Saturday, January 9, 2016

#theLeader and her Mighty Warrior Grizzly Bear Father / A Call To Action / #specialneeds #community

updated 1.9.15 8:30 pm set

For the effective educator, knowledge is not absolute power. It is the ability to apply that knowledge that is of greater value.

While in Florida, I was introduced by my sister to a friend of hers who is a U.S. Marine veteran. He did two tours in Iraq and fought in the battle of Fallujah. He is an all-American hero and grizzly bear of a man standing close to six and a half feet tall with ‘Wolverine’s’ (Marvel Comics) sideburns. He is and looks like a mighty warrior. His name is Chris and he is the single father to a princess with severe special needs. Her name is Chloe. One of her arms and one of her legs is atrophied. She is five and a half years old. Her current physical challenges prevent her from standing up and walking like most of us.

I visited the family home for three hours during my recent family visit to Daytona Beach after the new year. Chloe took my heart. I coached by yielding to her in our first session together. She was not going to have it any other way either. She is #theLeader and WILL lead America one day. Her cognitive strength is formidable, nay, way above average at genius level. As an executive function skills coach, I detected a fine-tuned use of foresight, an executive function skill that is the ability to anticipate and predict what will happen next. Having a strong foresight constitutes a healthy pineal gland which is in the center of our head. A healthy, functioning pineal gland is associated with a strong sense of self-expression and foresight, of which she has oodles of.

A strong relationship built on trust, respect and epic expectations for success tends to inspire and motivate learners to be “#allIn.”

Chloe was always a few steps ahead of me. Her conversation is impeccable. She is articulate, savvy (incredibly savvy) and astute. She is gifted with great intelligence and is great at directing and orchestrating other persuasively. Moreover, it is evident that her grizzly bear Dad puts his shoulder to the plow with incredible determination to help her be independent. They are an excellent team. Mighty tasks for mighty warriors. Both of them are inspiring figures facing incredible odds at success. She with her legs atrophied and him as a single father and soldier of war. 

Our time together started in The Pavilion in Port Orange shopping mall parking lot. I was having lunch with my sisters at the San Diego Grille when Chris came over with Chloe to pick me up for the coaching session. It was raining drops here and there. Chloe sat behind me in her car seat playing ‘Boom Beach’ and ‘Clash of Clans.’ These are battle strategy games which she kept winning. Knowing my place as a coach and knowing the value of first impressions I let her analyze me:

  • by my manner and upbeat attitude
  • by hearing me speak and listen to her Dad
  • by the way I spoke to and listened to her
  • and even by the way I danced with her and let myself take direction from her. I would have liked we dance longer, but I will be content that she even let the moment happen. It is something to build on as I look to play a supporting role in her life.

Her train table set with Thomas the Tank constantly was catching up to Hehore. Both were carrying a great deal of freight with Hehore carrying the bigger load, thus making Thomas’s approach on him always eminent. That said, Thomas is faster than Hehore when neither is carrying freight. Chloe, #theLeader made sure that Dad and I fixed any and all train derailments quickly ensuring fast track of the whole train process. She was like a circus conductor keeping everything running smoothly according to her whims and dictates …. and we were her mignions. To make matters more dramatic, the “Mignions" were on the train table town also strewn around with content faces. They were all fallen over. I thought to integrate them onto the story line that was unfolding all thanks to #theLeader, of course, but she redirected me to make sure that the trains were running smoothly over in my end of the table. 

As I sat on the floor at her eye level with Dad I marveled at her prowness, her fierce confidence and her ability to lead two grown, assertive men like it was a walk in the park for her. She didn’t flinch once. She was full-on. It was inspiring.

Through our train table, role-play time I managed to persuade her to allow me to finish one of my planning ahead bubble maps were we organize activities according to categories, then sequence them, completed them and crossed them off. She moves at such a fast clip in body and mind though that it was a whirlwind of a time. Having it be our first session, yielding rather than commanding is important. A leader knows how to command and when to yield. Maintaining the experience positive is key. You can always build on doing each activity better later. This is part of the growth mindset which I convey without words and by the spoken word. What is of greater value is that she and her father trust me and feel comfortable around me. 

My expectations for her loom beyond the horizon. I myself have come back from devastating predicaments, multiple near death experiences, great illness and daunting odds only to come out on top. It is part of my joy to have others surpass their own greatest expectations. I am all heart for her and ready to be a helper to her father in her empowerment with #allJetson.

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