Funny Things Kids Say in Counseling

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I’m sure we can all relate to wanting to burst into laughter while trying to hold it in.

As a school counselor, I get a glimpse into how kids see the world through their eyes. I wanted to take a moment to look at the lighter side of school counseling, and some of the funny things that have been said over the years.

I have to admit, with some of these, you just had to be there.


 

(During an elementary classroom introduction at the beginning of the school year.)

Counselor – “Does anyone know what a school counselor does?”

Student – “They cancel school!”

I thought about this for a moment and where he could have come up with this.

Counselor – “Oh!  You must of heard school canceler,  It’s school counselor!

As the class bursts into laughter, I thought about what it would be like to be a School Canceler…like I go around cancelling school.  “Alright everybody, schools cancelled! Whoo-hoo!”


 

6th grader – “My dad doesn’t work.”

Counselor – “Ah, so your dad’s not working right now.”

The student responds with the most sincerity.

6th grader – “No, my dads a Stay-at-Home Mom.”

Laughing on the inside while moving on.


 

2nd grader – “People don’t really know what I am.”

I noticed he had said this like a wise old man, beyond his years.  Meanwhile, I’m wondering why he didn’t say who I am.  He said what I am.

Counselor –  “Oh, well…what are you?”

Student saying this again slowly, wise beyond his years. 

2nd grader – “I’m just a guy in a blue jacket.”

Laughing on the inside.  I’m not sure if he meant to be that profound in his statement. And yes, he was wearing a blue jacket.  Read more

We All Suffer

“It is because mankind are disposed to sympathize more entirely with our joy than with our sorrow, that we make parade of our riches, and conceal our poverty.  Nothing is so mortifying as to be obliged to expose our distress to the view of the public, and to feel, that though our situation is open to the eyes of all mankind, no mortal conceives for us the half of what we suffer.” ~ Adam Smith

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We don’t necessarily like to advertise our suffering.  We mainly see the best moments and highlight reels of people’s lives, while many of the deeper and lonelier moments are kept concealed.

The truth is, we all suffer, at the deepest levels.  Every single one of us. No one is immune to bad days.  We all have them.  

We go about our lives, pretending to have it all together — and on some days, it may even feel like we actually do.

We don’t.

We may at times fall under an illusion that we are in control.

We aren’t.

We know this deep down, as we become reminded of this hard truth at times in our lives — the times when reality comes crashing down upon you — feeling alone, and we cry…if we allow ourselves to.  We want to be strong for our loved ones, our spouses, our kids, driven by the fear of appearing weak when in fact, showing our humanity is not weakness.

I’ve spoken to many people whose pain and suffering happens to rise to the surface…unexpected, and in that moment, their loneliness revealed, despondency expressed — weeping about how alone and scared they really feel…at the deepest levels — the depths in which we rarely ever let anyone in far enough to see.  

We are like onions, having many layers that can be peeled back.  Many of us only ever get to see the top layer in most of our relationships.  There are many more layers to a person. We all have them.

We often do not have a safe space where we can reveal them. Read more

In Light of the 58th Presidential Inauguration, Here are Some of my Favorite Quotes on Leadership

In light of the 58th Presidential Inauguration, we have the transfer of power — and with that comes new leadership for our country.  I thought I’d share some of my favorite quotes on leadership.
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“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” ~ John Wooden

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.  He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” ~ Douglas MacArthur

“The supreme quality of leadership is integrity.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

“I never thought in terms of being a leader, I thought in terms of helping people.” ~ John Hume

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” ~ Lao Tzu

“Real leadership is leaders recognizing that they serve the people they lead.” ~ Pete Hoekstra

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” ~ John C. Maxwell

“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, and a little less than his share of the credit.” ~ Arnold H. Glasow

“When people talk, listen completely.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” ~ Harvey S. Firestone

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” ~ Publilius Syrus

“A leader is not an administrator who loves to run others, but someone who carries water for his people so that they can get on with their jobs.” ~ Robert Townsend

“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts.  It is about one life influencing another.” ~ John C. Maxwell

“Leadership is an action, not a position.” ~ Donald McGannon

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” ~ John Quincy Adams

“Leadership is a choice, not a position.” ~ Stephen Covey

“What you do has far greater impact than what you say” ~ Stephen Covey

“Leadership is communicating others’ worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.” ~ Stephen Covey

“The challenge of leadership is to:
be strong, but not rude;
be kind, but not weak;
be bold, but not bully;
be thoughtful, but not lazy;
be humble, but not timid;
be proud, but not arrogant;
have humor, but without folly.” ~ Jim Rohn

Who Are You?

