Lessons in Recovery

It’s been four weeks since surgery to repair my Osteo Chondral Defect – a broken left ankle and torn ligaments. Recovery hasn’t been easy, but it hasn’t been as difficult as it could have been. I’ve learned some lessons during the past month. All of them can be applied to principles of leadership.

  1. A systematic problem-solving approach is necessary
  2. You will encounter roadblocks when you least expect it
  3. Taking a break is as important as staying productive
  4. You can empower the outcome

A systematic problem-solving approach is necessary

A few days after surgery I was given the okay to shower. Wait…my shower is a bathtub. I’m not going to be able to step into the tub when I only have one working leg. Even if I could get in with one foot, I can’t stand on that one foot the entire shower without risking a fall.

After trying to shower by sitting on the side of the tub, I realized there had to be another option. Thankfully, my sweet husband brought home a shower chair he’d purchased. Now I could easily get in and out. He also put a stool in the tub that doubled as both a foot rest, and a place to put the shampoo, cleanser, and soap. The challenge of simply showering became far less troublesome.

My shower set-up

The second problem to become quickly apparent was leaving the house and getting into the car. Thankfully my right ankle allowed me to drive just fine, but getting to that point was a cardio workout.

I came up with a step-by step system which decreased much of the stress.

Step one was to get out the door with everything I needed.

My view from front door to my goal – the car. Those two steps are what I tripped on and caused the injury in the first place. Whenever I’d have to go somewhere, I’d have to take the scooter and crutches.

Step two was to get the scooter down the steps and waiting for me

Once the scooter was pushed down the stairs, it would run into the back of the car and stop

Step three was to heft the scooter into the back of my van while standing on one leg

I’d used the crutches to get down the stairs, then on one foot I’d heft the scooter into the back of the van. It fit quite nicely.

Step four is to get from the back of the car to the drivers seat on one leg

The side door of the van was opened, and the crutches were placed behind my seat. Then I could hop to the drivers seat.

All steps were reversed when I got to my destination or back home

You will encounter roadblocks when you least expect it.

Two days after surgery I got into the car (practicing the above process), and drove to Issaquah to teach a 4:20 class at an office park in the conference room on the building’s second floor. Upon arriving, I parked near the side door, which is where the handicapped parking is marked.

I quickly noticed a problem. There was a sign on that door which read: “Entrance closed, please use front door.”

Knowing there were steps up to the front door, I began to make my plan as I scootered around the corner. Yep. I was going to have to get myself and the scooter up 3 concrete steps in order to get into the building.

Seeing no one around, I had no choice but to do this alone. Thankfully there was at least a banister I could grasp with my right hand while carrying my teaching supplies. Doing so, I hopped one step at a time while I dragged the scooter behind me with my left hand. If I let go of the scooter, it would roll back down the steps, and I would truly be stranded. There are so many parts of this process which could have gone awry, but they didn’t. I made it to the top with scooter and supplies. I was exhausted, but empowered.

After the class was over, there were parents of my students available to help me down the stairs with scooter and supplies. I’m thankful for moms and dads!

Two weeks after this incident, I discovered the elevator in the same building out of order. I got into the building just fine, but now couldn’t get to the second floor to teach my class. By this point, I was wearing a boot and using a crutch to get around instead of the scooter.

A student found me stranded and carried my bag of supplies up the stairs for me. I took each step very slow with my boot and crutch. With labored breath and perspiration pouring down my face, I may have given the receptionist a piece of my frustrated mind. Her lack of empathy and responsibility made me even angrier. Customer service is dead.

I had to get myself down the stairs after the class in time to get to another class starting 20 minutes from then in a location 20 minutes away. Maybe I should have taken some time off, but hey I made it work.

Roadblocks, shmoadblocks…I knocked ‘em down instead of allowing them to knock me out.

Taking a break is as important as staying productive.

A week had passed since surgery, and I posted pictures of my foot on Facebook. Facebook physicians began to diagnose all sorts of horrible conditions: infection, cellulitis, gangrene, etc. I admit it wasn’t pretty. My foot was extremely red and swollen.

