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Directors Blog https://www.dalat.org/blog Thu, 22 Mar 2018 21:15:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.22 Time To Go Grey https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=935 https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=935#comments Thu, 22 Mar 2018 21:15:40 +0000 http://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=935 Last week we began to look at the issue of social media and its race for our attention. We discussed the business model most of them utilize – getting your attention as often as possible and then keeping it as long as possible.

One of the ways that they do this is with attractive and bright colors. The screens on your phones are amazing as they display millions of colors with crystal-clear clarity. The colors are attractive and draw your attention and your brain enjoys the experience. Along with the attractiveness, certain colors will create responses in your brain. The color red grabs your attention, and if that is tied to a desired action the company wants from you, it can be a very effective tool to get you to look at your phone. Remember, their goal is to grab your attention and keep it and the use of colors is a very effective tool in their arsenal.

Fortunately, there is a way to combat the powerful impact the colors have on your brain and it is referred to as “going grey”. Most people do not know this but your phone (and other devices) has the ability to view in greyscale, which then removes the power of the colors on your brain. You still see everything but the colors do not attract and influence your brain as much. This can be done on the iPhone/iPhone/iTouch, as well as Android/Samsung phones:

It is also possible with these devices to make going back to color a simple step with your home button so that if there is a picture or video you need to see in color you can switch back and forth quickly. With the iPhone it is under general>accessibility>accessibility shortcut>color filters. With the android phone it is Settings -> Personal -> Accessibility -> Direct Access and turn both Direct Access and Greyscale ON. Once you do this with your phone, a triple tap of the home button will toggle greyscale on and off.

I would encourage you to try going grey for a day or two and see what type of impact it has on how many times you look at your phone and how long you stay glued to it. For some people this simple step has been a very positive move for them in decreasing the amount of time spent on their phone or personal device. Give it a try and maybe you will decide to go grey for good.

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The Race for Our Attention https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=931 https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=931#comments Thu, 15 Mar 2018 15:58:48 +0000 http://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=931 Almost everyone who reads this article currently own a smartphone which is with them or sitting not far away. It is amazing how quickly these devices became an indispensable part of life. Many of you cannot imagine what your life would be like without it.

We are just now starting to ask some very important questions about these wonderful, little devices that make our lives so much “easier”.  What impact are they having on us? More importantly, what kind of impact are they having on our kids? There are some pretty alarming statistics about smartphones as this generation wrestles with how these machines are changing our lives:

  • 50% of teens feel they are addicted to their smartphones.
  • 69% of parents and 78% of teens check their phone at least hourly.
  • 72% of teens feel they need to respond and answer texts and messages immediately.
  • 66% of parents feel that their teenager spends too much time on their smartphone.
  • 54% of teens felt that their parents check their phones too often.
  • 52% of parents are trying to lessen time spent on their mobile devices.
  • 28% of teens say their parents are addicted to their phones.
  • 36% of parents say that they have conflict with their teen about smartphones on a daily basis.
The fact of the matter is that the social media companies are competing for your time and your attention and the phone is their best weapon. They make lots of money by getting your attention and then keeping it as long as possible. To do that they are integrating powerful psychological tools that work on the human brain. Simply put, they are purposefully trying to get you and your children “addicted” to looking at and using your phone.

So today, what we have is huge companies with millions of dollars at their disposable and brilliant minds working on ways to try and get you hooked on your phones, apps, or social media networks. There is literally an “arms race” by these companies to develop ways to keep you interacting with the device. The statistics point to the fact that they are winning as more and more of our time every year is spent with our heads down looking at our phones.

There is some good news in all of this. First, Dalat has a rule that students are not to use their phones during the school day. This is not appreciated by most students and some parents, but at least you can know that for 8 hours a day your kids are not doing battle with these social network companies. Second, we can lessen the ability of these devices to grab us and hijack our attention with some small changes and steps. In the coming weeks we will talk about such steps and some suggested changes.
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What Are You Reading? https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=928 https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=928#comments Fri, 09 Mar 2018 02:28:12 +0000 http://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=928 At Dalat, we want to encourage our students to become life-long learners. Part of that idea is that they will become life-long readers as well. There is a staff member at Dalat who often asks staff he is talking to, “So what are you reading now?” Not only does he hear about interesting books, but he learns a little more about his co-workers in the process. I think it is a great question and lately when I have had the opportunity, I have started asking it as well. It is amazing how many great books are out there and how helpful it is to hear from someone why a recent book is worth reading. So in today’s Dalat News I thought I would list the books that I have recently read or am currently reading.

If you click on the title of the book, it will take you to Amazon.com where you can read a brief description and several readers’ opinions. My hope is that maybe out of this list there might be one that you decide to pick up and read. When you do, you will be ready to answer the question “So what are you reading now?”

If you read a great book, let me know. It may show up on a future list.

