Who Matters?

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Who matters?

“Everything you do has an impact. Who you are – that you are – actually matters. In an interconnected world (the only kind we have), our actions and the actions of others are inextricably linked- we are always and forever in a dance of mutual influence with those with whom we directly and indirectly participate. It is the unavoidable reality of being social creatures, only magnified by an ever-increasingly complex and interwoven societal structure. We matter to each other.” – Paul Greiner

This sums up my feelings about so many people and about so many things. Today I sobbed as I viewed the faces of all those lost in the Vegas tragedy. They mattered to so many people and today they mattered to me even though I did not know them.

Life is truly fragile and I am ever reminded of this. I try very hard to live every day as if it is my last. Am I always successful ? No, but I really wish to live life as fully as I can, love those I can and let the people in my life that I am closest to know they matter. I don’t want to wait til someone passes away for them to know that they really matter to me.

So if you are one of those precious people in my life reading this , know that you do really matter to me and I am so grateful to have you in my life. So today and every day let others know that they matter and hopefully you too will see as Greiner says that in this complex interwoven societal structure we matter to each other.

Reflections … Back to School

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I have been going to school almost every September for the past 53 years. When I reflect on that I can hardly believe it myself. This year as I focus on all the joy each day brings me, I am also going to reflect on my retirement year. The lasts …

The last time I will enter a building as a full-time educator . This awesome responsibility never eludes me. I know I can be the person who makes a difference in a child’s life. I will meet so many new students this year, many who will teach me great lessons. I look forward to that.

I also recognize that teaching and counselling takes great courage and energy.  Often after a full week I feel like the pic above and need to rejuvenate for the week ahead. Weekends are a time for self-care and reflection so that the week ahead is exciting not only for the students , but for me as well.

I also recognize that each day requires me to challenge myself to focus on the positive while acknowledging that challenges will always occur along the way. It is up to me to not sweat the small stuff. Although I will never feel the anxiety I felt my first days of teaching “don’t sweat the small stuff “, still applies as much today as it did then.

I need to take each day as it comes and enjoy the moments. I must say easier to do as I have grown as a person and as an educator over the past years. Do I still fall short ? You bet. This is a life skill that is easy to say , but not always easy to master.

This will be my last first week of school … How did you feel your first week back to school?

What We Say and Do Matters

People have been asking me if I am really serious about retirement and yes I am , but that doesn’t mean I don’t really love my job anymore . I absolutely do. I plan on making this year great! Why? Because each and every day I work with students and what I say and do matters.

I am far from perfect, but I really try my best to help students and create a positive environment in the school I work in.  I love collaborating with educators and others that I know truly care.

I am often reminded that what I say and do matters and that is a scary and awesome responsibility. I never want to hurt a child or anyone for that matter, but I am human and I make mistakes . When I do I need to say sorry , make amends and do my best each and every day to be the best person I can be. I also recognize that I can be that one person who changes the trajectory of a students life , making a positive difference that they remember for a lifetime.

Does what you say and do matter?  … you bet. Students are watching us daily … so as I enter my retirement year I want my students to know that I love what I do and will continue to do so until the day I retire. I love being with them and helping them as much as I possibly can. I look forward to this year and will treasure the memories I make with each and every person that crosses my path.

What I Say and Do Matters  … and so does what you say and do.

Reflections of a School Counsellor

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It’s summer time and I know I should be resting and believe me I do ! I have so much inside of me that I want to share that it is sometimes hard to know where to begin, but for today I’ll share what has been on my mind. I have been following ASCA’s twitter #ASCA16  feed over the past few days as I was unable to go this year. A couple of reflections come to mind.

  1. Gratitude … Collaborating with others has brought the passion of what I love to do to the forefront. I am so grateful that I connected to @ecmmmason and #scchat only a few short years ago . Yes, #scchat was the first School Counsellor hashtag I followed and it has changed everything . Thank you Danielle Schultz and Erin Mason.  I got and still get so much inspiration from seeing and getting help from all those who posted to the hashtag. I know that is why I am so passionate about others joining in with us as we collaborate this fall on a joint venture. See more here School Counsellors Collaborating as Leaders Worldwide. I care about the future of School Counsellors and School Counselling. I want to give back and so I continue to engage with others who are as passionate as I am.
  2. Refirement not retirement.Yes, I am retiring next year, but I want to go out making it my best year ever. I still really love what I do. I am retiring because it is time to. Time to refocus and engage my energies in other directions, but for now I will stay focused on the present and possibilities.   I am very excited about all the new ventures I will be taking on next school year.

