Building Social Emotional Skills through Cooperative Learning

Building Social Emotional Skills through Cooperative Learning

Dr. Stephanie Knight

It seems as though the kids who enter my classroom have more needs than ever before.  Sure, they need the three R’s, but they also enter with social emotional deficits. This impacts their learning! On one hand emotions have the potential to boost students’ thinking, but conversely they can inhibit learning. Daniel Goleman, the expert on Emotional Intelligence, would stress teachers need to be not only discussing feelings but adding this emotional intelligence quotient into the day. (Goleman, 2001) I have found that Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills embedded into the curriculum + Cooperative Learning structures + Reflection = Optimum learning for life long skills.

Embedding vs. Explicit

Mastering the emotional intelligence skills (self awareness, managing emotions, self motivation, empathy, and handling social relationships), coined by Daniel Goleman (1995), is crucial for school and life success. SEL is a process for teaching these skills. One way to help students gain these skills (like lessons on empathy, etc.) is to teach them explicitly as part of the curriculum. This takes extra planning and perhaps can replace what must be covered. On the other hand, there is power in the embedded curriculum. Many seem to learn better when the skill is applied, such as a simple Think Pair Share (taking turns and sharing ideas), and Kagan would argue that the Cooperative Learning (CL) structures are a way of teaching by doing (Kagan, 2001).

Yes, but HOW?

CL is not new but many struggle with its implementation. Without structure, getting my students to work cooperatively never worked. However with the use of formal CL in the classroom, students have roles and participate in decision-making. There is safe expression of ideas while they foster positive social relationships. Simultaneously, there is the teaching of accountability and responsibility.

The key is STARTING my year showing that our classroom goal is to be a community. Students must have BUY-IN and that is why we discuss how we will work on the emotional skill goals. These goals are posted along with empowering quotes showing that we will be a cooperative learning classroom. However, practice and constant modeling is crucial. I use the structures for content, but I always will add in a fun icebreaker to keep us community-oriented. Class-builders should be done weekly too.

Practical ideas for using SEL in the CL

Each week, post the social-emotional goal on which you would like to focus. The

following are some great Cooperative Learning strategies developed by Kagan (2001). Again, this is part of the goal of being a community. Self-awareness can start the year because you might want to have students have journals, think pads, and personal space on which they can rely.

1.     Self-Awareness


  • Journal Reflections: Students keep a feelings journal in which they record their emotional reactions to anything which occurs in school including successes, failures, and relationships. (Kagan, 2001)
  • Always allow think time before they respond on a think pad or such.
  • (Each student should have a think pad (a blank notepad) so they can record a thought before answering in class. This also allows one to record any thoughts without blurting out impulsively).

 2.     Self-Control


  • Talking Pencils: This approach works wonders for discussion or even a practice for multiple-choice answers. (“It can’t be “B” because…; or “it might be “C” because…”)
  • When one wants to share his/her opinion, he/she places his pencil in the center of the four-person group. Once each has spoken, he/she cannot speak again until everyone has put in a pencil. When all pencils have been put in, they take them back and start with the next question.

3.     Self-Motivation


  •  Rally Coach: This method allows each student in a pair to solve a problem with coaching from the other partner, fostering self-worth and independence.
  • A pair could be working on a math problem or a lab report.
  • Partner A can work the first problem while Partner B watches, listens, coaches, and praises.
    • This part is going to require practice as many don’t know how to listen, coach, and praise.
    • Students’ confidence will build and they will want to solve problems because they won’t feel like failure is fatal.
    • Next, Partner B solves the next problem while Partner A watches, listens, coaches, and praises. Partners take turns until the task is complete.

 4.     Empathy


  • Jigsaw: With this method, each student on the team masters a different part of the lesson. Each teammate leaves the team, and works with like-topic members from other teams. Students then return to teach their teammates their portion of the content. (Hirsch, 2014)
  • This not only builds empathy as students learn to really listen, but it also builds self-confidence and motivation as other students become experts.
  • According to Hirsch (2014), “Cooperative learning creates what Daniel Goleman calls “cognitive empathy,” a mind-to-mind sense of how another person’s thinking works.”
  • Many Kagan Structures encourage empathy because they involve asking others questions, interpreting body language, and discussion.