At the insistence of several “commenters” I emailed the surgeons office with pictures of my foot. Should I come in? Is my foot going to fall off? What if a blood clot kills me instantly?

“Are you resting?”

“No.”

“Are you icing your foot?”

“Yes, but only about once a day.”

“Are you elevating it?”

“Not really.”

The physician’s assistant chastised me kindly, and told me I needed to take care of my health. She was confident it wasn’t infected, but that the blood was pooling in my foot because I wasn’t elevating it, nor acting on the other instructions I’d been given.

Alright, alright. I took her instructions to heart and took the day “off”. I didn’t attend a meeting that evening and sent my regrets. My foot looked much better by the next morning. I realized I had been trying to maintain my regular schedule while my foot needed that expended energy elsewhere –  to heal.

Sometimes “pro”ductivity, may actually be “con”ductivity. I learned there is always a good, better, and best option to every choice. I was making a good choice to stay on top of work, but I was not making the best choice to take care of my health.

You can empower the outcome

Nine days after surgery
One day shy of two weeks post surgery I had the stitches removed
I was doing so well at 13 days post surgery, I was given the boot!

Preparation is key to making any outcome successful. Prior to the surgery I’d been working out, eating right, and generally taking care of my health. I believe those actions bolstered the healing process.

Oh, I’ve taken a few steps backward in my muscle building endeavors, but I hope my body’s cell memory will be recalled quickly, allowing me to strengthen my legs again with weights and cardio. My dogs have been sad but patient without their daily walk.

It will take time to get back to where I was, but at least I’m not starting at ground zero. Maybe ground six?

Four weeks after surgery
Four weeks after surgery. I was told I no longer needed the boot, and could walk without any assistance.

My injury was an Osteo Chondral Defect (OCD). OCD also means Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I’m sure I obsessed about the tasks I wasn’t getting done; which drove me to compulsive actions to prevent disorder in my home and work life. Remember, I’m not a patient person. However, I’m grateful this chapter is coming to a close.

Patience is A Virtue (so they say)

I will admit before going much farther that I get frustrated easily. I try to be efficient with my time; and when out-of-my-control events happen, frustration is always brewing underneath my calm exterior. Having to recuperate from surgery is high on the list of brewing frustration.

Aaarrgghh!

I never thought much about having two legs. Now that I’m without one leg temporarily, I feel amiss at not recognizing the value of “standing on my own two feet.”

Anyone reading this who has been without a leg or limb a large part, or most of his/her life, I don’t mean to offend you in my recent epiphany, but to honor you for your patience in what is surely a frustrating situation.

Even before “the day after surgery” dawned, I had to travel to and from the bathroom two times in the darkness of night. I used my scooter, which squeaked and moaned, and had to be backed up, turned, and navigated in my groggy, half-awake state.

Seriously?

It was difficult to keep my leg propped up on a pillow all night, but I didn’t have pain, and that makes all the other frustrations acceptable.

I had an appointment with Dr. Badger’s physician’s assistant at 11:00 AM. I had to drive myself there. But even more difficult than that, was getting out of the house and into the car. That however, was still easier than getting out of the car and back into the house. There is definitely going to be a lot of right-leg hopping in my future.

Amanda, Dr. Badger’s PA removed the splint and revealed my frankenfoot underneath.

Yikes!

A removable splint was put on my foot, and I was told I could remove it for showering and/or applying ice. My ankle is pretty ugly, and was quickly covered up with surgical tape and a plastic cover which I am asked not to remove. I can shower, but not bathe. No soaking of the foot.

Later this same afternoon, I had to teach a class in Sammamish. It was hard enough to just get in and out of the house earlier in the day, but now I had to take teaching supplies with me. Whew, what a workout. I was seriously sweating when I finally, yet safely, made it into the car.

