Choose Your Own Weather

“If you can’t see the bright side of life, polish the dull side.” – Nathan
What weather do we choose to live each day? Our choice to smile or grumble is controlled by our personal choice power. “Stuff” happens every day. How we respond to that stuff is in our circle of control. We are certainly influenced by the people and circumstances or life, but our response to them is a choice. Believing that we have a choice and control is the first step toward personal efficacy and empowerment.
One of my jobs as a parent is to get myself out of the job before my child is an adult. I expect that he or she will have the personal strength to handle what life dishes out each day. Teaching our children to think positively and proactively when it comes to learning academics, sports, hobbies, relationships, etc.. can help them to recognize the power they have over their circumstances. Anyone who achieves success in school and life knows how important it is to prioritize and organize studies, work, play, and relationships.
Heart – Assume the best in people.
Mind – Organize a study schedule that gets things done before they are due. Body – Make lunch the night before so that its ready and right for a healthy lifestyle.
Soul – Spend time in the classroom of silence to reflect on the day and consider ways to make tomorrow terrific.
A positive and powerful approach to life is infectious. If someone calls me a knucklehead and I respond with, “you are brilliant and beautiful”, it can stop them in their tracks and help them to realize that their negativity is pointless in the face of positivity. It doesn’t mean to be Pollyanna about things, but adding a negative to a negative only leads to more negative. Adding a positive to a negative reverses things in a positive direction. It’s fascinating to see a grouch put on a smile when someone with a positive disposition gets in their way.
There is a neurological term for eliciting a response from someone with a smile or a frown. The response is called “mirroring”. Mirror neurons exist in our brain that can cause us to smile when someone smiles at us and frown when we frown. A proactive decision to make someone think positively because we are acting or speaking positively has powerful results.
The See – Do – Get Model

The See – Do – Get model of thinking helps us to remember that how we see things; be that our perspective, feelings, or thoughts, will lead us to action (Do) and our actions achieve results (Get). When we don’t achieve the results we hope for it is often a result of an error in how we are seeing things or the actions we hoped would achieve the result. Use this model to help your child recognize that his or her proactive response to life can have dramatic results on their future.
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Sharpening the Saw

Sharpening the saw is the last of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The lumberjack who stops every so often to sharpen his saw blades is able to harvest more lumber, experience less frustration is his work, and finds peace amidst his labor. For those of us who aren’t lumberjacks, we are sharper in our studies, calmer amidst daily routines, and less likely to be anxious about what we did or didn’t get done each day. By sharpening our heart, mind, body, and soul we become healthier, happier, and more capable people. In his book, The Rhythm of Life, Matthew Kelly shares how these four elements of our humanity balance our lives and nurture overall well-being.
Our heart is sharpened when we enjoy carefree timelessness with the people we love. build relationships through service, laughter, and learning to care for others.Taking care of our body demands sufficient sleep, eating healthy, and exercise.Our mind is stretched when we read good books, write, study a new skill, and create something.Our soul is nourished when we frequent the classroom of silence with personal journaling, prayer, meditation, or listening to good music.
Our lives demand so much of our time and energy, but without a timeout, we have burnout. Teaching this principle habit to our children is subtle, yet critical. If they are constantly busy with scheduled activities and never intentionally spend time sharpening their saw they will likely spend their lives (as many adults do) chasing life and not living it.Teaching and Learning Frequent sharpening of the saw for peace of mind is also a powerful principle for teaching and learning. The whole purpose of “studying” is to sharpen a thought, skill, procedure, or talent. What we practice, we get good at.
Every time we encourage and assist our children with homework, they are sharpening neurons. Repetition can never be repeated too much 🙂  Our brains require repetition. In his book, Brain Rules, John Median teaches why repetition and moving information from short term to long term memory is essential to learning. We ought not to hesitate to remind our child about what they should think and what they should do. Do so with a firm, fair, and friendly disposition to assure that the message is one of love and care, but don’t ever hesitate to repeat a message that hasn’t been learned yet.
The more we hear the truth the more likely we will remember it. This doesn’t mean that we should sound like a broken record during a disciplining episode. When a message is clear and your child doesn’t respond, take appropriate action and make sure that there is a natural and logical consequence for the misbehavior. If the next day the behavior returns then repeat yourself. Neurons that fire together wire together if we hear and think them often enough. It is also important that they not just hear the message from you, but they say it themselves. Hearing it and speaking it will wire more neural pathways.
Sow a thought, reap an act Sow an act, reap a habit Sow a habit, reap a character Sow a character, reap a destiny!
Learning Links

North County school to host benefit tasting & auction

Paso Robles, CA – Almond Acres Charter Academy is hosting an Everyday Superheroes Gala at Oak Heart Estate on Saturday, October 27, 2018 from 4:00-8:00PM. This year’s event is a tasting and auction that will help raise essential funds which benefit AACA’s project based learning and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) programs.  AACA will highlight their Fund-A-Need goals and gift their students with materials, field trips, and hands-on experiences to help them grow.

