Feeling Fear

Most of the time the fear is a paper tiger – but sometimes not, so only AFTER you’ve checked should you – do it anyway.

What do you think about the quote: feel the fear and do it anyway?

I actually like the idea, but in a different way than most; I like it because it respects fear.

Fear is as every bit as valid as joy, love, anger, and curiosity because, fear, like all emotion, is a teacher. The problem is that we don’t often take time to decode the messages.

Fear occurs for a very good—and usually a very simple—reason. It’s an alert that calls your attention to see if something you’re doing might be dangerous. So, when you feel the fear, before doing it anyway – have a look at what triggered the alarm. Most of the time the fear is a paper tiger – but sometimes not, so only after you’ve checked should you – do it anyway.

Your challenge is to think about that ‘thing’ that you’ve been putting off – working on a business plan, taxes, going to the gym, enrolling in school, whatever. Think of that ‘thing’ and feel the fear. Allow yourself to look at what’s got you scared, and if it seems a paper tiger, consider getting a move on. You’ll probably have an easier time getting started, too, because the fear won’t feel quite the same anymore.

Related Article: The Basic Virtue

Related Tip of the Week: Objective Signs of Readiness

Related Motivational Moment: Attitudes and the Game of 10 What Ifs

Listen to the Morning Motivational Moment about just this idea.

We broadcast live on Jolana’s Morning Radio Show, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 7:30 on WFAS 103.9 FM, New York.


Teachers Wielding Kryptonite Weaken Your Influence

Hard to believe that a teacher would target your child, but teachers are human and humans are not all benevolent.

Article first published as Lex Luthor’s Kryptonite Weakens Your Influence on Technorati.

You are a superhero!

You’re saving the world by powerfully influencing your kids to become awesome adults. You’re walking your talk about integrity, respect, accountability, and personal leadership. You’re making good on all your parenting promises. It’s awesome and you’re powerful, yet your power may be weakened by the other adults who also influence your child:  clergy, athletic coaches, other parents, and teachers. What happens to your power when one of them wields kryptonite?

Teachers may have the greatest opportunity to influence kids Teacher Opportunity to Influence 350

Consider that the average school day is nearly 7 hours and that kids spend another 3 doing homework. A teacher’s influence stretches beyond the classroom – they may even have more of your child’s attention than you! That’s why MetLife’s  recent study concerns me.

More and more teachers are unhappy. The very people to whom we turn for help in preparing our kids for adulthood are starting to dislike their jobs. According to MetLife’s study, teacher satisfaction is at its lowest point in 25 years—not good because unhappiness can spill over into the classroom.

The study found that teachers who aren’t satisfied are more likely to complain about certain challenges:

  • Teaching diverse learners
  • Maintaining a rigorous learning environment
  • Inadequate school budgets
  • Limited opportunities for professional development

They are also more critical of other teachers and of their principal. It appears that rising from the decrease in job satisfaction there may be an increase in finger pointing. It’s no stretch then to also find that teachers reporting low job satisfaction are also less likely to have students performing at or above grade level in language arts and mathematics.

Teachers with Kryptonite

I believe teachers are every bit the superheroes that parents are, and that a passion to serve is behind their career choice. Teaching is a calling into a job that is as tough as the stakes are high. The vast majority of teachers are wonderful human beings who offer the very best of themselves, and yet a few have lost their way. Perhaps “super villain” is harsh, however what would you call a teacher who screams, threatens, or humiliates a child?

Simple definition of bully behavior:  To hurt someone else because you can.

There’s little direct research regarding teacher bullying, however the available studies suggest that bullying by teachers may be a contributor to an overall fearful school community and even a cause of student behavior problems.

According to Stuart Twemlow, MD as many as 45% of elementary school teachers report that they have bullied a student at least once and that approximately 18% bully frequently. The research suggests an even bigger problem for secondary schools.

Crafty Kryptonite

Some teachers are more overt about abuses while others are skilled manipulators. A teacher might try convincing a student that he or she misunderstood a belittling comment or that a student is attempting to shifting attention away from poor academic performance by calling the teacher’s behavior into question.

