UpliftAnother1

Building Community Through Better Relationships

Sitcom Solutions And SEL

watching-TV-with-kids mesmerized

Watching your favorite show typically means that the episode’s issue will be resolved in a predictable amount of time. Unfortunately, real-life challenges are not done in a 30 minute block. Even considering longer programs, 60 minute increments of time rarely solve real-life issues either. Problems like sharing personal challenges, figuring out positioning in social groups, or equipping someone to manage raging emotions all need deliberate steps amidst uncertain navigation. But, who has tools to help these situations? How do people of all ages and maturity navigate paths resulting in functional adults? Why are these problems not resolved in one episode?

Nature
Watching a school yard full of children play at recess illustrates a full spectrum of human experiences. In 30 minutes outside the classroom, exercising physical bodies, social skills, and innermost insecurities are all simultaneously happening. As children develop over the years, these seeds flourish further into identities resulting in varying degrees of functional behaviors. However, at the dysfunctional end of the spectrum, emotions run rampant toward aggression and rage. While tools are available to curtail negative behaviors, who is responsible for deploying them? Who stops the negativity from dragging down the community?

Uplifting the community coincides with uplifting the individual. While authority dictates establishing rules and parameters, positive societal outcomes result from listening. Technically, positive outcomes are a result of communicating. However, the listening component is the more difficult part. While popular entertainment delivers conflict, then resolution within a single episode, human behavior does not obey any set schedule. Strengthening tools to communicate and cope depends on the skills of the teacher and the learner. Consequently, teachers proactively need to acquire effective coping skills so that they can teach the elements of cooperating socially.

Nurture
Unfortunately, developing such coping skills defy any imposed schedule. Based on the learners, emotional, psychological, or intellectual baggage, the necessary time for correction varies dramatically. Factors ranging from school environments to home structure affects any individual’s ability to communicate appropriate, social interaction. Furthermore, this variance includes, teachers, leaders, and authority figures. The absence of Social Emotional Learning reverberates through communities and learning environments. Teachers that are burdened with emotional baggage are often ill-equipped to impart skills they never adequately received. Essentially, they cannot nurture attributes that they have not acquired themselves.

Consequently, without tools, nor allocated time, the problem festers. Poor behavior that results from poor guidance continues to foster aggression, apathy, and insensitivity. Simply starting to develop stronger listening skills often contribute to improved behaviors in developing minds. Furthermore, incorporating role play scenarios with encouragement allows positive behaviors to surface from turmoil. Also, empowering learners to establish group guidelines often facilitates positive behavioral outcomes. However, requiring conflict resolution inside a pre-designed timeframe is a recipe for frustration and failure for all involved parties.

Takeaways
Without understanding the degree of scarring that initially created dysfunctional behaviors, leaders are ill-prepared to predict in any way the necessary time to correct behaviors. Through intentional academic and community-based programming, people have the potential to develop behaviors that are more consistent with socially acceptable actions. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) helps build that strength. Creating ongoing education for all involved parties, leaders and learners, reinforces the tools to reform aggressive behaviors and transform them into more compassionate interactions. Despite not fully knowing the necessary timeframe to conclude training that improves social behaviors, the evidence is clear that the time to start instilling better behaviors is now.

By Glenn W Hunter, Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services
To learn more – and even DONATE – go to www.TYRS.org

 

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May 21, 2019 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Believe In This

Young Cross Country Runners

Runners hit walls! Particularly distance runners, whether training or competing, they eventually reach a point that severely challenges their will to continue. At that point, each individual runner must make a decision. Listen to the pain in the body, or the strength of their mind! In most cases, they choose to continue. Runners realize that this challenge is typical. Their experience has taught them that their mental capacity is more than sufficient to overcome the situation. This embedded will actually extends to physical, mental, and social goals. Victory depends on persistence.

Expect to Succeed
While the example is easy to see physically, what happens when the struggle involves a community? Or, when fatigue appears over years of working to encourage burdened neighbors, or the stomach knots from ongoing emotional burdens of dangerous environments? The fundamentals remain the same. First, believe that the obstacle can be overcome and that the result will be better. Next, accept the discomfort of taking the next step, and the next step. The pain is real! The alternative is the ongoing burden of the status quo.

