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Why the Butterfly Died: The Hazards of Wrong Help

Have you ever had a friend or colleague try to give you helpful advice that wasn’t helpful? Probably your friend had good intentions. Probably they imagined their advice was just what you needed to hear. But in reality, their “help” was irrelevant, misdirected, or even harmful. This kind of thing happens all the time, and  Continue Reading »

Authentic, Trustworthy Leadership Means Naming the Shadows of Our Insecurities

There is a deeply hidden place within me that I don’t think I have visited in a long time, and may not have visited ever if synchronicity hadn’t led me there. When I picked up the Leading from Within excerpt of Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak, I knew something interesting was happening. I began  Continue Reading »

How to Build Trust in Schools

Sometimes I scratch my head when I read about the government’s efforts to improve schools: new standards and tests that have to be implemented immediately, punitive teacher evaluations, and threats of school closures and job losses. All methods that I’m sure have the school employees’ amygdalae firing off 24/7, not to mention the students’. Instead  Continue Reading »

Classroom Management: Developing your Signature Approach

My first year of teaching, kids hid equipment in garbage cans, cursed at me under their breath, and got into fights when I wasn’t looking. They pushed my buttons so much that I had an intense pain in my jaw for the entire year. Even last week, after years of teaching, I fell into a  Continue Reading »

Five Attributes of Trustworthy Leadership

What makes a leader worthy of our trust and what should we also hold ourselves to? Diana Chapman Walsh, president emerita of Wellesley College and an exemplar of courage and integrity, talks about five attributes of trustworthy leadership needed for this time of complexity. When embodied, these capacities help us bring our full selves into  Continue Reading »

Creating Trust Among the Adults at School

One great thing about A Year at Mission Hill’s latest video, Chapter 7: Behind the Scenes, is that we actually get to see the honest struggles involved in creating a school where “everyone working together can create a strong learning environment that encourages respect and empathy.” While this is the shared goal we have continually  Continue Reading »

Relational Trust and Reflection Strengthen School Communities

Recently, I spent time with a suburban public school principal, trying to figure out how it would be possible to carve out a day just before the beginning of the next school year for his faculty and staff to participate in a day-long retreat to explore the strengths and needs of the adult community and  Continue Reading »

What makes a great school?

I spent more than thirty years teaching in public schools and I suspect that most teachers, students, and parents would agree that this is a complicated question. I believe that any democratic society, and this nation in particular, depends upon strong public schools that prepare students to thrive in every sense of that word. Yet  Continue Reading »

A True Test for the Inner Life

A retreat participant shares how practices from a recent Courage & Renewal retreat soon informed her approach to life. My aunt called from Buenos Aires to tell me that my mother’s health was deteriorating rapidly. “This is the end,” she announced. It’s been quite a rollercoaster since then. My mother is now in hospital and,  Continue Reading »

An Interesting Mention

Krista Tippett of NPR’s Speaking of Faith mentions Parker Palmer in this interview in yesterday’s Washington Examiner.  Not surprisingly, she says she has been influenced by Parker’s ideas about creating “quiet, inviting, trustworthy spaces” for the soul to speak.  She says,” I have tried to create a quiet, inviting and trustworthy media space to draw  Continue Reading »