Updates from May, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Brigit Law 11:16 pm on May 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Journalism, , PTA   

    Kids Minds Matter 

    Last week, I started with a new – the second – team of Scottie Chronicle reporters, and this evening I finished their ‘Reporter Survival Pack’ with worksheets, letter to parents, Tips & Tricks in journalism, as well as the necessary candy treats, pens and block notes (see picture below).

    These groups of school kids are one of the best things I have experienced in my time in the US.

    Compared to Europe, the American PTA has amazed me. So much more support from parents seems to be needed here, and so much more can be achieved when parents and teachers work together. Compared to Europe where parental support is often limited to lice control, reading mom/dad or Christmas party, the American PTA opens doors to parents to set up Science Fairs, Book Fairs, National Reflections Art Awards programs, Spelling Bees, and much more.

    Inspired by the American spirit of ‘The Sky Is The Limit’ (as long as you are willing to execute your own ideas), I became the CEO of my own PTA program: The Scottie Chronicle – a school news paper for my kids’ Scotland Elementary school in Chambersburg, PA.

    Working with these kids brought me closer to my quest to understand better the way humans communicate. How much can kids critical minds bring to an organization, a community, a school? And, are we really listening to them? Can we let them lead us in how we should lead them?

    One thing is for sure, not listening to the perceptive minds of kids or watching them grow up with our full attention, will keep us falling behind in social development and economic prosperity.

    In the end it is like horse riding: you can only lead a horse if you let the horse educate you on it’s needs.

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  • Brigit Law 4:57 pm on November 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bullying, , ISUBD,   

    Bullying: It’s a world wide challenge! 

    In the lead up to the International Stand-up to Bullying Day (ISUBD), the 5th graders of Mrs Zychal’s class at Scotland Elementary in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, did a great job in identifying the powers one needs to combat bullying. Laser vision, super hearing and transforming were some of them. (More …)

     
  • Brigit Law 9:57 pm on August 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , observer, relocation, , storyteller   

    Meet Me, Meet The Observer 

    What would you be if you had moved home and country every three years for the last 20 years? When you lived longer abroad than home? You would be like me:  a community Observer.

    (More …)

     
  • Brigit Law 5:49 pm on July 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Change Management, , , Julia Roberts, , Mona Lisa,   

    Change comes … naturally. 

    Just like the equestrian world is talking about natural horsemanship, the managerial world should start talking (more) about natural change management.

    I just watched the film Mona Lisa smile on TV, a film set in 1953 with Julia Roberts as the art teacher Ms Watson who tries to inspire conservative young women in the 1950s to reach beyond their role as housewife, go to university and become leaders in society. Ms Watson, who used art to help her students to think out of the box, was desperate to make a change, but almost failed because of driving it too hard.

    I did not know the film, nor that it would be on TV tonight. So, it felt a real treat that I bumped onto this great movie among the tons of stuff I don’t like on TV.

    The beauty of this film comes at the end. The film follows the great classic storytelling technique with a clear moral and message for society where people (women) can relate to for years to come. People’s ‘wanting’ was trying to overshadow people’s ‘being’ and the ‘conscious & controlled behavior’ tried to win from the ‘subconscious & natural behavior’.

    Fortunately, the latter won. As the film says at the end:

    Don’t try to hard too make a change. Just be true to yourself and change will come …, naturally.

     
  • Brigit Law 5:48 pm on June 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , EquiCoaching, , Stap 1-2-3   

    Step 1-2-3 

    A Dutch friend of mine started her own business in EquiCoaching called ‘Step 1-2-3’. 

    This sounds like a great name to me. It reminds me of the three part-view of a story, a journey, a program or a project: The Beginning, The Middle and The End. A creative adventure to lead change …

    (More …)

     
    • Ruth Tearle 6:26 am on June 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Bridget, I like your fresh idea of using a “beginning, middle and end story” with change management.