The expectation that a better solution exists has strategies, also. Like runners in training, often the work is done in groups. Each individual owns their personal pain, insecurities, and aspirations. Yet, they routinely work through them in each other’s company. A community looking to raise their quality of life will encounter challenges. These challenges will seem overwhelming. But, believing in this change being futile solves nothing. Approach one challenge together, and also bring the expectation to succeed. Like the runners, let the group cooperate toward better outcomes.

Path to Results
Because improvements take time, the path requires a plan. Pain will also be part of the path. Like all teams, internal bickering happens. However, an underlying theme of encouragement overcomes many rough spots. Hurt feelings and hurt body parts both require compassion. Consequently, encouragement and healing becomes part of the group dynamic. Simply, knowing others have overcome similar setbacks set the foundation for recovery.

Essentially, whether a team, community, or individuals seek to improve, a few fundamentals must apply. The problem did not start in isolation, and will not resolve in isolation. One star performer will not carry the burdens for the entire group. Mutual respect for individual contributions is necessary so that aggregate contributions continue. In the name of teamwork, even small contributions need to be acknowledged and applauded. Camaraderie matters. Pain is inevitable. Success has many fathers, so let them appear. Failure is not final, so lean on the group with their individual contributions to overcome barriers to the desired results.

Takeaway
Believe In This: People encounter challenges. Choose to persevere. The mind stops before the body ever does. Like runners in training, teammates have come too far to stop. In approaching milestones, expect to achieve them, then surpass them. In building character, expect to demonstrate the desired behavior, then continue it. In building community, expect to reach out to a neighbor, then make progress with them. The same old idea only remains, if the parties choose not to change them. Believe that progress in people and communities result from encountering individual walls with the full belief and expectation that they will run through them to the greater rewards. Lead yourself. Lead your community. Overcome social, emotional, physical walls to achieve personal bests.

By Glenn W Hunter, Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services
To learn more – and even contribute/ donate – go to www.TYRS.org

February 28, 2019 Posted by | Better Community | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Were Kids Together

Kids on the Playground (2)

Here’s a quick test of your competitive spirit. Would you rather compete with your best buddy or your fiercest enemy? Friend or foe, who gets your best effort? Unsurprisingly, champions and conquerors often refer back to competition in their younger years that later developed unconquerable spirits. Great achievement involves more than overcoming significant obstacles, it features competing and defeating assorted adversaries. The core of the friend or foe argument is whether the competitive spirit is forged in the cradle of friendly contests or the crucible of heated combat. What exactly happens in these metaphorical sandboxes that breeds competitive greatness over time?

Competitors
Competition is the father of achievement! You got to play to win. Whether on the playground, in the classroom, or inside a laboratory, competition inspires superior performance. To be clear, competition also involves communal efforts. Teams integrate individuals who work together for group achievement. Applying this mindset to communities, victory is not a singular accomplishment. Having assorted individuals and groups contribute toward an identifiable goal is the heart of victory. Winning involves defeating circumstances as much as an opponent.

Engaging competitors is more than a group identifying a common, external adversary. Competing against internal apathy is also part of the battle. The best victories emerge when individuals unite against a common enemy whether it is an individual, a community, or an institution. The benefit of competition is that it consolidates complimentary resources to defeat external opponents. Having common bonds resulting from common perspectives and backgrounds truly builds a spirit of camaraderie that is hard to overcome.

Comrades
Team building matters. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield built Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream on a mutual obsession for ice cream and other foods. Inseparable since high school, their mutual passion jointly led a revolution within the food industry. Ben & Jerry’s redefined and reignited the ice cream industry by providing a premium product in both retail outlets and specialty shops. In their case, their common background facilitated common values, as well as a desire to disrupt that conquered the ice cream industry. Their collaborative, cooperative, communal perspective was anchored on joint experiences that led to a joint perspective, then joint domination.

The power behind collaborative success creates synergy. Aligned focus results in more strength targeting solutions. From a teamwork perspective, aligning synergy among several individuals impacts a community. Positively impacted communities lead to progress. The metaphor of kids growing up together directly applies to building unity in several common endeavors. Camaraderie directly correlates with teamwork and incrementally impactful outcomes. What better image to establish an environment where relationships facilitate common culture than kids sharing a playground?

