Tag Archives: Creativity

Teaching Kids Happiness and Innovation (Guest: Mike Ferry)

BTRadioIntWhat is it, really, that creates and sustains happiness in ourselves and in our children? Listen in to this program from our archives as Mike Ferry, banking on his research and experience in working with young people, offers valuable insights into this important and fascinating topic.

………………………………………..

Some define happiness as a positive by-product of success. In other words, if you are successful enough, you’ll be happy.

Teaching Kids Happiness and InnovationBut that definition doesn’t square with the fact that there are plenty of folks who have the appearance of success, yet they are NOT happy. Evidence and research at this point indicate precisely the opposite position: Happy people tend to be successful people, and they conduct their lives and relationships in a manner that is sustainable and consistent with their closest-held values.

Author and teacher, Mike Ferry, defines happiness as an optimistic, communal and disciplined perspective on life. Every part of that definition makes sense; it’s worth sharing with our children as a major lesson in life.

Happiness and Innovation Mike FerryIn this valuable and informative program, Mike discusses authentic happiness and how it can be combined with innovation and a growth mindset to give our children a strong base, a platform for managing life in a world containing more than its share of challenges. Mike’s here also to suggest how we can encourage our kids to develop and demonstrate other valuable attributes like gratitude, perseverance, mindfulness, purpose, tolerance, collaboration, faith and creativity. All of these will contribute to their happiness and a life well-lived.

Mike’s in-depth research and his years as a middle school teacher and father of four all come together in a book that’s the focus of this program. It’s entitled, Teaching Happiness and Innovation. (28:50)

http://www.happinessandinnovation.com

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK


(START/STOP Audio)

Ten Ways to Boost Creativity (Mike Ferry)

Mike Ferry, Teaching Happiness and Innovation, Ten Ways to Boost CreativityCreativity is a path to happiness. The more time we spend being creative, the happier we’re likely to become. In addition, creativity is an essential aspect of innovation, which will propel us to a brighter future. As kids many of us are naturally creative. Unfortunately, our creativity tends to be eliminated as we enter school. So, here are ten ways to boost creativity.

The really good news is that we can reclaim our creativity. In addition, we can help our kids preserve and develop their creative capacity.

Teaching Happiness and Innovation, Mike FerryHere are ten (hopefully fun) activities designed to engage your skills of creativity. Using each group of words, compose a short story, skit, poem, song, movie, dance, etc. Let your mind roam free. If this becomes hilarious and a bit chaotic, so be it! Maybe you could try this exercise the next time you need an icebreaker in the office, the classroom, or anywhere else. Plus, you might learn a thing or two by looking up the meanings of any people, places, or things you don’t know about. The more we learn, the more creative we can be!

 

Submarine
Giraffe
Tampa
Violin
Superman

 

James Bond
Walla Walla, Washington
Skunk
Hula hoop
Nutella

 

Onion rings
Portland
Candles
Chinchilla
Millard Fillmore

 

Tuba
Vatican City
Thin Mints
Al Capone
Poker

 

Golf cart
Beard
Mars
Guinea pig
Ronald Reagan

 

Oak tree
Porsche
Suitcase
Lebron James
Aardvark

 

Pufferfish
Sphinx
Popcorn
Babe Ruth
Glockenspiel

 

Walrus
U2
Sled
Kabbadi
Napoleon

 

Molars
Ottawa
Silk Road
Flip flop
Olaf

 

Louis Armstrong
Iguana
Starbucks
Columbus Zoo
Hello Kitty pencil

This is a recent blog post of mine that has been getting some attention on Twitter. I’ve tried a few of these with my students, and the process has been lots of fun. ###

Mike Ferry is the author of Teaching Happiness and Innovation. A middle school history teacher in Richmond, VA, Mike is raising four (mostly happy) children with his wife, Jenny. For more information about teaching happiness to children, visit www.happinessandinnovation.com. Twitter @MikeFerry7

 

Teaching Kids Happiness and Innovation (Guest: Mike Ferry)

BTRadioIntSome define happiness as a positive by-product of success. In other words, if you are successful enough, you’ll be happy.

Mike Ferry photo 3But that definition doesn’t square with the fact that there are plenty of folks who have the appearance of success, yet they are NOT happy. Evidence and research at this point indicate precisely the opposite position: Happy people tend to be successful people, and they conduct their lives and relationships in a manner that is sustainable and consistent with their closest-held values.

