“Tomorrow is Today”

I didn’t know it takes 2 months to get that habit under your belt.


How are those healthy new year resolutions coming along? Settling into a routine? Starting to see the benefits of eating healthier foods and exercising more? How consistent are you becoming? You’re only 1-day left to building that habit, right?
Actually that is not the case. You have a few more weeks to go. Studies are showing that the 21-days to build a habit is a myth and that it will take at least 60-days (two months) depending on the person, behavior being changed, and circumstances.
When it comes to building a healthy lifestyle, it really becomes more of changing behavior vs. habits.
We live in a society that thrives in the here and now. We crave instant gratification and its no different with health and fitness. To truly see results you must enjoy each day of progress and embrace the journey. You must commit to the system.  Understanding from the…

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How Henry Ford Changed Education in Michigan

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in the history of the United States, with 27,000 square miles covered with 30 feet of water. Many Afro-Americans evacuated their homes along the Lower Mississippi River and started a large migration north to Detroit. In 1892, Ellis Island immigrant receiving station opened in New York where 70 percent of all immigrants came to America, many of them settling in Detroit. Henry Ford was paying five dollars a day for an eight hour shift at the Ford Motor Company, giving their families a middle class standard of living.

Ford had difficulties getting the Model T off the assembly line with workers walking off the line in search of better wages. Expensive turnover, downtime of the production line, training costs, and recruitment of new employees in a growing industrial city gave Ford a better idea.   It would be more cost effective to pay a worker more money to stay, rather than constantly training a new work force.

Ford established a Sociological Department with a system of rules and behavior for Ford employees to qualify for the five dollar a day pay rate. The Sociological Department supervised employees at home and on the job. Investigators made unexpected visits to employee’s homes, checked with school attendance offices to determine if children were attending school, assessed the cleanliness of the home, and bank records to verify that employees made regular deposits.

An adjunct to the Sociological Department was the Ford English School which addressed the problem of communicating with non-English speaking workers, and safety threats that this posed. Worker safety was rarely considered in most factories; however, Ford Motor Company officials took great pains to guarantee that the factory was safe. English classes were taught by Ford employees to foreign employees: students were required to attend classes before or after their work shifts.

Ford English School was so successful that other companies and social organizations patterned their programs after it. A Ford English School diploma was considered so respected that an immigrant seeking naturalization used it to meet the requirements needed before taking the final citizenship exam.

Students dressed in costumes reminiscent of their native countries stepped into a massive stage-prop cauldron that had a banner across the front identifying it as the AMERICAN MELTING POT. Seconds later, after a quick change out of sight of the audience, students appeared wearing “American” suits and hats, waving American flags, leaving a new 100% American.

The result of the migration and immigration, English taught at the factory, and parameters for Ford employees were a demand for colleges for their children to attend. Michigan met that challenge and has over one hundred and fifty colleges and universities, community colleges and technical schools.  Of the eighty three counties, only one does not have an institution of higher learning.

The result of Henry Ford’s insistence on English and school attendance made Detroit the finest school system in America in 1950.

What happened?



The High Five: raising your hand to hit the palm of your friend after a happy moment; we teach it to our kids, we do it at the office, at a little league game, and watching any sport. OH yes, I did my research, the Dodgers did it first, the volleyball players did it first, but we all remember when Magic Johnson and Greg Kelser did it in 1978. Why? Michigan State University basketball team had the magic and Magic.

I became a huge basketball fan, adjusting the rabbit ears, bringing out the tin foil, because the young man I loved (who became my husband) loves all competitive sports. Reading the sports page of the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News, Sports Illustrated, I couldn’t get enough of MSU basketball.

The High Five went viral in the high school I taught in 1979. We did the High Five in class and in the teacher’s lounge. We gave out high fives, we got high fives back. It became a terrific intrinsic teaching tool.

The Midwest Division I schools waited for the big game between Larry Bird and Indiana State number one ranked team and Magic Johnson from MSU to see who had the best skills. Two enormously talented young men with great personalities; Larry Bird and IU were the number one team; but in the NCAA finals, MSU won 75-64. To this day, it remains the highest-rated game in the history of televised college basketball.

Magic and his wingman, Greg Kelser taught the fans the High Five. Maybe they did High Five a couple of times in volleyball and Dodgers- but Magic Johnson with his happy smile and wingman, Greg Kelser, made it real for America.

The High Five- Made in America.

Where Are the Best Leaders?

Where are the best leaders, public or private enterprises?

I have now spent one half my life working for profit enterprises, and the other half working in education. The leaders of education have a different skill set, personalities and priorities than those in the private sector.  Assessing the priority and methods used by the leaders to motivate their employees; there is a clear difference.

In a business, leaders are motivated by the bottom line: Involved in the business, they often work closely with their employees, setting the work rules, the example and praising their employees who do add to that bottom line.  Communicating daily, setting the day’s goals, checking periodically on the progress of the project; and all while performing their own managerial tasks.  Business leaders will use intrinsic rewards, and let the employee have more autonomy as mastery and work ethic is demonstrated. It is in their best interest to make sure the employee is well trained and able to handle his position with independence.

Henry Ford, besides being known for automation, is also remembered for the five dollar day, and eight hour shifts.  He found it was cheaper to pay the five dollars, than it was to retrain new workers several times a year.  Working only eight hours was great for the employee, but it also allowed three working shifts a day.

I have never known a person to become a superintendent of a school district or public enterprise as a first job. They may have the education and the certification to become a leader, but first they must prove themselves by working at the same level as most of the employees, then in middle management, leading to a position in lower management before they become a leader of a large public enterprise. At that point, they are years, buildings, even miles away from their employees.  This allows all the employees almost complete autonomy, giving middle management the power to assess the employee’s mastery and work ethic.