Takeaways
Returning to the initial question: would you rather compete against your best buddy, or your fiercest enemy? There is no right, or wrong answer. But, an individual’s ability to compete, discern, cooperate, and win is undoubtedly revealed during competition. Anyone can compete for individual glory. However, teams also benefit by competing for communal rewards. Cooperation fundamentally is a learned individual trait that produces collective benefits. The ultimate benefit is when groups form to find new challenges and overcome them. Simultaneously cultivating competitive and cooperative foundations helps a lot. Kids who literally grow up together geographically, or grow up together experientially, will build common and functional cultures that will flourish over time.

By Glenn W Hunter, Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services
To learn more – and even contribute/ donate – go to www.TYRS.org

December 21, 2018 Posted by | Better Community, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Head Down, Eyes Up

Head Down Eyes Up

Too many young people use images to inflict pain and despair. Furthermore, institutions often perpetuate images that discourage overcoming such crippling emotions. Imagine a young man of color with his head buried on a desk. He could easily be reflecting his manhood’s institutionalized destruction. However, the same image could easily be illustrating the convergence of great purpose connecting to great outcomes. Specifically, this gratifying image reveals a young man preparing for his SAT Exam approximately four weeks before accepting a full basketball scholarship which became available upon receiving his final score.

Know Your History
His academics were questionable largely because his environment and expectations were stereotypically assigned to him. He possessed exceptional athletic talent. Still, that narrative fit a convenient stereotype. However, when his basketball coach boldly approached a special tutor with a proprietary SAT preparation program, stereotypical walls were threatened. The coach knew of the tutor’s success in increasing SAT performance with high school students. The coach also believed in the player’s heart that wanted to decimate stereotypes of academically underperforming athletes. The coach needed to facilitate an environment that illuminated that stereotype’s foolishness.

In arguably the coach’s greatest recruitment job, he explained to the tutor why he would deliver a seven-week program in three weeks and achieve significant results. First, the coach dismissed other unflattering labels that had been assigned to the kid. He emphasized the player’s unyielding tenacity. The coach then assured the tutor that he had the singular voice who could reach and teach this student-athlete. So, when other “authority figures” explained to the kid that boys from his part of town do not go to college, the tutor simply moved his mindset to a different location! The student was no longer home; he was on the road to college basketball! The tutor’s Social Emotional Learning experience interceded to challenge the young athlete to grab new tools to make constructive decisions for better outcomes in a new psychological environment.

Make A Solution
Coach G! SAT Training program clearly had the academic tools available for a successful outcome. However, building trust as the right authority figure to guide the youth in the right direction was more challenging. But again, Social Emotional Learning skills provided a path to encourage confidence and competence. Where slow academic progress created sympathy, the new learning environment embraced empathy. Creating conversations about the feelings of academic success quickly led to sharing a common desire to succeed. The goal was less about academic success and more about achieving a goal of a better life.

As the academic learning continued, his emotional strength grew. The student’s concern of sacrificing his present for an unknown future disappeared as his comprehensive learning embraced new realities featuring life-affirming outcomes. As the student further acknowledged an encouraging ear, he became more intentional in sharing what he knew and what else he intended to learn. His new learning community emphasized accomplishment, instead of judgment. Most importantly, as the test date drew closer, he equated his success with better life choices. He encountered an authority figure who cared how he felt and supported his choice for an improved self-image.

Takeaway
The student realized that his college aspirations required more perseverance than intellect. Athletically, he brought a strong sense of tenacity and desire with him. He then channeled those attributes to help close the knowledge gap with new peers. By building skills based on tenacity, outcomes and self-worth, the young man learned to set personal goals pointing to positive outcomes which he personally desired. He envisioned, embraced, and engaged his future, while owning the outcomes with the support of wise counsel. In short, the image of the jock with his head down transformed to reflect purpose with emotional maturity. More importantly when his head rises up, he sees a future where he possesses tools and maturity to create achievement as he sees fit.

By Glenn W Hunter, Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services
To learn more about social emotional learning (and even donate) go to TYRS.org (link)

October 19, 2018 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Problems? I Have Puzzles

Quincy Jones Diverse Humble Band

Legendary music producer and epically cool dude, Quincy Jones, once quoted, “I don’t have problems. I have puzzles.” Considering the 27 Grammy awards he has earned over his 50+ year music career across genres, personalities and time periods, he has solved a lot of puzzles. Formal education did not give him the ability to solve problems or puzzles; he has no earned degrees. Yet, his unceasing approach toward education and innovation clearly reveals his enormous learning capacity. So, how does a young overachiever replicate any portion of Jones’ success? What tools are available to equip the next legend to promote selfless collaboration and excellence?

