Captivated by Dr. Mykee

Posted: December 13, 2011

Has anyone told you recently that you are beautiful? That is just one of the powerful messages that students received during special assemblies with Dr. Michael Fowlin, psychologist, poet and performer, on Monday, December 5.

Dr. Mykee was joined by Tania Alexandra to share “Even Small Crayons Can Make Bright Marks” with grades 1-4. The program captivated our young people with inspiring music, dynamic voices and lively characters that speak to the social challenges that confront students daily—specifically, choices about how they will treat their peers and how they can develop positive feelings about themselves. Lower Schoolers left with the challenge to engage in random acts of kindness in the days to follow.

Dr. Mykee presented “You Don’t Know Me Until You Know Me” to the Upper School, offering the students a frank, gritty look at a variety of characters who express feelings of being different, isolated and rejected. Dr. Mykee’s use of humor made this challenging topic very accessible to students. He asked students to consider their impact on others and to refrain from categorizing peers with labels like “bullies.” Rather, he suggested the notion of seeing peers as “thinkers” and “non-thinkers,” understanding that thoughtless acts are hurtful to others. Those who make mistakes are not bad people; rather, all need to feel their own power to reach out to others and to take responsibility for making the school environment a safer, friendlier place.

Dr. Mykee suggested the following campaign: “No zebras allowed at Peck!” Zebras, he says, stand by and watch intently when a member of their herd is viciously attacked by a lion. Yet, zebras are capable of creating a useful and safe distraction from predators when they all band together. Similarly, our students at Peck can refuse to watch when unkind behaviors occur; they can protectively gather around the student who would be the target of unkindness, making sure that Peck is a safe place for all.

These assemblies provided a unique opportunity for students and their families to reflect at home on a number of thoughtful questions arising from the experience with Dr. Mykee. For example:

Dr. Mykee suggested that everyone benefits when people smile and say “hello,” to anyone not a part of their usual social circle. Have you ever followed this suggestion? How did it feel? What kind of response did you get, and if you haven't tried to meet this challenge, what stops you?

Considering the anatomy of a bumblebee, it shouldn't be able to fly. Do you agree that it can fly because it doesn't know its limitations? Are there things you stop yourself from trying because you think you can't?

How can you make a positive difference in someone's day?

--By Dr. Zan Struebing, School Psychologist