Applying habits of effective people and the art of being human

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Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Listening provides compassion and empathy. Sometimes that is all that is needed. I’ll always remember a meeting when I sat listening to an employee share her concerns. Towards the end of our conversation, I learned a lesson.

As the only female of three building administrators, I sometimes found myself emotionally connected to other women who shared daycare concerns, encounters with aggressive parents, and issues often unique to females in the workplace. One day during a conference with a teacher, our conversation carried us in several directions with her leading me down one path and then another.

Towards the end, I began to give suggestions, attempting to solve her problems. Her body language quickly changed. She frowned and said, “Now, you sound like a man. I don’t need you to fix my problem. If I wanted that, I would have talked with one of the men.” …


A year in review: one article from each month in 2020

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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

As a mother and now grandmother, I am astonished at how quickly each day, month, and year passes. David Kauffman’s words from his song Turn Around Slowly ring in my ears when I reflect on important moments.

Turn around slowly. Time is a racer.
The wink of an eye takes you from here to there.
Turn around slowly, and treasure your days here.
These precious moments may come to be rare.

As a writer, it is also true that time flies by quickly. There is never enough time to read everything I desire, to get my thoughts on paper, to discuss great ideas. Through the year, I have written articles, published and then sat at the keyboard to begin again. Writers produce one story after another. …


A poem that places a face on Coronavirus

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A poem that places a face on Coronavirus #14

A snake crawled into my garden
He’s a garter snake causing no harm
Except to my repose
But his presence set off alarms
I inhaled the colors and smells of life
With a cup of coffee in my hand
I celebrated the moment so precious, so grand

I strolled through paths of progress
Weeding out intruders, kicking the gravel
Evicting snakes with poisonality
Dreaming of someday travels
Cultivating dreams and nourishing hope
Budding flora helped me cope

As winter withered the vegetation
The views out my window grew dark
In the shadows, I germinated memories
Waiting for the rainbow’s arc
Knowing days of gold would soon appear
I left concerns in the rear-view…


Don’t become mired in the minutia when answers are available

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Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash

Are you on a search for answers? Is the path foggy? Are there answers everywhere but you don’t know where to look? Would access to a writer who publishes articles for writers that address your questions be a dream come true? There is a place to gather ideas, inspiration and strengthen skills without being mired in the minutia of words.

My name is Brenda Mahler. I am a writing teacher of 34 years and have published a book, Strategies for Teaching Writing: An ASCD Action Tool. Currently, I am revising the pages of the workbook and lessons into articles to help aspiring writers develop their craft. …


A poem that places a face on Coronavirus #14

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Photo from Linda’s album

A snake crawled into my garden
He’s a garter snake causing no harm
Except to my repose
But his presence set off alarms
I inhaled the colors and smells of life
With a cup of coffee in my hand
I celebrated the moment so precious, so grand

I strolled through paths of progress
Weeding out intruders, kicking the gravel
Evicting snakes with poisonality
Dreaming of someday travels
Cultivating dreams and nourishing hope
Budding flora helped me cope

As winter withered the vegetation
The views out my window grew dark
In the shadows, I germinated memories
Waiting for the rainbow’s arc
Knowing days of gold would soon appear
I left concerns in the rear-view…


Invite readers into the setting so they can relax and enjoy.

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Photo by Tamara Menzi on Unsplash

Writers who allow me to visit the setting of the story captivate my attention. I love to experience a new place through the words of a gifted writer who provides the details to arouse my senses. They inspire my desire to continue reading just so I don’t have to return to the realities of life. The ability to describe an environment requires a writer to share the smells, tastes, sights, sounds and feelings through their attention to detail.

Have you ever smelled an aroma that escorted you back in time? …


A year in review: one article from each month in 2020

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Writers produce one story after another. I get excited every time we press the submit button it the culmination of the process. We all enjoy the craft. However, there are MANY of us and our words get lost under the pile of papers — or in this case disappear as they orbit in the universal realms of the internet.

So for your pleasure and my reassurance that I still exist after this difficult year, I am celebrating the year in review by sharing a post about writing from each month of they year.

Enjoy!

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October


How studying classics provides understanding of current events

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Photo by Jonathan Harrison on Unsplash

In 1960 Harper Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird (TKMB). The events of the story take place between the Great Depression and the Jim Crow era, 1933–1935. I had many opportunities to read it each year with my classes of freshmen. The novel shares a delightful story of Scout’s, the young protagonist, adventures, suspense as hints of the reclusive neighbor, Boo Radley, are woven into the plot, and a court case that reveals the inherent racism of small-town USA. The students’ interest increased as they became engaged with the characters and started recognizing the commonalities of then and now.

Studying racism during 1930’s provides insight into current events

Throughout the novel, Lee uses symbolism to expose the strongly held believes of a community dealing with life issues of equality and prejudices in the American South. I particularly enjoyed discussing with students the symbols incorporated into this story and then with an understanding of symbolism, we discussed symbols and how they impact thinking in modern society. I have attached a link to a PowerPoint that provides talking points about the symbols in To Kill a Mockingbird.

I am now retired, but this is the time of year we would have read this classic and the current events would prove a valuable tool to point out the relevancy of the novel and use it to activate an intellectual dialogue, Socratic Seminar, on the many themes addressed by Harper Lee. The insurrection at the U.S. Capital would become a central event to construct relevancy of a 60-year-old novel. …


Changing perspective develops story details and engages readers

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Photo by Michael Jin on Unsplash

When a writer chooses who tells the story they alter the perspective. In so doing, the details change the interpretation, the very essence of the story. Point-of-view (POV) is the angle from which the story is told. Imagine a police officer recording statements from different witnesses at the scene of a car accident. Each would interpret and report the incident from their vantage point at the time, from their perspective.

The driver of the first vehicle would report he crashed into the side of the turning car because the other driver did not stop at the intersection. He believes the driver of the other car is at fault. The driver’s statement of the second car would assert she stopped at the intersection and then proceeded in turn until by the oncoming car sideswiped her. A third observer, standing on the corner waiting to cross the street, would testify she saw both drivers talking on their cell phones when they stopped at the intersection. …


Both will produce positive results

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Photo by Tim Hüfner on Unsplash

Writing is a release of emotions, ideas, and frustrations. As long as I remember, I have always been a writer and seldom made money from it, the reality that I am not getting rich will be a fact and not a frustration. It is a hobby. Since hobbies usually cost money, I figure writing on Medium is better than some options. It requires minimal investment and offers satisfaction.

As a teen poetry was my thing — writing about those mean girls, frustrating environments, and attractive out-of-reach boys. Some might have called it journaling but my words, more often than not, formed poetry. As an adult, I started teaching writing and published a textbook for teachers, Strategies for Teaching Writing: An ASCD Action Tool. As a parent when my children were young, I wrote about them. …

About

Brenda Mahler

Real life person sharing real life stories to inspire and help learn to love ourselves and others. Let me introducte myself https://medium.com/about-me-stories

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