The event will provide opportunities for attendees to meet everyone involved with the school and network with other community members.  Tickets are reasonably priced at $55/limited tastings, and $95/unlimited tastings. Food vendors will also be at the event with delicious samples of local cuisine.  Guests are encouraged to dress the part of a superhero and come in costume.Tickets can be purchased by visiting For more information, please visit the AACA website at or call the office at 805.467.2095.


This week’s habit can be considered a culmination of the five habits we’ve covered in the past two months. When the personal victories of (1) being proactive, (2) beginning with the end in mind, and (3) putting first things first are added to the public victories of (4) thinking win-win and (5) seeking first to understand, then to be understood. Together they add up to synergy. We get the best results when we combine personal victories with public victories. Synergy creates harmony, creativity, and organizational health. It’s like the beauty of an orchestra, the flight of geese, the success of a team, or the beauty of a happy family. This sixth habit expresses the greatness of being the best version of ourselves added to the best of others.

Intelligence and academic success is an accumulation of creative and thoughtful ideas from the past, mixed together with present understandings and “ah ha’s”. Synergy causes a new story, a new mathematical operation, a new painting, a faster runner, a beautiful new song, a new look into the universe. When we listen to the wisdom of the past and consider perspectives of the present, innovation is born. Each and every lesson learned is a new opportunity for synergy and potential resolutions to today’s problems. New inventions don’t just come out of the blue. They are the result of a new idea added to countless hours from past thinkers.

5 Steps to Synergy:

  1. Define the situation or problem.
  2. Listen to their way.
  3. Share your way.
  4. Brainstorm new ways.
  5. Take the high way!

In our families, classrooms, or businesses, synergy builds unity, cooperation, health, and success. The key is to affirm the strengths and struggles of every team player and stick close together to achieve a goal. Synergy is about celebrating different ideas, not tolerating them. It is about teamwork, not me work. Though you may be right sometimes, you aren’t always. Most of all, it is about innovation and gleaning from every person involved to create the best.

Another great benefit to synergy is that we won’t have to take on the entire burden of a task. Cyclists who are part of the peloton can save up to 40% in energy expenditures over a cyclist who is not drafting with the peloton. This is one of the primary purposes of our parent participation with the school. If we work together to raise our children we are much more likely to be effective and not get too exhausted working alone. At AACA we promote this effort and commit to a patient, persistent, and positive approach to child development. Here are a few ways we can encourage synergy with our children:

  • Heart – when siblings scuffle, have them play a game together.
  • Mind – alternate between you and your child in the creation of a story.
  • Body – calculate the time it takes to do chores alone versus working together.
  • Soul – talk to your child about the beauty in the sound of a symphony versus a solo.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

“Synergy – The bonus that is achieved when things work together harmoniously”, – Mark Twain

“When mutual understanding and respect are present, the spirit of synergy inevitably starts to develop.” – Stephen Covey

Here is a fun video to explain synergy.

Think Win-Win

The Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would want to be done unto you. Thinking win-win is a belief that people want to do what is right and are willing to work together to achieve what is in the best interest of the common good. It doesn’t always mean that it’s 50:50 though. Friendship, marriage, and business partnerships require 90:10 or 10:90 at times. Good communication, compromise, and mutual support balance relationships over time and everyone is better off in the end. There is an old story about two horses tethered together trying to eat in their own feeder. Each pulled the other yanking the other away from the feeder. After a long back and forth struggle, they finally realized that sharing each other’s feeder would save a lot of strife and allow both of them to enjoy a peaceful meal.

Try out the AACA Problem Solving Creativity System, better known as PGOSE:

  1. Problem: Describe the problem. What happened and how did you feel?
  2. Goal: Define the goal. What do you wish would have happened instead?
  3. Obstacles: List the obstacles. What kept us from achieving the goal?
  4. Strategies: Consider new strategies. What could we do differently the next time this happens?
  5. Evaluate: Evaluate how effective the strategy worked. Could or did our strategy work?

One of the best consequences of thinking win-win is that it grows healthy long-term relationships because we are willing to support one another – even when we may not be our best selves. On top of that, a stressed “win-lose” brain doesn’t learn well. Our brains have 100,000,000,000 neurons. Our intelligence and imagination have endless potential to nurture win-win solutions. It starts with trust and an ounce of courage and in the end – everyone wins.


  • Heart – List some of your family frustrations and discuss how a resolution can turn into win-win victory.
  • Mind – tell your children about a story from literature or history when the victory was a win-win. Read the story Have You Filled A Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
  • Body – create a dinner that provides a favorite for each member of the family.
  • Soul – split the radio time in the car between each passenger’s favorite genre.

“Strong people don’t put others down.. they lift them up.”  ~ Michael Watson

“You don’t have to blow out the other person’s light to let your own shine.” ~Bernard M. Baruch

“The law of win-win says, let’s not do it my way or your way; let’s do it the best way”.  ~ Gary Anderson