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The Better Than Good Blog: Solving vs Succumbing

I have the honor of serving on the Campus Educational Improvement Committee (CEIC) at my daughters' elementary school. The committee is made up of campus administrators, teachers, parents and members of the community. Essentially, our goal is to come together in an effort to help create and maintain a campus that is conducive to the successes of our students and the teachers leading the way.

During our last meeting before the Thanksgiving break, two of the campus leaders showed us a video of how a group of boys in Thailand decided that their love, passion and burning desire to play soccer overcame the obvious logistical challenges they faced. Their small fishing village, after all, was an actual floating village, a network of docks joined together in intricate (and tight) quarters. Check out the video below:

Pretty inspiring stuff, right? Let's break it down...

First the obvious: Kids love soccer. Kids want to play soccer. Kids can't for obvious logistical reasons (they can't run on water). Kids do something about it, hammer some nails, everyone lived happily ever after.

But it goes beyond that. Waaay beyond that. You see, before the first piece of wood was collected or the first nail was hammered, someone had to have the idea. Someone had to have the audacity to propose the construction of a floating soccer field. One of those kids did vocalize such an outrageous idea. But rather than getting laughed at, another kid did something even more outrageous: that kid believed. And that belief spread amongst the whole lot of them. Suddenly, the other villagers stopped laughing and began to believe, too.

How many adults would have pish-poshed such an idea? As adults, think about our work environments and how we are accustomed to "staying in our lanes." We are often less-willing to take risks for fear of what others will think or say. This isn't necessarily our fault, though. Our reputations at work are important to us - the last thing we want to do is tear down what we have carefully built. And kids go through the same experience in their school environments, as well.

The story behind the Panyee FC kids is an essential one to share with our students because it reminds them that no matter the problem we face, we are always going to be given a choice: do we try and solve the problem by finding a solution or do we stay dormant and succumb to it?

When we solve problems together, the reward is so much greater than when we try and go at it alone. These kids really exemplified that. And it's something they will carry for the rest of their lives. The next time one of them faces one of life's obstacles they will be better positioned to navigate around it.

As parents and teachers, this is essentially what we want for our children. We want to create learning environments that are conducive to better learning, happiness and success. It's exactly why CEI Committees are in place in our schools - and why I am so proud to participate in one!

In the case of these kids from Panyee FC, they took matters into their own hands and literally created their happy environment, driftwood and rusty nails and all!


Class Activity Time!

I offer some classroom activities in my book, The Happy Manifesto, and I'd like to continue including them in The Better than Good Blog. So let's follow in the example of the Panyee FC kids as a classroom (parents can challenge their kids at home, too!). Have the class brainstorm and pick a topic or problem that needs solving - in or outside of the school environment. It can be anything from wanting better school lunch choices to a social cause in the community. Let them decide and remember: Everything is on the table!

Once they have collectively chosen something that's important to them, have the students come up with a game plan or blueprint of how they are going to solve the problem. Have fun and be creative! how will they present their solution to the rest of the campus or community?

Lastly, share your activities with me @phillipdcortez on Twitter or @phillipdcortezwrites on Facebook. I'd love to see what you come up with!


Happy Thanksgiving!

I have a lot to be thankful for! On behalf of my family I'd like to wish everyone a Happy & Safe Thanksgiving! Enjoy your time off!


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