Category Archives: leadership

How do you do things in your family?


Have you ever thought about what your personal core values are?

What about core values for your classroom? or for your family?

Would it make a difference if you knew your core values and practiced them?

In a previous post, I wrote about the  one question you can ask to encourage leadership skills in others.  An equally important question to ask that can frame the future and develop leadership skills  in children is, “What are our core values?” Another way to ask the same question that children might better understand is, “How do we do things around here and why”?

How do we do things around here?

In her book Grit, The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth includes a chapter on culture and how the culture of an organization can shape who the individuals in an organization become.  She uses the example of the  University of North Carolina’s women’s soccer team.  An example of some of their core values are:

  1. We don’t whine (we don’t complain about anything on or off the field)
  2. We are selfless (we play for each other)
  3. We are disciplined (we do something related to our goal everyday)
  4. We are focused (we want our years of college to be rich, valuable and deep)

Another example of a successful organization that has spent a bit of time clarifying their core values is North Point Church.  Here is an example of their core values:

1) Make It Better – Everyone on staff participates in making things better.

2) Take It Personally – Believe in what we do, be involved.

3) Collaborate – Don’t be too proud to ask for help or too busy to be able to help.

4) Replace Ourselves – You’ll always have a place if you are helping others move up.

5) Stay Fit – Our personal lives come to work with us. The more responsibility you have in an organization, the more important it is for you to stay fit – spiritually, physically, mentally, financially, and relationally.

6. Remain Open Handed – In a growing organization, there will be constant change. Effective staff and leaders have to be open to change.

As you can see core values don’t have to be a list of dry meaningless virtues.  They can be phrases and examples of the kind of leader ship skills that we want to practice and who we want to become.

Now it’s your turn… How can you identify core values for your family, your classroom or your team? Use these examples as inspiration but meet with the members of your group and brainstorm ideas.  Ask how you would know if those values were being practiced.  When you are finished, anyone in your group should be able to easily answer the question, “How do we do things around here?” by relating the core values.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Friendship

It’s not easy being the new kid at school, especially if you are a cat and everyone else is a dog.  How do you make friends?  Can you even be friends with someone who is totally different from you?  Wyatt the Wonder Dog helps solve Ami’s friendship problem with empathy and compassion. A great story for teaching children the critical life skill of making friends.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog-Friendship Cover (1)

Wyatt Learns about Friendship


Are you a leader? One question to ask.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of leadership training at schools and conferences.  What qualities do you think of  when you think of great leaders?






While these are all qualities that we may aspire to, John Quincy Adams penned a powerful leadership quote that can encompass all these qualities and more.  Here it is:

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more and do more, then you are a leader.

So what if we turned this quote into a question that we could ask ourselves at the end of every day?  It might go something like this:

Who did I inspire today to dream more, learn more and do more?

For educators and parents this is a worthwhile goal and a powerful question.

How can you be a leader in a child’s life?

Being a leader isn’t just about leading others… its also about being a leader in your own life.  Here are four ways you can inspire others to dream more, learn more and do more by taking charge of your own life.

  • Know your why: It’s easy to get lost in the details and demands of our busy lifestyles but great leaders know their why and love sharing that joy and enthusiasm with others. Renew and review that basic why  you do what you do on a regular basis.
  • Create a time of quiet focus each morning:  It’s hard to inspire others to set goals and dream big if you don’t take the time to create an intentional life yourself. During your quiet time you can:
    • Review your goals for the day.
    • Read something inspirational.
    • Get centered. Breathe.
    • Meditate. Pray.
  • Take time to listen: Leading others isn’t just about sharing your message, your why, your beliefs and goals with others.  It’s about helping others discover their own path and their own way.  Take the time to explore and listen to the dreams and goals of others.  Then see how you can encourage them along the path.
  •  Keep learning and dreaming too:  Look for and create learning opportunities that excite you. Read inspiring books.  Attend creative classes and events.  Not only will you be a good model for children but your enthusiasm will be contagious.

 Wyatt Learns about Good Manners

Wyatt is always wondering about something and lately it is how to get his friend, Max to change his bossy ways.  What can he do?  Join Wyatt as he considers some rather unusual options until he finally discovers that a heart to heart talk with Max can create a new friendship with an old friend.  Wyatt_the_Wonder_Dog_Cover_Manners_Kindle

Wyatt the Wonder Dog: Learns About Good Manners


Wyatt and I are grateful for all our readers, so here is a Christmas Special just for you:)


Characteristics of a great counselor


I was recently at a luncheon talking with some elementary school principals about school counselors and an evaluation method they are required to complete yearly on school counselors.  The instrument was so complex that they had to attend special training  to learn to use it properly. The evaluation emphasized collecting data in order to  prove the impact and success of the counselor.  One principal commented, “There is so much stress on data collection, the counselor can’t do her job.”

Has technology and data collection taken the heart out of the school counseling system?

In a recent article in Edutopia the question was asked,  What does it mean to be a great teacher?  Interestingly enough, excels at collecting data or has great test scores was not even on the list. While the six characteristics that were listed might be hard to quantify, they are definitely at the heart of teaching.  I’ve modified it a bit for counselors.

