Byron's Babbles

Safety Nets Instead Of Safety Barriers

Posted in DTK, Leadership, Mindfulness, Mindset Mondays, REWIRE by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 4, 2020

Funny that David Taylor-Klaus (DTK) talked of becoming a grown-up with our fully formed prefrontal cortex, giving us more rational and limiting beliefs. Funny because I had someone (who I have worked with and have a great relationship with), in a loving way, describe me as having the mindset of an eighth grader this past week. Well, I resemble that remark. Grown-up, I am not; and proud of it.

DTK described some of his childhood “rope-in-the-tree” swinging antics that landed him with a broken nose and shattered wrist. His last statement about the story was, “Sadly, my parents forbade any future effort to test my theory.” Probably no one else reading DTK’s book would highlight that sentence but me. But, there is such a fine line between protecting us, which his parents were very well, and beginning to limit our beliefs with, so called, “rationale thinking.”

This is a pretty extreme example, but as an educational leader I think about this a lot. What’s the correct balance of risk-taking and over-protection? What might DTK have learned if after he healed, he had retested his rope swinging theory again? I am not suggesting that we put our children, or ourselves for that matter in harms way, but I am a believer that we cannot live risk-free. What if Thomas Edison had quit risking failure after electric light bulb prototype 9,999?

For me, it’s about the “what if?” I would rather admit failure than having to explain “what if?” DTK in Chapter 6 of Mindset Mondays With DTK told us we must not let ourselves become victims. We have clear choices and clear steps to make a shift in believing in ourselves. We need an “I can” mindset giving us a belief that we are strong and capable. DTK told us, “Who we believe we are matters.” It is so important that we allow for risk with our children and all we serve. Again, I am not advocating putting anyone in harms way, but finding a way to be a safety net. That metaphorical, or maybe even real one, looks like allowing for risk, but allowing for failure so that learning can happen.

To take those risks it is very important that we make sure that we, our children, and those we serve hear “I can” instead of “I can’t.” We need to be safety nets and not safety barriers.


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  1. […] Safety Nets Instead of Safety Barriers […]


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