Category Archives: mentor

The Womanly Art of Listening to Our Bodies

First of all, I need to make a disclaimer. A portion of this post heading is taken from a wonderful and well-respected book by La Leche League I read over 38 years ago, “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.” I read it during a time when I was preparing for my first child and preparing for childbirth and beyond. This was my first lesson in learning to listen to my body.

This morning, some 38 years later and a lifetime of listening, I was awakened by this thought, “The Womanly Art of Listening to Our Bodies” and how even though the time may not be the best to write this, because I have scholarships to apply for and work to do to prepare for the next semester of grad school, I cannot help but listen to this message and put it out there.

The message is: Our thoughts and feelings (or emotions) are inextricably linked to our bodies! Once we recognize this, the knowledge is immensely powerful. I have been so fortunate to attract mentors and educational opportunities in my life from the days I was a pregnant teen at 15 to my life today, a mother of 3 and grandmother of 8; now the age of 54.

I learned from natural childbirth that “attitude IS everything!” If you think it is pain, it is painful! If you think of it as the process that brings you your angel, then it is manageable.

I learned from 7 years in La Leche League that if you always remember in the back of your mind that breastfeeding is a normal, natural process that mammals have been doing successfully for millenia and trusting this natural process, your milk will come and challenges are only bumps in the road, not roadblocks.

I learned from reading Adelle Davis’ “Let’s Have Healthy Children” that our foods are full of everything we need if we learn to trust the foods that have been provided by nature. We do not have to buy expensive food to nourish our bodies properly. By being more efficient with our food choices, we can bring health to our families within any budget.

I learned from my 10 years working in the field of biofeedback, that the mind and our inner emotions are incredibly powerful and that our body speaks to us continually. Whether we listen or not is the real challenge! When we listen, we reduce suffering and illness and increase our quality of life. When we ignore the signs, we suffer from a variety of ills, including accidents and injuries.

So much more to share and no time to do it right now, but I want to leave you with this thought, please take the time to just be quiet without any outside electronic or other interference at least once every day. Listen and acknowledge and make the little adjustments you know deep down that you will benefit from. Little by little, you will find that the simple adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” will improve your daily quality of life, your health and your future!

Until next time,
Granny Pants
(Oh yeah, this photo was taken of me in 2002. I just found it and had to use it to brighten my day. The Yuba River is in the background. Love that place!)

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January 20, 2013 · 6:48 pm

10 Study Skills that Really Matter!

Effective study and lifestyle habits are the real factor in academic success, most often superseding economic, intellectual, or age factors.

Personally, I had to learn how to study effectively because I was not taught or required to study as a child. This list of recommendations is for everyone, young and old. It is based on my personal experiences as a student, teacher, caregiver, mother and grandmother.

1. KNOW YOUR WEAKNESSES– This is the first step to deciding your study strategies. Everyone has some challenges with studying. Most students have multiple challenges. Knowing your weaknesses and admitting them is the first step to getting your study habits into ship-shape so you don’t waste a single minute of your precious personal time studying in ineffective circles that not only rob you of fun, but also rob you of the best grades and opportunities that you deserve. By eliminating your time wasters and over-confidence when you actually need to increase study time, you will actually have better grades, more energy and have more time for the people and activities you love without those nagging feelings haunting you.

2. IF YOU TEND TO PROCRASTINATE– Set up a plan to reward yourself with personal time and activities only after you have finished your work or have studied enough to have a good command of materials. Study your most challenging subjects first when you have the most energy. Save easy study tasks like making flash cards last when you don’t need to think as deeply. Isn’t it interesting how it can be very difficult to study effectively at night when we are tired but we are never too tired to talk to our friends! Use this fact to your advantage.