Six characteristics of a great counselor

A great counselor is kind–  Modeling and teaching kindness is an important part of every lesson and interaction for the school counselor.  Many counselors encourage random acts of kindness and encourage students to look for opportunities to pay it forward.

A great counselor is compassionate– Counselors are often called to love those students most difficult to understand and love.  Counselors take the time to understand the story behind the behavior and show compassion despite the difficulties.

A great counselor is empathetic– Counselors not only walk in a student’s shoes,  they often carry students when they can’t walk on their own. Counselors are a shoulder to cry on and a hand to lift you up when you are down.

A great counselor is positive-While they don’t ignore the challenges, counselors see what is possible for every student and share that vision with them. They are great encouragers and often believe in students when they don’t yet believe in themselves

A great counselor is a builder– Counselors equip children for the future.  They don’t leave them where they find them but they teach them the tools for becoming the best they can be.  Counselors are relationship builders.  They build relationships among students and adults without regard for age or  status. They model for others the importance of relationships and  how to create positive relationships in their own lives.

A great counselor is inspiring- Counselors inspire with their lessons and their words but they also inspire with their actions.  Counselors give direction to students’s lives and provide the necessary guidance needed to achieve goals that seem impossible.

What would you add as a quality of a great counselor?


Related Posts:

Joyful Parenting

Top 3 Mistakes Educators Make

5 Steps to Growing a Confident Child


Wyatt’s Little Book of Lesson Plans, Worksheets and Games

Just for you!  Here are activities, lesson plans, discussion questions, coloring sheets, word search puzzles and games for each of the six Wyatt the Wonder Dog Books. A treasure trove of grab ‘n go lessons on cooperation, teamwork and leadership skills to quickly extend and incorporate the Wyatt stories.

Personality Style and Motivation

It’s a new school year and you have spent hours setting up your classroom, attending meetings on the latest and  greatest technology and getting your lesson plans in order. You are ready for the kiddos to arrive with parents in tow so you can orient everyone to your system and dive in to a new and exciting year of learning and teaching.

However, if you’ve been teaching any time at all you know that the best laid plans can go astray, especially if you have “one of those classrooms”.

You know what I mean.

One where you are pulling out your hair and wondering who on earth thought putting this combination of children together in one room was a good idea? Maybe you have children that are exceptionally talkative or headstrong.  Maybe they are needy and lack initiative. In any case, I bet you have at least one child in your classroom that really knows how to push your buttons… and not in a good way.

What if you understood their personality and their motivation so that you could work with them instead of against the resistance? Understanding the four basic personality styles can help.

The Four Basic Personality Styles

Understanding and speaking the same personality language is important. This is especially true if you want to help your students set goals that motivate them and have a successful school year. As a quick reminder, the four main personality types are:

D wired=dominant, decisive, determined, doer

I wired=interactive, inspiring, influential, initiator

S wired=stable, sweet, shy, likes status quo

C wired=conscientious, careful, cautious, careful

Personality Style and Motivation

If you have a D wired child in your classroom, then you will want to help them chose a goal that is very specific and has a deadline. D personalities are highly motivated and competitive, so setting a goal to give their energy some direction will be very successful.

I wired children are great starters but not such great finishers. They also thrive on social interaction and recognition, so setting a goal that involves a social network to support and encourage them to achieve it would be best. Add in an element of fun perhaps by making a lesson or project much like a game and the I wired child will be hooked.

S wired children are great finishers but have difficulty starting tasks. They are very tuned in to the needs of others and will work to accomplish a goal as much to please you as to please themselves. Select a goal that they can commit to with your support or the support of a partner to motivate them to get going.  They are great team players and can be a real asset to group  oriented learning.

Finally, C wired children love to develop and research a goal.They thrive on quality answers and good value.  If they are committed, they will work hard to accomplish the task. Help them see the big picture so that they don’t get lost in the details and you will have a winning combination.

Learning to set and accomplish goals is an important skill to learn and by speaking your student’s  personality language, you can not only insure that they are successful but you will motivate them in a way that is congruent with how they are wired.

Related Posts:

Celebrate your child’s personality style

10 things joyful teachers do differently

Tackling those back to school blues

Wyatt’s latest book!!

Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Cooperation

Wyatt wants to play Frisbee. Max want to build a fort and Callie wants to have tea party. How do the three friends reconcile their differences? Can it be done? When Wyatt doesn’t get his way, Max’s mother suggests he be the Superhero for the day. Join Wyatt as he learns how the magic of cooperation and compromise can bring the five friends closer together.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog -Cooperation Cover
Wyatt the Wonder Dog: Learns About Cooperation (Volume 6)

4 skills your child will need as an entrepreneur

Are you an entrepreneur?

Do you run a business from your home?

Maybe you are CEO of a large organization?

Or a solo-preneur for a great product you designed?

Wonder how to instill in your children the necessary talents and skills to start their own business someday or maybe even step into your shoes and take over the family business?

