Every child is genius

Every child is genius

Yesterday was the end of year assembly at my boys’ school. It’s the one where awards are given out and the school captains are chosen. There is excitement and I can imagine for many children, there is disappointment as they watch others receive medals and it’s never them on stage. When I went to school, I was an all round achiever, meaning I was above average at English, Maths, Science etc. but never the best at anything. Never the one that got any awards. It’s 30 years on that I know why as hard as I tried, I could never have been the best…because what I excelled at wasn’t measured by our archaic system. Whilst ‘archaic’ seems a little harsh, let me ask you – how many jobs have you got recently where you have only needed IQ? How many of you were creative and felt out of your depth or bored to death at school? How many of you excelled at human behaviour and emotional intelligence that was never even mentioned at school, let alone measured? How many of you have developed a successful life without any formal qualifications whatsoever? In the past 7 years I have changed careers and I now know what it feels like to be the best. Because when I sit with another human being, be it a parent, a teacher or someone else. I am able to help them be their best and do what they love. Every. single. time. I am able to facilitate transformative results that did not even exist in my realm of possibility for most of my life. Why?...
Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

The myth and legend says that slow and steady wins the race, yet in recent years the world around us has been speeding up. Faster cars, faster trains, faster planes, faster internet, faster food, faster learning and the list goes on. There’s also another area where we have gone faster.. the speed at which children are growing up. They are encouraged to read and write earlier, be engaged in an organised sport, learn an instrument earlier. Whilst all of these are desirable in the long-term, does structured learning too early in an effort to develop a child’s skills, set them up for winning in the long-term game of life? Peter Gray Ph.D advocates early academic training produces long-term harm.  He shares the following research: “In the 1970s, the German government sponsored a large-scale comparison in which the graduates of 50 play-based kindergartens were compared, over time, with the graduates of 50 academic direct-instruction-based kindergartens. Despite the initial academic gains of direct instruction, by grade four the children from the direct-instruction kindergartens performed significantly worse than those from the play-based kindergartens on every measure that was used.” So for us as parents, how much do we need to see external achievements to see if our child is on track? Are we able to trust that a child will learn when left to play and discover at their own pace? “It does not really matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop” -Confucius Yesterday, a young mother and child were climbing up the hill of the street I live on. It’s quite a steep hill and this child around age...
Leading in the cracks

Leading in the cracks

Leading a team or leading a child is never just a sit down for an hour a week affair.  More often than not it is leading in each interaction, in each situation and in each moment. Sometimes as little as 1-2 minutes at a time. The cumulative effect of these minutes is what I refer to as building relationship in the time in-between or leading in the cracks.. The cracks of time between home and school. The cracks of time when dinner is on the stove but not quite ready to eat. The cracks of time when one sibling is on the sideline whilst the other is at their activity or sport.  These are the moments, when maximized, have a cumulative effect on a child knowing they are loved, important and understood. Today my youngest son and I went to pick up my eldest son from drama. We sat in the car and he closed the door and just as I was about to start the car, he opened the door and said, “hang on a minute” He got out of the car with “dancing magnets” in his hands and began testing their sound in various directions. I watched him curiously, also mindful we had 7 minutes to pick up his brother. He got back in the car and we drove off.  I asked, “what were you testing for?” He said I wanted to see which way the sound of the magnets was being carried. It goes over the road, towards our neighbor.” I have to say I’m amazed at the way his mind works – testing for sound...
Energy flows where attention goes

Energy flows where attention goes

This morning I woke up to this: Yesterday morning, it was a maple syrup bottle covered in ants. Or it could be school bags scraping on the inside of the car door. Or drips of pee on the bathroom floor. There are many things in a working parent’s day where we can react and easily lose sight of the bigger picture. I was almost there this morning… Instead Focusing on, my child is making his own breakfast, instead of he’s left the open ingredients out on the bench again. Reminding myself he’s happy bounding off to school and the car is child friendly (aka marked and messy), instead of focusing on the minor damage to the car door, adding to it’s dings and dents that will probably never be fixed. And then there’s the pee on the bathroom floor that now smells like a urinal. Reminding myself I draw the line at having a urinal smell in my bathroom and I’ll be addressing that ASAP. “Energy goes where attention flows” In her book The Happiness Track, Emma Seppala writes about the science behind Remembering the Bigger Picture. She says, research shows focusing on the why rather than the how or what of a job or task, connects you to what you care about the most and restores your energy. Mastering your focus, masters your energy. As a working parent, energy efficiency is one of the greatest leadership skills we can possess. Where do you choose to focus your...
Imbalance of roles

Imbalance of roles

Census data shows Australian women spend, on average, 5 to 14 hours per week in unpaid domestic work, whereas men spend less than 5 hours a week. Women also spend an additional hour a day looking after children. At an event I was speaking at last night, a mum asked me this question, “I’m working full time and so is my husband, yet I find I’m organizing everything that needs to happen in the home as well as my day job. My husband is involved in picking up and dropping off children and taking them to activities, but the household operation seems to fall to me. We’ve come so far in equality, why are we still experiencing this situation?” It’s a great question and one I hear often. To resolve some of these challenges, working parents look to getting home help, outsourcing household tasks like ironing, cleaning and perhaps sourcing meal services to relieve some of the pressures. However, there is one area that is frequently overlooked that relieves the underlying pressure and addresses this imbalance and it is our unconscious bias. Unconscious bias happens automatically, is outside of our awareness and is triggered by our brain making quick assessments of situations, based on our past experiences, background and culture we grew up in. Unconscious bias has a big role to play in how we are dividing parenting responsibilities. What happens is we see how our parents have done the role and can unconsciously apply the same rules to our parenting today, unless we challenge the bias. Sharon is a client and when we peeled back the layers on...
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