Saturday, May 6, 2017

Habit of the Week ~ Responding With Wonder & Awe

Responding with Wonder and Awe
Absolute Ahh-mazement, Jaw dropping Moments

This week I asked the students to say Ahhhhhhhhh. And freeze. That is Wonder and Awe, I explained. It's the moment when your jaw drops open and you are amazed at something....  Or someone. Or a thought or discovery. An idea. Or beauty.

I encouraged them to NOT pass these moments by, but to stop. Stop and step into the moment of Wonder and Awe to see what is there.  "You don't want to miss it," I said.

Which reminded me of a Chester story... of course it did :) . 

We were walking down the hallway at Schreiber Pediatric, on our way to visit Melissa, (our Girl Scout Cookie Friend!), when I heard someone call me. "Excuse me, you with the dog :)."

I turned around. The woman quickly explained to me that she was a Speech Therapist and her patient, who had never spoken a full sentence, was able to put words together for the first time, asking  "Can I pet the dog?"  

Talk about jaw-dropping moments.

The Speech Therapist continued, "I know you are on your way to an appointment, but would you mind letting my patient pet your dog?"    Oh my goodness, OF COURSE!   About face!

We stepped into her office and there we found a smiling little girl, about 6 or 7 years old, who sat quietly & eagerly waiting to pet the dog.  

"I hear you would like to pet my dog, Chester." I gently smiled.

She nodded, touching his soft fur. Then out came the words,  "I have a dog."

The Speech Therapist, with tears in her eyes, held up 2 fingers, "Sentence # 2", she whispered.

"You have a dog too?" I asked.

The little girl unzipped her backpack, pulling out a stuffed doggy. "This is my dog." she said.

 Sentence #3.

Sometimes the most magnificent Wonder and Awe Moments happen when you are on your way...
I'm so thankful we pawsed and stepped into the moment. 
It was a miracle moment indeed.

Habit of the Week ~ Compassion

A feeling that comes when you want to help someone who is 
hurting, sad, lonely, hungry, afraid.

As I pondered the habit of the week, "compassion", I read Mr. B's blog. Something that he wrote especially jumped off the page and landed in my thoughts.  He said,  ~~ We don’t need bullying policies in schools - we need compassionate behaviors.    ~~  True that.

A story came to mind.  Another Chester moment. Chester's specialty is compassion and this compassionate story took place many years ago on a Sunday morning.  

As I often do, I take my four legged buddy to church with me. During the service he usually nestles quietly at my feet, and after the service he warmly greets whomever would enjoy some puppy time. 

Of course this particular Sunday morning did not go as usual. 

While I was worshiping and singing, I was not paying much attention to my buddy and his whereabouts, assuming as usual he was right at my feet.  At some point though, I thought to look down and reached to give him a pat. However, there was no Chester.  Usually his leash is in my handand I do know this is the correct place for his leash to be :), however on this day for whatever reason I had just set it by my feet.  As I said ... usually, he just nestles in and snoozes. 

Chester MIA was either the perfect storm or the perfect opportunity for something wonderful. I looked left and right and down the aisle.  No Chester. Rut-roh.     

And then I turned around.


My furry friend was sitting in the middle of the aisle snuggled up close to a man in a wheel chair. A man whom I'd never met.  The man's hand rested atop Chester's head.  Chester looked right into my eyes as if to say,  it's all good, you can start breathing again. 

I quietly asked the man if this was okay with him. He gently smiled and nodded yes.  

A few moments later,  I introduced myself and Chester saying, "My friend here usually likes to sit with me, but apparently he wants to be with you today. :)  "

As we shook hands, he told me his name, and then went on to explain how it was his first time to visit this church,  and he more than welcomed Chester at his side.  And by his side is where Chester stayed the entire service, either sitting glued to the side of the wheelchair where our new friend could easily touch Chester's head, or laying down, Chester's head resting atop his feet.  

Each time I glanced back, tears welled in my eyes and heart, as I saw Chester reaching out to touch this man with kindness and compassion.

Chester's compassion birthed a sweet friendship, and many more moments together throughout the years to follow.

I'll always be grateful for that day ~~ you just never know the surprise blessings that might come from "compassionate behaviors"...... 




Habit of the Week ~ Inventiveness

 Having or showing an ability to think of new ideas and methods:
creative or imaginative

While  training my buddy Chester to heal, I learned he LOVED to pull, which of course is pretty dog-gone natural. However, beyond normal pulling, Chester was a super-strong and gifted puller.  Do I sound like a Dog-Mom?

Yes, it was vital he learned the art of 'heal'.  But, why not invent a way to let him enjoy something he was gifted to do?  Since he love love loved to pull, then let's create a way for him to do this.

And so we did.  I say "we" because I needed help with my inventive idea.

A trainer friend of mine taught a class in wagon pulling. We signed up. We started small, first just putting a harness and straps on my buddy. He began learning new commands such as left and right and easy and whoa. (These commands work especially well when I remember my right from my left!). From getting used to a harness and dragging straps behind him, we progressed to Chester pulling an empty gallon milk jug. After he became comfortable with the noisy, wiggly-jiggly plastic clunking jug trailing behind him, we progressed to a small wagon.  And eventually a little red wagon. With kids!

Ta-Da!  Inventiveness!!!  Happy dog!  Happy kids in the wagon!

As I shared pictures and this inventive story with the students, they  noticed so many inventive-moments....   from me wanting to invent a way for Chester to PULL, to the trainer, and harness maker, and wagon converter.  It took a village of inventors. Which is often how inventions go...   And it took time. And patience.  Which is often how inventions go.  With dreams and creativity, time and patience, sprinkle in a lot of help along the way....inventive dreams can become reality.  And change a life, or the world!

One of my greatest desires as a teacher, was, is,  to discover the gift(s) tucked inside each student --- and to invent ways to help each one shine.  
                        Inventiveness inspires....or is it the other way around :)  

P.S.  A most memorable moment of the day ~~ When I called on a student & expecting a dazzling comment about inventions, he said, "I think you kinda look like Hillary Clinton in that picture!"