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.

I Don’t Want We’ll See!

Posted in Choices, DTK, Educational Leadership, Leadership, Mindset Mondays, REWIRE by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on September 7, 2020

Here is my second of 52 posts reflecting on the 52 lessons in David Taylor-Klaus‘ great book Mindset Mondays With DTK: 52 Ways To Rewire Your Thinking and Transform Your Life. The title for Lesson 2 was “Collect Better Evidence” and dealt with our ability to choose. DTK taught us that our limiting beliefs are what limit our possibilities.

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” – Amelia Earhart

This reminded me of something I learned from my son, Heath, when he was very young. Yes, I said I learned from him, which was often the case. He would come and ask me about going somewhere, doing something, or buying something and I would give the standard parent cop out statement, “We’ll see.” That did not fly with Heath. He would pop back with, “I don’t want we’ll see!” Once he started doing this it didn’t take long for me to realize these were teachable moments.

When something came up that was a “We’ll see” situation I would sit down and say “Ok Heath, let’s weigh out our options and make the decision right now.” Needless to say, sometimes the decision went in his favor and many times it did not. Bottom line: Heath will tell you his ability to make good and quick decisions and be ok with the results is a result of our “I don’t want we’ll see” moments.

Heath will also tell you that I say, “Let’s do something; even if it is wrong,” a lot. No action is the worst choice of all. I used to tell my students that there are really no bad decisions if you have analyzed all the evidence you have available. Sometimes things just are not going to go the way you want them to.

DTK argues in Lesson 2 that with awareness and practice we can collect better evidence giving us the power to make the choices enabling us to realize our vision. How many times have you said “We’ll see” to a choice you need to make for your own life? The choice is yours. We need to tell ourselves “I don’t want we’ll see!” We need to choose can over can’t and do something.