March 1, 2018
Just returned from time at home seeing family in MN. Nothing like February in Minnesota. Actually, it was sunny and over 30 degrees on some days. Balmy. It was also the time for the annual Valentine’s Day parties at my nephews’ elementary school. Ah, Valentines Day. When I was in 2nd grade, I was named the ‘Queen of Sweethearts.’ You could say I peaked at age 8.
This past week I went to the Kindergarten Valentine’s Day room party and was deemed ‘special guest,’ Aunt Jen.
I was with Monroe’s mom, Taylor, helping out at the Suncatcher table. I know I am most likely the only person reading this newsletter who didn’t know what a Suncatcher is, but in case you too don’t know, it is pictured here. A cute arts and crafts activity, you are thinking to yourself. What could possibly go wrong?
Oy. If there was anything one needs in order to help out at the crafts table with very sticky contact paper, purple colored glue sticks, well-used scissors and a lot of small pieces of tissue paper, it is to have a growth mindset. Things might not stick together beautifully and you need to try again. Glue sticks might not be sticky at all and you find other ones that are better. Lots of tissue papers piled on top of each other don’t let sun through, and so you know better for next time. With group after group, coming to our table Taylor and I tried new techniques. We tried not to fold over the contact paper and cause bubbles to form. And hey, the kids were 6 years old and their next center was snack! We were forgotten within minutes.
Now, I know Carol Dweck, author of Mindset. I live in Palo Alto. She lives in Palo Alto. We go to dinner together. Knowing Carol Dweck didn’t help one bit in the sweaty moments of trying to be the “best” special guest aunt and Suncatcher helper. Taylor and I hugged each other in congratulations after we cleaned up. And I was left realizing I need to chill.
By the time I went to the 2nd grade party in the afternoon, I had to share my dramatic story of the morning’s event. A very generous (and cool) mother said to me, “Bubbles in the contact paper add character. If anything goes wrong, you just tell yourself you are building character.” I liked her take on things. Anything goes wrong, you are building character. With gratitude to everyone who has ever helped out at a room party, I am now going to get myself a snack.
If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to email me at Jennifer@jenniferabrams.com. I look forward to hearing from you!
Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. “In an era that glorifies social media, reality TV, and other forms of shameless self-promotion, the battle against ego must be fought on many fronts. Armed with the lessons in this book, as Holiday writes, “you will be less invested in the story you tell about your own specialness, and as a result, you will be liberated to accomplish the world-changing work you’ve set out to achieve.”
Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness by Frederic Laloux. “In this groundbreaking book, the author shows that every time humanity has shifted to a new stage of consciousness in the past, it has invented a whole new way to structure and run organizations, each time bringing extraordinary breakthroughs in collaboration. A new shift in consciousness is currently underway. Could it help us invent a radically more soulful and purposeful way to run our businesses and nonprofits, schools and hospitals? “Reinventing Organizations” describes in practical detail how organizations large and small can operate in this new paradigm.”
About Jennifer Abrams
Jennifer Abrams considers herself a "voice coach," helping others learn how to best use their voices – be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of an audience, coaching a colleague and supervising an employee. Jennifer holds a Master's degree in Education from Stanford University and a Bachelor's degree in English from Tufts University. She lives in Palo Alto, California. Jennifer's latest book is Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives. Her previous publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicating, Collaborating & Creating Community and Hard Conversations Unpacked – the Whos, the Whens and the What Ifs. She has also created a Corwin Press e-course by the same name.
Work with Jennifer
Praise for Jennifer
“Our school’s work with Jennifer Abrams has sown the seeds of stronger communication skills among the adults in the building. This has only served to strengthen the integrity of communication between staff and students as well. We’ve added her language to our expectations: honest, humane, and growth-producing conversations occur regularly.”