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Extra Extra https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=924 https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=924#comments Fri, 02 Mar 2018 03:12:02 +0000 http://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=924 Last week I had the opportunity to coach the varsity girls basketball team at the ACSC tournament in Chiang Mai, Thailand. While there, I reflected about the time and effort being put forth by the athletes and teams as well as the schools. When you think about it, here was a bunch of girls missing almost a week of school, traveling to another country, staying away from home, etc, for this tournament. The host school was sacrificing time, facilities, money to make this competition happen. Why? Why does Dalat promote and encourage students to get involved in sports and or other extra-curriculars?

One of the main reasons is that so much about life (education for life) can be learned through these activities that take place outside of the classrooms. There is so much about life that cannot be learned in a book. They have to be experienced. Recently I came across a list of skills that transfer from sports to the working world:

  • Teamwork: Athletes learn how to work effectively as part of a team.
  • Communication: Athletes learn important communication skills by playing on the team.
  • Emotions: The ability to manage their emotions effectively is learned by athletes.
  • Tenacity: An understanding that to succeed you need to work hard is a part of sports.
  • Determination: For athletes to succeed they must develop high levels of determination.
  • Pressure: Sports will often put athletes in positions where they must handle pressure well.
  • Goal Setting: Every team and individual athlete sets goals for themselves.
  • Self-Discipline: To get in shape and learn new skills is a big part of being an athlete.
  • Concentration: Developing athletic skills and team play involves high levels of concentration.
  • Commitment: To be a successful athlete takes commitment.

This list is not even complete. I can think of another 5-6 ways in which sports develops life skills in its athletes. But this is not just an article about sports. The fact of the matter is that very similar lists can be made for drama, forensics, boy scouts, music, student leadership, etc, etc. We might call these activities “extra” but in reality that are not extra, they are vital for a well rounded education. Encourage your children to get involved in all the extra’s that are a part of Dalat.

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What is your Punchline? https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=920 https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=920#comments Fri, 09 Feb 2018 02:35:48 +0000 http://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=920 As we continue to focus on our theme “It’s Still Not About Me,” I’d like to share with you a video. This video was sent to me by someone suggesting that it as a great illustration of our theme and encouraged me to share it with the community. I watched and agreed that it would be worthy of sharing.

Michael Jr is a comedian who has made a name for himself and is quite famous in America. He is unique in that he is one of very few comedians who keeps his routine and humor clean. His shows can be watched by families and enjoyed by younger kids.

In this video, Michael Jr talks about a paradigm shift in his perspective on life in which he switched from trying to get laughs to wanting to give laughter and he explains how this changed his life. He continues by explaining the concept of life from a comedian’s perspective. That humor is about what is referred to as “the set up” and then the punchline.

Please do take the time to watch this video clip. It is about 10 minutes long. The link takes you to the midpoint of his Ted Talk to where his presentation applies to our theme. Some of you may want to watch the whole thing, but without a doubt, if you watch the clip from where the link starts, you may gain a new perspective on life and our theme.

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A Good Value https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=916 https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=916#comments Thu, 01 Feb 2018 23:12:23 +0000 http://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=916 During this last week a number of the Dalat administrators, school board, and members of the development office had a chance to work with a world-class consultant to help develop strategies for achieving our 5-year strategic plan. During our two days together we spent some of our time looking at and discussing Dalat’s purpose.

There were the obvious answers related to being a school, but one of the most fundamental answers we landed on is that Dalat exists to teach children that they have value and worth.

See we live in a world that does not value you if you are not pretty, smart, rich, powerful or a combination of one or more of these. Without at least one of them, you are pretty much disregarded and overlooked by the world. It is why people pursue money with such passion, spend so much money on makeup and clothes, attend incredibly costly universities and pursue positions of power. Simply, these are the things the world tells us over and over again are important. If we want to matter and if we want purpose and meaning it is found in these four things.

At Dalat, however, we fervently want to teach a very different message to each child that walks on to our campus. We want our students to know that who they are right now is special and important. We want them to know that they have meaning and value and that they were born for a purpose. We want our students to know that we love them, care about them, and want the best for them.

This is one of the key reasons we exist and I personally would not want to work at a school that does not have this value as a guiding principle

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Living in an E-mail World https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=912 https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=912#comments Fri, 26 Jan 2018 02:50:30 +0000 http://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=912 In the last 20 years most jobs have changed dramatically because of technology and its advances. An example of this can be seen in the simple form of e-mail. On an average day I receive about 50-75 e-mails and spend a significant portion of each day interacting and leading through these short little electronic messages. On average, I would say that approximately 25-30% of my day is spent reading and writing e-mails.

Considering the amount of time e-mail is a part of our lives and work, it is amazing that most of us have taken very little time to learn how to be more effective with it. We make the assumption that since email is just the writing of a short note that there is not much to it and that doing it, well, is intuitive.