September

  • George Couros MOOC . You may want to join us.

  • Supervise and mentor a new School Counsellor ( I have been doing this for years ). My way to give back while continuing to learn.

October

  • Start a Ted X Youth Club with my fabulous colleague Amy Webster @AmyNoraWebster . We look forward to the many wonderful things our students will create.
  • Working with Empowering Minds  EMLeadership and the most fabulous Cleopatra to create Leadership opportunities for students.
  • Continue to work and create ideas with Connex support.

Sept. to June

  • Continue to work with students to develop ideas around  anti. bullying #whosfrankyyc #carrollculture . Click here  for more information.
  • Continue to refine and work on our book Colour Your Way To A Healthy Mind : High School Students Creating Change  Would love to find a publisher . Anyone interested? 

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  • Once a month do a therapeutic Art workshop . Themes to be decided.

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  • Have our second Grad Walk . It was so much fun!

 

Really there are so many possibilities. This is an amazing time in education and these are but a few things I plan on doing in my retirement 2016-2017 school year. Over the summer you may want to consider giving to the Mario Couros Bursary . It is because of the gratitude we in #etmooc feel and it will help a future educator!

To all of you who take the time to read my blog may your summer be filled with  gratitude, ideas and opportunities as well as time to enjoy your family and friends. Rest,relax and rejuvenate! I plan to . Hitting the beach very soon!

A Year of Music

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Wow! Last night I not only got to watch amazing performances by young people, I got to be a part of the excitement. In September I jumped into another opportunity to grow, to learn and to have fun. I have had experiences that will remain with me forever thanks to Youth Singers Calgary. Never in my wildess imagination would I say I would be performing at the Jubilee in Calgary at my age. Of course i should know to never say never. One never knows the fabulous experiences you can have at any age #nevertooold . I really can say all of the new , jump out of my box experiences I have been having lead back to #ETMOOC  and all the supportive people who encouraged risk taking and that it is ok to to fail. Failure is seen as a way to learn, not like real failure to me which is giving up, never trying!

If you haven’t heard of #secondchants, now is the time. We get to work with outstanding musicians, choral directors, wardrobe  and choreorgraphers who are talented and funny.

I am so grateful to have been a part of this wonderful celebration of dedication and passion for music.

Thinking about Youth Singers great choice! If you are of a certain age like me join us on the 28th to see what it’s all about. I have always loved music , but this year of music has given me a chance to have experiences like never before.

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A Graduation Message From A BCHS Alumni

It's better to fail at what you love than to fail at what you don't . Jim Carrey
It’s better to fail at what you love than to fail at what you don’t . Jim Carrey

This is an email I recieved this week from a student who wishes to remain anonymous. The message is great so I share it with you. I am grateful that BCHS is such a great place to work. Graduates … you amaze me! I am in awe of you.

Hello graduate:
This is a message from a former Bishop Carroll High School student and it is addressed to each graduate in the class of 2015. Before anything else, congratulations! You have endured, grown, been challenged by, and are forever changed by your BCHS journey. You have earned the green slips, made the cutoffs, and can now call yourself a graduate of Bishop Carroll High School; a great Calgary institution that has developed a legacy for turning out exceptional people – people who forge incredible impacts in the world and help make it a better place.

My purpose for writing this is to imbue you with a few friendly words of wisdom, some advice, and to call you to service in your community. What is said in this message is opinion not doctrine and it is meant simply to convey some words of encouragement as you close a proverbial chapter in your life and turn to the next.

Bishop Carroll High School is not a school for a neighborhood or a quadrant – it is a school for the community of Calgary. As a result, it is a place of great diversity and great opportunity. The experiences you have had and the environment you have been in is something that is unique and one that has set you up differently than other people your age. You have been given the Carroll Advantage – the opportunity to learn in a system that hones your strengths, remedies weaknesses, and lets you discover who you are. The result: an ability to think critically, to manage yourself, to take ownership of your destiny, and the ability to make a profound impact on those around you. Self directed learning is a fantastic way to learn and appreciate personal responsibility, develop self management skills, and ultimately learn who you are and grow as a human being. The opportunities, skills, and experiences found in and taken from Bishop Carroll High School create potential for great things in every graduate. All of you have potential that knows only the boundaries you set for yourselves. There is no limit to what you can do; so believe in yourself, set your standards high, dream as big as you can, and never ever quit on something worthwhile.

