24-U by B e v e r l y

 

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This week at ABC Wednesday, U gets the spotlight.

U is for Unkind

To be unkind is to be inconsiderate and harsh to others.

In our society today, too many are unkind, uncaring. Our society is becoming more and more unwelcoming to those who are different.

We have a choice – to be kind or unkind.

How different things would be if all could show kindness to others.

How different it would be if we were more welcoming to others.

How different it would be if love defeated hate.

 

In the words of Germany Kent:

“Don’t hang out with people who are:
Ungrateful
Unhelpful
Unruly
Unkindly
Unloving
Unambitious
Unmotivated

or make you feel…
Uncomfortable”

 

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One of the most powerful activities I did with my students was “The Torn Heart” activity. I made a huge heart and pinned it onto my front. As I read a story to the students, anytime I said something unkind, or mean, the students would raise their hands.. I’d then choose a student to tear off a piece of the heart. By the time the story was finished, the heart was in pieces.

Then I had the students try to tape the heart back together. They recognized that the heart would never be the same – it was too damaged. They were able to make the link to how unkindness can damage our hearts

(Check here for information on this lesson)

It has been shown that unkind words really do harm the brain. Read this article for full details.

 

Don’t let the cruel make you unkind. And don’t let the unkind make you cruel.”
― Giovannie de Sadeleer

24-R by B e v e r l y

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This week at ABC Wednesday R gets centre stage.

R is for READ and READING and being a READER

Reading has always been a part of my life. I cannot imagine a world without books and being able to read what or when I want.

As a child, I loved going to the library and working my way through the children’s books. My Dad was a big reader, my mother not as much. He encouraged me to read widely and often. In fact, when my mother tried to stop me from reading a rather risqué book when I was 12 or 13, my father said the only way I could discern a good book from a poor one was to read widely. I got to read it!

I especially loved as a parent the time I snuggled with my children and read them book after book. Favourites like, “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch were read over and over again.

As a teacher, I read several books every day – some as mentor texts to encourage writing, some just for the sheer joy of listening to a superb book. I can still remember reading “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo and nearing the end of the book, when one of my Gr. 3 students cried out “She can’t die!”. This was a girl who was developmentally challenged, did not have a good memory but she always could summarize where we were in each chapter book which we read at the end of the day.

Reading has so many benefits -especially for children. (Check here and here for a detailed look at the many benefits)

Studies have been done to show just how many words children learn when they are read to from an early age. Even just 20 minutes a day will have then learning almost two million words by 6th Grade.

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(Source)

Now that I am retired I can indulge my love of reading. I read every day and for the past 3 years I have read over 400 books a year (this does include over a hundred children’s books I read as mentor books for my own writing). I take part in several challenges, including the Popsugar Challenge through Goodreads. I love the challenge of finding books to meet the criteria for each.

Here are a few quotes that attest to the importance of reading:

Some books leave us free and some books make us free. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Once you learn to read, you will be forever free. – Frederick Douglas

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.– George R.R. Martin

There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all. – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. – Dr. Seuss

24-O by B e v e r l y

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This week at ABC Wednesday, O gets centre stage.

 

O is for Organ Donation

Organ donation saves lives. Yet here are some sobering facts about organ donation in Canada (in 2016):

*over 4,500 people are on the waiting list to receive an organ

  • 260 people died while waiting for a transplant

Last week, in Canada, we had Green Shirt Day on April 7th, which will now be an annual event. It marked the one year anniversary of the devastating bus crash that killed 16 members of the Humboldt hockey team, and injured 13 others. The tragedy had such an impact on our whole country.

One huge effect though, has been what is called The Logan Boulet Effect. Logan was 19 when he died in the bus crash, but he had already signed his card to ensure his organs would be donated. His parents followed through with Logan’s wishes and so 6 people’s lives were saved or improved because of his donated organs.

But Logan’s impact didn’t stop there. In just the two months after his death, over 100,000 people registered to be organ donors.

More and more people have done so as well since then, and Green Shirt Day will encourage people to be organ donors every year.

Some jurisdictions around the world already have an opt-out option – where people have to actually opt out of donating their organs. In countries that have this option, over 90% of people donate their organs. Where opt-in options exist, not nearly as many donate.

Organ donation though can happen from living donors – blood, liver, kidney, bone marrow.

In 2003, my husband needed a new kidney. He had been on dialysis for a year and a half and though it kept him alive, it was not a quality life. We had married in 2002 and I saw what he went through. I offered to donate a kidney and I proved to be a match.

Sixteen years later my husband’s kidney is still working well. He receives follow up and is watched carefully. He must take anti-rejection drugs for life but his quality of life is so much better.

 

Organ donation saves lives, improves lives.

Be sure your family knows you consent to be an organ donor. 

 

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24-L by B e v e r l y

This week at ABC Wednesday L gets centre stage.

L  is for Live, Love, Laugh

This is one of my favourite expressions – one that sums up what we need for a happy life.

We all need love and loving others as ourselves would certainly create a more caring, friendlier world. There is too much hate, racism in the world. Every religion has the golden rule of loving others. No one is better than anyone else. Race, colour, religion are just excuses to encourage hate.

