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We are typically motivated by what we "get to do," because they are desired opportunities. We get to watch our favorite shows on cable, NetFlix, or YouTube. We get to hang out with friends. We get to take a nap on a Sunday afternoon. Things that we "get to do" often make us happy.

In an Aug. 2, 2018 article of Business Insider, 17 Seriously Disturbing Facts about Your Job, the author wrote that 80% of US workers were dissatisfied with their jobs. Translation: Something they "have to do" versus something they "get to do." 

When you "have to do" something, there is less motivation and desire toward the task at hand. However, it really comes down to your perspective. Check out and share this video with your students, The Power of Perception - Change Your Perspective Change Your Life.

The more our students develop the perspective that learning is something they "get to do," the more impact the learning will have on their lives.
Posted by cestevens@hcps.us  On Sep 08, 2019 at 4:51 PM
  
In 1990, tennis champion Andre Agassi was the face of Canon digital cameras as the company coined the phrase Image is Everything

While that phrase popularized the digital camera of that time, I would like to popularize that Perspective is Everything. Perspective is the way in you see something. Perspective drives your outlook which drives your thoughts, your decisions, and ultimately your actions. How you interpret what you see determines the manner in which you respond to what you see.

I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Adolph Brown (@docspeaks) on August 8 at our Hanover County Public Schools Equity Day professional development. His message about how kids carry around two backpacks solidified for me that Perspective is Everything when it comes to working with students. 

The first backpack is everything visible a kid brings to school in a "backpack," notebooks, pens or pencils, textbooks, etc. The second backpack is what we don't see; what's happening with them on the inside. We don't always know what life challenges each kid may have which why it is so important for us as adults to help them unpack that second backpack. The more we help each kid get through life's challenges, the more each kid becomes empowered to get more out of the tools in the first backpack.

At Lee-Davis, our goal is to maintain perspective on our mission: To empower all learners to be successful. A perspective where ALL means ALL.
 
Posted by cestevens@hcps.us  On Sep 02, 2019 at 10:17 AM
  
The following is an excerpt from a book entitled The Portable Pep Talk by Alexander Lockhart. I have read and referenced this book many times over the last several years. I think it only fitting to share this with our graduates who are heading out into what I call the "pre-adulting" phase of their lives.

It has been said that knowledge is power. The truth is that applied knowledge is power. It's not how much knowledge you acquire that counts, but how you use it. It's not what you know but what you do with what you know that produces results. Your knowledge should be put to use in a what that will enrich your life and the lives of others. You have the ability to perform at exceptional levels in at least one area of your life, given that you activate your thought processes through acquired knowledge. To move ahead of your current conditions, you must expand your current level of knowledge. Although we have the unlimited potential to learn, many of us only use a fraction of our minds.

Think smarter, think bigger, and commit yourself to lifelong learning.


Life will be your greatest teacher and the place where you can acquire the greatest knowledge. Learn from it!
Posted by cestevens@hcps.us  On Jun 09, 2019 at 12:52 PM
  

Loyalty means we demonstrate pride and allegiance to our country, community, school, family, and peers. In short, it means to show you are there for someone else at all times good and bad, up and down. The following is a short personal story about my family’s history that speaks to the very essence of loyalty.


The date was February 4, 1945. The crew of the USS Barbel - ss316, a submarine, was struck by bombs from Japanese aircraft several miles off coast of the Philippines and all were lost, killed in action. This event hits home for me because my great uncle Ellis Henry Stevens was a Motor Machinist’s Mate 2nd class aboard that submarine. Now, I never met my great uncle, but his youngest sister, my great aunt Mae Stevens made sure I knew who he was when I was growing up as a kid. She often told me stories about him from her childhood and read many of the letters he wrote home while he was in service.


My great uncle was a loyal serviceman to our country, but he was also fiercely loyal to the family back home. He was the oldest of four children and joined the Navy in 1939 at the beginning of World War II. During his time in the service, he would write home to his family on a regular basis and would wire money home monthly so that my great aunt Mae, the baby of the family, could stay in school until she graduated. My grandfather and his other brother worked the farms to make ends meet and never finished school while my great aunt was able to stay in school.


Shortly after his death, his family received the Purple Heart for his sacrifice and service to our country. My great aunt Mae would go on to graduate high school thanks to my great uncle’s loyalty to family.


Regardless of how you define family, the following quote from film director Mario Puzo sums it up best.

“The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, lies in its loyalty to each other.”


Posted by cestevens@hcps.us  On Jun 01, 2019 at 8:54 PM
  
The following quote is from Marie Curie, a Polish and naturalized-French physicist who conducted pioneering research on radio activity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the first person and only woman to win twice. She was also the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences; physics and chemistry.

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained."

When you 're faced with obstacles, keep the faith that you can get through them and keep working through them because your best life is on the other side of the obstacles you overcome.
Posted by cestevens@hcps.us  On May 26, 2019 at 5:28 PM
  
Winston Churchill once said, "Never give up, never, never give up."

Many times people stop pursuing a goal or a life's dream right before they would have succeeded. Before you start pursuing your goals or your dreams, make the decision that you will keep chipping away at your goals and dreams until they are a reality. 

