Lesson of the Week

Connected: I am self-circled by people who bring out the best in me

Think of all the connections that had to be made for this dandelion to become an awesome plant.  (OK.  First forget that it is a weed in your garden and all those little seeds are going to make more weeds.)  Just focus on it’s exquisite connections.

Connections can be awesome or awful.  Awesome is when you are self-circled by people who bring out the best in you.  Awful is when you are surrounded and influenced by people who do not.

For instance, a woman brought a man into her closest circle.  She thought he was a part of her mission to become a successful person.  He did not bring out the best in her.  He taunted her, chided her, humiliated, and hit her.  At home she was sad, afraid, weak, and powerless.  Home life was awful.

At work, this woman was a hero.  She was self-circled by people who complimented her, praised, dignified, and treated her with respect. She felt happy, brave, strong, and powerful.  Work life was awesome!

Tragedy came when she arrived home one day and he beat her to death.  News of the murder reached the television and newspapers.  Her deli customers were shocked to hear of her double life.  They had only seen her as a safe and powerful woman.

At first, this story might be too painful to study as a lesson on being connected.  However, stay with the story for a while.  The best way to honor this woman is to assure that you establish an awesome circle of people around you and not an awful one.  An awesome circle means surrounding yourself with people who bring out the best in you.  Below is an activity that will help you think more about this opportunity.  Take the challenge to stay connected to those who have your best interests at heart and you will find you self and your mission thriving.

Quote

I feel that each and every one of us as individuals has a responsibility to one another. None of us would be here without the help of someone else -- whether it be guardians, teachers, parents, relatives, etc. -- someone contributed to your well being as a person. We're all connected in so many different ways.

- Alonzo Mourning, Former professional basketball player

Activity

Activity  Circle of Support
Materials:  Paper and pen or pencil
Time: Ten minutes to write and ten minutes for each person to discuss their findings.

Instruction:

1.  On a piece of paper draw three concentric circles.  Start by drawing a large circle about an inch from the edge of the paper.  Draw a second circle about an inch inside the outer circle.  Draw the third circle about an inch inside second circle.  (Concentric circles are circles that are drawn around each other and look like a target.)  You will have three circles with spaces in between each.  Put a dot in the middle.  The dot represents you surrounded by circles or being self circled.

2.  In small print, label the center space as 1, the second circular space as 2, the third circular space as 3, and the outside space closest to the edge of the paper as 4.  Each space represents the connections you have with people in your life.  There is a continuum from people who bring out the best in you (the center circle) to people who do not (the edges outside all the circles).  This page will represent you being self circled.

2.  Now, in the center of the all the circles (space 1) and around the dot (representing you), write the names of people with whom you are connected – those who bring out the best in you.  (Use a code or initials if you need to keep this list private.)

3.  In the space 2, write the names of the people with whom you are connected – those who sometimes but not always bring out the best in you.  (Use a code or initials if you need to keep this list private.)

4.  In space 3, write the names of people with whom you are connected – those who rarely bring out the best in you.  (Use a code or initials if you need to keep this list private.)

5.  In the outside space 4, write the names of people with whom you are connected -- those who never bring out the best in you.  (Use a code or initials if you need to keep this list private.)

6.  In the group, discuss the following:
a)  What did you learn from doing this activity?
b)  How will this activity help you make better choices in the future?

Affirmation

I am connected so I can …… We’d like to hear your story about being around people who bring out the best in you. Write your story below.

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