National Handwriting Day. Keep Teaching Cursive + Send Someone A Letter

January 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

It’s National Handwriting Day and I got to thinking again about the controversy around cursive writing. I believe it should continue to be taught and practiced. As a matter of fact, I think we should start a movement to get people writing by hand every day.

I must confess that when I was teaching K-3 I hated teaching cursive writing. I loved writing by hand but for some reason it was one of the hardest things for me to teach. It was hard for me to learn how to write cursive when I was in 3rd grade but I loved relearning it in college. In my Education courses on how to teach handwriting, the professor made us get notebooks just like the kids would have and learn how to write the alphabet all over again. It was great fun the second time around and my handwriting changed completely.

It might be hard to learn and hard to teach but I think it’s such an important part of a child’s education. Besides the fine motor and cognitive skills the children learn there’s so much more that they learn. Focus, quiet concentration, discipline, attention to detail, personal style among others, slowness.  In our digital & fast moving world, writing by hand can also serve as a meditation of sorts. I remember the quiet, slow, concentration in the classroom when the children were practicing their cursive writing. They couldn’t rush through it.

Isn’t if fun to discover someone through their handwriting? Think of the difference between reading an email from someone and reading a handwritten letter from them. Seeing someone’s handwriting and experiencing the physical manifestation of their thoughts in their own handwriting is a different experience than reading them in digital form. We put voices and expression to digital missives but a person comes through in their handwriting in many ways that just aren’t there when we read them on our screens.

Children develop their own signature in so many ways when they learn how to write, and other children get to know them through their handwriting as well. The kids always knew who wrote a composition without even looking at the name at the top of the page. It was an extension of them, their essence put on the page.

I’ve recently started exchanging letters with a friend across the country who re-introduced me to the fun and joys of it. (Thanks Lisa!) Choosing your instruments, paper/card/pen, thoughtfully thinking about what you’ll write, sending it out and the fun of getting a handwritten letter yourself. It’s a completely different experience than sending & receiving emails.

So today, to celebrate National Handwriting Day why don’t you send someone a handwritten letter? They’ll love it. So will you.

Enjoy the day your way,


@coachkiki @writecoachkiki

Weingarten’s Theory of Readiness – When? How? Best Way To?

January 15, 2015 § Leave a comment

It’s January 15th and your New Year’s Resolutions are…um…. How are they doing? New behaviors, new goals, new paths are difficult to achieve, sometimes for simple reasons like logistics and sometimes for more difficult-to-solve reasons.

Simply put – are you at your personal stage of readiness to achieve your goal? And if you’re not – how can you identify it and get ready for it? Below is a post I re-post from time to time due to questions & requests I get. It’s not only relevant for New Year’s Resolutions, it’s helpful to review any time you’re making a change.

I suggest to clients in executive & management positions that they review and discuss this with employees and/or partners when they’re working on making changes or beginning new projects.

When working with clients involved in creative projects we review their creative readiness process and how they can work with it within the parameters of contracted work, and as a way to avoid getting stuck in ways that could interfere with their creative output & achieving their goals.

For people at all levels, in any industry it’s a way of identifying & articulating your patterns. Once you have that knowledge you can create a work/life plan that motivates you and keeps you motivated and on track. Gaining this knowledge about yourself also helps you not get blindsided by your own self.

The “Readiness” issue became obvious to me as I coached, taught & developed programs and as a life-long student of people and behaviors, and as an educator, mental health professional & theory/program developer I explored and developed this theory and strategies to work with it. So here it is again – enjoy and good luck!

One of the things I love about the work I do is exploring and developing new theories in order to assist people to understand, articulate and achieve their goals. An interesting phenomenon that I’ve been studying and developing as a theory for learning and change is something I call “The Readiness Theory”.

In its simplest form people “get ready” and become acclimated to changes in their lives in different ways.

* Some people dive right in and get used to the experience while they’re muddling through it. An example of that would be *Anne who decided she was looking for a job as a corporate attorney without really understanding what that lifestyle entails. She took the first job that looked good for her and is in coaching to become adjusted to the work, the lifestyle, interacting with her colleagues and developing a career plan for the future.

* Some people need to have all the elements in place before they can make a change or move.
An example of this readiness personality would be *Gregory who is a graduate student at an Ivy League University. Together we’re exploring every avenue as far as his interests are concerned. We’re working together to enable him to articulae and decide on the kind of life and lifestyle he’d like to live professionally, intellectually, financially, personally, and as far as leaving a legacy. We will then combine all the information so that he can make the best choice possible for him to make with the information he has at hand. He’d like to know what he’ll be doing after graduation by the time his last semester in grad school begins.

* Some people make a change and then take a few steps back before they jump right in again.
There are a couple of ways that this manifests itself in coaching. *Mariettastarted her coaching after she’d very impulsively left a steady job with a career track she thought she’d wanted in order to become a professional animator which she had no experience in or knowledge of how it worked “in the real world”. With a very low frustration threshold Marietta was unable to manage the situation and went back to a different job on the same career track as the original. Six months later she resumed coaching while in the job to plan ahead for becoming an animator. After working that through a bit more slowly than she’d originally anticipated she is currently very happily working as an animator. “I took a bit of a detour” is the way she describes it.

* Some people make a change before they’re ready to live it and then act that out in different ways.
Where do I begin with this one? This can manifest itself in many ways. I worked with *Tom, a young man who was under extreme pressure from his family to go to medical school and go into his father’s medical practice. To put it mildly he DID NOT want to be a doctor but felt that he just didn’t know how to get out of it. Well, he kept failing all his pre-med classes and did miserably on his MCATs so that he would have a hard time getting into any medical school his father would approve of. Then he took a gap year (actually three years) to travel the world. Long story short, he finally told his parents what was really going on and we then began a course of coaching to discover what he really wanted to do. Happy ending he’s currently an attorney who works primarily with doctors!

Another way this manifests itself is when someone is making the best move for them but they really aren’t ready for it yet for numerous reasons. This comes out in the way they behave with those around them, passive-aggressive behavior, self-sabotage and more. An example of this would be *Therese who was a successful newspaper journalist but decided to leave it all and write a book TODAY. Therese was a great writer but wasn’t used to the long stretches of of solitary time needed to do the very solitary work of writing a book. She wasn’t used to people not responding to her the way they had when she had her newspaper and title backing her up. In short, she just wasn’t ready for it. After alienating just about everyone she knew and spending most of her writing time starting at a blank computer screen (or alternately crying and eating) she began coaching work with me and through the process became able to be the person she wanted to be and do the work she wanted to do.

Readiness will show up in many ways and will also impact the length of the coaching relationship and the amount of coaching sessions required.

What’s your readiness style and how has it impacted your decisions? I’d love to hear from you! Let me know at atypicalcoaching at gmail.

Enjoy the day – your way!
Rebecca Kiki

*(All names and identifying character and work traits have been changed.)

c Rebecca K Weingarten

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