There will be times that stopping and reevaluating your situation may be necessary. You may have have to find another route or another approach, but your ability to "stick it out" is what it will take to overcome the challenges and setbacks you will face. The more consistent and persistent you are in achieving your goals and dreams, the more confidence and determination you will become.

Dan Jansen was an Olympic speed skater who for two consecutive Winter Olympic Games (1988 and 1992) was the favorite to win Gold in both the 500m and 1000m races. He held world records in those events, but came away empty-handed both times. Determined to capture Gold, a lifelong dream of his, he continued to train and came back in 1994 for the Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer (Norway). He was favored to win the 500m race as he set another world record just the year before, but he finished 8th. It came down to one final attempt in the 1000m race where he beat the odds to capture his one and only Gold medal and set another world record. 

Had Jansen stopped after the 1992 Olympics, he would have never realized his dreams. He chose to continue his journey until his dream was a reality. He chose to stick it out. 
Posted by cestevens@hcps.us  On May 18, 2019 at 3:27 PM
  

Jack Canfield is the creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series. He’s also known as one of the best motivational speakers, professional coach, and an inspiring author who published The Success Principles.

 

Jack and his co-author Mark Victor Hansen pitched the original Chicken Soup for the Soul to over 130 different publishers. But none of them were interested and said no one “wants to read 100 inspirational stories.”

 

After over 100 attempts to get published, their agent dropped them as well, but they were determined to get the book published. They never gave up and continued to persevere until their book was finally picked up by a small publisher in Florida.

 

Now there are over 250 Chicken Soup for the Soul Books and over 500 MILLION copies sold worldwide. If they had given up these inspirational stories wouldn’t have been read across the world and they would not have been the success story they are today.

 

Just imagine if Canfield quit after the 129th publisher said “no.”? Where would his life be now?

 

Sometimes it just takes one more time.


Posted by cestevens@hcps.us  On May 12, 2019 at 5:52 PM
  

The following story is about Franklin D. Roosevelt and the challenges he faced en route to the presidency is a prime example of perseverance.


The year was 1921, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who would go on to become the 32nd president of the United States was diagnosed with polio.  A disease that would leave him paralyzed from the waist down as well as cause other health problems.


FDR, a democrat, had served as a member of the New York Senate and Assistant Secretary of the Navy up to that point. He was not about to let polio keep him from continuing his career in politics. He had more that he wanted to achieve. While he worked on rehabilitating despite the lack of a cure for polio, he established a rehabilitation center in in Warm Springs, Georgia in 1925.


He never gave up the hope that he could walk again, and he tried to walk and never gave up all of his life. He never let polio stand in the way of his dream to be President, so he persevered through his disease to eventually become the 32nd President of the United States.


Prior to becoming President, at the urging of a political colleague and despite his physical limitations, FDR ran for governor of New York and would win the office by a mere one percent margin in 1928. As New York was the most populous state at the time, serving as governor would set him up for the next presidential election. FDR would serve two terms as governor before running for President in 1932.


When FDR was President during the Great Depression he did not let polio stop him from opening up banks, getting more jobs for people, making the New Deal, and other things that lessened the effects of the Great Depression. As World War II started, he was still battling polio and other illnesses, but that didn’t stop him either. His cause and purpose as a leader kept him going. His response to Japan’s attack at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 reignited America’s resolve and courage and America quickly realized it could win in this war.


FDR was absolutely the epitome for perseverance. He had the grit to fight through polio, the Great Depression, and World War II to lead America back to its feet. During his fourth term as president, polio finally got the best of FDR as he passed away April 12, 1945 at the end of World War II. FDR had accomplished his mission.


You see perseverance is all about your mindset. It’s about having an unwavering faith, a determination, and a strong belief in yourself that no matter what obstacles you come up against, you can get through it.


In life, you will encounter many challenges and possibly defeats one way or another. Like FDR, you can persevere through those challenges and defeats to achieve your life’s mission if you just have the fortitude to keep fighting for it. And never, ever give up.


Posted by cestevens@hcps.us  On May 05, 2019 at 9:18 AM
  
The following is an excerpt from a speech given by the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, on April 23, 1910 after he had left office.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiams, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

This part of his speech was widely successful and would spread throughout the world. It was an encouragement to those who wanted to make the world a better place and acknowledging the courage and perseverance it would take to do so. These words can apply to today as well. The question is who will have the courage and perseverance to make our world a better place?
Posted by cestevens@hcps.us  On Apr 28, 2019 at 8:06 PM
  
The following poem is from the poetic works of Sonji Rush and Pocket Poetry Publishing.

Come into my heart and fell the depths of me
Only when you have the depth to see
Many teardrops falling upon my face
Pouring streams of sadness in this well known place
Ask me if you feel the pain inside
Say you do if you then realize
Sometimes pain comes from love so true
It comes from joy and sadness too
Only say it if you know its real
Never if you cannot feel as I feel.
Posted by cestevens@hcps.us  On Apr 21, 2019 at 4:42 PM
  
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