“If we are honest with ourselves, the most fascinating problem in the world is…who am I? What do you mean…what do you feel when you say the word, I.”  ~ Alan Watts


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I’m writing this article, not because I’ve attained the answer, but because I’d like to pass this information along, as I would have wanted to read something like this earlier.  If I had to choose only one thing to watch out for — to beware of in life — it is this:

You.  Yourself.  Ego.

The infamous ego.  From Freud’s Id, Ego, Superego, to “He’s gotta big ego,” we’ve all heard about it one way or another. Ego, in my opinion, is probably the biggest thing that gets into anyone’s way. All too often, we are the ones getting in our own ways.  We have the ability to deceive ourselves like no one else can.

Your worst enemy lives inside of you, and it’s called ego.

Eckhart Tolle often says, “I can’t live with myself. Well…who is ‘I’… and who is the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with?”

So what exactly is ego?  Well, I would describe it as everything you think you are, in a nutshell.  The feeling of “I,” or what we mean when we say “I,” as Sam Harris, Alan Watts, and many others put it. When you are talking to yourself, who are you talking to?  The feeling of being a self.  We tend to identify with our story, our thoughts, and our emotions. Ego is the reason we may feel the need to defend “ourselves.”  We are defending an idea of our self that we feel is threatened.  When we are not identifying with this, the need to defend ourselves also goes away.

Read more

School Counseling and Dual Relationships Among Staff

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Our Ethical Standards for School Counselors have been updated for 2016, becoming much more specific in certain areas.  One area I’d like to point out is regarding dual relationships and managing boundaries — not just with students, but with school staff.

According to the American School Counseling Association Code of Ethics (2016), school counselors are to avoid dual relationships beyond the professional level with school personnel, parents/guardians and students’ other family members when these relationships might infringe on the integrity of the school counselor/student relationship (A.5.c).

You don’t find ethical tenets like this for teachers and other educators, but for counselors, it is more specific on the importance of keeping our relationships with staff professional.  This can present some challenges as you might have guessed, especially with building positive relationships with staff and feeling connected to the school.  Boundaries have to be continuously monitored as we manage multiple relationships among staff, students, and parents.  I’ve come across some great writing on this titled, Dual Relationships in Counseling by Gerald Corey, EdD, and Barbara Herlihy, PhD, which was written in the early 90’s, and I find it to be very relevant today. Read more

We Need to Look at Ourselves First

“It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself.”  ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

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I once had a teacher express their frustration to me regarding their 1st-grade student not taking responsibility for himself and his actions.  I responded with, “You know what?  I know a lot of adults who are still struggling with that.”

Hearing expressions such as these are common, as school counselors also provide consultation services for teachers and administrators.  We hear many challenges and frustrations while helping to provide meaningful insight to better understand the children in their classrooms.  Do we want our children to learn how to take responsibility?   Of course.  However, knowing that this is a struggle for everyone can help us be more patient, kind, and understanding with our students.

We as educators have to meet kids where they’re at.  We can’t put expectations on kids that we as adults are not meeting.  We have to model the desired behaviors we want our children and future generations to grow up learning.  We can’t expect anything upon them we ourselves are not doing.

We need to live the values we teach.   Read more

Gratitude

“The struggle ends when gratitude begins.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch

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As we enter into the month of November, with Thanksgiving upon us, I’d like to take a moment to reflect and express gratitude.  I find myself at times feeling thankful for having any kind of experience at all, positive or negative.  It really is a miracle to be having any conscious experience.  The miracle of life is happening all around us, and it can easily go unnoticed from day-to-day.

There is always beauty to be found right in front of  us — seeing the awe-inspiring sky, the mountains in the distance, hearing the birds chirping, hearing my kids playing together.  All of these things are going on, even in what seems to be a chaotic and tumultuous political landscape at the moment.  

Sometimes I try to be thankful for what some may call the most basic things — being able to see, hear, feel, taste, smell, touch, walk, talk, think, laugh, smile.  I love being able to walk outside and feel the warmth of the sun on my face, the smell of the fresh morning air, or the coolness of the morning wind. I sometimes walk outside my door and pause for a moment, just to appreciate being alive.