Building Blocks
Foundationally, Jones is a lifelong learner who seizes learning opportunities everywhere. He travels globally. And, he refuses to define himself into any genre or stereotype. To benefit from assorted experiences, Jones constantly embraces interactions with enormous empathy and curiosity. He sees other emotional viewpoints. Through constantly embracing diverse interactions, an inquisitive nature, and ongoing practice, Jones builds enduring relationships and curiosity which contributes to his leadership and innovation.

To apply this skill to youth, first establish a culture that encourages interactions with people outside immediate social circles, ethnic backgrounds, or demographic profiles. Create environments where social tensions and conflicts can be intentionally discussed without forcing resolution. Support listening to other perspectives with the expectation of understanding instead of winning arguments. Advance these practices within an environment of empathy and mature guidance. Help create a community of collaborators, not alpha dogs. Emphasizing commonalities through open discussion and shared experiences provides the final building block.

Building Leaders
Another essential component of Jones’ broad success is his ability to nurture leaders. In the studio, he is known for empowering, corralling and liberating talent. By not entering the studio acting entitled to the alpha role, Jones approaches the environment collaboratively, and then persuades other alpha dogs to follow him. Leadership is much more powerful when followers select the head. Dominant personalities still maintain their dignity as leaders and essential contributors. Yet, Jones’ skill includes persuasion to use superior talent to strengthen the group deliberately. If this developed skill can win over prima donnas like Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra, it can work in any community.

In building leaders, the most necessary skill is to value followers. In community building, that priority means influencers need to develop skills to listen empathetically, as well as to communicate prioritized team goals. Furthermore, adult leaders who demonstrate an “I know better because I am older” attitude will eventually recognize that approach worked poorly in their generation, and most likely in the generation before theirs. Sharing responsibilities, in conjunction with opportunities to succeed and fail, builds strength and resilience in adversity. At that point, youth are equipped to solve puzzles. Also, big problem gets managed because smaller tasks that initially created the monster are resolved.

Takeaways
Building skills that emphasize empathy, values and legacy encourage human development by rewarding individuals in ways that they specifically own. Listening to the team’s desires and personal objectives helps leaders identify proper rewards for contributors to the communal good. That skill requires listening with hearts, as well as ears. The resulting legacy relies on learners accepting that today’s decisions will impact tomorrow’s results. All these moving parts result in complex puzzles. But, when communally valued tools and reduced egos drive each step, using heads and hearts to solve puzzles becomes much easier than solving bigger problems birthed from uncontrollable egos. This approach has worked in Quincy Jones’ orchestras. It will work in developing nearby communities.

By Glenn W Hunter, Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services
To learn more – and even contribute/ donate – go to www.TYRS.org

August 9, 2018 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is Your Value?

UA1 Community Center Value - 4

Finding people and organizations to pour into needy children and their communities is easy. Delivering meaningful progress in improving communities is much, much harder. Too many social initiatives proclaim to save underserved communities! Upon securing enough attention, these advocates shout louder about creating environments to improve everything that is ruining that community. Once the audience gets large enough, then references about returning to days-gone-by to build a better community overwhelms the emotions of any baby boomer with selective memories. Nevertheless, for building better communities, start with functional communities comprised of respectful people. But, what does that even look like?

Faith
Common beliefs regarding right and wrong is a logical starting place. While faith discussions quickly deteriorate into religious differences, constructive alternatives focus on observing faith as belief in a common set of ideals. Before religious conversion, common understanding is required. Otherwise, it is called a crusade and people die! Regardless, communication facilitates faith. In building a functional community, common values emerge to lead to agreement on the fundamentals for a better environment. Results require a structure that equips young and old with tools to reach common beliefs to benefit the community.