It’s easy to dismiss a kid’s teacher complaint. Kids are prone to exaggerate and they can’t see the big picture in classroom dynamics and responsibility. Perhaps you have a personal bias about teachers’ benevolence preventing your objectivity. I was guilty of discounting my son’s pleas for help with a bully teacher until a classmate’s mother shared with me the regular stories of humiliation her child witnessed against my son. I hadn’t wanted to believe that a teacher would lie or target my child, but teachers are human and humans are not all benevolent.

What To Do

I want to be sure that I express my deep gratitude and appreciation to the overwhelming majority of teachers who are superheroes. The ripples from your work encompass my whole family. Without your passion and dedication, I could not fulfill my parenting promises. Thank you.

For parents with questions or stories to share, there are a few places you can go on the web.  I caution you to use your objectivity and intuition as you take in what’s offered. You can’t understand a situation from one or two comments, but you may find it helpful in identifying a pattern to be concerned about.

Teacher Bullies 250

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If your child loves to play field sports but you’re concerned for his or her safety, you’re presented with a tough choice. Tom Margetts, T. Ag is the owner of Innovative Agronomics and is a leading expert in field safety testing, particularly G-Max testing. I spoke with Tom last week and he explained the importance of field surface conditions in injury prevention.

Soon the school house doors fly open–back to school and back to sports we go.  As kids and parents are shopping for supplies and schools wrap-up summer maintenance, what are athletic departments doing to prepare?

Field Safety

Most fall sports are field sports, such as football, soccer, and field hockey.  Sport safety is a hot topic thanks to 2,400+ former NFL players who’ve filed suit against the NFL.  As pro players share their stories about life after head trauma, parents are wondering how safe football is for their kids.  That’s prompted NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell to initiate discussion about youth sports safety.  The inaugural Youth Health and Safety Workshop takes place August 22, at NFL headquarters, and I’ve been invited to join in.  As I get ready to contribute, I’ve been busy learning from experts.

Innovative Agronomics

Tom Margetts, T. Ag is the owner of Innovative Agronomics and is a leading expert in field safety testing, particularly Gmax testing.  I spoke with Tom last week and he explained the importance of field surface conditions in injury prevention.

Hard surfaces absorb less shock leaving the human body vulnerable to major injury—particularly head injury.

The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) established strict testing protocols for both natural and artificial turf.  As Tom explained, test scores are used to relate surface hardness with potential injury due to impact.  According to the ASTM, a Gmax below 200 is considered safe for play, but that’s only because over this level death or a life threatening injury could result. is likely to occur.  Neither Tom nor I think that this level is safe enough for our kids.

Testing is done by dropping a 20 pound object from a height of 2 feet to simulate the impact received to an adult player’s head, for example a lineman’s head weighs 20 pounds and is 2 feet from the ground while in the ready position.  Mind you, the simulation doesn’t account for movement or tackle.

Tom believes that to ensure truly safe conditions, testing protocols should be updated and safety thresholds should be fine-tuned to the user group, “A 10-year old has a very different body type than a 300 pound linebacker.”  He also believes that “ASTM guidelines need to be lower and should reflect injury levels.”  Tom and others like him are doing the good work of making positive change that will significantly reduce injuries.  Okay, but the 2012-2013 season is almost here.  What do we do now?

If your child loves to play field sports but you’re concerned for his or her safety, you’re presented with a tough choice.   Decisions to allow play or not become overwhelming considering

  • What’s at stake
  • Parenting peer pressure
  • Confusing technical data, and of course
  • Your busy schedule that makes digging for information difficult.

Perhaps the best place to start is by asking lots and lots of questions.

Ask Questions

Ask coaches, field maintenance staff, town or village representatives, and friends in other communities about sports safety.  Ask about field testing and keep asking questions until you fully understand methods and frequency of testing.  ASTM suggests annual testing, but there are no mandates, yet. Allow your circle of friends to support you in gathering the information you’ll need to ultimately choose well for you and your family.   Remember, regardless the data you collect the ultimate decision is for you and your family to make; no one else has a vote.  So, as you prepare for the upcoming school and sport season, start asking questions about safety so you can confidently choose well.

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Field Safety Matters

Special thanks to Gill Simmons Photography for generously granting permission to use this photo.


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