Author and teacher, Mike Ferry, defines happiness as an optimistic, communal and disciplined perspective on life. Every part of that definition makes sense; it’s worth sharing with our children as a major lesson in life.

THAIBookCoverIn this valuable and informative program, Mike discusses authentic happiness and how it can be combined with innovation and a growth mindset to give our children a strong base, a platform for managing life in a world containing more than its share of challenges. Mike’s here also to suggest how we can encourage our kids to develop and demonstrate other valuable attributes like gratitude, perseverance, mindfulness, purpose, tolerance, collaboration, faith and creativity. All of these will contribute to their happiness and a life well-lived.

Mike’s in-depth research and his years as a middle school teacher and father of four all come together in a book that’s the focus of this program. It’s entitled, Teaching Happiness and Innovation. (28:50)

(To listen to Mike’s phone presentation, “Teaching Happiness to Your Children This Summer,” follow these instructions: Dial 641-715-3589; enter Access Code 328425#; Reference Number 4#. Normal long-distance rates apply.)

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK


(START/STOP Audio)

Why Failure is a Good Thing (Mehdi Toozhy)

BTAboutThemLife teaches us that in every mistake we learn a lesson. Failure is a step to success because every mistake teaches us something. Failure is not a loss, but a mindset.

Mehdi ToozhyThis past winter snow and ice covered my neighborhood. When I took my daily walks, I inevitably ended up slipping and was a laughing matter for few onlookers. I learned from this and the next day I got an anti-slip bracelet for my boots. Now I can take longer walks and go on icier trails.

Failure is etched in our mind as a negative thing. It is like looking at the coin and only seeing one side. The truth is humanity could not have achieved progress without the benefit of failure.

From a Motor to an Empire
To understand why failure is a good thing, we must first change our attitude toward it. Putting emotion aside, failure is the opportunity to gather valuable information in order to make the next attempt successful.

An example is Japanese businessman Soichiro Honda. He was a Japanese engineer, industrialist, and the founder of Honda automobile and motorcycle industry. He famously declared:

Success represents the 1 percent of your work which results from the 99 percent that is called failure.

 

He started in a woodworking shop. He failed many times on his journey to develop this multinational business. His initial project was working on devising a motor for the bicycle. This motor eventually led to the creation of the Honda motor. Every failure brought him closer to his goal. His attitude toward failure can teach us success is an outcome of repeated failure.

What Nature Teaches Us
Next, how does nature teach us about failure? Lions, the king of the animal kingdom, repeatedly fail. Studies have shown that most hunting attempts of the lion end up in failure. It has been observed that when hunting as a team, only 4 out 10 hunts end in success.

To become an expert in your own field one needs to consider failure as part of education or evolution. Niels Bohr, one of world greatest physicist declared his view on failure:

An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a narrow field.

 

Pushing the Boundaries
In our world, we push the boundaries by building new structures, machines, reaching further into space and pushing the limits of science. There will be failures that lead to changes and improvements. In the future, super-fast computers will help us to become more efficient in learning from failures and we will bounce back faster after being knocked down.

Here are two simple steps to make your failure into success:

1. A Positive Attitude: When faced with a failure, step back and take a note of the reasons behind the failure.

2. Persistence: Find a role model and remind yourself your role model faced similar situations but kept trying. Positive thoughts are fuel for your mind.

Failure Shapes Success
So how did how failure shape (and continues to shape) our world in a positive way?

FlemingPenicillin, the wonder medicine, was discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming. He was attempting to find a cure for other diseases, and through failures he discovered a fungus that was dissolving the surrounding bacteria. This fungus was the start of penicillin.

As with the discovery of penicillin, when a person fails in one area, it may lead to success in another area.

During my first year at University in Denmark, I failed to perform well in math and physics. I wondered about my next semester and the tougher challenges ahead.

Then I practiced a subconscious problem solving technique. That is to train my subconscious to do the problem solving. One can do this by going for a walk, taking a shower or watering the lawn. If one gets away from the problem, a solution can come quicker. I managed to master this technique and I scored perfect marks in many challenging subjects.

How can failure impact us? According to a study published in the Journal of Motivation and Emotion, failure can result in feelings of inferiority, fear of trying and lowering confidence. It is important to recognize these elements so they can be addressed. Failure impacts each person differently but the principle is the same.