3. IF YOU ARE EASILY DISTRACTED– Create a private, comfortable and well-lit space with no distractions. Use earplugs or headphones if needed to reduce environmental distractions. Turn off any computer or phone notifications while studying. Notify your parents and friends when you are studying and tell them that you will return their calls/texts or requests when you are finished. Give yourself a 15-minute reward for personal/free time at the end of every hour of non-stop, focused studying. Make sure you get up and move around during this free time to bring the blood back into your brain that tends to become lodged in the bottom after sitting for long periods of time. (A walk around the block during study breaks can do wonders to energize you and increase your memory.)

4. WRITE CLEAR & DETAILED NOTES WHILE YOU ARE IN CLASS & STUDYING & ENSURE YOU HAVE WRITTEN EVERYTHING DOWN NECESSARY –Do not fall into the “I will remember this” pattern. Back-tracking and searching for information later can be a huge time and energy waster! Tools such as highlighting, side notes on the page and colorful tabs can save time later on.

5. WRITE A STUDY LIST EVERY DAY & BREAK DOWN ASSIGNMENTS INTO SMALL, MANAGEABLE TASKS – Do this right after school or first thing in the morning on non-school days. – This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and prevent you from knowing where to begin. It also makes it easier to check off your priority list and block study sessions which increase the feeling and awareness of your real progress. If you tend to overlook and forget your assignments, check with your instructor after every class to make sure you have all assignments and notes down correctly and thoroughly.

6. ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING TO STUDY IN YOUR BAG OR BACKPACK – Choose the items you are most challenged with so you can study whenever you can. Flash cards or reading assignments are the easiest things to have handy. Make a copy of a complex reading assignment and have in your bag to read and highlight. Whenever you have an unexpected delay or free moment, pull out your studies instead of your phone and you will have more free time to communicate with friends without stress at the end of the day!

7. ENSURE MAXIMUM COMPREHENSION OF ALL MATERIAL BY USING EFFICIENT TOOLS WHILE YOU READ– Before you read anything, understand, read or write down what it is you are supposed to know from reading the passage or chapter. Read the questions however, not the answer choices! Then as you read the first time, highlight any key points that fit your comprehension goals. If you are not able to highlight, write notes as you read, noting the paragraph or page number. If possible, copy the passage and highlight that. Next, re-read the questions and read the passage again, but this time as you read, write notes on what you think the answers or main points are to the assignment. Then go to the questions and see if any match your understanding of the material. If you need to write an essay, you will then have the best notes possible to create your outline!

8. DO NOT SKIP ANY STEPS OR QUESTIONS & UTILIZE ALL AVAILABLE STUDY RESOURCES UNTIL YOU KNOW A SUBJECT INSIDE AND OUTUnless you are repeating information with an “A” mastery level; not just until you think you have it. Mastery comes from repeating exercises, quizzing, re-reading, re-writing and explaining the subject to others. Much of the frustration of studying comes from the missing pieces of information we pretend we know or don’t need. Then we cannot operate with all of our potential and often struggle unnecessarily. Study resources include materials in all media forms such as audio, visual, study groups, tutors and whatever resources the instructor has recommended. Using all of your senses is extremely important, especially if you are challenged with a subject. The more senses that experience the information you are learning, the deeper the knowledge will go and the less likely you are to forget it because you have it understood in a multitude of layers. Remember that the most effective way to comprehend and remember material is to discuss it with others; hence the study group.

9. BE AT YOUR BEST BY ENSURING YOUR SLEEP, EXERCISE & NUTRITION NEEDS ARE BEING MET – Exercising daily will increase your memory, energize you, keep your immune system strong and prevent insomnia. Getting the right amount of sleep (about 8 hours/night) will also ensure you can think clearly while you are in class, studying and testing. Energy drinks, coffee, tea and/or drugs in the place of sleep, exercise or nourishing meals wear down your immune system, increase insomnia and fatigue, leaving you with less energy and more health problems in the long run. Contrary to popular thought, if you eat snacks with less sugar and/or carbohydrates and instead eat snacks with protein rich snacks, you will have more lasting energy and increased brain functions without experiencing the “carb-crash” which can affect your ability to study properly. A bag of nuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit or jerky are great things to have on hand at all times.

