Compassion

Our habit this week is compassion. Teaching this habit is probably the most effective way to rid our school of bullying. Compassion cares, listens, stands up for those who can’t and gives support to those in need. We don’t need bullying policies in schools – we need compassionate behaviors.
 
The root of the word compassion is “passion” and passion is defined as pain. To be com-passionate is “to be with someone’s pain”. When we stop to listen, assist, and serve others in need we experience harmony in our families, schools, and community. Compassion uplifts a person in need as well as the one providing the lift. Compassion, like physical and academic skills, is something that is not fixed, but rather can be enhanced with training and practice. If we fertilize our child’s mind with compassionate ideas and provide experiences to practice this habit, their brain will wire this way. Amazingly, it appears that it only takes a bit of practice (3-20 times) to develop the neural pathway. Here are a few key principles for fertilizing compassion:
 
  • Expect help
  • Outlaw name calling
  • Point out heroes
  • Monitor media
  • Speak with good purpose
  • Most nightly news shows save the best stories for last by reporting on episodes of human compassion at the very end of the news cast. Watch these with your kids and have a discussion about the purpose and power of compassion.
 
Here are a few other ideas to help teach our kids this critical habit:
 
  • Heart – allow your child to serve a family member who isn’t feeling well.
  • Mind – read stories about compassionate characters.
  • Body – do chores for a neighbor in need.
  • Soul – discuss times that you were on the receiving and the giving ends of compassion.
 
“Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” -Nelson Mandela
 
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” -Dalai Lama
 
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Almond Acres students showcase art at Studios on the Park

– Almond Acres Charter Academy will be showcasing their students’ artwork as a culmination of their partnership with Studios on the Park in downtown Paso Robles. Throughout the 2015-2016 school year, many students had the opportunity to attend the “Kids Art Smart” program. Through this program, the students learned new art techniques from professional artists, and created a unique piece of art in a real working studio setting.

“AACA feels so fortunate to be included in the Kids Art Smart Program through Studios on the Park! All of our 1st through 6th grade students were able to participate in this unique program, and it provided a wonderful opportunity for them to be able to create a piece of art in a working studio which will be displayed professionally at Studios for friends, family and the community to enjoy.” said AACA Program Director Amy Baker.

In an effort to recognize the partnership between Studios on the Park and AACA and showcase the students’ work, an art show was held at Studios from April 15-17.

If you would like more information about Studios on the Park or are interested in donating to the Kids Art Smart Program, go to www.studiosonthepark.org or contact Sasha at (805) 238-9800.

For more information about AACA, please visit the website at www.almondacres.com or call the office at (805) 467-2095.

Via: Paso Robles Daily News

Concentration

To concentrate is to focus our attention. With knowledge being doubled every 18 months, what should we be concentrating our attention on? How about what is true and admirable? When our thoughts are concentrated on these things we act like these things. When our thoughts are focused on the yuck and the negative in life so too will our heart, mind, body, and soul be. Listening to positive music, reading great stories, speaking kind words, and finding the best in people – these things provoke joy, compassion, and peace in our lives. Just like feeding our bodies healthy foods, healthy thoughts nourish our hearts and minds. A concentration on these things improves our well-being and guides us toward happiness and achievement. Concentrating is a mindful choice to focus and center ourselves on what is right and good.
 
Habituating healthy thoughts will habituate a healthy life. Generally, smart people don’t react to life; they make a conscious decision to think smart. It is an intellectual character trait that can be nurtured in children. Here are a few ideas:
 
  • Heart – ask your child to concentrate on the sounds within nature. Listen intently for the various sounds of animals and plants.
  • Mind – examine the stories that you and your child are reading and talk about the traits of their favorite characters and why they like them.
  • Body – provide concentrated practice in an effort to improve a physical skill. Throwing a ball, following a dance step, shooting baskets, etc., are basic concentration habits. It takes hundreds of attempts to get good at such a task.
  • Soul – ask your child to listen to a piece of music and to identify the various instruments being played.
 
“Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a DESTINY.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Saint Paul
 
“What do I mean by concentration? I mean focusing totally on the business at hand and commanding your body to do exactly what you want it to do.” – Arnold Palmer
 
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Inventiveness

After studying the Inventive habit again this year, I am disappointedly reminded of the many times that I stifled the creativity and imagination of my children with subtle rejections. Every time they asked me to play with them or said, “Come check out what I made,” and I had something else more important to do, I failed to celebrate play, passion, and purpose. According to Tony Wagner, in his book Creating Innovators, these super “P’s” are the ingredients to creating our next generation of great American innovators. Let’s reinvigorate our enthusiasm this week by saying “yes” to the inventive ideas of our children.
 
Last winter I was in my woodshop building a few gifts for family and friends. My youngest daughter was my helper, but more than helping, she wanted all of the cut off pieces of wood so that she could build her own gifts. I watched as she developed about a dozen pieces of wood into an arcade game. I didn’t think too much of it until she said that she wanted to package the whole thing and give it to our family for a gift. The look of sincerity and joy on her face was deep. When the family opened her gift on Christmas morning she was beaming with anticipation. Everyone wanted to play and she was the expert coach ready to teach them techniques to improve their skill. I didn’t realize how a handful of wood pieces could captivate and motivate an 8 year old girl. At the time I almost told her to put the pieces into our burn box for kindling. Fortunately, I pressed the “paus-itivity” button and allowed her to play.
 
The simplicity of imagination and inventiveness in a child is one of the most pure and unadulterated forms of thinking we ever experience. Cultivating this thinking can empower and ignite our world’s greatest innovators. Squelching it can lead to mediocrity, boredom, and a false belief that a child has little purpose in life.
 
“It does seem to produce more creative results when there are limitations. It’s like in wartime with rations – people became more inventive with cooking.” – Laura Fraser
 
“Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.” – Lauren Bacall
 
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain
 
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Persistence

Persistence is one of our three power P’s: Patient, Positive, and Persistent.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor is a child. Anything worth greatness is worth fighting for over time. Whether it’s our children, our school, or our country – persistent hope and faith in the value of our time and energy toward these things will pay off.
It takes three to twenty attempts to learn something. Well, we are blessed with the daily company of our children for at least 18 years. It’s not an option for us to stop parenting. We get this time to persistently and lovingly teach them the truth about life and learning. We are it! We are the people who love them more than any other and have chosen to be their biggest advocate in their journey to learn and lead. When frustrations are high and you aren’t sure what to do next, consider using your paus-itivity button and encourage your persistence. You will never regret another ounce of love and learning.
As we enter the final quarter of the school year, some may think about downshifting and cruising into the end. I have never met a winner who downshifts at the end of a race. In these final eleven weeks of the school year, let’s send a message to our children that the final laps make great leaders and winners. Persisting to the very end is a virtue of great thinkers and doers. Our children will never be in this grade again so let’s help them to finish it with joy and tenacity!
“Little by little, one travels far.” – J. R. R. Tolkin
“Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” – Vince Lombardi
“I will persist until I succeed.” – Og Mandino
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