You’re Going to Feel Woozy

The picture above is the way my foot has looked for the past several months. It’s obvious the left ankle is swollen due to an OCD lesion injury. (Osteochondral Defect)

The day of surgery arrived, May 8, 2019. I checked in at the surgical center by 10:30 am, having eaten nothing since midnight before. No water either.

After spelling and saying my name and birth date several times, I changed into a hospital gown and waited. I was given a sharpie pen and asked to write “yes” on the injured ankle and “no” on the healthy one. When Dr. Badger came in to see me before surgery, he actually signed his name on the injured leg.

I met the anesthesiologist to learn the drugs they would be using. Propofol, Fentanyl, and some gases. I wouldn’t be intubated completely, but would have a mask on my face the whole time.

When I was taken into surgery, I laid down on a hard table. Then, they put a warm blanket on me. Ahhhh…..That is the best part.

The mask smelled horrible, like a harsh chemical, and I felt slightly claustrophobic breathing into it.

“We’re administering the Propofol now. It may burn in your arm for a second…”

A few seconds later….

“Jackie, you’re all done. Can you wiggle your toes?”

Sipping some water, I noticed my throat was dry, and felt a little rough. I was so thirsty. No matter how much I drank, my mouth remained dry.

Dr. Badger came in to explain the lesion was much larger than expected, but that everything was fixed now and should heal nicely.

I don’t remember the IV coming out, but I was dressed and ready to leave the surgery center by 2:30. My foot was wrapped in a splint I would not be allowed to remove until my appointment the next day.

I wasn’t in any pain all day, and into the evening. I tried keeping my foot propped up and iced as much as possible.

I realized very quickly using the scooter and crutches I’d borrowed were going to be a real drag.

The Injured Can’t Be Choosy

In my previous post I told you about an ankle injury I sustained when saving a child from a burning building.

Okay….not. I did something slightly less heroic to cause my ankle injury – I stepped off my front porch and rolled my ankle.

It is true that for several months I waited for it to heal, and it never did.

I finally saw an orthopedic surgeon – a family friend – Dr. David Badger. He has done surgery on my husband and my son. When I saw him on April 9th, 2018 I fully expected he’d want an x-ray. I was right.

Dr. Badger noticed there was fluid around my ankle. The x-ray didn’t show a break, however Dr. Badger thought my pain could be caused by a small broken bone on the back of the ankle, which is not always visible in an x-ray. He was certain the ligaments were problematic.

Dr. Badger suggested the next step was an MRI to more clearly show the full injury.

A week later the MRI was completed and I heard the diagnosis.

“Your foot is bad, really bad. I’m actually surprised.”

I was diagnosed with an Osteochondral Defect (OCD), and torn ligaments. Dr. Badger explained that when I stepped off that porch and landed strangely on my left ankle, I broke both cartilage and bone in the joint where leg bone meets foot bone. (Tibia and Talus).

Sounds like a jazz duet doesn’t it? Tibia and Talus.

Secondly, the ligaments were torn and would not heal back without SURGERY. Yes, he said the word: SURGERY.

Oh, man. I didn’t want surgery. I hate drugs and the way I feel under their influence. I worried about the down time – which I can’t afford to take, not to mention the worry of being a klutzy person on crutches. Not a happy thought.

Nevertheless, I was scheduled for surgery on May 8th. I was told I’d be in a splint for three weeks and would NOT be allowed to put any weight on my ankle during that time. After three weeks with the splint, I might wear a boot for another three weeks.

Delightful!

The First Step is a Doozey

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018. The day it happened. My husband and I had been hosting “Christmas Camp” with our four grandchildren. This was the day we’d planned to take them to the snow in Easton. Our son lives there. He and his wife were looking forward to seeing their nieces and nephews.

As grandpa (Bub) kept the kids occupied with playing a game, I was doing what grandma’s do – packing up the car for the one hour trip. I had an arm load of coats, ski pants, blankets, etc. and headed out for the umpteenth time to the car in the driveway.

