Growth Mindset, It’s Never Too Late

  1. Carol Dweck’s growth Mindset Theory has changed my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but I was once known as a “glass half-empty” girl. In the face of many medical nightmares over the past few years , my fear could have become crippling. As much as we want our children to live with a growth mindset and believe in themselves, we as adults need to examine our own thinking patterns and be brave enough to face our fears. This theory is for us, too. It is never too late to …

1. try something new.

2. stop comparing ourselves to other people.

3. be genuinely happy when others have success.

4. challenge ourselves.

5. live in the moment.

6. enjoy the process of learning.

7. allow ourselves to make mistakes.

8. learn new strategies from our mistakes.

9. know the satisfaction of hard work.

10. believe that effort matters.

11. develop a “don’t quit” attitude.

12. and face difficult situations with grit and perseverance.

Lori Hockema and I wrote our children’s book, Not Yet, based on this theory. This video is a bit dramatic, too. However, I believe that it is never too late. We might not be there yet, but we’ll get there, you bet!

Ribbon of Tears

Ribbon of Tears

If each of our lives is a story, and I do believe each and every one of us has a story to tell, today’s page of my story would have tears staining the ink on the page. Today is a day I let go and trust. Today, I say good-bye to the idea of going back to the profession I love. Today, I turn in my letter of retirement much earlier than I ever anticipated. Today Parkinson’s knocks a little wind out of me.

By tomorrow, I will turn the page and look for new opportunities. Tomorrow, I will quit pouting and see all of the windows God is already opening as this door quietly closes in my life.

Actually, I won’t wait to turn the page of tomorrow. I will mentally put those boxing gloves on (physically put them on tomorrow) and hit back

I will do as the song Heather Richardson and I wrote…..

“dig deep, find strength, and trust. And throw that First Punch”

But……. first I will reflect on a line that Heather and I wrote in another song that I hope you all will be hearing her beautifully sing sometime soon…….

” Today is marked by a ribbon of tears to close the chapter of” my counseling years.

Good-bye —

Hello —
New Chapter


Strong in Every Way

Zionsville Schools in Indiana are led by Dr. Scott Robison superintendent. He has launched a campaign in our community called “Strong in Every Way.” Why?

Before I knew this man, his very presence intimidated me. He was the one who made the tough decisions. The buck stopped with him. Then I had the privilege to get to know him in an unconventional way. In the winter of 2016, I nervously invited him to attend a kindness benefit concert sponsored by my elementary school. I discovered what most people do not know about him. Zionsville Schools’ superintendent is an extremely talented piano player and songwriter. He is very shy about this, and I promised to tell no one. Well, not only did I blab to everyone I know, I coerced him into performing at that concert. He performed a song that he had written for his students years ago as a young classroom teacher. Here I go again telling about his hidden talent. More than the musical talent, I learned under the exterior of leadership that takes hits every day and has to make the difficult, sometimes unpopular decisions, is a man who loves kids. He is a champion for the underdog, and I believe that this is the heart of where the Strong in Every Way initiative was born. I believe that his heart breaks when he hears about any tragedy that involves the youth of our community.

Is “Strong in Every Way” too lofty of a goal? Yes, it is for one person. No one person can be strong in every way. However, if we come together as a community, like pieces of a puzzle, we can fill in the gaps for each other in our time of need.

What I think he is asking us to do right now is to open our eyes. Start looking around us. Be aware of our own strengths and start noticing where we can reach out help those around us.

Strong in Every Way? No, not for one single person, but for a community that cares, yes!

After raising three boys in Zionsville, I can tell you that the support my sons received from teachers, administrators, counselors, coaches, volunteers, neighbors, grandparents, business owners, friends, etc. was priceless.

It is possible for us to come together and be “Strong in Every Way.”
Thanks, Dr. Robison, for taking a chance, starting an initiative, and challenging us all.
……and, Dr. Robison, I’m sorry I broke the promise again and shared with just a few more people about your songwriting talent.

The Power of Words

“Teacher, with all due respect, please take a minute to read my school history file. While you are doing that, I’ll be going home.” It was the defining moment of his life. It was the answer given to the most cruel of questions. A question that could have crushed so many. But for Bob Viera, it was the question that literally put the wind in his sails for the rest of his life, a life of hard work and determination. Bob Viera is one of the most fascinating people I have ever met. You will read his full story someday. A story that must be told of a true overcomer.

My parents met this couple, Bob and Cindy who live in the same condominium complex, while walking Mia. Mia is the Shitzu-Bishon dog that I insisted that they rescue a few years ago — a dog that my sister and I are sure has nudged us out of our inheritance someday.

Somehow this daily walk at 4:00 pm has become what is known as “Mia Hour” where my dad stops mid-walk and gathers with many friends on Bob and Cindy’s lanai. I think it is just an excuse for a happy hour of fellowship and fun because it must be 5:00 pm somewhere, right?

That is where I started hearing Bob’s countless stories of the life of a Nantucket fisherman, on the day I was invited to “Mia Hour.” The story that intrigued me the most is the one that breaks my heart as an educator.

Bob’s early years as a child were spent battling severe asthma and allergies. With only having a third of the lung capacity of a typical child, this debilitating illness caused him to fall two years behind his peers in school. At the beginning of his eighth grade year of school, Bob’s family moved off of the Nantucket Island to a bigger city. It was there in the first few days of class where his new teacher asked the question still sears in his mind today. “Bob, will you come stand a in front of the class and tell them why you are 16 and still in the eighth grade?” That was the last day that Bob ever attended school. For the next 22 years of his life he lived on fishing boats. His education was gained not through text books, but through living life and making wise choices that bring him to where he is today. Ironically, that is to a small crowded lanai full of retired educators– former teachers and administrators gathering for “Mia

I asked Bob if he had finished high school how his life might be different. He couldn’t answer that because the life he lived is the only one he knows. I say he lived it brilliantly, but I can tell there is a scar left from the cruel words of one person so long ago.

This made me ask myself, “Do the words that come out of my mouth uplift and encourage or tear down and leave wounds?” Bob’s story had me thinking of the power of words. “Sticks and stones will break your bones,” ┬ábut words….. words can scar you for life. I don’t know how Bob Viera had the fortitude to survive that hurtful question without bitterness? That is a whole other chapter for his book someday.

Bob Viera, as a former teacher and current school counselor, I apologize for what happened to you that day so many years ago. You are my hero!