Any enterprise is only as good as its worst employee. Which leader do you think has that knowledge and the power to change that?

What to do when I need a jolt of creativity?

I go to twitter. What’s there? Anything you want. I read articles from well-known papers and magazines that have been vetted and read by others. I check certain @twitter people, as in #LibertyMarketing to see whom they have been consorting with lately. That is always worth a smile and a new idea. I look on my list of to- dos and decide how much time do I have to complete creativity project and therefore feed the need.
I can’t afford the Wall Street Journal at this time, but I just heard two new #EricClapton tunes on soundcloud. Blues- and written in the manner that Eric has done. Good hook, great sing a long chorus, nice harmony and a melody that you will remember. There is a jolt. Should go over to the piano right now.
Then there is the infamous #TimFargo, who works around the clock. Just the work ethic gives me a jolt- plus I like his pictures. If he would just put the #car on one time!
After I check out twitter, then I have my jolt. Time to get going and have something to show that today was not a waste.
Oh, and Hashtags are a bonus- visual to what is the point?

Pull the Plug

Pull the Plug


Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book

Before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:16.

The entire Psalm is wonderful, but after the death of my son, it became my touchstone.

When and how does a person die?

Those two questions haunted me. How could the children where I taught die?   All in accidents, careless at times, senseless at all times. I was at the funeral home every year.

 I remember a girl driving a car on a back road at the beginning of the school year. Her Bestie got a new car, and said, go ahead and drive. She couldn’t drive, but she wouldn’t tell Bestie that. She drove the car on the pot ridden road too fast and flipped it, rolled it.  Bestie lived, the girl did not.  I remember going through the school pictures that had just been shipped, looking for her picture for the funeral.   It was surreal. Here yesterday, gone forever today.

Then the friend, good church goer; she was helpful at church growing the foundation with dividend paying stocks, while she employed nothing but illegal aliens at her manufacturing plant.  She had just a small tumor, but in the duodenum, but it had spread just a little bit to the liver.  She was wealthy, she could have had a transplant, but the doctors said no.  If there are tumors in two organs we will not do a transplant.

Before the year was over, she was gone.

Why some so suddenly, why some over a period of time.

My opinion.  It is not the disease. One may have a disease, or something physically wrong, but that does not cause death.  We all have an appointment with God that has been set up before we were born.

Why so soon? We all have an appointment with God that has been set up before we were born.

In my family- it is immediate, but we have strong faith in our Lord.  In other situations, maybe the imminent seeming death will make others come to the Lord.

I have found though I see ‘someone’, that God is the only One who can give us Peace when we lose someone we love in death.

Pull my plug. Let the Lord take my last breathe and soul to heaven.

Band directing- a rewarding occupation!

J.W. Pepper, a music publishing and distribution company, does much research into what music is being performed around the nation.  Michigan has an extensive list of music, jazz, concert, marches at the Collegiate AA – A levels.  I am very familiar with that music, having conducted and performed many of the pieces, and certainly have directed all of the composers.

I miss directing. I miss the music, the story the music tells, and the musicians falling in love with the piece.

I love to direct as I can see what everyone is doing with the score, look up and see the students either right on, or pretending to be right on. The notes are right in front of me, so I can see and hear what that are doing.

I stop to help those who are lost, reassure them I will cue them, and then go over the phrases with them. I like to paint a word picture for them, to change the notes into a story to be conveyed to the audience.

Then as the notes come together, the band moves the music forward, and I can see the joy in their body language, and I think, it just doesn’t get any better than this!


The Toxic Culture of Education – a TedX Talk

Opt Out Orlando

Joshua Katz is a high school math teacher in Orange County, FL. In his seven years as a teacher, he has worked with 9th – 12th grade students in Algebra and Algebra 2. He has been his school’s Math Teacher of the Year twice and a four-time finalist for Teacher of the Year. He serves on the Faculty Advisory Committee, the Student Placement Committee, and the PTSA. Before working in secondary education, Josh spent eight years working in higher education as well as the non-profit world. He earned his BS in Math Education and his MA in Higher Education from the University of Central Florida. His current passion is exposing the contradictions in the current education reform and its impact on the economy.

Side note: I came to know of Joshua when I saw his TedX video on the Opt Out Orlando group page and realized that he teaches at my…

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What Should a 4 Year Old Know?

I love this- and would like to add for ‘academic achievement’ the number one predicator is if the parent went to college.

A Magical Childhood

What should a 4 year old know?

It’s back to school time and children all over are starting preschool.  Many parents are frantically searching the internet to find out if their little ones are “on track” and know everything they should.

I wrote this article about what a four-year-old should know many years ago but it continues to be the most popular page on the Magical Childhood site.  I don’t think a week has passed in the past eight or so years when I have not received a letter from a parent, grandparent or teacher about it.  Parents and principals especially have said they wish more parents realized these things.

So in honor of the new school year, I’m posting it here…

What should a 4 year old know?

I was on a parenting bulletin board recently and read a post by a mother who was worried that her 4 1/2 year old did not know enough…

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Emotional connections

Thank you to everyone who purchased my Easter book, Jesus, the Brother of James and Jude.  I don’t claim to be an authority, but I did enjoy staging and writing in the ‘where was He?’ portions of Holy Week.

I am ready to consider other positions now that I am done marketing this seasonal book.  Teaching band for twenty five years, short and long term substitute teaching, have allowed me to have a unique skill set of performance, organization, motivation and enthusiasm.   It is so important to make an emotional connection with people, in order to accomplish trust for teaching, leading and motivating people.

If you have the same priorities, I would love the opportunity to sit down and discuss what is going on with your organization in Yavapai County, Arizona.