10. RE-ASSESS YOUR STUDY HABITS AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES AFTER EVERY TESTING OR GRADING PERIOD – Set yourself up for success, not for failure. It often takes about 1 ½ semesters to adopt effective study habits that become natural. Commit to your study plan if it is working but re-tool it if it is not. Ask your instructor how much you should be studying each day for each class and arrange your schedule around honesty about how much you need to study instead of denial about how much you need to study. Eliminate any extra activities until you are achieving the grades and knowledge mastery you desire. Remember that exercise, sleep, eating properly and an allotted amount of personal time to enjoy life are not extra-curricular activities but necessary for your health, well-being and good grades!

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Filed under children, Education, exercise, Families, Fathers, insomnia, media, mentor, mother, nutrition, prevention, teaching, technology, teenagers, Writing

Calling All Teachers!

For those familiar with Paulo Freire’s book Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York: Continuum, 1970), the story below illustrates the tragic results to the individual from a very personal perspective:

From Ch. 17, The New Physics of Childhood: Replacing Modern Myths with Simple Strategies (I-Universe, 2009)

“FOR TEACHERS

The following story of “La Niñita” is an introduction to what powerful influences teachers are in a child’s life:

La Niñita

‘I was five years old, I was in kindergarten. From the beginning, school became troublesome for me because I was always looking out the window, instead of listening to my teacher. One day, while daydreaming of wonderful things, I had a fabulous idea.

After school, I ran home to work on my big project, a special play for my class. I felt happy because this play had a part for all of my classmates, leaving no one out. That was the most important thing.

I worked hard that weekend. I made costumes for my classmates out of paper bags my mother gave me. Mommy smiled. She was proud of my play and my costumes. I was a big girl now, I was in kindergarten.

Monday morning, I walked to school with all of the costumes wrapped and folded into two big paper bags. I ran to my teacher. I showed her my project. I told her all of my classmates were in the play!

My teacher’s face was like a stone, she did not look at my costumes and she did not look at me, she just stated, “We don’t do that here.”

Those five shocking words put much of my innocent and uninhibited creativity to sleep that day, changing my life forever. Just five words, five powerful words loomed in the back of my subconscious from that moment on.

Thirty-two years later, then a woman of thirty-seven, I created, acted, produced, and directed a production, purposely to include the forgotten teenagers in my community. These teens had no place to go or activities to enjoy. At the end of the production, I stood on the stage with these forgotten teenagers and in a flash, remembered that moment from my past.

The feelings were very intense as I finally manifested my dream as a five year old! Without realizing it, I had started to heal that wound from my childhood.

Today, I acknowledge that it will take many years of work to return to the uninhibited creative state I experienced as a five year old. Being around children helps me remember. For me, this is the beginning.’

Imagine what could have become of not only this little girl, but countless others, if she had had the support from the adults in her life to pursue her interests. She needed so little, just awareness and sensitivity on the part of the adults in her life, the parents and teachers who missed the opportunity to nurture her creative potential. Please choose your words carefully and take care not to do this to any child. Our precious children need the adults in their lives to help them blossom into whatever they are supposed to become. When adults recognize the signs and provide them with a supportive environment, children can create a world in ways only they can imagine.” by Christina Ivazes, aka Granny Pants

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Filed under Books, children, Education, mentor, Myths, Parenting, teaching, The New Physics of Childhood, Writing

Our ANGEL of ALTRUISM- What Will Become of Us Without THE OPRAH EFFECT?

 

The Angel of Altruism
The Angel of Altruism

THE PARADIGM SHIFT OF SUCCESS

Like millions of others, I have dreamt, for what seems to be a lifetime, of being on Oprah as a measure of my success. Others have even told me for years that maybe I will make it onto Oprah one day because American society has a success model for those who are authors, or for those who serve others; it is The Oprah Effect. We all know that if you make it onto Oprah, because of her powerful influence, not only will your business boom, if your passion project makes it into Oprah Winfrey’s “Book of Worthiness”, this project serving others is also destined to be a financial success!

In the event you haven’t realized it yet, this tried and true paradigm of success in “American Altruism” is about to evaporate into the ethos of television history.

As a person who measures my own personal success in life by how I serve others, I didn’t always have this aspiration to be touched by The Oprah Effect in order to acknowledge my success. (Meaningful work is its own reward.) Even today, I  Oprah and Her Magic Wand wouldn’t dare depend on this phenomenon to define or determine my life, but something happened years ago that gave me hope that there was a possibility that it could help. (Forgive me, but what follows is a little ‘horn-tooting’ and a necessary part of the back story.)

It started in the back of my mind many years ago when I was a high school teacher for at-risk youth. I observed what the lack of recreational opportunities and creative expression was doing to the moral of my skateboarding students. These high-creative students were more inclined towards skateboarding than football. They also needed proper outlets to prevent them from becoming criminals which had become the end result for many kids after years of criminalizing their skateboarding activity. They needed a legal place to skateboard in a county where skateboarding was illegal everywhere!

Isn’t this one of the biggest problems in our society? We criminalize normal behavior and continually pare down the opportunities for healthy physical and creative expression and then we wonder why we end up with so many delinquents!

For myself, the writing was on the skate scuffed wall. This project needed money and support to manifest. Others had failed, but that didn’t discourage me, even though ours was about the 6th effort in 20 years to build a skateboard park. I soon became the fire under the project, taking it on as my baby and volunteering 20-60 hrs./week. I engaged every segment of our county and enlisted the help of hundreds of local children and teens.

We raised money and support through numerous fundraisers. Yet after five long years, I admit I secretly dreamed of getting some press by Oprah to just make this skate park manifest with a wave of her golden wand. I was suffering from burnt-out and the kids were becoming cynical that it would never happen. Since I had been married to the project for about five years, I also wanted my personal life back so I could have a chance at a decent relationship some day, but I wouldn’t rest until the park was a reality.

Then, one day I got a phone call.

The call came on an afternoon following a long and exhausting fundraising weekend. I was worn-out. The phone rang. The person on the other end was not familiar. She was a soft-spoken woman who began asking me questions about the project. She said she was from the Oprah Winfrey Show. I became a little excited and evidently more open than I should have been. I talked about the predicament our children were in and casually slipped in that I was tired. She immediately told me not to share that with anyone who may contact me in the future. Oops!

As the weeks rolled by with no follow-up phone call, I regretted those words over and over again. Did I ruin my chances to get this park built with one untimely statement? Nope, no way could this stop me. I pulled myself out of what was a martyr mentality at the time and plodded ahead. I don’t think I ever told anyone what had been said to put this woman off. After all of our work, I was ashamed that “whining” may have sabotaged our success.

Later that year, luckily I did receive the national Daily Point of Light Award for my volunteer work on the project. This national recognition by a very clever mentor miraculously created a higher level of credibility with our local businesses and civic leaders. It became the “tipping point” that brought out the forces to fund and construct the project. Just at the right time the project was blessed with a construction savvy replacement for me. Chris Drainville would complete the project with her numerous contractor connections. Finally, with construction on its way, I left our little town to reconnect with my daughters who lived about 3 hours away, and to seek out a life partner.

No, we did not have The Oprah Effect to finish this skate park project, but we did need national recognition to encourage forward motion. Recognition creates validation which goes on to change the attitudes of the naysayers, which then creates more support. It is this positive domino effect that all non-profits or worthy service projects desire. Volunteers gain energy from the passion behind their causes and then they find sustenance to endure the challenges ahead when others jump on board to either recognize or help their efforts, much like the power of cheerleading. Meaning beyond self and the support to carry them out are necessary components when material gain is not a motivation.

  Grass Valley Skate Park  Now, it has been about 7 years since all of that transpired. I have had numerous lifetimes of experiences since then, especially in my work with children and teenagers. However, no matter what my future holds, the Grass Valley Skate Park will always be one of the most fulfilling accomplishments of my life beyond my own three children. The lifelong friendships I made, the incredible young people I worked with, and the hope these disenfranchised kids got from seeing this project completed because of the hard work and vision of an entire community are all priceless memories. Every time I return to  Grass Valley, I drive up to the park and silently watch skateboarders of all ages and their parents. I feel a sense of relief that the smaller ones will not have to endure the fate of their predecessors, who were plagued by police and tickets and negativity for skateboarding.

With all of that behind me, I have a confession. In coming out with my first book about the necessary pieces that are missing from our children’s lives today, such as those I   just mentioned, I have ALWAYS envisioned being on The Oprah Show to promote this current project of my own. Her golden wand could help bring   this vital  information  into the hands of  millions of adults; especially people who don’t generally read parenting books like grandparents and caregivers. I believe that engaging the other significant adults in a child’s life is also an important part of any deep and lasting solution to raise the quality of life for our children. 

My mission is to acquire regular donations for this book to pass it on to low-income parenting programs and to bring its preventative information into prisons for fathers and mothers preparing for re-entry into society. Eventually, when it is translated into Spanish, it will be accessible to immigrant communities in the US and Latin American Countries, to help pre-empt the harmful effects of cultural choices that are afflicting  American children. I wrote this book with this mission in mind, to do more beyond Nevada County to positively affect the lives of our children. I wrote it to dispel the myths around raising and caring for children that are promoting a host of very preventable problems.

So, what am I to do without The Oprah Effect? This current book project speaks specifically to the altruistic at heart. Even my aspirations to be on the cover of The New York Times Book Review someday will not necessarily reach the people I want to reach like The Oprah Show will. The Oprah Effect has evolved into the success milestone for the service-based community. It gives us the ability to promote our causes, garner support, and spread our missions beyond our own city borders.

Of course, as in this skateboard park story, there are other means, but what I am concerned about is who will fill the void for so many of us who dream of, visualize, and benefit from The Oprah Effect? (Even if it is just as likely as winning the lottery.) I suppose I still have a year to fulfill my own dream of being blessed by Oprah’s golden wand, but I will not hold my breath. I will plod along as I did before with or without her blessings. Others will also do the same.

However, we as a society DO need someone, somewhere to replace this magical golden wand: Oprah Winfrey, Our Angel of Altruism. We need another entity that reminds the American public on a regular basis that serving others is important, gratifying work and that funding worthy causes is the best use of our money when we are looking towards solutions.

Is Oprah Winfrey’s announcement changing your life or your own paradigm of success in any way? 

Oprah, are you training your replacement? Who will step into your shoes to fill this invaluable role for those who also serve? No matter what the future holds, we thank you for what you have done to elevate service to others above screaming matches!

Oprah Winfrey, you are a true American Hero and we know you aren’t

The Angel of Altruism

The Angel of Altruism

 done; you are just moving on to your next phase.

Thank you, Christina Ivazes

aka Granny Pants

http://thenewphysicsofchildhood.com/

 

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Filed under 1, children, mentor, Oprah, Parenting, prevention, skateboarding, teaching, The New Physics of Childhood, The+Oprah+Effect, volunteer, Writing

Are You A Mentor But Don’t Know It?

We may not realize it, but for those who have little support in their lives, the little things we do to teach someone about life and their personal potential can have a monumental impact on their future and the future of those they impact. Mentoring is not only imparting wisdom to someone who needs it, it is recognizing and validating the potential of the individual, especially when they may not see it in themselves. A few weeks ago I was reminded of how powerful a mentor can be. Since then, I have been reflecting on the people in my life who did little things that changed the course of what could have been:

  • Professor Sheldon Harmatz, high school Science teacher. He always gave me a hard time for missing most of my early morning Science classes for two semesters. Complaining they were too early, I signed up for his late morning Environmental Science class the third semester. Always on time, I became a model student. He reinforced my participation by inviting me to discuss topics over lunch now and then, always professional in every way.  Mr. Harmatz gave me a reason to want to go to school. Years later when I returned to Sunnyvale with my three little girls, I looked him up. He had just had his first baby and was SO thrilled to invite us into his home whereas he played the birth video of his first child while we all ate pizza. Sheldon Harmatz was the only teacher during my spotty primary and secondary education who showed me I was worth the effort. He was the only adult in my childhood who spoke out about the necessity for me to be a responsible participant in my education.  Mr. Harmatz also fostered the lasting passion for environmental responsibility I have carried into every aspect of my life. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDQyoUZB9us&feature=channel_page 

 

  • La Leche League International provided me with mentors that lasted for years as I also learned to mentor other mothers. Being a young mother from a difficult childhood, I needed someone to show me a better way to raise my children, a healthier way to bring up my three daughters. The members of La Leche League did this and more. I learned how to handle the challenges of mothering through loving guidance, which to this day, I believe saved me and my children. They showed me how to do it right, even though there were still many imperfect moments of mothering. I had a new model to aspire to other than my own past conditioning. What I received from LLLI (www.llli.org)  I also went on to share with my own daughters who are now mothers themselves. This healthy foundation became the philosophy for my work with children throughout my entire life.

 

  • Judy Green and Robert Schellenberger introduced me to the exciting potential of biofeedback and non-traditional counseling methods during my first year of college work study. I studied and worked under Judy Green, daughter of Elmer and Alyce Green—the pioneers of biofeedback—while working at Aims Biofeedback Lab in Greeley, Colorado. This synchronistic experience enhanced the important pieces of a program I would later create and implement during my teaching career. Judy’s husband, Professor Schellenberger insisted we learn actual counseling techniques as freshmen, which we did. Today, my family members still benefit from the Gestalt techniques in dream interpretation I learned in that first year of college.

 

  • Jose Montoya—what a rebel! I remember how impressive it was to find out that his book of poetry was actually banned from the CSUS library in the 70’s, the very same university this Poet Laureate was teaching at when I took his class,  Art and The Child. Jose introduced me to Rudolfo Anaya, Caesar Chavez, and active Chicano role models like himself working to improve the lives of immigrants and their children in the U.S. During class, Jose taught us to understand what it was like to be a creative being in a learning environment. Comprehending the purity and necessity of the creative process, I recalled the events from childhood that had stifled much of my own creativity. I promised to help encourage this in all of my future students, a promise I still strive to carry out today.  Compassionate activism for the Latino struggle in the U.S. has also become one of my torches thanks to Jose Montoya.

 

  • Doctor Ennis McDaniel gave me the confidence and guidance to become a biofeedback intern and stress management teacher. His phenomenal skills crafted my training, allowing me to find my own style and ability to empower others in their self-awareness and healing. His mentoring gave me the confidence to design innovative biofeedback and relaxation techniques which I utilized to help hundreds of at-risk students. Though Ennis is no longer with us, memories of his wise and gentle spirit continue on.

 

  • Dan Retuta taught me hypnotherapy, intuitive healing, and that healing ourselves was primary before we could be authentic when helping others. His warm guidance, support of my personal process, and complete professionalism gave me a new level of self-worth. I went on to extend this wisdom to my classes where I used these techniques to help students find their own self-worth and inner peace.

 

  • Maria del Rosario Casanova al Caraz is one of the most poignant mentors in my life. She is the grandmother of my goddaughter Alondra in Manzanillo, Colima-Mexico. The mother of ten children, today Rosario is 74. Not only does she make the spiritual trek, walking on foot and camping for 7 days every year to make the pilgrimage up to Il Talpa, she is the most gentle, humble, loving, maternal person I have ever met. The nuances of motherhood and grandmotherhood she has displayed in the twenty something years I have known her are so numerous, gracious, and profound, I will not list them here, save this one. I always feel warmth when I remember they way she showed me how to wash beans. Yes, beans! For about 3-5 minutes, she gently caressed the beans while swishing them in a bowl of fresh water from the pila. This, she said, takes away the gas. No need to boil or soak overnight. The love and care she put into washing those beans for those few minutes was one of the most tender and memorable gestures towards providing nourishment for a family, proving that what we think while we work for our loved ones effects the outcome. Her children and grandchildren have the utmost endearing respect and love for Rosario. I don’t believe I will ever reach her grace and humility, but through her actions and most importantly, her non-reactions, I understand how simple flowing acts of love make life much more harmonious for all mankind.

 

  • Earle J. Conway, former principal of Sierra Mountain High School in Grass Valley, California gave me permission to introduce my programs to his students. His confidence and trust in me—like a supportive parent—allowed me to flourish in my teaching career at this school for over five years. I was given space and the freedom to create a variety of innovative programs for the school’s at-risk students. These programs offered refuge and coping skills, but could not have been possible without Earle’s continual support. At times, those in charge are so threatened by changes that they look past solutions. Earle was a leader who saw the potential in every staff member and gave them the freedom to find what worked best, which brought out the best in everyone, staff and students alike.

 

  • Finally, though there are so many more mentors in my life—like my aunt, my uncle, and my grandmother, I will end this train of thought with one of the most spectacular non-family mentors I was blessed to have known: Robert B. Choate, Jr. whom I knew as Bob. The most interesting thing about Bob is though he died May 3rd of this year at 84 years old and since I last saw him about 1 1/2 years ago, his mentoring continues. We first met in Nevada City. I was running a community meeting to boost support for a skatepark project I had been working on for about five years at that time. Captivated by the cause, Bob stepped in to become a part of our BOD, bringing much needed political savvy to the project. Knowing the power of the media and feeling impressed by my dedication to this youth driven project, Bob went on to nominate me for a Daily Point of Light Award, which I did receive on September 17, 1998. Bob’s national clout (I am only just realizing from the wealth of history in his obituaries this past month) gave us the boost we needed to finally bring our project to completion. (I am now studying how to approach a future campaign of mine from the blueprint of his successful campaign against the junk food industry in the 70’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_B._Choate,_Jr. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/13/us/13choate.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=robert%20choate&st=cse. Who would have known that an outcast fifteen year-old sitting on that park bench at Fair Oaks Park in Sunnyvale, cutting classes with no hope, no goals, no support for a future, would receive a national award of distinction by a major player like this someday! Bob’s recognition was the ultimate message of what I was capable of and what I had yet to do. Though a book could be written on what Bob taught me in the few years we interacted, there is a particular statement he made to me one day that has inspired me to think bigger regarding the potential I had to help others. He told me, “Christina, you are just a big fish in a small pond”. That statement set me free! It became the impetus to think of my life’s work beyond the borders of Nevada County.

 

Every one of us has our own mentors, and I have used actual names to recognize the positive impact of my own. The little things we do, the things we say to remind others of their worth and their potential do matter. Words can be as inspiring to the human spirit as they can be inhibiting. To all of the people who are mentors and may not know it, thank you, because what you say and do has unforeseen impacts! You shape our lives, our direction, our self-concepts. Mentoring is the gift that really does keep on giving, like the ripples from a pebble in a pond that often continue further than we realize.  This is also a reminder for us to choose our words carefully, because you just never know!

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Filed under 1, Biofeedback, Breastfeeding, La Leche League, mentor, Parenting, teaching