5.     Relationship Skills


  • CenterPiece: This approach is a great interaction brainstorming opportunity.
  • Each group needs five pieces of paper per team of four, one paper each and one in the center.  There is a brainstorming topic, and each participant writes his/her choice. He/she says it, writes it, and exchanges the paper with the one in the center. Participants continue to brainstorm, each time trading their page with the CenterPiece.
  • Finally, the teacher leads in whole group discussion of each centerpiece title and allows groups to share/explain responses.  This can work great for writing prompts or reviewing math problems. At the same time, group dynamics continue to strengthen.
  • To build relationships, all of these structures or many others suffice.

Student Reflection and Self-Assessment

Ideally, reflection should occur daily and is perfect inside the journals or on a peer, self, or group reflection sheet. Without the process of thinking back on one’s experiences, one cannot truly grow into a deeper understanding of self. Plus, this creates accountability so students can stay focused on goals.

Choosing to embed Cooperative Learning structures into the regular curriculum enables students to practice using social skills throughout the school day. Optimum learning is contingent on healthy SEL which comes from CL and reflection. If started early and continued consistently, things will change, and the classroom will become a true community.








Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ.  New

York: Bantam Books.


Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence: Five Years Later, February 23, 2001.



Hirsch, Joe. Teaching Empathy: Turning a Lesson Plan into a Life Skill, February 6,




Kagan, S. Kagan Structures for Emotional Intelligence. San Clemente, CA: Kagan

Publishing. Kagan Online Magazine, Fall 2001.

Golf Chick’s Latest: Pass the Digital Manners



“Keep a napkin on your lap and don’t reach for things; ask to have them passed to you!” Sound familiar? Great advice for a child. No, for all of us. But how long has it been since you have had a meal with your real friends? It is easy to NOT spend time with people you know in real life because you are too busy Facebooking or Tweeting your “friends.” But, it is a reality that these mediums exist. Good thing that everything you need to know about wise social media-ing has been taught by “Raising Children 101” so it is not difficult. Why do I bring this up? It has come to recent attention that athletes more than ever are using social media to stay in the game. Why should they? More importantly, why should we? Read on.

If you are over the age of 30 (or fffffforty), did you know, according to, on average at age 8, children are regularly online. Also, if over 25% of teens log onto social media about 10 times a day (and they do because they want to be connected), then might it be a bit important to understand it? Although, I’m not in the generation that grew up with Facebook, the generations below us now are “expecting” MORE and MORE information and connection. It is not enough to just read a book or watch a movie or event. And just watching our favorite athletes on TV and seeing highlights of games the day after is insufficient. We now want those backstage passes to give our feedback and meet the band. We don’t want front row seats anymore; we want to be in the batter’s box or on the sidelines listening to the trash talk of the players. Give me instantaneous connection with my athletes! They have responded and are using Facebook and Twitter to talk about their games, further their future business opportunities, create their “brand” and stay connected to fans.

Companies are as well. Harry Arnett, Callaway Golf’s director of marketing, told that for them, “It’s pretty much the centerpiece of everything we do. It’s critical for us because that’s a very engaged group of fans of our brand that are also up to speed on the fastest ways to communicate with their friends and other golfers.”

Tony Hawk and Shaq are a couple of top sports stars active on Facebook and Twitter. They love the hype. One fan notes, “It is insane how common Twitter has become in the sporting world. It appears that every athlete, coach and analyst has their own account.” Sadly, however, it has become headline news as of late due to “unsportsmanlike conduct.” Chad Ocho-cinco of the Cincinati Bengals and Larry Johnson formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs seem to use Twitter as a medium for trash talk. Shame shame; where’s the class?

In golf, we have our top 9 as well according to (Thanks to social media, Facebook to be exact, they posed a “who’s your favorite tweeter” question to fans and got their answer)

9. John Cook

8. Andres Gonzales

7. Hunter Mahan

6. Graeme McDowell

5. Bo Van Pelt

4. Rickie Fowler.

3. Ian Poulter

2. Bubba Watson.

1. Jason Dufner.

 They may not have a personality on the course, but off, they show it all on social media, especially Jason Dufner who has quite the wit off the green. They have been on par with branding themselves wisely by providing substantial content and intelligent answers to golf debates. Many contribute to the community frequently and, with class, engage among their followers; they are “social”.