Here are a few tips to create an entrepreneurial spirit and love in your children.

Share what you do in your business and even more importantly the why behind it.  Make sure you tell kids the back story of your business.  Did you start it to solve a problem?  to help others in a way the worked for you?  to provide a creative outlet for talents?  to have independence in your life?  So many children today have no idea what their parents do for a living.  When I worked in the schools, I used to ask children what their parents did.  Many times they just knew they worked downtown in a tall building.  As appropriate to the age of your child, share the details of not only what you do in your business, but the difference it makes in the world and why it matters.

Encourage creativity and out of the box thinking.  There are a lot of ways to do this but one of the best is to encourage children to solve their own problems.  Did a toy stop working? Ask questions to help them think through how to fix it.  Don’t have enough money from their allowance to buy the new toy they want?  Help them think through how they could earn extra money.  Have some free time and feeling ‘bored’?  Encourage them to create their own game.

Encourage initiative and ownership.  If they want to start a lemonade stand or create a neighborhood newspaper, help them think through the details.  Teach them about supply and demand, marketing, profit and loss.  Have them purchase the supplies so they understand what it means to make a profit.  Share stories of how you started a business at their age or of well-know entrepreneurs and the businesses they started as kids.  For instance, Tony Hsieh, owner of Zappos shoes made and sold spirit wear buttons as a teen-ager and Warren Buffet sold chewing gum door to door.  There are lots of kids today who have created businesses that are highly profitable: 8 kids making a million dollars 

Balance failure and success.  One of the most important lessons to learn in business is to accept failure as an opportunity to learn and make necessary changes while celebrating the experience of success as well.  As a parent, how you model both of these situations will be critical to your child’s decision as to whether they want to follow in your entrepreneurial footsteps.  Share your failures and disappointments as well as your successes and consider them teaching moments that will equip them to handle the same type of experiences..

Related posts:

What if failure really is a gift?

4 leadership lessons to prepare your child for the future

Teaching a child persistence

Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Winning

Wyatt the Wonder Dog didn’t make it on the All Star baseball team and he feels like a loser.  All  his friends will be playing baseball this summer, while he and his pesky sister, Callie, visit grandparents at the beach.  How Wyatt learns to handle disappointment and failure will be an important lesson for the future.  Will he give up trying new things?  Will he have the confidence to try again?  Are there some things that take more practice and persistence to learn than others? Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About Winning
Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Winning (Wyatt the Wonder Dog Books) (Volume 5)







What if failure is really a gift?

Your child is up at bat and strikes out.  She throws down the bat and stomps off the field,  tears in her eyes.

While doing his homework, your child can’t figure out the answer to a math problem. He crumples up his entire paper in frustration and slams the book closed.  Not a chance of starting over tonight.

Educators today often refer to encouraging a growth mindset in children.  What does this mean?  Given the fast pace of the world that we live in it is critical that children learn to use critical thinking and problem solving as a way of life.  Gone are the days when reading, writing and ‘rithmetic were the staples of a child’s education curriculum. Today we are concerned with not only what children learn but how they learn and how they can apply that ability to challenges they will face in everyday life.

Two Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

Begin by re-framing the idea of imperfection and failure.  In the past we were all taught to strive for perfection.  Practice makes perfect was the motto.  However, focusing on striving for perfection can create an environment where imperfection and failure is not tolerated or is avoided.  Instead, re-frame imperfection as a part of the unique person that we all are.  

 In a previous post, I wrote about the benefits of embracing our limitations and how something beautiful can come from that.  In her book, The Gift of Imperfection,  Brene Brown shares research that shows when we acknowledge our imperfections and actually consider them the building blocks that shape us and make us who we are, then we develop into a more joyful and resilient person.

Sean Stevenson, motivational speaker, was born with osteogenesis imperfecta not expected to live past birth.  He identifies accepting his disability as a gift rather than a burden a being a turning point in his life. It was this decision that has shaped his life as a successful motivational speaker and teacher.  In a growth mindset, challenges become opportunities for self-improvement.

The second way to develop a growth mindset is to actually welcome all opportunities to learn and grow especially those where there is the risk of failure.  We learn more from our failures than we ever do from our successes.  Of course this is hard to accept when we are in the midst of a failing experience but think back over your own history.  Aren’t there important lessons that you have learned from failure, even if it was to try a different path?  Taking imperfect action and accepting that failure is often a consequence of taking risks,can be a gift, but it takes a proactive mindset to learn and grow from the benefits of each.  

Related Posts:

What if You Embrace the Difficulty?

Why Failing First Leads to Success

4 Secret Skills Kids Need Today

Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Winning

Wyatt the Wonder Dog didn’t make it on the All Star baseball team and he feels like a loser.  All  his friends will be playing baseball this summer, while he and his pesky sister, Callie, visit grandparents at the beach.  How Wyatt learns to handle disappointment and failure will be an important lesson for the future.  Will he give up trying new things?  Will he have the confidence to try again?  Are there some things that take more practice and persistence to learn than others? Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About Winning
Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Winning (Wyatt the Wonder Dog Books) (Volume 5)