We need to live each day as if it is our last. We need to grasp all that is good about our world and be the best that we can be

And laughter only makes everything better. Worry and stress erode our happiness. We need to laugh and laught often.

So, Live well

Laugh often

and

Love Much!

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24-I by B e v e r l y

 

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I is for Imagination

From the dictionary : Imagination is “the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.”s.

Imagination – we know what it is, we often wish we were imaginative and yet we often doubt that we have it. We think of artists and musicians as imaginative

Yet we all have it and we can all express it. It is important, it is as necessary as breathing.

From   Tao de Haas

“The ability to imagine things pervades our entire existence. It influences everything we do, think about and create. It leads to elaborate theories, dreams and inventions in any profession from the realms of academia to engineering and the arts. Ultimately, imagination influences everything we do regardless of our profession.

Imagination is the key to innovation.”

 

We may need to work at it, but we can be creative, imaginative, innovative. It is just a matter of degree.

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Check here for ideas to improve your imagination.

 

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24-F by B e v e r l y

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This week at ABC Wednesday, F is our letter of focus.

F is for FAITH – something we all need in these uncertain times.

So many religions exist around the world and each has their own expressions of faith. What a wonderful world it would be if we could all have faith, let our actions show how we live our faith and that love would triumph over hate and evil.

Here is my journal page on some favourite faith quotes:

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There are so many quotes about faith.. Here are a few more:

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. Mother Teresa

Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage. Julia Cameron

He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery! Anne Frank

 

F is also for fear – and if we have faith, we can overcome our fears.

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24-C by B e v e r l y

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Another week, and another letter. This week we focus on C.

C is for Compassion and courage..

As we make connections with people, we come to care for them and show compassion. It takes courage to love, to share our lives and hearts with others. It also takes courage to live an honest, compassionate  life, one where others are treated with respect and dignity.

In this day and age, we need both compassion and courage – to face down the hate, the bigotry that surround us.

There are many role models for us to be inspired by: – Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Desmond Tutu, Anne Frank, Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt ,Princess Di, Jimmy Carter.

Step up. Actively cultivate compassion and courage. Make our world a better place.

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23-Z by Beverly

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We have now come to the end of Round 23 – Z marks the finale of this round.

Z can be many things – the zip in your step, the zoo for animals, the beauty of zinnias, winning a lottery with 6 zeroes.

But Z also stands for the Zodiac. Through time astrologers have predicted futures, based on the position of stars, sun and moon. Who hasn’t read their horoscope from time to time. We may scoff, but many believe strongly in having their horoscope read.

The zodiac is made up of 4 elements, with 3 signs for each:

Water – Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces

Fire – Aries, Leo and Sagittarius

Earth – Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn

Air – Gemini, Libra and Aquarius

I am sure most of us know our signs and maybe even what traits are associated with them.

I am a Capricorn. Here is an art tag with that sign that I created:

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Check here to learn more about the history of the zodiac or about the signs.

 

23-W by Beverly

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This week at ABC Wednesday, W is the letter of focus.

W is for Window.
We all look through windows of our homes expecting to see our neighbourhood, our yard or maybe even someone walking by – something familiar. Windows though can provide an unfamiliar view when we are travelling.

Books as well can be windows on the world around us, offering us views we are familiar with, or more and more, views which we are unfamiliar with.

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Dr. Rudine Sims-Bishop stresses the lack of diversity in children’s books:

“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books. (1990, p. ix)”

Too often, children fail to see themselves in books. As Felicity LuHill says:

“When it’s good, reading can be both a window and a mirror. In this way, diverse children’s books are windows and mirrors. They allow us to see new things about others and ourselves. The trouble occurs when texts for early readers provide only one view, and it’s a mirror for only a select few.”

Chad Everett makes this point:

“Viewing literature through a lens of windows and mirrors helps us understand that, in addition to texts being stories to be enjoyed, they are powerful tools of social justice.”

 

We all need diverse books. In this fractured world where it is often “them vs us”, where racism and hate are growing, now more than ever we need windows that show our diverse world and mirrors that reflect our uniqueness.
Throw open the window. Look at the world in wonder and acceptance. We need diversity, we need tolerance.

 

Check out the following, which look at the need for diversity in books, especially for children:

Shannon Hitchcock

Why We Need Diverse Books

Ted Talk by Grace Lin

 

 

23-T by Beverly

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What an appropriate week for ABC Wednesday – as T gets centre stage.

So – T is for  Thanksgiving and of course, turkey:

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the U.S!

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A perfect turkey for this special day – on Thursday, created by my young granddaughter.

In Canada, we celebrated Thanksgiving in October. There are some differences in our two celebrations. Check here to see how.

 

T is also for thanks. 

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Having an attitude of gratitude is so important. So many health benefits have been shown to take place when we give thanks, when we are giving, when we keep a gratitude journal and record what we are thankful for.

The blog “Newly Creative” is hosting  21 Days of Practising Gratitude. Do check it out here.