Growth
Community growth is a reasonable outcome for community improvements. Beyond wishes for prosperity, growth works well as a stepping stone to better communities. Additionally, economic development and education are often reasonable indicators for growth. But, those attributes also imply finite resources. In a community where numerous people will ultimately co-exist, not everyone will have equal access to resources. Too many communities and their residents believe, “I can only have more, if someone else has less.” To contradict such limiting beliefs, adults must demonstrate the ability and capacity to share to establish an example for the younger people. While advocating communal sharing of resources is most likely unreasonable, creating environments and safe spaces for people to exchange ideas and common experiences starts the path to trust. And best of all, when common experiences start to be shared in the spirit of having more, it is a short leap for shared trust to manifest additional community resources. Then, sharing objects logically results in sharing emotional well-being aspirations.

Legacy
As these first two legs establish a foundation of beliefs and common experiences, the third leg secures the community’s mutual improvement through background and attitudes. Spending one Saturday afternoon with a neighbor to check the box for community activity is clearly counterproductive. However, start connecting with hello. Then, have two adults from different families actually observe their children together sharing positive experiences. Parents can even set the example. The kids can keep their own toys, just acknowledge their time together. In this case, legacy can mean transferring knowledge from one generation to the next, or simply transferring examples from one grade to the next inside the same family. Socially, children learn from their siblings and immediate environment, as much as from their parents. A focus on growth through legacy allows for youngsters to benefit deliberately from their elders.

So, what is your value? Start with creating capacity and structure to continue important work in building better people inside communities. Consequently, these better people will be equipped to demonstrate faith, growth and legacy so that the community progresses toward delivering a vibrant, compassionate and enduring culture leading to better livelihoods in the future. Specifically, value is not necessarily an amount in this context, it is interpersonal assets building better people and communities. Teach tools, like empathy, to improve emotional character which results in improving the community’s quality of life. Then, despite communities’ previous perceptions, residents benefit from owning their individual self-improvement.

By Glenn W Hunter, Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services
To learn more (and even donate) go to TYRS.org

July 22, 2018 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What You Think You See

Demonstration against G8 Summit in Le Havre

“What you think you see is not really what you see!” is a personal favorite quote from the Los Angeles Riots. A juror first uttered the words following the verdict, and the words dramatically resurfaced after the actual rioting began. For this purpose, the idea is not political, racial, or legal. The quote focuses on mindset! What a juror first said to justify her de-sensitized perspective of police brutality, morphed to articulate an individualized, alternate set of facts. A looter re-introduced the statement to explain her participation in the ensuing devastation. She clearly presented her personal interpretation of facts. She owned her narrative!

Perception
Amazingly, different people can experience the exact same event, at the exact same time and leave with completely different interpretations of what happened. Whether it is a physical vantage point, a cultural lens, or personal history that filters information, every individual singularly experiences any given event. This revelation becomes particularly important when birthing a movement to launch change.

Facts matter, but interpretation and coinciding actions drives activity. Consequently, to facilitate effective change, events must impact perception. What people say is important, but what people hear is more important! Consequently, to create lasting impact in any given situation, the narrative must benefit listeners. Effective speakers coordinate their own best interest to persuade understanding of their broad audience. Everyone receives a slightly distinctive message. But, aligning aggregate received messages with the speakers’ vision facilitates change.

Influence
Creating social movements require delivering a narrative in which others will subscribe. Foundationally, a singular, communal truth relies on aligning individual perspectives toward the desired message. Progress results from conveying a viewpoint that empowers different perspectives to arrive at a similar conclusion. Consider two travelers on a road trip approaching a gas station late at night. The driver suggests filling up the tank. That traveler sees a chance to swap drivers so that she can rest. The other traveler sees the opportunity to load up on snacks because they still have more driving to do. In one stop, they both gladly meet their fundamental needs. The result is a trip that continues on time and with reduced anxiety.

Aligning points of view impacts goalsetting, as well as the ability to achieve results. A point of view also dictates how success is measured. Consequently, upon understanding various perspectives and their stake in the outcome, crafting a message that appeals to multiple parties gets easier. Effective narratives successfully rally followers to make their individual contributions as part of a greater good. Essentially, each individual works toward what they really want to see. And, these individuals purse their agenda under the covering of communal and aligned efforts.

Takeaways
To achieve communal goals, articulate clearly the desired results that benefit individuals. Furthermore, individuals must contribute individual narratives which will align with the framework that delivers desired results. Goals do not have to be admirable, conventional, or reasonable. They have to be perceived as attainable! Individuals perceive relevance to the extent that their contribution advances their individual agenda. Unfortunately, that mindset opens the door to manipulation by someone with a grander vision and a more convincing narrative. Essentially, “Anyone can get what they want as long as they help enough other people get what they want.” The risk is succumbing to another’s agenda. To contribute to a bigger cause, own your narrative. Be ready to live with the results.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director, Hunter And Beyond, LLC

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better World | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whose Ways Are The Best Ways?

