to our ultimate good, to our ultimate shaping.
  4. That attitude is important…the attitude we choose to adopt and daily live by affects us. To my current memory, Stephen Covey referred to it as “our own internal weather.”

My fellow readers, some of these young people have faced horrors from which a lot of us were spared, but they chose to become focused and finish school.  Among them were scholarship recipients to well-known colleges, husbands and wives who’d already started families, teen business owners, singers, artists, and those who are still trying to figure out the next step.  The point:  they made it to this point, they achieved that goal and by God, they will continue to soar and achieve more.  I did not know any of them personally but I’m incredibly proud of each of them and was honored to have been in their presence.  In the words of Dr. John C. Maxwell, remember that “Change is inevitable.  Growth is optional.”  Choose growth.  Hats off to all graduates and the next step in this journey called life.

#fostercare   #ittakesavillage   #youth    #focus   #graduates   #Johncmaxwell

The Power of Diversity

Usually, when we hear the word diversity, it is in the context of race, gender, or religion, but diversity is important in every category.  Below is a nugget about diversity as it regards conflict management, team engagement, and organizational health.  Patrick Lencioni continues to deliver well on needed topics for growth.  Read below.

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“…the power of diversity, and the reason why it remains so misunderstood and under-exploited in most organizations: it requires conflict.

The practical advantage of diversity boils down to this: a group of people with different perspectives usually makes better decisions and finds more creative solutions than those who have largely similar views, backgrounds and skill sets. This is true for all teams, whether they’re running a corporation, a church, a school or a movie studio. However, when a team cannot productively engage in conflict, not only does that diversity remain untapped, it becomes a competitive disadvantage.

That’s because when team members with divergent points of view cannot openly and passionately advocate their positions, the team will not be able to properly understand and incorporate those ideas into a final decision. Instead, they will frustratingly agree to compromise, walking away dissatisfied with the outcome and resentful of their team members who they still don’t understand.

…when we talk about diversity, the emphasis is usually on acceptance and tolerance and “getting along.” All of which, of course, are good things. The problem surfaces when those qualities prevent people from challenging one another’s points of view out of fear of being labeled close-minded or intolerant.

And so the key to making diversity work is to teach people first how to appreciate one another’s differences, and then how to challenge them in the context of pursuing the best possible outcome. When a company can do that, it will transform diversity from a slogan to a real competitive advantage.  Source:  https://www.tablegroup.com/hub/post/diversitys-missing-ingredient

#diversity  #organizationalhealth  #conflictmanagement  #teamdevelopment

Richness of Life

Today, I attended a homegoing celebration, also known as a funeral, for someone beloved.  He was my sister’s father, a guy I’ve known since before she was born, and someone who was genuine.  I’ve always loved the fact that he was forthright.  He loved deeply and could be a little gruff, but he never hesitated to be himself.  In doing so, his sincerity touched a lot of people, as evidenced by the remarks at the funeral.  I also found that he’d served on the trustee board at his church.  He truly was an involved and beloved person.  Doesn’t mean he was without his faults; it simply means that he used his time to love on people and to live with purpose.

A part of the program stated that you’d often find him reading the newspaper and listening to gospel music, loudly, which brought about a chuckle from many, to include myself.  I realized that he lived the advice to “be where you are.”  Further, because of the wonderful people I met or was reacquainted with today, I feel my life has been further enhanced because my path crossed his path 40 years ago and because of my sister, our paths have remained crossed.  As I reflect, I hold to the fact that we can choose to define the richness of life on so many factors other than money.  The quality of the people with whom we form and maintain relationships can help determine our emotional and mental wealth.  Let us strive to have our richness be to our benefit, and not to our detriment.  To reach the mountaintop and be alone or to be surrounded only by those who want something from you is an unenviable position.  Let’s strive to surround ourselves with quality people.  Not perfect people, for they don’t exist, but people who enrich our lives and leave us wanting to be a better version of our former selves.

“Be Seriously Disturbed”

For 2018, I am rereading Pastor Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional and decided to share one that was particularly thought provoking from a few weeks ago, as it promotes a call to action BY YOU, whether it be via community volunteerism, advocating for a cause via your job, church, or wherever the opportunity arises.

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“One key to discovering your destiny is to identify the needs that stir your heart. What is it that upsets you? What causes you to think, “Somebody ought to do something about that”?

Whatever it is, that is the key to your destiny. My wife, Kay, calls it being seriously disturbed. Why? Because, it bothers you so much that it moves you to action. Is there anything that disturbs you or is your life so insulated that nothing makes you say, “Somebody ought to do something about that”?

Here is a homework assignment: Make a list of the needs you see that disturb you. Then pray and ask God to show you ways you can use your gifts to make a difference.”

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For me, it remains advocating for children who have been abused and/or neglected.  It’s something I’ll never understand and I’ll never stop fighting against.  My newest “disturbance” is childhood food insecurity in America.  It’s a larger problem than I initially thought.  I’m looking forward to making some level of impact in 2018.

