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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in My Bad

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Brad Gustafson is someone who celebrates his students and staff like few others. Check his Twitter feed on any given day and you will see what I mean. And that is why Brad’s admission was so powerful. During our interview, I even gave him an opportunity to back out. But Brad is not that kind of leader. Not that kind of person. He said, “Jon that would be too easy.”

He is about as connected as an educator could possibly be. He is always finding new and innovative ways to challenge himself, his staff and his students. Actually, his reach extends much farther than that. Through his book, Renegade Leadership, his 30 second takes, his UNEarthed podcast that he hosts with Ben Gilpin and countless other initiatives, he has managed to challenge the rest of us.

The mistake that Brad made was one he didn’t even realize he was making. As previously mentioned, Brad does all that he can to celebrate the amazing things that are taking place at his school. He tweets out photos and videos so that the rest of us learn from and with he and his staff.

But at the end of the day, what matters most to Brad are the relationships that he forms with his staff, his students and his community. And as he admitted on the show, the way in which he was feeling about people just wasn’t coming through. He was so eager to highlight staff that were trying new and innovative practices that he lost sight of those that were not. Just because staff members weren’t doing things differently, didn’t mean they weren’t doing things well.

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Posted by on in General

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Anyone that follows my blog knows that I am fascinated with the way in which my children interact with and interpret the world. I truly believe that they have much more to teach me than I have to teach them.

The difficulty lies in the fact that the lessons they have to teach me are not always readily apparent. Usually though, if I stop and allow myself time and space to reflect, I am able to come away with something.

I'll never forget the day that I was experiencing a moment that was meant to teach me something, but I couldn’t figure out exactly what. Actually, I experience quite a few of these moments. My son and I were playing with blocks. We would stack them as high as we could. And then each time, without fail, he would take extreme pleasure in knocking them over.

But why?

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Posted by on in General

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This is one of those things that I learned through failure.

Several years ago, I went through a very dark period in my life. A period during which I was under a lot of stress. Some of it was self-induced and some of it was caused by outside forces. I lost twenty pounds. I began taking medication for anxiety. I fought like Hell to put on a happy face when I was out in public. But by the time I got home I was tired. And I am quite certain that my wife and kids saw a side of me that others did not. I wasn’t mean. I simply was grumpier than I should have been. They deserved better than what they got. I can’t go back and redo those days. I wish I could, but I can’t. But I have today. And right now, that is enough.

One person that helped me tremendously during that time and whenever I have needed him, is Ben Gilpin. I can’t begin to imagine how many voxes Ben must have listened to during those days. Many of them I’m sure were not pleasant. But, he was always there. He was like the wise tree in Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree[1]. Always able to give me what I needed at the right time. When I needed advice. He gave it to me. And when I just needed an ear to listen. He was that ear. And like the tree in the book, Ben gave much more than he received. That is just the type of person that Ben is.

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Tagged in: Mistakes My Bad mybad16

Posted by on in General

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Some children simply don’t know how to play. Let me be more specific. There are some children that we know have a very difficult time playing properly and safely with their peers. I know who they are and oftentimes when I am called to the playground I know it is them that I am coming to remove.

I'll never forget the day I was called to the kindergarten playground because a young man had pushed and hit two girls. They had done nothing to deserve being hit or pushed. And though neither child was injured, I was still upset. Upset because this same young man continues to make bad choices despite the consequence he receives and/or the counseling that I provide. I truly believe that the way he plays at school is the way he plays at home and he doesn’t know any better.

Once I was able to get him to my office, I tried to talk to him about what he had done and why it wasn’t acceptable. No response. It is always frustrating when a child ignores you, but I have gotten used to it and I know not to take it personally. I was at the point where I had to decide what to do next. Do I give him a consequence or do I simply counsel him? Maybe I do both.

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Posted by on in General

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I will continue to make that mistake.

Only a fool would make such a statement! Right? Honestly, I am wondering if I should leave that first sentence as is or if I should massage it just a bit. You see Frank Stepnowski is a large man who could crush me like a grapefruit if he wanted. Lucky for me Frank is also a kind and forgiving man with a great sense of humor

This was apparent when Frank and I recorded an episode for My Bad. For reasons beyond our control, the interview had to be pushed back about an hour. Since I hadn’t connected with Frank before, I decided to call him at our original time in an attempt to build some repertoire. We ended up talking for almost an hour, as if we were old friends catching up on lost time.

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