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Wisdom comes from good judgment. Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from mistakes. Mistakes come from bad judgment. ~Chinese proverb
A young student sternly resisted coaching that emphasized him improving his discipline. Stereotypicaly, the youth smugly proclaimed that the old ways do not work anymore. The hilarious irony is that preceding generations said the exact same thing! The best practices of any particular generation over another generation are irrelevant. Maturity emphasizes wisdom. Youth worships innovation. Both perspectives are right, and self-serving. Wisdom is slow and innovation is reckless. Unfortunately, the two perspectives rarely align. Nevertheless, progress continues. Yet, how do these opposites manage to coexist?

Wisdom
Maturity brings a sense of deliberation. A student boastfully tells his teacher that his programmable calculator can solve the math problem. The teacher emphasizes the importance of thinking. The student’s priority is the right answer. The teacher wants students to understand the principle because students will need to apply earlier principles to learn new ones. The student wants to get his A so that he can he can enjoy his rewards for good grades. Regardless of which approach prevails, the point is to align goals. Wisdom is an accumulation of knowledge and experiences. It involves success and struggle. Each generation endures struggle. Developing the tools to engage and overcome struggle is essential to growth. Shortcuts are great until someone needs a bridge to go farther.

Innovation
However, innovation creates bridges. Applying tools and experiences that result in unprecedented thinking solves future problems. Most certainly, the past clearly teaches that the future presents new problems. However, innovation results from making mistakes and correcting them. It rewards taking established knowledge and improving it. No one gets an iPhone without someone first having a Palm Pilot. Mistakes are learning opportunities. Judgment can only be developed through trial error. Innovation provides new advancements, yet fundamentally they produce new problems that must be solved. Recklessly pursuing progress without embracing the obstacles along the way leads to ignoring the lessons that set the foundation. Skyscrapers are not built from the top down.

Takeaways
Ultimately, learn the rules and then break them! Mistakes are opportunities to do it better. Upon making enough mistakes, the result can be a better opportunity. Viagra was a failed attempt for a better drug in treating high blood pressure and a certain heart condition. But, the pursuit of perfection could have easily stopped Viagara’s other benefits from ever being realized. Nevertheless, pursue the right answer. Also, pursue the knowledge that accompanies it. Accept the wisdom of earlier lessons, and their mistakes. Embrace the new knowledge that results, as well as the pain of failure. Coaching facilitates this purpose. The old ways may or may not be best, but they provide the path to using experience for the greater good. Learn. Fail. Grow. Repeat.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

 

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three D’s For a 4.0

A Plus Kid

What is the result of achieving A’s in every class? Any school community recognizes a 4.0 grade point average as the pinnacle of achievement. This academic goal is typically treated with reverence and awe. It implies perfection in that student’s performance that far surpasses ordinary classmates. So, how does a D impact a perfect report card. Furthermore, how can three D’s result in a 4.0 grade point average?

Desire
The three D’s specifically point to essential characteristics that result in excellence! High performance is a process. The process’s first step simply is a desire for excellence. Articulating a goal precedes achieving it. But real progress requires passionately pursuing it. Desire is the foundation. From an academic perspective an unyielding fixation on maximum performance creates the necessary mindset for top grades. Competition is always at every winner’s heels. Because great results require great efforts, desire ultimately fuels the intense focus to achieve any goal. Unyielding desire sets the foundation to prepare for every assignment, every test, and every milestone that moves toward individual victory. Regardless of the contest, the will to win paves the road toward achieving the highest performance levels.

Determination
Beyond desire, establishing the prescribed steps for superior performance requires another D. Determination involves the necessary work. Beyond wanting an A, executing the process of earning an A requires a higher level of commitment. Each step must be identified and constantly re-evaluated. Determination means fully embracing the established plan. Exceptional performance takes high-achieving principles and puts them into action. A straight A student must study, then execute when tested. Like all competitors, straight A students have options, temptations, and other priorities. Nevertheless, their determination keeps their priorities fixated on the identified goals. Beyond the dream is the work that must be performed while awake. Determination ensures that the work gets done to earn the targeted results.