Without seeing the step, I must have miscalculated the distance, and with my left foot stepped onto what I thought was the first step. Only, it was the second step. My foot landed harder than I was ready for, and my ankle didn’t like it.

My foot rolled inward, and I stumbled down the driveway. Thank goodness the minivan was backed in, and not far away. If it had not been there to break my fall, I would have gone all the way down.

The pain was instant. I could barely breathe. I probably cursed out loud, although I can’t be sure if I only thought about doing so.

After taking a moment to catch my breath, I placed the coats (still in my arms) into the car. I limped painfully back into the house.

“I twisted my ankle” was the only description which came to mind.

I had to be strong for the grandchildren. I didn’t want to ruin the fun they were looking forward to.

“Of course we’re still going to the pass,” I replied in answer to my husband’s question.

The outside of my left ankle immediately began to swell. My husband (a former ski patroller) wrapped my ankle and provided ice. He then had to complete the loading of the car.

The car ride was miserable, but by the time we arrived, the ibuprofen had begun to take the edge off. I limped around in the snow that day and played with the grandchildren as best I could. My son and his wife handed out gifts for the children, and we had a fun day.

Within a few days, my entire left foot was swollen and bruised. I believed I had twisted my ankle and it would take time to heal. I limped around for about a week, but most people probably wouldn’t have noticed.

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia more than 30 years ago, and therefore daily pain is my constant companion. My left ankle was still sore and swollen even weeks later when I started working out with a new trainer. I was practicing patience in healing. I was sure the Fibromyalgia would slow the process, but I expected it would happen.

By the first part of April, 2019 I made the decision to see a doctor about my ankle that wasn’t fully healing. It was still swollen, sore, and often caused pain. I was certain I’d hear:

“You’re getting older, and it takes our bodies longer to heal.”

Hitchhikers, Healing, and Hosts

A few years ago my dog was dying from cancer. A pet owner is, at some point, faced with the task of making a difficult decision for their beloved companion; and I was face to face with this decision a second time in a 6-month period.

I was struggling daily with the question, “Is she ready to go?”

Life Mastery Radio host, Todd Alan, knew my struggle and turned me on to a guest he’d had on his show – a Shamanic Healer. I was skeptical at first about whether talking with such a person could really help me and my dog, Bandi; but more than that, I was searching for an answer I wasn’t finding.

I talked with Rose De Dan, and it changed everything. Skepticism quickly turned spiritual as I witnessed Bandi physically helped out of pain while I was on the phone with Rose. I talked with Bandi – actually communicated with her through the Shaman; and Bandi’s last days with us were extraordinarily better than they would have been had I not known her desire to keep living.

The May 7th guest on Life Mastery Radio (which I now cohost) was Ellie Pechet M.Ed., a Metaphysician, Shaman, Medium and developer of the Pechet Healing Technique. I was delighted to learn the same help Bandi received from a Shaman was available to ME!

I read a great deal of Ms. Pechet’s book, Hitching a Ride: A Guide to Earthbound Spirits and How They Affect You before the show. I enjoyed the many intriguing and inspiring stories found therein.

Ellie described her gift(s) as a gradual unfolding over time at the right times. She was trained in counseling, then energy healing; and later discovered her gifts as a Medium and Shaman.

“My abilities started coming in as memories”

Ellie’s main branches of work include:

  1. Removing harmful energies in her clients
  2. Healing core issues in her clients

Just as a hitchhiker thumbs for a ride from a stranger on the side of the road; a hitchhiker in Ellie’s world is a spirit who’s gotten stuck after death, and has missed the opportunity to go toward the light where their soul will continue its progress.

“These hitchhikers no longer have a physical vessel, but they have the same personalities and preferences they did in life. They may want to hang out with someone who is like them, or who happens to be in the same place they are during their transition from life to death (such as a hospital), especially if their death was sudden or tragic.”

Most often, the person who’s picked up the hitchhiker doesn’t even know it. Yet, there can be physical, mental, and emotional changes in the host, which he or she can’t explain. They may notice a change in personality; they may pick up new habits; or desire something they didn’t like before.