What about you?  Share your “disturbance” and your plan of action!  It may not be something global, it may be something simple…and that’s ok. The goal is to set a goal to make a difference, whether it be in the home, in the community, in the country, or in the world.

Keep Striving

I came across the following quote recently.  While it is brief, it speaks volumes:

“Chance favors those in motion.” —  James H. Austin

I encourage you to continue to set small and large goals and focus on them with all diligence.  From volunteering in the community or church, finding professional development opportunities, getting that degree or writing that book…keep striving, keep researching, keep trying…to see what will work and what won’t work.  You’ll never know unless you try.  From Thomas Edison:  “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  I love it!

 

 

 

 

A Thought on Personal Commitment

He who has done his best for his own time has lived for all times.” -Johann von Shiller, Playwright. Another quote I’ve borrowed from Dr. John Maxwell’s book, The 21 Indispensable Qualities of A Leader.

When I read it, I thought to myself, “That can be a definition of success…to have done your best for your own time, the time in which you lived and had an opportunity to impact people.” You know where this mindset stems from?…Commitment! Yep, commitment is key, for it can manifest in various ways, from the productive work hours we maintain, to self-improvement goals, to sacrifices we make for team members, family, and etc. Commitment isn’t entirely selfless, for in the long run, we find that as we commit to do the best that we can with the time, energy, and resources we have, we ourselves are greatly impacted and blessed. Our reach goes beyond our time.

Have you ever transitioned positions or jobs and later heard from prior team members that you are missed because_______ or they learned ______ from you and are using that to make a difference? Often, these little but consistent examples of commitment seem miniscule, but like children, little acts can have a huge impact. Therefore, I encourage you to continue with commitment, for though at times it seems to be moot, insignificant, or mundane, it has the opportunity to make a difference somehow, somewhere, to someone. Michelangelo never knew that his reluctant agreement to commit to paint a depiction on the Sistine Chapel would evolve into a masterpiece and proceed to bless millions of people over the centuries. You don’t know how your commitment will proceed to bless countless others and I encourage you not to dwell on that. Instead, dwell on doing the best you can with the time, energy, and resources at your disposal, and have that which you do be genuine, your actions be consistent, and your heart be at peace. Tootles!

#Commitment #Influence

Racism and Higher Education

Hello Everyone,

The below is the most recent Executive Director’s update from *AACRAO, as posted on August 16, 2017.  I am sharing it because I feel it is well said and on point.  Enjoy the read and recall the quote from Dr. Maya Angelou:  

“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.”

*AACRAO – American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers

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“The disturbing events in Charlottesville this past weekend have had a profound impact on many of us as we watched white supremist, anti-Semitic, and other racist groups march openly on the campus of the University of Virginia. While our awareness of these groups may have previously been limited, assuming they were largely confined to the dark corners of the internet, we now have no choice but to acknowledge that these groups are thriving and represent a significant threat to our core values.

One of the more troubling dimensions of the events in Charlottesville was that the participants appeared to be largely young, white men of traditional college age. A number were, in fact, identified as students at our universities. Any notion that those holding racists views in our country were confined to an aging population that would soon be replaced by a more tolerant and accepting younger generation were dashed by the blatant expression of hatred displayed by these young people.

It is clear that these groups espousing racist, white supremist, and anti-Semitic views see our campuses as fertile ground for their messages of intolerance. While the vast majority of us watched the events in Charlottesville with dismay, the organizers of the event and other hate groups seem to have been emboldened by the experience and have announced their intentions to hold marches and rallies at our colleges and universities in the coming months.

This cannot go unchallenged. We cannot be silent in the face of racist, xenophobic, sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic acts/statements. Our silence is not only complicit, it’s an endorsement. These groups confuse our commitment to free expression for acceptance of their beliefs. They see our lack of explicit condemnation as affirmation that their views deserve equal consideration. And when we do speak out against their appearances on our campuses they often turn the tables and accuse us of hypocrisy and intolerance.

Our campuses have historically served as powerful voices in confronting societal injustices. From the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee organizing Freedom Rides that highlighted racial injustice in the 1960s to students and staff in the 1980s compelling their institutions to withdraw their investments in companies that provided the financial underpinnings for the Apartheid regime in South Africa, colleges and universities have stood on the right “side” of social justice. To allow groups to use our campuses to foment hate stands in the face of everything we have achieved.

What can we do to confront these groups? First, speak out. Engage with members of your campus who are working to create welcoming and inclusive communities. Listen to the concerns of students and “actively promote the expansion of ideas, perspectives, and understanding that comes from a diverse and inclusive community” as described in our AACRAO Core Competency on Diversity and Inclusion.”

As Maya Angelou eloquently stated, “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.”

Jim Bouse, President

Paul Kyle, Past President

Tina Faulkner, President Elect

Tiffany Robinson, Vice President for Access and Equity

Mike Reilly, Executive Director