      It resonates with the whole Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey – which is in the following blog.

      http://www.changedesigns.net/_blog/Change_Designs_Blog/post/Creating_heroes_The_story_behind_cultural_change_management/

      • Brigit Law 5:27 pm on June 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Ruth, Thanks for your reference to Joseph Campbell’s hero story. He is right when he says: “When we ask our employees to ‘change’ we are asking them to forsake the world they know, and to commit to going on a journey…” A journey that does not bring people back to the home they know as most people on a holiday do, but to a new and fresher home based on new personal achievements and insights as real travellers (story hero’s) do. A new home that may be situated in the same old brick walls.

  • Brigit Law 11:20 pm on May 30, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , leiderschap, neurologie, sportmanship   

    New Leadership is a Sense that stimulates the Mind 

    I guess no one can write, talk or think about leadeship without making synergies with sportmanship from time to time. Especially when you live in the USA.

    This evening I read this poem to my eight year old daughter which reminded me of the real status of leadership: that of a human Sense that stimulates our State Of The Mind. A sense that can be developed just like a sense for sportmanship. Just listen to this pro’s advice…

    PRO’S ADVICE
    If you want to play tennis, I’ll give you a tip:
    You must practice your stroke,
    You must tighten your grip,
    You must straighten your shoulders
    And swivel your hip
    And develop your sense of sportmanship.
    (Poem by Shel Silverstein in Every Thing On It)

    It is the status of the mind. Like sportmanship, leadership is not the end or the beginning of something. It is the State of the Mind that steers our behavior to getting something done.

     
  • Brigit Law 10:32 pm on May 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Summer Reading Program   

    Summer Reading improves Creative Minds at Scotland Elementary 

    Dr Seuss, Walt Disney and Shakespeare: these are the three protagonists in the new Summer Reading Hand Book 2012 that I created in my new capacity of PTA chairperson for the Summer Reading Program 2012 at Scotland Elementary in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

    Over 400 copies are ready to go out to all students during this week’s Scholastic Book Fair.

    (More …)

     
    • themysticmom 1:50 pm on May 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      So proud to know you and all this hard work! You are AMAZING! (Plus, thinking on a grand scale might be another thing we have in common! Remind me to tell you THAT story another time… :))

    • DeniseDenkt 2:50 pm on May 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      What a beautiful and inspiring project is this! We should have that here in Holland too.
      I’m sure that all children will like this!

  • Brigit Law 2:06 pm on May 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    How to make sense of the second half of once life 

    I was warned about the challenges of moving internationally while being pregnant and the advice was ‘Don’t move if you are pregnant’. But advice is there to be ignored, so I ended up moving internationally with every single pregnancy, which was four times round. However, there is one other challenge beside begin pregnant, which I did not know about and should never be ignored.

    (More …)

     
    • theridingwriter 3:35 pm on May 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t think it’s just moving to a new country. I wonder the same things myself. What did I accomplish in the first half of my life. Is that it? What do I do now? I think a lot of us struggle with these same questions. So take comfort in the feeling that you are not alone!

    • themysticmom 4:12 pm on May 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      That’s the spirit, Brigit! You are a talented and amazing woman, with much to show for your hard work. You’ve earned a good night’s sleep and then some! Enjoy it!

    • by Quipa | Maris (@greatID) 5:25 am on May 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Wat een eerlijke blog! Elke keer is het dus weer anders.. Ik merkte zelf dat verhuizen als je jezelf redelijk gevestigd hebt je confronteert met zaken waar je nooit over nadacht. Het impact van (het missen van) je netwerk bijvoorbeeld. Het verhuizen is niet moeilijk, maar het vestigen is de ware kunst.

      • Brigit Law 11:49 am on May 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Je hebt absoluut gelijk. Verhuizen is een ware kunst en een kunde!

  • Brigit Law 11:54 pm on February 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Trot, And You’ll Lead! 

    It’s not new when I say that horse riding contains many metaphors for good, creative leadership. You may know many yourselves.