If the hitchhiker decides they want to have experiences like they did when they had a physical body, they may possess the host and wreak physical damage, such as depression, chronic illnesses, or addictions.

Ellie Pechet’s role is to help the hitchhiker willingly leave the host, and travel toward the light. Then she helps the host to recover, heal, and empower their natural energies to prevent another hitchhiker.

“I am a divine escort to help the hitchhiker get unstuck. My work in that regard is short-term, then I work with the host on his/her energies, and heal core issues.”

Recently, Ellie has begun telepathically communicating with African Elephants to heal their PTSD from poacher attacks. Whales and Sea Turtles have told Ellie they are full of plastic. She wants to heal them, and is on a campaign to reduce plastics, clean the oceans, and make boaters more aware of their threat to animals in the sea.

Ellie wants to talk with you, too. She will provide real results to real issues. Call her at 508-237-4929 or make an appointment online at www.PhoenixRisingHealing.com

They are Always There

Linda Deir Book“They are always there.”

I am a co-host on Life Mastery Radio with Todd Alan. Our guest on April 30th was Linda Deir. She encouraged us to to begin journaling. Therefore this post will be in the form of a journal. Thanks for indulging me.

Sunday, April 28:

I began to read the book “Guided: Her Spirit Guide Angels Were Her Best Friends and Life Coaches” by Linda Deir, our guest on Life Mastery Radio this week.

From the introduction I was hooked. The author and I have so much in common related to our childhood experiences, I found it difficult to put the book down. Her memories reach as far back as 20 months old, when she began to know her Spirit Guides.

Her Guides told her, “For you, life will get better as you get older if you make it through childhood.”

Life was rough for Linda Deir at the time because she was being abused by her mother, and knew her mother didn’t love her. Linda’s Angel Guides’ advice was similar to what I’d always told myself during my abusive childhood: “If I make it out of this alive, I will be stronger than I can ever imagine.”

Reading the rest of her story is something I look forward to.

Monday, April 29:

I continued to read Linda Deir’s book as often as I could catch a few minutes. I even read it while my students took a quiz in class today, and each time I stopped at a red light while driving. Her story, and her ability to overcome such a harsh home life is familiar to me. Her Guides were so obviously there for her. Was I missing something?

I often feel as though my struggles are constant, and the guidance I seek is without reach. Why can’t I seem to get clear answers? Why do I often seem to be gliding along, trying this and trying that, but not really seeing a reason for it?

I would have read all night to finish Linda Deir’s book, but I can’t seem to stay awake.

Tuesday, April 30:

I read more of Linda Dier’s book at breakfast, and even while exercising. I tuned in to the show excited to talk with her in person. I was taken aback by the connection we made through similar life experiences, and by her advice and guidance.

Linda generalized her life as “Childhood Bootcamp” – merely a training to get her in shape for the rest of her life; and learning the skills she’d need to be a survivor. She talked about her Guides using the following descriptive phrases:

  • “They are always there.”
  • “They don’t dwell on the past.”
  • “They guide you through the present.”
  • “They are always with you.”
  • “If a connection is broken with your Guides, it’s because we have broken the connection.”
  • “Guidance is an intelligence.”
  • “People who have good memories have a connection to their Guides.”
  • “Journaling helps you begin to see how your Guides infiltrate your writing.”

Because journaling has become a strong tool for Linda Deir to keep in constant connection with her Guides, she has published a journal companion to her book as a system of regaining connection with our own Guides.

15 minutes

Linda’s Guides told her:

“Journal 15 minutes a day without distractions for one month. Write down what’s going on in your life; make note of your dreams; what people said to you that day; thoughts you had in the shower and/or while driving.”

The promise from Linda’s Guides:

“If you journal for one month chronologically, you’ll know what Linda knows, and you’ll be able to SEE IT – the guidance. When you tie your words together, you’ll see the richness of what your Guides are telling you.”