  1. Below is a list of tips taken from an article on how to be more effective with e-mail. The tips are quite simple and yet if followed can dramatically improve your emailability (made up word but let’s see if it catches on).
  2. Turn off automatic notification of incoming e-mail. E-mail is not a telephone and should not be interrupting and distracting you from the work (or life) in front of you.
  3. Establish specific times during the day when you can focus completely on checking and taking action on messages, and use that time to deal thoroughly on what’s come in. The remainder of the day should then be focused on other tasks.
  4. If you know you can’t respond to a message for several days, acknowledge receipt with a quick e-mail giving a sense of when you’ll get to it.
  5. Make messages you send easy to digest by writing a clear subject line and starting the body of the email with the key point.
  6. With very short e-mails, put the message in the subject line and end it with “eom” (end of message).
  7. Finally, send fewer e-mails. Each e-mail message generates on average two responses – which you then have to read and deal with.
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What Is A RAK? https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=908 https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=908#comments Fri, 08 Dec 2017 08:27:22 +0000 http://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=908 If I asked you what a “RAK” is many of you might say, “oh it’s an animal in central asia.” Although you were close with that answer, you’re thinking of a “Yak.” A RAK is not an animal. It is, however, something that can be found in over 85 countries.

A “movement” called Random Acts of Kindness has sprouted up around the world. A “RAK” is simply an act of kindness for a stranger that encourages him or her or makes the person smile. The randomness of it is that it is not for someone you know personally well and the person who experiences the kindness would probably consider it to be “random.”

Here is a list of 10 ideas for a RAK that I took from a couple different websites:

  1. Pay it Backward: buy coffee for the person behind you in line.
  2. Tip your waiter/waitress and leave an encouraging note on the table.
  3. Leave change at a laundromat for people to use if needed.
  4. Put your phone away while interacting with a stranger.
  5. Email or write to a former teacher who made a difference in your life.
  6. Let someone go in front of you in line who only has a few items.
  7. Pick up the next piece of trash you come by on the ground.
  8. Say thank you to a security guard, yard guy, or janitor.
  9. Write a thank you note to someone who did something for you.
  10. Put a candy bar in a random locker with an encouraging note.

Since we know that acts of kindness are literally contagious, the RAK you do can inspire the person who receives it. Additionally, there is also a pretty good chance the person will tell his or her friends about it and that will inspire a RAK ripple effect throughout our community. I would challenge those in our community to do a RAK in the next week and if you do, shoot me an email and tell me about it.

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Kindness & The Common Cold https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=904 https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=904#comments Fri, 01 Dec 2017 02:25:05 +0000 http://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=904 We have been talking about the importance of kindness and teaching our students to understand this important life lesson. The interesting thing about kindness is that it is just like a virus or a disease. Kindness and the common cold actually have a lot in common. Let me explain.

When you observe someone performing an act of kindness there is a physiological response called “moral elevation.” The brain responds in a way that provides you with something similar to a natural high, or in non-scientific terms, “the warm fuzzies.” It is not fully understood yet why this phenomenon occurs and it is being studied more in depth by experts, but the physiological response to seeing kindness is a proven fact.

Here’s what happens with that “warm fuzzy” you get from your brain; it inspires you to be more altruistic. In other words, it simply makes you want to do something kind as well. Through numerous studies, this has been proven repeatedly.

So much like the common cold, which starts with one person in your community and then spreads to three others who then spread it to another three and so on and so on, kindness can act the same way. When you do an act of kindness and it is witnessed by a handful of people they then are encouraged to do something kind, which then inspires the people who see them as well. The power of multiplication means that your one act of kindness can make a huge difference in your community.

Here is a short video that illustrates this life principal extremely well. My hope is that by watching it you will be inspired to look for opportunities to do small acts of kindness. If you do, your little selfless act may go viral, and in this case, unlike the cold you recently spread to others, this would be a good thing.

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The Dalat Turkeys https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=898 https://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=898#comments Thu, 23 Nov 2017 01:28:50 +0000 http://www.dalat.org/blog/?p=898 The idea of a holiday for giving thanks is not unique to the United States as there are a handful of other countries with a similar type of holiday. That said, the level of importance of the Thanksgiving holiday, and how revered it is in American culture is unique. Here are few other interesting and unique tidbits about the American holiday:
  • George Washington declared the first Thanksgiving holiday. It was not until Abraham Lincoln, however, when it became a federal holiday.
  • They did not actually serve turkey at the “original” thanksgiving meal. In fact it was mostly likely lobster that was served at that meal.
  • Jingle Bells was actually first a Thanksgiving song but it became so popular that it continued to be sung during the Christmas holidays and eventually migrated to that holiday instead.
  • The idea for a TV dinner (another American creation – a packaged meal in a tray is heated in the oven and eaten while watching TV) was started by the Swanson food company because they had 260 tons of leftover turkey when they overestimated it’s demand one year.
  • Benjamin Franklin actually wanted the national bird of the United States to be the turkey and not the eagle. If he had succeeded, we might actually be called the Dalat turkeys instead of the Dalat eagles.
The ultimate purpose of this holiday was and is to remind a nation of people that they should be grateful and give thanks for the blessings God has given them. The idea of being and showing gratitude is an important character trait we want to encourage in our students. Throughout the Thanksgiving week we focus on this idea in our classes in all three divisions. We do know that our students are grateful for at least one thing this week – a long weekend. Our hope, however, is that we encourage and inspire our students to make gratitude a part of their lives.
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