What I do with my kids to remove fear of failure is to encourage them to try. For example, when my son fails to draw an animal on the paper, I tell him to look at the painting and see if it resembles any other animal. This helps to build his self-confidence and he is willing to try again. We managed to encourage by:

1. Persistence

2. Creativity

3. Self-Confidence

When your child fails, approach it with a constructive attitude. The Journal of Motivation and Emotion has proven that sad feelings from a difficult experience last longer than a pleasant and happy experience.

This knowledge requires parents to be mindful of support and encouragement that is needed to help their child out of the sad zone. Show your children examples in nature and emphasize the importance of persistence skills as key ingredients in going from failure to success. Examples are all around us. We need to learn how to see them.

Steps for Addressing Failure
The next time you see failure in your life or in your child’s life, consider the following steps.

1. Relax and take a deep breath.

2. Go to a quiet area and think what you can learn from this failure.

3. How can you takes lesson from this failure and apply to the next step.

4. Be a big-picture thinker and remind yourself now you are one step closer to getting things right.

Remember failure is simply part of natural human development. Every atom is from collapsed stars that failed to support their weight under immense gravitational force.

So relax and enjoy your journey toward success. ###

Mehdi Toozhy is a graduate of Oxford University and the renowned co-author of a scientific research paper published in the Journal of Sound and Vibration. He placed in the top 5 percent of students while studying at the Danish Technical University and achieved 100 percent in many of his challenging technical subjects. His proven study techniques, covered in his book, Keys to Success at School and Beyond, have helped many students worldwide to achieve success. For more information, go to www.MehdiToozhy.com.

 

 

Identifying and Cultivating Your Child’s Core Strengths (Dr. Daniel Trussell)

BTAboutThem
(Email subscribers: Go to the website to see the many “freebies” offered by our guest experts and to listen to radio-style interviews on the podcast player.)

………………..

Most parents want to help develop their child’s strengths but don’t know where to start. It can be overwhelming to determine what your child’s strengths are and then to set up experiences where your child is challenged to activate those strengths.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I ask parents to describe their child’s strengths, I get answers like, “He’s good at getting his way,” or “She excels in soccer” or “He’s a natural artist.” While these are all skills worth cultivating, I want to challenge you to think differently about strengths. In their landmark book, Character Strengths and Virtues ( Oxford University Press, 2004), Peterson and Seligman developed a taxonomy of universal virtues and the strengths associated with each of those six virtues.

Six Virtues
The six virtues found in all cultures include Wisdom, Courage, Humanity Justice, Temperance and Transcendence.

Acting on these virtues not only defines an individual as living a superior life, but also leads to greater life satisfaction both individually and collectively.

Strengths
Peterson and Seligman assigned different strengths that embody each of the universal virtues. They are listed below.

Wisdom and Knowledge— acquiring and using knowledge

Creativity

Curiosity

Judgement and critical thinking

Love of learning

Perspective

 

Courage— accomplishing goals in the face of opposition

Bravery

Persistence

Integrity

Vitality

 

Humanity— strengths of befriending and tending to others

Love

Generosity

Social and emotional intelligence

 

Justice–strengths that build community

Teamwork

Fairness

Leadership

 

Temperance–strengths that protect against excess

Forgiveness and mercy

Humility

Prudence

Self-control

 

Transcendence— strengths that connect us to the larger universe

Appreciation of beauty

Gratitude

Hope

Humor

Spirituality

 

While some of these strengths become evident in the first years of life, others do not develop until adolescence. Although young children can express forgiveness, for example, it is almost always conditional and typically includes an element of revenge. It requires emotional and intellectual development, along with an abundance of life experience to be able to show mercy, forgiveness without revenge.  Young children can  tell jokes and be funny, but humor, the capacity to change another’s affect through bittersweet observation, is often not cultivated until much later in life.

Cultivating Core Strengths

To cultivate a child’s core strengths, that child must be exposed to activities that align with their strengths. No child will have all the virtues and strengths; a good rule of thumb is to determine the top five and the lowest five.  Plan abundant activities that allow a child to use their top strengths and limit activities that require use of their lowest strengths to maximize life satisfaction and general well-being.

If you child is high in appreciation of beauty, you could attend art exhibits, hike to beautiful places or find environments that allow her to get in touch with her appreciation and awe. Conversely, if your child is low in persistence, assign chores that don’t pay great attention to details.

To download a list of activities associated with each strength mentioned here, send me an email to drdanieltrussell@gmail.com or go to 264 Character Building Activities for Kids

 Daniel Trussell, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, CPCS is author of How Families Flourish, a parenting guide using the constructs of applied positive psychology. To learn more about his program go to http://www.howfamiliesflourish.com