    I started horse riding four years ago at the same time I started my own business. I am not a very demanding and egocentric by nature and – therefore- not natural leader. I neither feel the urge to proof something to my friends or family – a proven help in successful leadership -, so I was well advised by a Swedish friend to take up horse riding to get the hang of good leadership.

    And it pays off, in particular because of my wonderful American instructor Judie.

    Here are a couple of equestrian principles she thought me which I like to share with you as food for thought in business leadership:

    1. Post Bigger when trotting, not smaller. In English riding one is tempted to post smaller in an effort to stop a horse going t0o fast, but the opposite is true. When you want a horse (or organization) to go more slowly and in controlled manner, start posting bigger.

    2. Don’t Focus, just Be Aware. Whilst many management gurus and alpha-male leaders advocate that ‘Focus’ is the key to success in business, equestrian leadership will tell you that ‘Being Aware’ is a better key to good leadership. Putting a strong focus on something particular means that one does not see or sense other important signals (in an organization).

    3. Use Your Space. Horse riding is a mirror to how we cut short our corners if we are not conscious of all the free space around us. Cutting corners short means more difficult turns and more stress. In communications & leadership this is also explained by (not) using ‘white space’ in writing or by getting active in the ‘complexity quadrant’ of Dave Snowden’s  Cynefin. There is much to say for showing leadership where the situation complex, though much less crowded.

    These are my favorite thoughts that help me to keep my leadership skills in form. What are yours?

     
  • Brigit Law 12:25 am on February 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Herald Mail, , Shippensburg, Spike Lee, ,   

    An Evening With Spike Lee 

    I am marking another American experience tonight: my evening with Spike Lee!

    Spike Lee is an American film director, producer, writer and actor. With his production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, he has been producing films since 1983. Lee is famous for the way he evolutionized the role of Black talent in cinema. Lee also directed commercials for Nike, Converse, Jaguar, Taco Bell and Ben & Jerry’s.

    Our meeting was not quite up close and personal, but with seat number J-109 in an almost sold out hall of the Luhrs Performing Arts Center in Schippensburg (PA) where he lectured about “The Cultural Diversity in America”, it was as good as it could get.

    As my friends know, everything that has to do with diversity has my attention. Since I left my home village in The Netherlands, I have been different myself. First and foremost as a country girl in a big city, but also as a Dutch girl living in other people’s countries and as a Dutch wife to a Scottish husband. Diversity is part of my daily life since I left home at 18 and it will be for children for whole their lives.

    Lee’s performance in Shippensburg tonight was great.  He is a wonderful and motivational speaker who tackles serious issues – the life of African-Americans – with a good sense of humor. He urged students to follow passion, not pay. To this end, Lee was happy to share his own personal experiences and challenges in life with his public, in particular his vision that you should choose a study and do a job you enjoy doing no matter what others (parents) say. “If you are driven in wanting to do something, do it!” was his advice to the public.

    However, his view on the stagnation of Afro-Americans can be disputed. Lee sees a stagnation in the life of African-Americans since the 40s when Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in her role as a maid in ‘Gone with the Wind’ and today, annu 2012, when African-Americans win again Academy Awards through actors Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer who played … maids again. To me this seems more a sign of stagnation in the life of women who are in a sleepy state of mind since the time of the suffragettes. At lease the African-Americans got their American President, the female society not (yet).

    I was also a bit disappointed about his answer to a young African-American guy in the public who explained his difficulties to make films due to lack of finance and closed doors in Hollywood. His answer was to persevere and to keep on believing in yourself and your drive (dream). My answer would be a question: where are the African-American businesses that should support African-American culture? It is not up to the ‘old’ Hollywood and its white face history to write and direct the screen plays that bring diversity in America to life. A drive is based on an emotional need, an urge and a passion. This can only be told through stories with with award winning roles of leaders in society played, written and produced by African-Americans themselves.

    In fact, it is all about empowering yourself to succeed with a group of people through ‘shared values’. A concept that focuses on the connections between societal and economic progress.

     
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