My time since graduating has afforded me the ability to experience many great things and meet many great people, but every time I encounter something new – a challenge or an opportunity, I often find myself reflecting back on the experiences I had as a student at Carroll. Truthfully, everything I do now is somehow connected back to my time at Carroll. No matter what I face I always tell myself I am a Carroll grad and that gives me the confidence to do just about anything because who I have become was largely started in my three years at Carroll. If nothing else, please take some time to reflect on your BCHS journey: the highs the lows and understand how those experiences will always stick with you. In the bright times use those memories to reflect fondly and appreciate yourself, who you have become, and who you will grow into. In the challenging times use those memories to remind yourself of all you have accomplished and tell yourself you can do anything you set my mind to – you will be better for it. No matter what you face, who you face it with, or what you end up doing know this – if you understand and appreciate what your time at Carroll did for you and that it has helped make you then you really will be able to do anything. There is nothing quite like the confidence or the last minute quick thinking of a BCHS graduate.

Bishop Carroll High School is different than anywhere else, from what I have seen and experienced since graduation it truly does prepare you better and make you more ready for the world. The world you graduate into is one that seems to change exponentially each year. New challenges and new opportunities will demand more of everyone and will likely challenge us as a global community in a way we have not been challenged before. It will take people from diverse backgrounds and skill sets to confront them. Regardless of your path after high school YOU have the power to help change the world. Change does not have to come from grand actions or mega projects – the world can be changed at the grassroots level by the sum of individual actions. So find something you are passionate about – something you love, do it, do it well, and use it to help make the world around you better. Although not everything will be recognized no good action is too small. The opportunities and skills you have now give you the BCHS grad a responsibility to help make a positive impact on the world around you and doing what you love is a great way to make the world better. .

Enjoy each moment, learn from your successes and your failures, never ever give up, appreciate those around you, and live your life to the fullest. Congratulations on your achievement and welcome to the BCHS alumni community. Mane Nobisum Domaine

5 Things Worth Sharing

Painting I made for my family
Painting I made for my family

1.Family 

Nothing matters more to me than my family. I am at a point in life where our children are grown up and don’t need me as much, but I continue to love every moment I spend with them.  They bring a smile to my face and joy in my heart every time I sit down to a meal with them or get to be around them. I am grateful … oh so grateful. I hope my children and husband realize just how much they mean to me not only by my actions, but also through my words. Part of the reason I blog is for my children so that they can see another piece of who their mother is. My heart is so full of love for them.

“One Hundred Years From Now”

One hundred years from now

It won’t matter

What kind of car I drove

What kind of house I lived in

How much money I had in the bank

Nor what my clothes looked like

BUT

The world may be a little better

Because, I was important

In the life of a child.

Author: (excerpt from “Within My Power” by Forest Witcraft)

“What A Difference You’ve Made In My Life”. This is the song that played at our wedding and it holds true for my children as well as my husband. Seeing this you tube video was a trip down memory lane for me because as a teenager I loved Donny Osmond. We’ll let’s say i liked him,my friend was obsessed with him .I flew to Toronto to see him with my friend Evelyn when I was fifteen years old. (LOL) . I digress. The point I really want to make is my children and my husband have made a profound positive difference in my life.

2. Friends

I am so fortunate to have amazing friendships that lift me up, bring me great joy and fill my heart with love. We have bonds that cannot be broken. We share so many special moments in life. Each friendship I have I absolutely treasure. I value the precious moments I have with them and don’t ever take them for granted.

I moved to Calgary via Nova Scotia and Atikameg in 1981. It was a move that would change the course of my life and so began my story of lifelong adult relationships.

Fortunately for me I have enjoyed wonderful friendships in my life, so I knew how they could make a difference and sustain me. I have lifelong childhood friends from Nova Scotia who remain my dear friends today. Even though I have been away for thirty-five years, we still make a point of seeing each other and celebrating our friendships every summer.

Little did I know when I moved to Calgary, it would become my home or that I would discover extraordinary life giving friendships that would sustain me for life. “The gang” as we would so affectionately call ourselves are wonderful, kind, intelligent, considerate, amazing, loving and caring people. Our connections remain unbreakable.

The thing that I think is so amazing about these people is that we have been friends for over twenty-five years and never ever had a fight or major disagreement with one another.

In over twenty-five years we have missed very little time where we go not seeing each other.  We have celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, New Years, birthdays, births, deaths, and we often get together for absolutely no reason at all. There rarely goes by a month where we don’t sit down once , twice or even more times together to enjoy a feast.