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I recently came across a video with comedian Louis C.K., in which he expresses how we are lucky to even live sad moments.  Living sad moments can help us more fully appreciate joyful moments.

We can be thankful that we can cry about something we really care about. Read more

DCT Comprehensive Developmental School Counseling Program

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Abstract

This literature review establishes a K-8 comprehensive developmental school counseling program.  This program is rooted in the ASCA National Model, emphasizing the Organizational Framework and Accountability Elements from Gysbers and Henderson (2006).  This program is based on the theoretical foundations of Developmental Counseling and Therapy (DCT) (Ivey,Ivey, Myers, Sweeney, 2005). Elementary and middle school students are in a unique developmental period of their lives, requiring specific and planned interventions. Counselors not having a focused developmental framework can potentially cause ethical issues such as “grab-bagging” for theoretical interventions on the spot, calling it eclecticism.  Furthermore, counselors may not have any plan or theoretical intervention at all.  Although many school counselors are aware of the need for more developmental programming, most are unsure of how to put it into practice (Paisley, Peace, 1995).  For these reasons, integrating DCT with the ASCA National Model will fully address both the comprehensive and developmental nature of the K-8 school counseling program.

Keywords: comprehensive, developmental, middle school, counseling program, DCT, ASCA, ethical issues, accountability, organizational, framework, K-8

Read the full literature review here

Blackstar

“The truth of course, is that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time.” ~ David Bowie

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It’s now been almost three months since the release of David Bowie’s, Blackstar, his last and final album. I purchased this album on January 8th, 2016,  and immediately began listening, becoming more and more intrigued by its nuances. Every song on the album holds its own. Two days later, Bowie passed away after an 18-month battle with cancer. Listening back after his death, it all began to make sense.  Bowie knew he was dying, and this album was his last farewell.

Before this album, I wouldn’t of called myself a David Bowie fan.  I probably wouldn’t have even given it an initial listen if it weren’t for the musicians playing on it  — Mark Guiliana, Jason Lindner, Tim Lefebvre, and Donny McCaslin.  From Jason Lindner’s Now vs Now, to Mark Guiliana’s Beat Music, I was interested to hear Blackstar, and it didn’t disappoint.

This is one of my favorite new albums.  

As a percussionist, I really dig Mark Guiliana’s drumming, but in Blackstar, Bowie’s performance is what really shines through.  There’s always something captivating about raw human emotion and spirit.  I now find that it’s the imperfections that make the music for me.  Growing up in music education, a lot of the focus was on being as perfect as possible…never making a mistake.  We are in the age of autotuned, artificial, and perfect sounding vocals — masking the truth behind the real music.  It’s analogous to our society, focusing on appearing to be something, rather than just really being that.  Now, I realize that what really makes the music for me is the raw, true, human imperfections, and this is something very real that comes through Bowie’s performance.

Read more

What Matters Most

“In the the end, these things matter most:  How well did you love?  How fully did you live?  How deeply did you let go?” ~ Buddha

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Photo:  Moments to Remember, by Mark Keathley

I think a lot about what matters most in any given set of circumstances.  I’ve found that there’s always a deeper connection and core foundation to every interaction, whether the relationship is interpersonal or symbiotic.

Often times, I believe we lose sight of this deep foundational connection throughout our day to day interactions; specifically with people.

Everyday, like clockwork, we wake up, get out of bed, get ready, go to work or school, get off of work, maybe go to the store, pick up some groceries, put some gas in the car, go home, eat some dinner, go to bed, etc….then do it all over again the next day.  It’s often easy to get caught up in the routines of daily living.  For most, throughout our routines of daily living, it is very likely that we will have to deal with people.

Let’s take a look at Christmas.  Just this year, I observed family and friends rushing to decorate, scrambling to finish up last minute shopping, impatiently standing in long lines at the store, frantically wrapping gifts, toiling over dinner and dishes, all adding to their stress level and in the end, negatively impacting their interactions with their loved ones.  This is an example of purpose defeating behavior. We should never defeat our entire purpose for doing anything.  We need to remember the core reasons why we’re doing what it is we’re doing; and this is the deep foundational connection I am referring to.

We all tend to get caught up in the minutiae of life, we get lost in all of the small trivial details, forgetting about the person or people right in front of us.  Often times, we even tend to not see people as people.  We tend to see and treat people as a thing or obstacle to overcome.  We view other human beings as customers, clients, numbers, credit scores, dollar signs, students, panhandlers, grades….etc.

We forget to be kind. Read more