Tuesday 29 August 2017

Business Owners Tips for a Better Work-Life Balance

Thanks so much for including my blog post about Work Life Balance with these amazing tips from entrepreneurs about achieving balance.

Monday 21 August 2017

Is Work-Life Balance a Trap for Mothers?

Achieving a Work-Life Balance

Writing for me is more than a hobby. I want to make it my career and I am well on my way. I have just signed by 15th picture book contract and started my own company, Share Your Story, to help aspiring authors realise their dream of becoming published storytellers.

Achieving a work-life balance, providing for my family and setting a good example for our kids is above other things why I want to be successful. Balancing having the time and energy to look after my family and the time and energy to put into my passion is my top reason for wanting to achieve a work-life balance. When your goal is hard, and your dream is bigger than your comfort zone, can living a dream for someone else really be enough to keep you motivated? Is it so awful to want to achieve something just for yourself? Have we become so scared of being labelled 'selfish' and a 'bad mother' because we want to pursue a career that the term Work-Life Balance is something that is used when we are 'failing' to put our family first?  My kids love me and they want me to be happy, so does hubby. But, do they want the dream I have? Do they share my passion? The answer is no. Doing it for them is not enough. I have to do it for the love of working for myself. What other people think of me is a huge achievement-blocker that needs to be overcome because when my goal becomes difficult to reach, it will be easy to stop and justify failure by saying it didn't turn out to be the right thing for my family, that I didn't have a work-life balance and I will listen to the million reasons why I shouldn't keep trying. What if it was the right thing for me and I just gave in because it meant my family would have had to make some changes and sacrifices for me to achieve it? That is part of achieving a work-life balance, placing your passion as a priority and not always the other way around.

When I do achieve balance, true balance will come with the love and support of my family and a business that allows me to give them the time they need along with a wife and mother who is energised and successful with her chosen career. Work-life balance will something I have done for myself as well as my family and I will be proud of that.

Tuesday 1 August 2017

Is Imagination An Endangered Species?

Last week, I was speaking with some author friends and we all agreed that in our recent author visit experience, children were struggling with the concept and practical application of imaginative play. And we asked ourselves the question, "Is imagination in danger of becoming extinct?"

Modern children are very good at mimicry and mirroring instruction. The excel at engaging in guided learning but with the current curriculum and focus on learning outcomes, more so than learning pathways, are they loosing the ability to think creatively, independently and inventively?

The important role that imagination plays in creating engagement in more than just rope-learning and forced literacy reflects the essence of the need for questioning, exploration and extended discussion around issued that are important to children as individuals. Here are my top three reasons why we need to save Imagination from dying out all together.

1. Imagination is learned.

Children are not born with imagination. Imagination is a learned strategy that is modelled and used by a caregiver or peer in an attempt to construct meaningful interpretations of the seen and unseen world in which we live. The importance of creating an environment in which children learn to and feel free to use their imagination can be undervalued in a technologically advanced culture that lends itself to children becoming passive, unresponsive and unable to engage with any medium that required individual interpretation, namely, books. We need to teach the next generation to use their imagination if we hope to have the inventors, the dreamers and the big idea makers that will take them into the next century and beyond.

2. Imagination is a tool.

The context and culture of imagination influences engagement in many areas of children's lives and is a tool for experimentation and learning. Children use their imagination as a tool in their interactions with the world around them as they attempt to make sense of it or craft their own interpretations. The act of imaginative play itself becomes the environment from which information is gathered which is evidenced by their non-verbal cues as well as their overt responses. They also become more motivated to participate in learning as a result of the engaging properties of the use of imagination as a teaching tool.

3. Imagination is contagious.

The reflexivity inherent in the use of imagination is that when the culture of the learning environment permits children to question, explore and invent, not only are individuals cognitively engaged, but their use of imagination elicits engagement in their peers as well.  Children can also use imaginative play as a way of safe space sharing of thoughts, feelings and ideas, modelling the behaviour for their peers and allowing age appropriate conversations of important topics that are relevant to their life and learning. More than any of that...it is so much fun.

If you have any other reasons why we need to save Imagination, especially in schools, please let me know in the comments.