So, if you are a golfer, you can take the game a step further and follow your courses on Facebook, your pro on Twitter, or find out about the latest club, driver or happening event by talking to others. And as a golfer, you know manners are key.

If you will allow me this tangent, from a virtue perspective, should we question whether the millennials are still valuing the same face-to-face communication ethics? Integrity, sincerity, and patience, for example, are tête-à-tête necessities. Are these going away? They will argue that they have MORE to deal with now that we are in a digital age. Change does not necessarily mean that tradition has become obsolete. In fact, these timeless truths are things we teach our children. Simple. Straightforward. Necessary. There is old wisdom, just like raising children in this new day, and these rules should apply if you are to engage in social media, whether you are a pro, an amateur, or just a spectator.

TIPS for RAISING CHILDREN: Apply to Social Media Habits

1.     Don’t interrupt

Since this is not face-to-face, you probably wonder how can one interrupt? Overtweeting (or posting) is a way of overstaying your welcome or dominating a conversation. Unless you are personally witnessing a hurricane in Arizona, don’t give a play by play of your day. It clogs the system and really is unnecessary. You have to have a sifter in your head. Tweet or post the rocks and let the sand sift through. This is one thing the big 9 had in common. They had valuable things to say which didn’t need to be tweeted 20 different ways.

Another big no-no is choosing to tweet or post while you are actually in the middle of doing something, like DRIVING or DINING with a friend.

Be in your moment and wait your turn.

2.     When you have any doubt about doing something, ask permission first.

Not a bad idea! It is pretty sad when you need to borrow someone’s tweets without giving them credit. Be original. If you cannot be, don’t press those buttons. If you must retweet, put RT, and then put the @ username. Think about it, if you are a writer you need to think like one and be polite (don’t plagiarize). While I’m at it, proofread. Nothing is more annoying than typos. You had time to type 140 characters, so you have time to reread it.

3.     Keep negative opinions to yourself; the world is not interested in what you dislike.

But doesn’t negative sell? Yes. That is the problem. I think you are better than that, and I think you have class, especially if you are a golfer. I also know that you are building a brand (or selling YOU) when you are in the public eye and you have to ask yourself, who do you want to be: Spreader of good or spreader of trash? Do you want to add value or detract?

Many people use Facebook or Twitter as a public platform to say something about someone else. Would you say this to their face?

Example, You decide you don’t want to follow someone and you announce it to the world. Uncool. Just do it and carry on.

4.     It’s not all about you. You talk. They listen. They talk. You listen.

We live in a bit of a narcissitic time, and it is easy to get caught up in the “This is MY post/MY tweet/MY thought. You must read and respond and acknowledge my brilliance.”

Rickie Fowler, although a fine golfer, tends to show that, yes, he lives the dream life. For him, it is all about his outfit, his culinary experience or his photo shoots. He is Rickie Fowler after all. But the fact that he knows this is disconcerting. However, for us Joe Schmoes out there, here is a tip: Unless you are a pro athlete, don’t tell us you are at the gym. AND unless you have a personal chef, and your Eggplant Parmesan was made with 14 K gold bread crumbs and served by Rickie Fowler, it is just not that interesting. We all understand that your dinner was one of the best of your life, but let’s face it; your dinner at Joe Bob’s Kitchen is not news breaking.

Finally, “checking in” on Facebook is an odd feature. Great…let me tell everyone I am at XYZ at 2am. At that point, you are going to need your 2000 virtual friends to come help you when someone has broken in to your empty home.

5.     Think before you speak.

This is what I like about John Cook. Known as “Cookie”, he many not have quantity tweets, but he definitely gives his fans quality. He deals with the latest topics and gives his sincere opinion.

Before you hit that final send, post or tweet button, reread, rethink it. Also, please share information with close friends before posting it on Facebook.

Example: You have just played golf with a good buddy, and you have shared that you may be looking for another job. Next thing you know, he has posted this on his Facebook page for his 1700 friends before checking with you. One of his friends is your boss’s sister’s husband’s niece.

Or, perhaps, maybe you had a bad experience at Troon. Instead of Tweeting your frustration, be a classy guy or gal and go see the manager. Maybe there was a miscommunication, misunderstanding or lack of judgment on  one of the party’s fault.