Discipline
While determination manifests itself in execution, discipline equates to consistency. For high performers, a good grade is only a data point. Excellence reflects repeated behaviors. However, top performance demands excellence and longevity. Winning habits creates great performers. Furthermore, repeated excellence delivers top champions. The 4.0 student repetitively achieves top results. Discipline empowers the individual to pursue, accomplish and repeat top results at every occasion. Ultimately, discipline is the repetition of successful tactics that result in achieving the desired goals.

According to Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Therefore excellence is not an act, but a habit.” The three D’s that lead to a 4.0 reflect habitual excellence. It starts in the mind and manifests through intentional action. Grades are often mistakenly seen as the product of excellence. In reality, grades reflect the excellence which produced the result. Grades merely are the score. But, the process of earning them is the habit that transforms individuals. And by transforming individuals, high performance can empower opportunities, practices, personalities, and communities. Aspire for excellence. Then, deliver results. Unleash excellence that will transform an enlarged community!

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter and Beyond, LLC

November 2, 2017 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Train Up A Teen

SEL Child

Mark Twain said, “When a child turns 12, he should be kept in a barrel and fed through the knot hole, until he reaches 16…at which time you plug the hole.” The Old Testament raises the issue of disobedient children. And, today because we have the internet and artificial intelligence, children are supposed to know better and be more obedient. Regardless, where the blame lies across generations for children, teens and young adults are still reluctant to accept advice and wisdom from their elders. Instead of yelling louder, perhaps authority figures should listen more. Equally important, they should listen earlier. And, that listening from authority figures begins with parents, teachers, and youth leaders. By modeling listening behaviors, young people will be more likely to apply listening skills. Too often, youth cannot hear words from adults because their actions are too loud.

Engage
Dialogue by definition is bilateral. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a tactic that develops young people by cultivating specific communication tools. This tactic delivers tools to young people to articulate their pain. A straightforward example is the focus on bullying. SEL provides tools to help process the blizzard of emotions and destructive behaviors associated with youth aggression. Power, control, frustration are all elements of bullying. By engaging youngsters they have opportunities to begin processing root causes of these activities. Furthermore, they gain insight to their consequences.

To promote growth, authority figures must acknowledge and accept the privilege to teach, guide and mentor young people. Too often teachers assume they are right because they have spoken. Through emotionally connecting with young learners, teachers forge a path for truth to emerge. They earn the privilege to be right upon achieving awareness that students received the information. Fundamentally, engagement establishes an emotional connection that results in communicating information to a listener equipped to process it.

Respond
Assuming authority figures know best is a slippery slope, especially when interacting with young learners. Responding with right answers is too simplistic. Assuming away the learners’ emotional state because rational facts are presented is a disservice. Treating academic facts as irrefutable truths compounds the problem. Instructors ignore their learners’ emotional filters at their own peril. Students cannot accept facts if they do not trust their source. More importantly, they cannot respond properly to new information without an emotional connection to the facts. If the communication filter is clogged with learners’ confusion, pain, insecurity and hopelessness, then the facts never reach their understanding.

Pressures to understanding, embedded in young people, have changed dramatically in the last generation. Today’s adult parents of school age children are too old to have been cyber-bullied in elementary school. The argument that bullying is bullying is the equivalent of saying that a library’s card catalog has the same research capacity as Google. Sensitivity to the differences in acquiring and processing information is essential to communicating and educating. Teachers who exercise insight to students’ social-emotional needs have a tremendous advantage in conveying information. Developing and exercising abilities to identify and respond to felt needs is an advantage resulting in better learners.

Takeaway
Training young people to learn and apply their knowledge productively is an old priority. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”, is a lesson from Proverbs 22:6 (English Standard Version). Communicate, listen, respond, listen some more. Listening is not the pause while waiting for the next turn to talk. Empower students to process information that they receive, not just accept the authority’s experience as the only option. Even if the authority’s path is best, it does not necessarily reflect the individual youngster’s reality. Teaching is empowering learning to occur; it is not spewing knowledge. Learning socially, emotionally and intellectually requires delivering knowledge using proper tools so that intelligence transfers. The youngsters’ ability to progress and function depends on it.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

October 20, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment