Newsletters / Weekly Updates

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I want to thank every PacWay household who smiled, waved, and created banners for our neighbourhood drive through parade yesterday afternoon.  Every single staff member came back from that experience with a warm feeling of having made connections with our students and families that we miss so much right now.  Nothing replaces the day to day moments we are privileged to enjoy with our students, but we are going to keep doing the best we can to find creative ways to keep those connections alive and well. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

This year, we have incorporated learning more about the animal kingdom in our morning announcements, connecting our discoveries with virtues.  It is amazing how much the natural world has to teach us, and so many qualities which animals display that can be sources of inspiration as we grow as humans.  So while I can't actually do my announcements for the time being (actually, I could broadcast them over the neighbourhood, but not everyone would appreciate that!), I will make it a goal to contribute something each day in this space.  This week I am focussing on the wonders of bees.  Recently, CBC's The Nature of Things did an episode entitled "A Bee's Diary", which zoomed in on the life of a single bee, through its own eyes.  If you get the chance to watch this episode as a family, I would highly recommend it!  One of the many virtues which bees demonstrate is that of cooperation.  It is remarkable how each bee seems to know its own role in the colony so well, and how they work together to protect and provide for each other.  What a great question for us to ask ourselves; do I understand and embrace my own purpose, and how am I contributing to my family, my school, and my community?  Let's all embrace the spirit of bees and aspire to grow in the virtue of cooperation!

Bee's Diary

Thursday, April 9, 2020

As a child, I didn't really understand what bees were all about.  All I knew is that they had stingers and I had a tendency to get stung often, sometimes due to my own foolishness or recklessness.  Since then, I have come to a new appreciation for this wonderful creature.  After watching the documentary I mentioned above, I now also understand that every bee in the colony has a very specific role to play.  The bee that was featured was a "scout" bee, one whose primary purpose is to discover new sources of food, sometimes flying long distances to the point of exhaustion to provide for the colony.  There are so many virtues I could name to describe the scout bee's behaviour, but one in particular is the virtue of purposefulness.  When we practice this virtue, we are concentrating our minds and efforts so that something good will happen as a result.  Purposeful people don't just let things happen, they make things happen, just like the scout bee, who so many other bees are counting on for their well-being and even survival.  My challenge for students today is, do you have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish?  Do you know why you are doing it?  Let's strive to be purposeful, so that we are not distracted by things that keep us in the right frame of mind.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Some of the most incredible footage from the Nature of Things documentary mentioned above is that of a bee trying to navigate its way through a rain storm.  Raindrops are deadly for bees, and can cause a great deal of damage to their wings and bodies, impeding its ability to fly and weighing it down.  Bees are typically smart enough to stay out of the rain and wait out the bad weather.  One could say they practice the virtue of patience.  I wonder if patience is something that we could all be leaning into a bit more these days, what with restrictions being placed on the activities we are normally able and allowed to do?  Of course, we all want things to go back to normal, but in the meantime, there are opportunities that can be seized.  This weekend, I learned how to bake a special Easter bread that I had grown up with, and I hiked up a mountain that I had being eyeing for several years.  Those are things I would not likely have done had it been a "normal" Easter weekend.  I would encourage our students, while they are waiting out the societal restrictions we are all currently under, to practice patience, and, in the waiting, to seize upon other opportunities, such as learning to cook or bake, learning an instrument, reading that book that you have been wanting to read, and simply being open to the moments that present themselves at this time.  Wouldn't it be awesome to look back on this time and be able to say that you learned or experienced something that could never had happened otherwise?  Be patient, wait, and look for the opportunities.  They are all around us!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Once again, I draw inspiration from bees today.  Did you know that bees are mathematicians?  Yes, they can count!  Studies have shown that honeybees actually have the ability to add (https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/not-only-can-honeybees-count-they-can-also-do-math), which clearly helps them to fulfill their individual roles as members of the colony.  There is no such thing as an unimportant bee, and each bee uses its abilities to contribute to the good of the colony.  

One person who went on to play a very significant role in the history of space exploration is Katherine Johnson.  In the words of Wykepedia, Katherine "was an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights.[1] During her 35-year career at NASA and its predecessor, she earned a reputation for mastering complex manual calculations and helped pioneer the use of computers to perform the tasks. The space agency noted her "historical role as one of the first African-American women to work as a NASA scientist" 

As a little girl, Katherine loved to count.  She counted everything!  Clearly, the experiences and inbuilt desires that were formed in her childhood played a major role in her becoming a renowned and respected mathematician who contributed so much to her country, just as bees to their colonies.  What does that mean for us?  Each of us has an important role to play, in our families, school community, and society.  There are opportunities around each child, even now, to learn and grow.  Childhood experiences are important building blocks for adulthood, even walking around your home or neighbourhood and counting!  The other day, I went for a hike by Kamloops Lake and took a few moments to count the number of cars in the train that was rumbling by on the opposite shore of the lake.  That particular train had 114 cars, and the process of watching and intently focusing on that train was a delightful moment in my afternoon.  Look for moments like that today...they will come.  You can count on it!

 Thursday, April 16, 2020

Bees really stick up for each other.  When an enemy like a wasp or a hornet threatens the colony, they will quickly mobilize a collective defensive shield that serves to protect the hive and the queen.  There is no hesitation, no standing back and saying "You first", no bee afraid to be on the front line of the attack.  You might just say that bees have each others' backs!

The virtues of caring and courage stand out in this aspect of bee behaviour.  When we are caring people, we help others feel less alone, and others come to trust us when they see that we are consistently there for them, willing to help, listen and invest our time and our hearts on their behalf.  Every day brings us opportunities to rise up and demonstrate care, even when we are practicing social distancing!

Bees protecting the hive

Friday, April 17, 2020

One more entry on bees, since they seem to be limitless sources of inspiration!  Next time you are tempted to use the phrase, "I forgot" as an excuse, keep in mind that bees, possessing brains exponentially smaller than humans, are very good at remembering.  They will fly as far as 12 kilometres to collect pollen or nectar, and using their innate sense of direction, their ability to learn and calculate via the angle of the suns' rays, as well as their communication with other bees who "waggle dance" instructions to them regarding the whereabouts of the flowers they are seeking, they always find their way back to the hive.  Their survival and the well-being of their colony depends upon it.  And don't ever minimize the importance of bees in our world either.  There are scientific estimates which say that without bee pollination, human beings would only be able to survive for four years.  I am very thankful that bees have the ability to remember!

It is one thing to be amazed at what bees are able to do, but quite another to look at our own abilities.  You could ask yourself the question, "How important is it for me to remember things?".  The answer, of course, should be SUPER IMPORTANT!  Human beings have the capacity to store and remember a ton of information, and we can train our minds to become increasingly efficient in this process.  My challenge and encouragement to you, students, is to make a commitment to overcoming the obstacles in your own minds, and keep telling yourself that you are smart, capable, and able to learn a whole lot more than you ever dreamed of.  Instead of making excuses, spread some honey on your toast and remember the amazing bee, who uses every ounce of its mental capacity to grow, learn, and contribute.  Bee the best you can bee!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Yesterday evening, I was out on the shore of Kamloops Lake enjoying a wiener roast and a the beautiful sights and sounds of spring, including pelicans, loons, and robins, when suddenly I heard a distinctive sound that one hears around this time every April, if you are in the right place at the right time.  It's sort of a combination of cooing and bugling, and it originates thousands of feet in the sky, from a swirling mass of hundreds of birds known as sandhill cranes.  It's always hard to spot them at first, but if you look long enough at the source of the bugling, you will eventually focus in on this amazing flock of birds that migrate north at this time every year.  As I observed them last night, I couldn't help thinking that they really seemed to be enjoying themselves, as the flock seemingly swirled and circled as if one gigantic wave all over the sky.  There seemed no rhyme or reason to their flying pattern, only that every singly bird was caught up in the dance.  It made my heart sing as my eyes squinted in celebration with them on their northward journey.

Could it be that the sandhill cranes were practicing the virtue of joyfulness?  Whether they were or not, they certainly brought a sense of joy to me!  My encouragement to you today is to enjoy whatever you are doing, appreciating the gifts in your life and in yourself.  Find creative ways to enjoy your time, and be open to experience the marvels and wonders of the natural world, as I did yesterday.  Who knows, you might even see another flock of cranes doing their own celebratory dance in the sky today, just for you!

 cranes

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Sometimes it is just really hard to be patient!  These days, there are a lot of things that we are being told we cannot do, things that we have always enjoyed and perhaps taken for granted.  For me, after 32 years of being an educator, it is really strange to have an empty school building, and I am looking forward to having it filled with children again, along with all of the adults who I love to work with.  But right now, we are in a holding pattern, and being told that we have to wait.  And waiting can be extremely hard, even at the best of times.  Everything takes longer these days, even going to the grocery store, I have to wait in a long line-up just to get inside.  So I have to keep reminding myself to relax and be patient.  Learning to be more patient has actually been a really good thing for me!  Even as I stand in line, instead of getting irritated by the long wait, I am choosing instead to relax, accept my circumstances, and let myself simply be present in the moment.  I am taking time to notice and observe what's around me and choosing to think thoughts of gratitude.  As I do so, I can just feel all the tension and irritation leaving me!

So where does the sandhill crane come into this?  Simply that sandhill cranes may well be one of the most patient creatures on the planet.  After their eggs are laid, the females and males take turns incubating them, sitting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for a whole month, waiting for those eggs to hatch.  Talk about dedication and patience!  Perhaps we aren't being allowed to have some of the same opportunities we are used to having, but we aren't confined to the same spot for days on end either.  The sandhill crane parents will be richly rewarded for their patience when their babies are hatched, and shortly after, follow their parents to walk off into the world.  There are rewards for us as well, as we learn to enjoy the opportunities that we still do have, and perhaps new experiences that we would not have had if life had been "normal".  And what a reward it will be when we are once again allowed to return to school and life as we know it?  I believe we will appreciate these things far more than we ever have before, and that is something worth looking forward to indeed!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Sandhill cranes are very skilled, soaring birds.  Because they fly at such great heights, and have such a large wingspan, they can stay aloft for many hours, expending very little energy as the wind allows them to only flap their wings occasionally.  These birds were meant to soar!

My take-away from the cranes this morning is simply this:  these are birds that put into practice their natural gifts and talents.  They are not afraid to take flight and soar, and they are confident in their ability to feel and navigate the wind patterns.  Each of us is wired to soar in different ways.  Rather than let fear, worry or anxiety stop us from doing what is engrained in us, let's look for ways to cultivate our interests and abilities, without comparing ourselves to others, who are wired differently from us.  Practicing the virtue of confidence, we discover our talents, learn from our mistakes, set ourselves free from worry and go forward with a positive, grateful attitude.  When we do this, we are unstoppable!

Friday, April 24, 2020

For the past several weeks now, I have gotten into the practice of having gratitude talks with my wife.  We do this on a nearly daily basis, and just start taking turns by naming the things we are grateful for.  Sometimes these talks start slowly, because I don't always FEEL grateful, but the more I start identifying simply things, the more grateful I begin to feel!  I would encourage you to try it too, as this simple practice can totally reorient the way your mindset and the way you are approaching or responding to the world around you. 

So I take one more look at the sandhill cranes today, focusing in on their voices.  Here is one description of them found in an online nature blog:

Sandhill cranes are a magnificent sight, whether flying overhead or congregating in prairies and fields, but we often realize the birds are nearby because we hear them before we see them.

The loud, trumpeting call that is one of the hallmarks of the sandhill crane is owed to its anatomy. The birds have long tracheas coiled in their sternums, which creates a call with a low, rich pitch.

If you do get a chance to hear them over the next little while, listen carefully and enjoy.  I am sure it would be quite a racket if you actually had a chance to fly in their midst!  I can just imagine them having their own gratitude "calls" with each other, thankful for their strong wings, their cohesive groups, and the incredible scenery that stretches out below them on their annual migration north.  I am grateful for this marvelous creature, one of the many scores of beautiful birds that we are privileged to enjoy.  In fact, take some time to listen to the bird calls in our neighbourhood this weekend, and see how many different ones you can identify!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Today, instead of featuring another inspiring creature from our animal kingdom, I wanted to share with you a story that I think has an especially meaningful message at this moment in time.  In order to do so, I have created a YouTube video which includes me reading the story aloud and sharing some of my own thoughts and treasures with the students of Pacific Way, who I dearly miss these days.  Here is the link:

https://youtu.be/LDSvBMnKSEw

Treasure

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

One creature I have seen a lot of these days are white-tailed deer.  On my most recent hike into the mountains, there was a group of seven of these beautiful, gentle creatures calmly munching on some of the hillside vegetation, all the while keeping a sharp eye out for any sudden movement on my part.  Of course, I was not able to approach too closely, but neither did they bound away completely as I drew nearer, rather only moving a bit further up the mountain slope, maintaining a safe distance where they could still keep an eye out and enjoy their breakfast at the same time! 

One adjective often associated with deer is the word, gentle.  Deer, as a spirit animal, teach us to use the power of gentleness to touch the hearts and minds of wounded beings.  in the book of virtues, gentleness is defined as acting and speaking in a kind, considerate way, using self-control, in order not to hurt or offend anyone.  Gentleness with each other is always important, as practicing it builds trust and strengthens bonds.  Particularly in this time where people may feel more irritable due to their difficult circumstances, it is especially the case that we remember that peoples' feelings (including our own!) are the most fragile and delicate of all things.  It actually starts with the way we think, and people can actually see it in our eyes, and feel safe around us.  Let's be thankful for these wonderful, gentle creatures that roam the hills and forests around us, and let them serve as a reminder to welcome the spirit of gentleness into our hearts and homes, and our school community!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Did you know that deer are the only group of animals in the world that have antlers?  The male deer, know as a buck, starts to grow a new set of antlers each year, around this time, and they keep on growing until the end of summer.  Their main purposes are for attracting female deer and for defending themselves against other deer and predators.  These antlers start to deteriorate in the fall and by the end of winter they are gone, only to grow again in the new season of spring! 

This is one of the many wonders of our natural world, but would it awakens in me today is the fact that each species in the animal kingdom has something incredibly unique about it, something that other animals don't have.  In many ways, this is just like being a human.  Each of us is so specialized and unique, and we all possess a mix of talents and abilities that no one else on earth has.  Sometimes it is very easy to wish that we were like someone else, or we compare ourselves to others and come up second best.  Sometimes we even envy others for their talents and accomplishments and start to wallow in self-pity, asking that dreaded question, "What about me?".  My encouragement to you today would be to celebrate the unique and special person that you are.  Don't try to be like others, but instead, grow in your own confidence and in the areas where you feel passionate about, whether that be art, sports, music, cooking, building, mechanics, or any one of a million interests and gifts that are present in human beings.  No one says it better than Dr. Seuss...

seuss

Monday, May 4, 2020

This week, our featured animal will be cats.  What cats, you ask?  Well, I just happen to have two of them at home.  Their names are Ziggy, a three year old short haired orange cat, and Lucy, a two year old long haired black and white cat.  Plus, earlier in the school year we talked about how dogs inspire us, so now it's the cats' turn! 

So yes, our cats are a regular source of joy and inspiration for my wife and I.  They provide many  moments of comic relief, and just as many delightful moments of affection.  As for inspiration, well, there are quite a few things I could say.  A few years ago, CBC's The Nature of Things, did a documentary on cats, entitled, "The Lion in the Living Room."  It was a real eye opener for me, providing insight into the feline world.  However, for today, I will simply say that one thing I appreciate and admire about cats is their ability to simply take time to notice things.  Both Ziggy and Lucy will sit for hours at a time, seemingly staring intently at the world around them, often perched in a window and observing the outside world, which they don't get to participate in.  I would like to think that they are actually taking the time to absorb every detail in their surroundings, and appreciating the sights and sounds.  It's something that I am trying to do more of these days, staying in the moment and appreciating my environment.  In this distracted world of ours, it seems that so many folks can't even go a few seconds of waiting in place without pulling out their cell phone to check on the latest email, text, or post.  I don't want to be like that, and I don't want to miss out on the what is happening right in front of me either!  Let's try to be more like cats, shake off all distractions, and take notice of the world around us.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

If you own a cat, then you know that one of the happiest sounds coming from them is that low rumble known as a purr.  I love it when my cats are purring, because I know that they are completely content and enjoying the moment.  There is no anxiety about what happened yesterday, no worries about what could happen tomorrow, only now, this moment, lingering in under the pets of my owners or simply stretching out in a piece of warm sunshine on the living room floor.  There is actually some research which indicates that cats purr around a frequency of 26 Hertz, which is apparently a range promoting tissue regeneration and bone healing properties.  Clearly, purring is a very wonderful component of a cat's life!

One could say that cats inspire us to practice mindfulness.  One definition of mindfulness is it takes place when our thoughts tune into what we're sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.  I think we are much better positioned to learn when we are mindful.  The ability to focus completely on the task at hand, resisting distractions purposely, and allowing ourselves time and space to think without pressure - that is a very good space to be in!  Recently I purchased an accordion, an instrument that I have always wanted to learn.  My grandfather played the accordion, as did my father, and every time I hear someone playing it, my heart starts to sing, just as a cat would purr!  Lately, each day I have set aside two blocks of fifteen minutes each for the sole purpose of practicing this beautiful instrument.  Those uninterrupted moments are some of the best parts of my day.  And how gratifying it is to be feel myself gaining confidence and skill, a little bit more each time I pick it up.  A little bit of purring each day goes a long way!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

A couple of years ago, when our cat, Ziggy, was just a year old, we noticed that he was starting to get fat and sluggish.  He had lost some of his playfulness and joy, and we were getting concerned about him.  That's when we started to think about the possibility of giving him a companion.  Since my wife and I are gone for long hours each day, Ziggy was spending most of his time alone, and our thinking was that having another cat around might just help restore his zest for life.  It turns out we were totally on point with that line of thinking!  After the initial shock of introducing him to our new furry little kitten named Lucy, the two of them became fast friends, and soon Ziggy was back to racing around the house, the extra fat was gone, and there was a new sparkle in his life.  Lucy's strong personality proved to be a lot to handle at times,  and the two of them definitely seek out their own spaces, but it is so much fun to watch them tumble and tussle together, or even just stretch out and nap next to each other.  Two cats is definitely better than one!

My experience with cats makes me think about the importance of having friends, and being a friend.  Friends definitely add a sparkle to our lives, even though at time times the give and take can be taxing.  Good friendships don't just happen automatically either.  As Peggy Jenkins once said, "The best way to have a friend is to be one."  Practicing the virtue of friendliness is one of the best ways to be connected to others, and that means being intentional about being friendly.  Smiling at others, expressing joy in their presence, being yourself, practicing active listening, showing care and interest in others, these are all ingredients of of someone who practices the virtue of friendliness.  Each of us needs friends, and each of us is worthy of being a good friend to others as well.  Reaching out to others can be risky at times, but it is worth it.  Just ask my cat, Ziggy!

cats

 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

If you are a cat owner, there is a good chance that you may have asked yourself the same question I have numerous times over the years: "How in the world did he get through/into/out of/ that?"  The mystery may be solved in the cat's remarkable anatomy.  Unlike human arms, cat forelimbs are attached to the shoulder by free-floating clavicle bones, which allows them to pass their body through any space into which they can fit their heads.  Don't ever try that as a human.  You might up end like I did once as a child, when, while doing the chores in our barn, stuck my head in one of the stansions.  It went in easily enough, but I panicked the moment I realized I couldn't slip out of it! 

So cats have this amazing ability to squeeze themselves into places that no other creature could possibly do.  Perhaps it is their curious nature that drives them to press their miracle clavicles into action,or perhaps it is their determination to explore what has never been explored before!  Regardless, both of these are inspiring virtues for us to take notice of.  Sticking with the virtue of determination, cats don't give up easily when presented with a challenge, and neither should we.  We should not let our fears or doubts get in the way of accepting difficult challenges, because we do things that matter in the world.  With determination, we use our will power to make things happen, even when facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  Remember the cat, flex those inner clavicles, and stay on track with your goals and challenges!

Friday, May 8, 2020

If my cats could talk, I have a feeling that they would express their thankfulness for how well my wife and I take care of them.  All of their needs are well-provided for, including good food, three cat trees for perching on, daily litter box clean-ups, laps to sit on, brushes to comb out their mats, and bright windows for them to gaze out at the world around them.  I think they are very happy kitty cats!  When I was a boy growing up on a farm, I was surrounded by barn cats.  There were usually two dozen or more cats at various stages of life, lounging in the hayloft, hunting mice, and enjoying the freedom of farm life, which also came with its perils.  One thing our barn cats could always count on was my mom coming out every morning, her beautiful, melodic voice summoning them along with her wooden spoon beating the pot  of left-over oatmeal or cream of wheat.  I never could figure what those cats saw in that old porridge, but they always licked the bowl clean. 