6.     Be appreciative and say “thank you.”

 I’ll take this a step further. Graeme McDowell (GMac) seems to really appreciate his fans. He treats them like he would another pro, and he loves to engage with them.

You may post an idea or a question to your circle, and you get many responses. To be grateful and say thank you, or to send a private note to someone sharing appreciation, is a classy move. It never gets old to be humble.

7.     Don’t call people mean names or make fun of anyone for any reason. Teasing shows others you are weak.

Remember there is a human on the other side of the screen. Enough said.

It is up to YOU: Take ownership of your life, your golf game, and your social media habits!

Before we part ways, remember ONE LAST tip. This one is the most important of them all:

8.     Keep a napkin on your lap and don’t reach for things; ask to have them passed to you.

Now, GO have a real meal with a real friend and take a break from your virtual ones. Then go play a game of golf phone free (unless you are using it to take a picture of the beautiful outdoors).




SSSSHHH. A One Week Challenge

ssshhhh2For a sport that requires so much silence, ironically, waves have been made over much noise created by two golfers. This is irony at its best. We have all done it; Words have escaped your lips, and within milliseconds, you think…(*slo mo moment*): Waaaaaaiiiiiiit. You wish you had a virtual hook to tongue-reel in those words back into your mouth. Too late; it’s already out there. Where the words go is out of your control. If you offend, you offend. If people laugh, they laugh; the words you say become the fuel for someone else’s reaction. The part YOU control is over, sad but true. Now, add a layer: If you speak to an audience, and thanks to the instant explosion of media reaction which will tear you down and spit you out within minutes, you are held to a higher standard.

Take the case of Sergio Garcia’s comment about Tiger Woods in front of the entire Ryder Cup team at the European Tour’s annual dinner. When (jokingly?) asked by Golf Channel’s Steve Sands how often he will invite Woods around for dinner at next month’s US Open, Garcia replied: “We will have him around every night. We will serve fried chicken.”

The level of fury radiating from this and dispersing across the airways was rapidly analyzed and interpreted. All due to a few harmless words? (or so you thought at the moment of airing) Sergio probably wished he could take those 12 words back, but now, it is up to the media to break him down and then turn to Woods for “comment” which furthers the sting for Sergio. (Oh, they love this propaganda-like ability to take this and explode it furthering the issue to more than perhaps needed) Woods tweeted the comment to be “wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate.” So, now that the object of the comment takes offense to it, we are not qualified to comment on how we feel. He was wronged.

Sadly, however, we are now looking at the character of Sergio, and this may be hurting his career

Over a few words!?


I have been reading this story now for a few weeks, and if you are like me, you think that could have been me! I know I have said something without thinking.

Seneca, the Roman Philosopher once said, “Speech is the index of the mind.” Add to that Jesus who states, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Mat. 12:34). Furthermore,  James, Jesus brother says, “the tongue is “a fire, a world of iniquity, and “the tongue a “deadly poison.” Ouch!

This made me further think about WORDS. What we say must be in line with our heart. So one must go straight to the heart and check there first.

My goal is not to experience delayed intelligence, but have wisdom as I speak. (not after!)

The beauty of the golf course is it gives us a chance to BE QUIET and think. This may be the time to think about these principles, so delayed intelligence does not become something you have to experience. If you find yourself feeling regret, first, be glad you feel regret. This shows you have a repentant heart and know you need to make a TURN. There, however, may be another clue that lessons are needed: Do you talk a lot? If you are always waiting for others to silence so you can speak up, chances are you say some…MANY wrong things. So, stop talking and LISTEN now.

First if you do play golf, this one will be easy! If not, maybe you need some duct tape. Try these all for ONE WEEK.

  1. Zip it. Try to use your two ears instead of your one mouth for a change. Spend a week observing and taking things in. Maybe your heart will change in some areas. Plus, maybe you will not be so reactive.
  2. This silence will allow you to slow down and think. Awkward silence is just that. Awkward. Not wrong. Sometimes it is best to just take a deep breath and make a wise choice before words come flying out. Believe me, they are ready to soar because you have your opinions. Just hold on for a few seconds! However, BEFORE you speak, you have a hierarchy you must funnel your words through. I’ll use Sergio as an example to illustrate the point.


NUMBER ONE: Are your words truthful?
In Sergio’s case, I’ll opt for thumbs up. He probably would serve fried chicken. Paula Dean would be an ideal person to help him with this! This way, he would not have to go through the Colonel’s drive-thru. Check it out: It only takes 14 minutes and is easy easy easy! And hey, he might try serving some Spanish rice as to make it a complete meal. Guy Fieri has my personal favorite, but this will set him back about one hour. Here you go, Serg: However, if Sergio was not being truthful, then we must move on to the next one.

NUMBER TWO: Are your words necessary?

Let’s take a look at the question. “Would you have Tiger Woods over for dinner?” This is not a trick question. In fact, it demands a one-word answer. To expand on the answer is risky. The superfluous words supplied by Sergio may have been necessary if he was needing to explain his menu but he wasn’t given that task. Still, maybe he thought it was necessary to try to be funny. BUT, he’d have to pass the final test before his words could escape his lips.

NUMBER THREE: Are your words kind?

The sarcastic offer to cook fried chicken for golf’s superstar, not only had a hint of casual racism but did nothing to uplift the individual. Moreover, it did nothing to contradict the underlying prejudice that golf is a white-man’s sport.


We could take a few lessons from Atticus Finch, the sagacious lawyer/father in To Kill A Mockingbird. The best line in the book, and one we can all learn from is when he is addressing the narrator/protagonist, Scout, his 8-year-old daughter. He says, “First of all, if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…. until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. “(Lee 30)

Being kind means being empathetic and thoughtful. Being kind, means checking your heart before you speak, and making sure that if you do not have something nice to say, do NOT say it. No matter if Sergio thought it was kind or not, he did not think about how Tiger would have taken it. He did not “walk around in his shoes for a while.”

We can all learn a lot from the Sergio-Tiger duo. Hopefully they can too. Next time you tee it up, remember, that silence is golden more often than not. It is in golf. Again, the world of golf gives us crucial lessons for life. I challenge you to try these steps for one week and see if you have fewer conflicts (and maybe better scores!)




St. Patrick and Being USED


Born, 386 AD in Britain and died in 460 AD in Ireland, Patrick descended from a grandfather who was a priest and a father who was a deacon in the Roman church. At this time in history, Christianity had become part of the Roman culture.

According to Stanley Ward of, Patrick was not only a theologian, but he loved people. He fought for their rights as an activist.

First, as a theologian, he was a bishop to the Irish. But it did not begin this way. At the young age of 16, he was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland from his British homeland. He then spent six years as a shepherd since as a sold slave. He truly learned humility, as he knew nothing of the finer things he had in Britain. All he had was his time with God to pray without ceasing. During the evening at one point, he heard a voice tell him to head back to Britain, and after “walking to a seaport, he miraculously found passage away from Ireland, and eventually, back to Britain.” (Ward)

Sadly, he missed out on being educated, but this “weakness” became a strength. When he went back to Ireland, he did not have the polish or the refined skills to make him sound intellectual. However, his closeness with God and his honest prayers made him a beacon to the Irish, not his speaking skills. (He did train in the priesthood) Moreover, his love for nature, and seeing God in all of it was much of His appeal. Apparently, he used a three-leaf clover to illustrate the Trinity – “Father, Son, and Spirit are one God. Three persons in one.”” Simple, yet elegant.

As a lover of people and their rights, he supposedly was one of the first anti-slavery proponents. He wrote Letter to Coroticus to plead British Christian leaders for the safe return of slaves. Nothing came of this as many now saw him as an Irish man instead of Roman which weakened his influence in Britain.

In fact, he fought for women as he saw them as the backbone of society.

Thanks to Patrick, slavery ceased in Ireland. He fought with God’s love; not with fists or hate.

Be a St. Patrick now

Ward notes that modern St. Patricks, “1. Love God deeply and are able to discern His calling; 2. Are able to teach deep truths by illustrations from common experience; and 3. Demonstrate their faith through a genuine love for people, advocating the cause of those who cannot defend themselves; often this advocacy is motivated by personal experience.”

His life was filled with challenges, obstacles, pain and suffering. He mourned for the lost and the oppressed. He lacked the “accoutrements” of finer education and articulate speech. However, that is what made him so attractive and relatable.

Let’s be reminded that it doesn’t take perfection to be used and to make a difference. Broken vessels are what He wants: Broken yet not destroyed. Humbled yet not proud. Dependent on HIM; not on ourselves.



Don’t blame it on luck

Some would say I am unlucky. As I sit here writing these words, my left casted leg is propped up due to my need for elevation. Approximately one month ago, I was doing some step-ups and heard a loud pop as if someone had taken a bat to the back of my calf. Since I was alone when this happened, I knew it was not a wooden object whapping my leg. Fast-forward two days; sitting in the Dr.’s office, he informed me I had a full tear of my Achilles tendon. Peachy. I’m off my foot for many days and weeks. Looks like my luck ran out. Or did it? I had everything to do with this injury, and perhaps there was a bigger purpose for it. So, what is my take on luck? After doing some real research on the matter, I have concluded that it does not exist.

There is much more to luck and “un”luck than just coincidence. First, I need to discuss the idea of luck before I can launch into what this has to do with golf. Richard Wiseman, author of The Luck Factor, conducted a ten-year scientific study into the nature of luck, and it showed that people make their own good and bad fortune. He also noted that it is possible to enhance the amount of luck people encounter in their lives. In fact, he discovered four basic principles to people creating their luck in life. “They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.“ (Wiseman) It sounds like luck is a state of mind that may be cultivated. Over the years he studied and interviewed countless numbers of people. Based on his findings, luck is not a magical ability or the result of random chance. “Although lucky and unlucky people have almost no insight into the real causes of their good and bad luck, their thoughts and behavior are responsible for much of their fortune.”

Many people think that much of golf involves luck. If you are a scratch golfer, you might like to believe that. Maybe you constantly complain about the wind or your clubs or the clubhouse or the greens or that tree in the way of your shot. When your ball bounces off some foliage and jumps out-of-bounds, it’s not unlucky. On the contrary, if your shot sails right through the thickest tree on the course, it’s not luck. Apart from winning the daily draw for a tee time on the Old Course at St. Andrews, or weather issues, there is no such thing as luck in golf either!

Think about it. You’re on the course, and you hit one of those “unlucky” shots. Next thing you know your mental state is agitated and somehow your countenance makes you nervous. That club and ball knows you feel this way and, like a dog, can sense your frustration. Now, they will not cooperate and you are getting angrier. You’ve let that “unlucky” shot get the best of you.  All these reactions will hurt your golf game. Maybe you’d start to feel like the golf gods were against you or the course is mad at you. Either way, you would probably not be in the right frame of mind to play well and you’d start thinking more about your bad luck than the shot you’re about to hit. Conversely, good luck can positively impact your state of mind as well.

According to Michael Agger of Slate Magazine,  “(with extremely few exceptions) the top 20 finishers benefitted from some degree of luck. But again, according to Wiseman, “lucky people” are skilled (did you catch that?) at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.” Now, if it was complete luck involved, golfers like, Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker, Peter Hanson, Bo Van Pelt, and Carl Pettersson, would be winning more trophies. Why are they not? According to Fred Altvater of, these players have performed in the big events and have earned their status in the golf world but are just under the radar and have yet to win for “whatever reason.” If we could get inside their minds, maybe we could diagnose why.

Graeme McDowell, not the usual household golfer name is being called “lucky.” Is he lucky? Just this past January, on the 18th hole at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, McDowell hit his third shot far past the green only to see it bounce off the grandstand and roll back to just near a couple of feet of the cup. This Irishman would go on to birdie the hole. He had the “luck of the Irish.” The theory behind this slogan is many, but the Urban Dictionary defines the Irish as not necessarily luck they possess but an “attitude the Irish keep; they have a positive look at a bad situation. In fact, “The Irish didn’t survive a potato famine, and being treated as 3rd class citizens upon their arrival to the U.S. (till the mid-late 1900’s) by not having a positive outlook and a great sense of humor!”(

It is true that golf is a psychological kick in the rear. Any of the top players, like Phil Mickelson, can bring his top golf skills to a tournament and lose. You wan watch all the Golf Channel you want, and be obsessed with your swing, your grip, your speed….but maybe think strategy. Think of your thinking. The luckiest people I know are those who set themselves up to win big and do just that!