Every celebration creates fabulous memories. We laugh, sing, play games, tell stories and just plain enjoy each other’s company. Our children have been blessed with such great role models of positive, lasting friendships.

We are there for each other whenever anyone needs something no matter what. I can count on these people for whatever I need. They are my family. No, we are not related, but we are closer than some families. We have made a connection that will last a lifetime.

What do we all have in common? We moved to Calgary to work. We needed to be able to use the skills from our education. It was a place to create a life for ourselves. None of us knew we would remain in Calgary after all these years. There are other commonalities, but this and the fact that we all had no family in Calgary brought us together.

We all happen to be from a place near the water. Prince Edward Island, Vancouver and Nova Scotia. Other friends come to some of our celebrations, but they don’t get to celebrate all of them because they have family here in Calgary. The rest of us don’t ( except for a few cousins who we adore).

I absolutely love these people, and so do our children. We have been blessed with laughter in abundance over the years. I have positive memories that are etched vividly in my mind and will be passed on down to our children and hopefully our future grandchildren. There are stories upon stories that have been shared over the years. We never get tired of telling each other stories.

When I tell people about how much we really care about each other after all these years, they are often amazed. Really, we have never fought with each other about anything throughout the years.

What a gift I have been given. If I could I’d jump over mountains for these people I most definately would. They make such a difference in my life. I have work friends, neighbourhood friends, long distance friends , on line friends ( yes, you can create amazing on line friendships)  and lifetime friends. Each holds a special place in my heart. each is a true gift.

I have been so blessed with all the friends that surround me. I can’t even put into words what they have meant to me.

If I pass anything onto my children it will be this.

Find great friends, not friends you necessarily always agree with all the time, but friends who you love being around and they love being around you.

Friends who :

accept you just the way you are
you can laugh and cry with
would be there in a minute no matter what you needed
the spouses / partners like and respect each other
don’t mind being silly with you no matter how old you are
share the good times and the bad with you
you always know will be there no matter what the circumstances
share your hopes, dreams, successes and losses
find friends who always seem to know the right thing to say or do

I am so happy to celebrate my friends. I want to shout from the mountaintops that YOU have provided me with some of the happiest memories of my life. I LOVE YOU so so much!

3. Life is To Be Lived 

I have believed for many many years that we need to live life to the fullest, maybe because of all the early deaths that have happened to people I have loved or people I have cared for. Zach is an amazing example for all of us. He is a teacher with many wonderful lessons and ones that are definitely worth sharing.

You don’t have to find out you are dying to start living

  • most people live in the middle, but you don’t have to
  • be empathetic and compassionate
  • always look for the good in people
  • things are OK when you believe in something greater
  • what makes you happy is seeing someone else smile because you put it there
  • what’s awesome about living in this world is that you can help people
  • the structure of a family is great
  • to be in the same room with your siblings is enough
  • it is not the life in your years , but the years and passion you put into your life
  • spend time with the people you love
  • it’s ok to dream big
  • celebrate the life you have
  • you can communicate love through music
  • music can heal
  • releasing feelings through music is helpful
  • letting people know you love them is important
  • sticking together as a family is extremely important
  • be happy no matter what
  • treat people the same and everything will be fine
  • smile despite what is happening in your life
  • memories are essential…create positive ones
  •  friendships help
  • fill your heart up with joy
  • it’s ok to have ultimate dreams
  • people we don’t really know can change our lives
  • the way you live matters
  • surround yourself with those people that lift you up
  • LOVE makes life BETTER

Zach says it alll better than I could ever do, his message is one that I will share again and again. Thanks Zach for giving us your gift of life. I know I treasure each day I have been given.

4. Find a Career You Love

I have been blessed with work I love to do. I have felt honoured to be able to be in the presence of so many students who have helped to teach me so much in life. I feel honoured that they allow me to enter into their world. Each day I go to work I am grateful. It doesn’t mean that every moment of every day I am happy, but most moments of most days I really am very happy. My work brings me great joy and fulfillment. I really try to put passion into practice .

5. Have Hope

Life is not always easy and sometimes just downright hard, but having hope has gotten me through all the rough times. Even when I might have felt like giving up I haven’t because I could see a spark of hope. May you find HOPE in your life.

Music can heal the soul and inspire hope. I love music , well who doesn’t.  This last song is one when I hear it , I think of my husband who I am forever grateful for. Finding him is a gift that has made my life better. The words speak what I have in my heart.

This reflective post has been worth sharing for me. Thanks to Maureen Crawford for inspiring this post.

Now I challenge you . What are your 5 things worth sharing?