Spring Break is Over!

Spring Break is over!…and YES, I am looking forward to seeing my students tomorrow!

However, before we get started with the 4th Quarter, it is time to reflect on 10 lessons from Spring Break that I want to carry over.

1) Sleep is good!  Establishing better sleep patterns and getting more sleep is something I will work on in the last quarter of the year.  5 hours of sleep a night and the accompanying sleep deprivation effects are not good for anyone.

2) Nature is wonderful!  Time in/with nature is good.  I will take more time to enjoy nature…to pause in nature…with long walks and the camera that is my phone!

3) Playing games is fun!  Sequence and Taboo night with our son and his friend produced the most laughter of the week!  Laughing with your loved ones is good!

4) Reading is good!  It felt great to finish two books during the break!  It felt great sharing a room with fellow readers for hours at a time.

5) Authentically connecting is good!  I opened up to connecting more with people both virtually and in the room without expectation…and it was good.

6) Writing is good!  I began working on a broad general statement of the purpose of education that included conversations over Twitter to produce a collaborative mini-crowd sourced initiative (blog coming soon).

7) Hanging out in independent book stores is good!  We spent time in no less than three indie book stores bonding over books, ideas and coffee!

8) Chocolate is good!  Sharing chocolate with someone you love is better!

9) A good plumber is hard to find after 3:30 p.m. in some parts of the country!  When you find one, become his/her best source of marketing!

9) a) The smallest “stress fracture” on the smallest piece of pipe (not at the joint) can cause BIG leaks!

9) b) Call an expert!

10) “Life is short, but sweet for certain.”-DMB

Embrace the moment, embrace your loved ones in the moment.  Life changing news is a phone call away.  Stop and smell the roses.  No, I really mean it…STOP…slow down…breathe…reflect…feel…write…think…connect…LOVE!

Sunday Run

Yesterday I ran a “contrarian run.”  Why do I call it a contrarian run?  Well, it was contrary to the way I’ve ever run before, coached others to run or thought of running.  My number one goal for yesterday’s run was to “stop and smell the roses”…to experience the run and to have FUN!

After awakening at 5:00, we traveled out to one of our favorite places to run about 45 minutes SW of downtown Orlando.  I loaded up with my youngest son and we picked up one of his teammates to head out to what we call the mountains of Clermont-a circuitous, almost 10 mile clay road loop of vistas and hills-challenges that are uncharacteristic of what most people think of Florida running terrain.

I’ve been in love with this place since discovering it with my oldest son about 6 years ago.  There is something magical about every time we go there even when are going every week.  Arriving before daylight as other runners emerge from their cars with various forms of “bed-headedness” and “half-awakeness” after parking alongside the road is a welcome Sunday ritual.

Moon Set Brilliant

We were the second car to arrive yesterday and when I stepped out of the car, I immediately noticed the setting moon in all of its fullness to the west.  I had already decided to carry my phone on the run with me today so while going through dynamic drills I snapped photos of the setting moon while waiting for the sun to slowly emerge in the east as a backdrop to the city skyline.  The decision to carry my phone with me was the beginning of the contrarian run for this runner who shuns all accessories aside from a GPS watch, a pair of shorts, the thinnest socks possible and shoes.

The Moon Setting

After a good warm-up, the boys set off ahead of me after a few words from Coach about taking it easy today (they ended up hammering the 10 miles of hills averaging sub-6:30/mile pace).   I started off slowly with my broken-band Garmin in my left pocket and my I-Phone tucked between my right thigh and my compression shorts.  I wore longer basketball-style shorts this morning and a sleeveless cotton muscle shirt to ensure I didn’t go too hard.  My last trip out there was a 20 miler covering the loop 2+ times at better than 7:15/mile pace before I had to cut my best months of training short with hip issues.

Warming Up 03162014

My plan (or non-plan) emerged over the first mile.  What if I stop, do 40 push-ups at each mile marker and then snap pictures/take video of the amazing vistas we’ve been enjoying all these years?  And so I did…creating and posting my first VLOG/Run VLOG ever.  Here it is in all of its unedited expression:

Mile 1  The Long View

Mile 1 The Long View

Mile 2  (Video)-Why We Run: There are Spiritual/Soulful Reasons!

Mile 2 Spirit Soul

Follow link for Video:


Mile 4 Runners Ahead in the Distance  

Mile 4 Runners in the Distance

Mile 5 The Crossroads

One of the quotes our runners and their parents hear from me regularly is “Running and running on a team is a perfect metaphor for life.”  Today’s metaphor-the Crossroad!

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Mile 5.5 Snake in the Road

Another “teachable moment”.  Remember we said “running is a metaphor for life.”  Shortly after making the decision to run right, this snake appeared in the road.  On closer inspection, it was a small, nonvenomous one…this time.  How often, though, does life throw snakes in the road after we’ve made a key decision as if to test our resolve?

Snake in the Road

Mile 6 Why do we run?…for those long, winding roads!  (This one looks pretty long and straight from here).

Follow link for video:


Mile 7 Why do we run? We run for the VISTAS! Pt. 2

Mile 7

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Mile 9: Honey, can I get a GoPro now? 🙂

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The Finish|Mile 10 Why do we run? The bonding of father and son!

Finish Pic garmin

Father Son

Thank you for reading!  Do you have a contrarian run?  Hopefully this inspires you to find your “fun” in the run!

Active Listening: Carl Rogers-Style

Yesterday, as we reviewed Rogers’s Humanistic ideas on psychotherapy, we discovered that Rogers’s client-centered therapy requires the therapist to use active listening and exhibit “genuineness, acceptance and empathy.”  Enter empathic, active listening and a discussion about the need for more active listening and some powerful words from Rogers:

“Hearing has consequences.  When I truly hear a person and the meanings that are important to him at that moment, hearing not simply his words, but him, and when I let him know that I have heard his own private personal meanings, many things happen.”

I have noticed that the more deeply I hear the meanings of the person, the more there is that happens. It is as though he were saying, ‘Thank God, somebody heard me.  Someone knows what it’s like to be me.’”

[David G. Myers, Psychology, Ninth Edition (New York: Worth, 2010)]

That was my “WOW” moment, my “Eureka” for the day.  Reading those words aloud to my class led me to ask them to pause and reflect to think about how different their world might be if they really listened-Carl Rogers-style.

We live in an age of distraction when many of us are staring at the Tweets, Instagram or Tumblr posts of our virtual world while we are “listening” to the person right in front of us.  What will happen when we start really listening-when we listen Carl Rogers-style?  Parents, what will happen when we listen to our children?  Teachers, what will happen when we listen to our students? Husbands to our wives? Wives to our husbands? Salespeople to our clients? Managers to those we Manage? Physicians to their Patients? Leaders to the Led?

I’ve made one significant change since my “Eureka” moment yesterday and it’s simple, but I am excited to see the difference that it makes.  I’ve resolved to put my phone away when I am walking the school hallways.  Oh yeah, this friendly, open psychology teacher had made a habit of getting his phone out while walking the hallway the few times I escaped the walls of my classroom to get outside in the FL sun.  My excuse was that once outside and away from Internet firewalls with better coverage I could at least sneak a peek into my virtual world.  Yesterday, phone in hand I walked by a school leader who was monitoring the hallways during a class change.  Each time I passed her, she failed to notice me or others around.  I couldn’t catch her eye for a friendly greeting.  I said to myself, “this is her opportunity to connect with students, teachers, and parents walking by and she is buried in her I-Pad” and then I noticed the phone in my own hand.

Today:  My phone is in my pocket as I walk the hallway open to new connections.  Thank you Carl Rogers!

Like what you read here?  Let’s connect on Twitter: Coach John Hines@LrnTchCchGrw

Empathy: Carl Rogers-Style

My AP Psychology students are accustomed to being greeted each morning with “Good morning, fellow psychologists!”  This comes from my philosophy that regardless of the subject we are teaching, we are teaching a discipline and learning the ways of thinking (habits of mind) and practices of said discipline.  Yesterday, I told the class I would greet them each morning with “Good morning, my fellow World Historians!” if  we were in World History class and that we would be exploring history following the discipline, practices and habits of mind of historians.  Psychology is unique, fun and especially applicable, though, because we can also practice what we are learning to possibly improve our everyday lives!

Over the past several days our focus has been on the Psychological Therapies and comparing/contrasting the approaches of the Psychoanalysts, the Humanists, the Behaviorists, and the Cognitive/Behaviorists to the treatment of psychological disorders.  Yesterday, we wrapped up discussion with a comparison between Freudian Psychoanalysis and Carl Rogers’s Humanistic therapies.  Hallmark to Carl Rogers’s therapy is client-centered therapy where the person treated is a client not a patient (Freud).  The difference between patient and client/person may seem subtle at first, but it highlights the differences each approach views therapy and the therapist/client relationship.

Within the context of client-centered therapy is nondirective therapy wherein the therapist meets the client in a non-judgmental fashion that Rogers called “unconditional positive regard” (UPR).  I explained to my students that UPR is the kind of love your dog shows you after an absence, be it long or short.  Regardless of the kind of day you’ve had…good, bad, lazy, productive…your dog (reference my 13 year old Lab) doesn’t care-his/her love and acceptance is unconditional.  When you walk in the door after a tough day, your dog meets you with soothing empathy.  When you walk in after a truly awesome day of progress, you are met with the empathy of celebration.  There is restorative power in this kind of emulative relationship—the tail wagging, body moving pure happiness to see you kind!



UPR sets the groundwork for a client/therapist relationship built on trust and helping the patient meet his/her true human potential, the peak of Maslow’s hierarchy-self-actualization and eventual self-transcendence.  We ended the discussion wondering how different our own lives might be if we showed more UPR to our friends, family and those closest to us.  At the end of class each day my students have become accustomed to my somewhat humorous parting mantras:

“Eat all your vegetables.”  “Make sure you get your REM sleep.”  “Do something nice for someone.”  “Avoid Freudian slips.”

On this day, I sent them off with:  “See how different your life can be when you show someone UPR today!”  I walked away from class thinking of ways I could practice the lesson and I hope my students did too.

The Fitness Ignitor Series: Part III

I am a life-long runner, fitness enthusiast and endorphin junkie who discovered fitness and running when my childhood neighbor challenged me to run around the block without stopping and bet me that I’d never finish.  Our block was 1.7 miles long.  After completing it, I was hooked on running for life!

Several years later, I experienced my first “BIG” victory when, after going undefeated the entire season, I won the county track meet mile as an eighth grader in 4:50.  I have completed and competed in road and cross country races from the 5K through the marathon, various forms of triathlon/biathlon and plan on completing a 50K before I am 50.  I am an age-group competitive runner, personal fitness coach and high school distance coach for Cross Country and Track & Field.  I habitually awake each day well before dawn breaks to get my own work-out in before I lead others.   For years my clients, my students, colleagues, co-workers and I have engaged in informal conversations about uncommon approaches to fitness and nutrition.  My friends and family say this makes me a “Fitness Ignitor.”

Through the years, this life-long fitness enthusiast has learned to balance fitness as a high achiever in a sales/marketing capacity for Fortune 100 companies in pharmaceuticals, medical devices and commercial real estate.  Presently, as a high school teacher and coach, husband, father of 3 and best friend to my 13-year-old Lab, I balance my work-outs with the fullest of days and even fuller weeks.  Friends say this makes me a “Fitness Ignitor.”

Every workplace needs a “Fitness Ignitor”!  Is that YOU?

Find your “WHEN”!

Why all the Twitterpics and Instagram shots of early morning clocks lately?

The Drive:
Pre dawn Car Ride

The Warm-up:

Gym Clock

I wrote a few weeks ago about finding your “Why”. We must also find our “When”.  Coach Bill Bowerman said, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

If you have a body

We are all athletes, but the reality is that most of us are not professional athletes and must work our fitness into busy professional lives, parenthood, and life’s journey. As a father of three and a working professional, that has meant habitually rising well before dawn each morning to practice the pre-dawn early morning rite. The types of work-outs have changed over the years often dramatically, but one thing hasn’t…the commitment to rising before the work day begins.


How and when will you get your fitness in? For most of us, the only way to get it in is to rise at least an hour earlier and do it most days, if not all the days of the week. The wonderful part about it is that the people you see out on the run, at the pool, on the walk or in the gym are regulars too. Once you join this group, there is an expectation that you’re not going to miss. You become part of a community of like-minded individuals most of whom are starting their day (and some of whom are ending their day) with fitness. This is the predawn early morning crew! Won’t you join us?