Mondays aren’t usually a favorite day of the week, but for a dozen early education professionals, it was a day of connection and laughter. For five weeks, an hour each week, The Patterson Foundation partnered with Children First and K. Shea Consulting to form Team Candid. The conversations centered around Joy Thomas Moore’s seven pillars of presence—Mind • Heart • Faith • Courage • Resources • Connections • Values. By sharing our thoughts, experiences, and ideas, we encouraged strengthening ties in our personal and professional relationships.
During the first conversation, the facilitators welcomed the participants and encouraged each to be comfortable. We began discussing the presence of Mind. We shared the importance of encouragement, being patient, and showing grace and kindness to ourselves and others. Our personal and professional lives have changed during our current climate of living in a pandemic. Despite those changes, Team Candid began to share stories and experiences that connected all of us. Every week, we looked forward to continuing our dialogue, hearing stories, and sharing insights that we experienced for guidance on the next steps of our journey.
The presence of Heart conversation led us to discuss appreciating the little things, being genuine, being true to who we are, and enjoying simple pleasures. Our mantra became: It’s Complicated But Not Impossible, which describes how we have felt during Covid-19. We discovered that we must be present, ask questions, answer questions, show grace, notice positives, breathe, and smile.
The presence of Courage and Values helped us to create questions. What was a bright spot for you or your students this week? What was an unexpected joy? How did you or a student display courage and strength? Did you take a leap of faith?
Each conversation gave Team Candid the momentum for our final meeting. Guest Artist Cedric Hameed guided participants in a spoken word exercise. Our topic was NOW, and we described now as difficult, stressful, uncertain, unpredictable, and happy. One participant shared, “Now I’m happy because I’m surrounded by a group that supports me. When life gets difficult and stressful, I can step into the now even though life is unpredictable”.
Our Monday meetings are complete, and Team Candid enjoyed their experience together. We are reminded that we are capable and worthy. We can trust each other, and we are encouraged to continue conversations in the classroom, with our family, and with our community.