So, the next time you are “unlucky” at your game, don’t blame it on luck – you caused the ball to react the way it did once it left your clubface. Take your penalty strokes and start gearing up for the next shot. That way, you won’t let an “unlucky break” undo your whole round. If luck exists or not, either way, the luck of the game will go your way if like, Wiseman concludes, you start cultivating the right state of mind. And me? I’m not unlucky; I need to re-think every little step I take.

Blogs to blog about

In my laid-up/leg-up position, I’ve been made me keenly aware of the world of blogging. Not only that, but I’m just hungry for  information, ideas, inspirations, ideals and interconnectedness:

So, I thought I’d make a list of some of my “found” blogs:

  • Achilles Recovery:

  • Sites discussing Christ

Tim Challies Blog:

Personal Finances:

Desiring God: John Piper:

Albert Mohler:

Good Commentaries:

  •  Fitness:

Serious lifting advice! 

Overall health and fitness:

Overall and just fun recipes too:

  •  Recipes/Health

Well done and beautiful:

Beautiful site + a Christian with great recipes:

Just like the magazine:

Gluten Free and healthy:

Although I’m not Paleo, this is great:

  • Mommy Blogs:


Lisa Belkin/Motherlode:

Parenting Mag:

Focus on the Family:

  • Just love reading these:

Cup o Jo…She is just a great read..everything:

Getting Things Done! 

To Mow or not to Mow

Mowing the lawn at 10:00 AM is too early and much too strenuous for many husbands. However, did you ever notice that it seems to be a lot easier for them to get up at 6:00 AM to play golf? The dense fog, rain conditions, or scorching heat doesn’t even seem to deter them. I found it amazing how my friends’ husbands who never helped out around the house had no problem replacing their divots, repairing their ball marks, and raking their sand traps.

This led me to ponder what it was about the game of golf that makes some so crazily obsessed. Is it the fact that one gets to ride around in a cart, drink beer, eat hot dogs, and do some male bonding? Maybe it was a chance to get closer to God, because on Sun- days you sure see many men out on the course, and they are doing lots of praying!

So why do men really choose to play golf? And, why would a woman want to start? According to Debbie Steinbach Keller from Venus Golf, “men choose to play golf because it’s a challenge and there is a conquerable ‘enemy’ to attack and beat.” In fact, most men do little chatting while they play because they are not multi-taskers. For women, it’s much more personal and social. Women like the relational aspect of the game. Perhaps it’s a way for her to bond with her husband, her friends, or a potential mate. Women seem to be able to chat, laugh, and even swing at the same time.

Now that I have some time on my hands, I figured it was time to see what all the fuss was about. Purchasing a set of clubs and finding a good instructor was my first step. This required doing some research, and if you’re serious, the information is out there. However, when you don’t know what you don’t know, it’s difficult to know what kinds of questions to ask. I started watching the Golf Channel and talking to various people who seemed to be knowledgeable about the sport. Through my discussions, however, I have discovered that the less skilled the player, the more likely he is to share his ideas about the golf swing. So, I have chosen to stay loyal to my instructor and not seek others for advice.

As my lessons have progressed, I have found my athleticism to be virtually irrelevant because the game of golf seems to be 90% mental and 10% mental. It requires a dedication of focus, relaxation, and much patience. Who has all that!? But what a life les- son it provides. This is the mentally challenging part; if I over think my swing, I ruin it. So I try to never keep more than three hundred separate thoughts in my mind during my swing.

So let’s get back to the 10:00 AM lawn mowing dilemma. Who really wants to ever mow a lawn, regardless of what time it is.And who am I to tell a man that raking a sand trap isn’t fun? In other words, I don’t have an answer for you—afterall, I am not an advice columnist! But before all the wives start to email and call, let me just say that I am on your side—that lawn needs to be mowed. I am think- ing it’s a prime opportunity for some compromise. You get something, he gets something and you get another thing and then we are all happy! But seriously, whether the challenge is to ‘conquer the enemy’, have a fun day on the links, or manicure the yard, I am finding that perspective is required. And I learned about this perspective on the links. For that I have to be grateful to the game of golf.