  • Write it down
  • Note how it felt
  • State what you learned
  • Commit to taking action

“All intuition has a shelf life. The action may be something you can only imagine taking. Unless you write it down, you won’t capture it.”

Linda Deir was raised by Spirit Guides. She was living a covert childhood. She let family believe they were raising her, but it was her Guides who were helping her to learn. Angels were taking care of her.

“We are assigned amnesia when we get here. We unlearn what we knew only to have to learn it again. We have to labor, rediscover, and learn. We all signed up for this. Guides will help you see that life makes sense. They will influence you.”

I’m going to www.lindadeir.com and purchase her companion journals!

An Oration Revolution is on the Ready

What should you do when you recognize a lack of quality, structure, and execution in a particular setting, and get caught in the fallout because of it?

I recently competed in the second level of six at a Toastmasters International speech contest. A restructuring of typical protocol placed my event near the end of the day, which allowed me to watch most of the contest before giving my speech.

Deeply disappointed describes well my reaction to the lack of quality in the competition speeches. One unfortunate contestant actually used a power point in a strictly timed 5-7 minute presentation. This wasn’t a TED talk situation where power point is frequently used, but perhaps part of the problem is that she thought it was.

Death by powerpoint

Almost from the get-go, her slides wouldn’t advance. She looked at the person in the audience who helped set her up and said, “It’s not working”.

In a contest situation, you can’t simply call on tech support and expect delivery. You’re timed. You have to get on with it.

The poor woman tried to get on with it, but it was easy to recognize her unpreparedness. It would be my guess she had relied too heavily on the content of her slides, and not the content which should have been in her head and heart. It appeared that without her slides, she couldn’t remember what she wanted to say. A tragedy for her.

I wondered, “Where is her mentor who should have told her not to use a power point in a competition? Isn’t there anyone in the club she’s representing who could have advised her?”

Her opponent was only slightly more prepared. No clear message, and no clear purpose in his content. I learned afterward he has been part of Toastmasters for 16 years. Obviously he’s not using the Toastmasters program to its fullest, since he announced his last educational award was from a program which hasn’t been used since 2007.

I wondered, “Where have his mentors been for 12 years? Why hasn’t he been encouraged to move forward into a new, better structured, program?”

Then it was my turn to give my speech. I have competed before. In 2015 I made it to the semi-finals (level 5) of the world championship of public speaking. That had been an emotionally draining summer, but I learned so much more about crafting and delivering a winning speech than I’d ever expected to. Today I teach young people 5 days a week how to do what I learned.

11. Jackie

My presentation was excellent (even if simply compared to the others). It was actually structured professionally, and delivered like a champ. I’m sure I changed the energy in the entire room, as the audience witnessed for the first time that evening an actual competition speech.

 

My one opponent was a man I’d see compete before. He has a strong, natural stage presence, and having worked as a pastor, was confident in speaking. However, his delivery was lacking in deliberate word use and a clear message. I guessed he may have simply threw some thoughts onto paper the day before the contest.

Imagine my surprise when I placed second to him (my opponent). I was disappointed in my loss, as anyone would be. I was even more disappointed in the lack of quality from other contestants AND the judges. Were they not aware of the criteria they were assigned to judge?

How was I the only contestant to actually meet the contest criteria, and come in second?

Elementary age children

My greatest disappointment was knowing a few of my young students were there to witness the entire competition. I had considered the opportunity for them to see a contest as a powerful, impactful teaching moment. Yet, what they saw was a competition in which the bar was set so low, it was a waste of time (a three hour waste of time)

I’m saddened to report that within 5 years since I previously competed, the quality of contestants and judges have steadily sank. I’m not alone in that thinking. Many others in my district have voiced a sense of dismay and disappointment in their own competition losses, which were not deserved.

Had I not been competing the other night, and saw what I saw, I would still be just as disappointed in the outcome.

I believe it will take purposeful, persistent, and powerful leadership to bring a sense of championship-desiring speakers and judges back into the Toastmaster district. If I can be a part of the oration revolution, I will be.

