The Four Agreements (Pt IV)

Written by Don Miguel Ruiz


Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are tired as opposed to well-rested. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

The Four Agreements (Pt III)

Written by Don Miguel Ruiz


Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

The Four Agreements (Pt II)

Written by Don Miguel Ruiz


Nothing others do is because of you. What others say or do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

The Four Agreements (Pt I)

Best selling author Brene Brown’s concept of fitting in versus truly belonging has stuck with me since I first heard of it two years ago. As an educator, this carries out in front of our eyes daily as we see students who struggle to find themselves, but also belong to a group of peers.

In Brene’s words, fitting in is NOT belonging:

“In fact, fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging. Fitting in, I’ve discovered during the past decade of research, is assessing situations and groups of people, then twisting yourself into a human pretzel in order to get them to let you hang out with them. Belonging is something else entirely—it’s showing up and letting yourself be seen and known as you really are.

Brown states in her book, “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone”:

  • “As it turns out, men and women who have the deepest sense of true belonging are people who also have the courage to stand alone when called to do that. They are willing to maintain their integrity and risk disconnection in order to stand up for what they believe in,” Brown said.
  • When we “fit in” as opposed to “belong,” we acclimate to the situation instead of standing for our authentic self.

Brown says so well for all of us,what I know to be true in my own life. During various stages of my life, I have not fit in. I was too different (proud of my physical disability), too awkward, and too much of a “rule follower” in school.

Now, as an educator, I continue to help young at-risk youth with their sense of personal belonging and personal strength. As a result, for the next few days, I’ll be posting Don Miguel Ruiz’s FOUR AGREEMENTS. I enjoy using these when discussing the idea of contentment with youth.

Written by Don Miguel Ruiz


Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

PTSD affects the Classroom

According to Stanford Children’s Health, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that follows an event that the person finds terrifying, either behaviorally or emotionally, causing the person who experienced the event to have persistent, frightening thoughts, memories, or flashbacks.

What causes post-traumatic stress disorder?

The event(s) that triggers PTSD may include:

  • Something that occurred in the person’s life.
  • Something that occurred in the life of someone close to him or her.
  • Something the person witnessed.

A youth’s risk for developing PTSD is often affected by the following:

  • Proximity and relationship to the trauma
  • Severity of the trauma
  • Duration of the traumatic event
  • Recurrence of the traumatic event
  • Resiliency of the youth, the coping skills of the youth, and the support resources available to the youth from the family and community following the event(s).

The following are some examples of events where there is a threat of injury or death that may cause PTSD if experienced or witnessed as a youth or adolescent:

  • Serious accidents (such as car or train wrecks)
  • Invasive medical procedures (under the age of 6)
  • Animal bites (such as dog bites) 
  • Natural disasters or man-made tragedies
  • Emotional abuse, bullying
Who is affected by post-traumatic stress disorder?

About 4% of youth under age 18 are exposed to some form of trauma in their lifetime that leads to post-traumatic stress disorder.

What are the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder?

Youth and adolescents with PTSD experience emotional, mental, and physical distress when exposed to situations that remind them of the traumatic event. Some may repeatedly relive the trauma during the day and may also experience any, or all, of the following:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Feeling jittery or “on guard” or being easily startled
  • Irritability, more aggressive than before, or even violent
  • Avoiding certain places or situations that bring back memories
  • Problems in school; difficulty concentrating
  • Physical symptoms (such as headaches or stomachaches)

How Educators Can Help!

Teachers, counselors and other adults can use their discretion to help youth with PTSD by listening, connecting, modeling and of course teaching.

  • Teachers or adult school staff should provide students with an opportunity to share their experiences and express feelings or other concerns about their safety.
  • Convey interest, empathy and availability, and let students know they are ready to listen.

One of the most common reactions to trauma is emotional and social isolation and the sense of loss of social supports. This can happen automatically, without students or adults realizing that they are withdrawing from their teachers or peers, respectively.

  • Restoring and building connections promotes stability, recovery and predictability in students’ lives.
  • A student’s classroom and school is a safe place to begin restoring normalcy during a troubled time.
  • Through the eyes of youth, adults can identify the “systems of care” that are part of their everyday life, move from beyond the classroom and school to the family and then to other community.
Model Behavior

Adults can model calm and optimistic behavior in many ways, including the following:

  • Maintain level emotions and reactions with students to help them achieve balance;
  • Express positive thoughts for the future, like “Recovery from this disaster may take some time, but we’ll work on improving the conditions at our school every day;” and
  • Help students to cope with day-to-day challenges by thinking aloud with them about ways they can solve their problems.
  • To support the coping process, it is important to help students understand normal stress reactions.
  • School staff can help youth become familiar with normal reactions that can occur after a traumatic event or disaster and teach relevant coping and problem solving skills.

Source: Stanford Children’s Health –