Our cats count on us to minister to their needs, to be caring and reliable.  Practicing the virtue of reliability is not only important in how we take care of our beasts, but equally important in our relationships with family, friends, and in our community.  When you are reliable, people can trust you to show up on time, be where you promised to be, to put tools away, and to get the job done.  My challenge to all today is to make it a priority to make promises you can keep and treat your agreements seriously.  Not only will your pets appreciate you, but the people who love and care about you will grow in their trust of you.  Gaining a reputation for being a reliable person is a great honour, one we should all aspire to.  Make a habit of taking care of all of the little things in life, even scooping out those clumps in your cat's litter box, and you will be well-positioned for much bigger responsibilities each step of the way!

Monday, May 11, 2020

This past weekend, I noticed a lot of flying ants landing in our backyard.  It seems to be annual pilgrimage of sorts.  They come in droves, hang out for a few days, then leave just as suddenly as they arrived.  I also happened to notice a woodpecker, one of my favourite birds, and, upon some light research, learned that a woodpecker can eat thousands of ants in a day.  I don't believe it was any coincidence, seeing both of these creatures on the same day. 

Woodpeckers are very determined birds, and will literally drill its way through concrete to get to a tasty nest of ants or other insects.  With practice, a woodpecker becomes very skilled at discovering and capturing these tasty, nutrient rich treats.  It reminds me of a simple phrase I grew up with, "practice makes perfect.".  Of course, the practice I did reluctantly, particularly piano lessons, did not ever yield anything remotely perfect, but it did position me to get off to a good start learning to play the accordion much later in life.  What I did love to practice, however, was stickhandling.  One of my favourite hockey players growing up was Pete Mahovlich of the Montreal Canadiens, who was simply a magician with the puck.  I spent ours on outdoor rinks, my driveway, and in the old Chillliwack Coliseum, when the opportunity presented itself, stickhandling through, around, and between real and imaginary opponents.  Naturally, I got to be pretty adept at it, and it gave me a lot of enjoyment over my years in minor hockey and pickup games later on. 

For students, I would encourage you to take delight in the activities you enjoy, and keep practicing those skills, whatever the activity may be.  Sometimes that practice will result in a successful accomplishment, as the woodpeckers rely on their practice for survival, but sometimes it will simply yield the satisfaction of an activity that brings you fun and joy, whether it be sports, music, art, construction, or any number of things.  And don't worry about perfection, either.  The world wants to tell us to be amazing at everything, but you really want to find joy and purpose in the things you do.  Keep that at the forefront!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the woodpecker is the length of its tongue.  The green woodpecker has a tongue measuring 10 cm long, which accounts for over a third of the length of its entire body.  That tongue comes in super handy when probing for ants, but what to do with it when not in use?  Well, nature has come up with a great solution!  The woodpecker's tongue is actually wrapped around the inside of its skull, which also acts as an extra layer of protection when this incredible bird is pecking away at a tree or a wall to get at its next meal.  Imagine the potential headaches?  That tongue buffers the woodpecker's brain, and then serves the purpose of probing deep within bark of a tree to find that super tasty batch of ants.  Isn't that amazing?

There are a lot of places I could go with this, but the one I am thinking of today comes in the form of us as humans sometimes needing to stick our necks out a little bit, just like the woodpecker does with its tongue.  Fear can really hold us back from experiencing life to the full.  Fear of failure, fear of disapproval, fear of comparison, so many fears act as obstacles to keep us in our places.  Learning can be like that.  Sometimes students will simply "shut down" when faced with something perplexity, and that starts to form an unhealthy pattern in their brains which can stunt their growth for years to come.  Yes, it can be risky to try things that you are almost certain to fail  in or make mistakes at, but the thrill of overcoming and learning through the process is worth the effort.  If a woodpecker spent all of its life with its tongue permanently wrapped around its brain, it would certainly be protected, but it would also starve to death.  Let's take a lesson from this special bird, and look for opportunities to learn and grown, even if they are kind of scary to begin with.  Like ants to the woodpecker, unspoken treasures await us when we do!

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