 

The Population of the Unique

2019-2-26 Diane podcast picIf you’re like me, you occasionally host your own pity party. “Why is this happening to me?”; “Why can’t I do what I want?”

Last week I interviewed Diane Nutz who, for more than 2 decades, has cared for individuals who have far more right to complain than I do. We may define these people as “handicapped” or “disabled”; Diane refers to them as “the population of the unique”.

It was at a high school football game in the 1960’s when Diane encountered “Carol” who wanted to be a cheerleader. Diane encouraged, “You can be anything you want to be…”

Carol replied, “My dad says I can’t because I’m retarded.”

Years later, Diane found herself substituting in the special education department of the school system. One day she was asked if she’d work with handicapped students. She said, “yes.”

Twenty plus years since then, Diane continues to serve the population of the unique because of what she’s gained:

  • Being of service
  • Becoming a better person
  • Identifying blessings in her life
  • Filling a need

Diane’s job requires physical strength and stamina. Especially when caring for disabled quadruplets from infancy. Her routine includes tube feeding, dressing them, changing diapers, etc. All before the bus comes in the morning!

Cory, a young boy with autism learned to call her “Diane says…” as a result of repeated reasoning with the reluctant youth. However, the verbalization of her new-found name warmed Diane’s heart.

That story, and others are told in my interview with Diane, which is published in my latest podcast.

Listen to “The Population of the Unique” on Spreaker.

We all have gifts, and Diane is thankful for the gifts she has both given and received from the population of the unique. No more pity party’s for me! Instead, I’ll look for the gifts, too.

Get Diane’s book here : Look IN Me: A Life Shaped by the Most Overlooked

The Principal Perspective

 

2019-2-20 Sam

Recently, I interviewed 9-year old Sam for my podcast. I am amazed at the wisdom he shared, and his personal perspective of leadership. I asked Sam what he’d say if everyone in the world came into his living room, and demanded him to “tell us something!”

Sam, without hesitation announced, “get outta my house…” I was about to laugh at Sam’s humor, when he continued, “…and go be with your family members!”

Proudly, Sam described his family members as “nice” and “great”. “I love them.” Answering my question about how he helps his siblings, Sam replied:

  • “When they fall, I help them up.”
  • “I help my brother play Minecraft.”

I was shocked to learn that most boys Sam’s age don’t play Minecraft any more, they play Fortnite. Sam had only played Fortnite once, and didn’t seem impressed. With wisdom beyond his years, he observed, “{Fortnite} is taking over people’s lives!”

Making mention of school bullies, which seem normal for any school, Sam related an incident where he was bolstered by another student rather than bullied. “I was hit by a basketball, and got knocked down. An older kid came over and helped me up.”

Insightfully, Sam described those who were leaders in his life: parents, teachers, and his school principal. “When we’re playing foursquare, the principal volunteers to be the coach. He’s at the top, and he’s really good at it.”

Unfortunately, there are some kids at Sam’s school who like to take over the foursquare game so others can’t play. He describes how the principal will enforce the rules, and makes sure everyone is included in the game.

Sam was impressed with how the school principal will often teach a class, or monitor recess for a teacher simply out of kindness. “He not only gives us a break from bullies, but he gives the teachers a break from us kids. He’s a good guy.”

Sam has been awarded for being an exceptional “line leader.” Evidently, this is someone who leads orderly lines of students to lunch, recess, or on other occasions. “The line leader has to be a good example so everyone keeps the rules.”

I was sincerely impressed with Sam’s ability to identify characteristics of leadership :

  • Love for family
  • Helping others up
  • Teaching others
  • Honesty
  • Enforcement of rules
  • Service
  • Kindness
  • Being an example

When I gave Sam one last opportunity to share a word of wisdom, he said, “Be Selfless.” Sam gets it. He’ll have a long, successful life in leadership. He understands the principal perspective.

Listen to “The Principal Perspective” on Spreaker.