Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Traditions for English Learners…


Christmas is one of the most important holidays in the English speaking world. There are many Christmas traditions in these countries. The traditions are both religious and secular in nature. Here is a short guide to the most common Christmas traditions. What does the word 'Christmas' mean? The word Christmas is taken from 'Christ's Mass' or, in the original Latin, Cristes maesse. Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on this day. Is Christmas only a religious holiday? Certainly, for practicing Christians around the world, Christmas is one the most important holiday of the year. However, in modern times, traditional Christmas festivities have become much less related to the Christ story. Examples of these other traditions include: Santa Claus, Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer and others. Why is Christmas so important? There are two reasons: 1. There are approximately 1.8 billion Christians in a total world population of 5.5 billion, making it the largest religion worldwide. 2. And, some think more importantly, Christmas is the most important shopping event of the year. It is claimed that up to 70 percent of many merchants' annual revenue is made during the Christmas season. It is interesting to note that this emphasis on spending is relatively modern. Christmas was a relatively quiet holiday in the USA until the 1860s.

Why do people give gifts on Christmas day? This tradition most probably is based on the story of the three wise men (the Magi) giving gifts of gold, incense and myrrh following the birth of Jesus. However, it is important to note that gift giving has only become popular in the last 100 years as figures such as Santa Claus have come to be more important, and emphasis has been shifted to giving gifts to children.
Why is there a Christmas tree? This tradition was begun in Germany. German immigrants moving to England and the USA brought this popular tradition with them and it has since become a much loved tradition for all. It has other stories even.. Where does the Nativity Scene come from? The Nativity Scene is accredited to Saint Francis of Assissi in order to teach people about the Christmas story. Nativity Scenes are popular around the world, especially in Naples, Italy that is famous for its beautiful Nativity Scenes. Is Santa Claus really St. Nicholas? Modern day Santa Claus has very little to do with St. Nicholas, though there are certainly similarities in the style of dressing. Today, Santa Claus is all about the presents, whereas St. Nicholas was a Catholic saint. Apparently, the story 'Twas the Night before Christmas' has a lot to do with changing "St. Nick" into modern day Santa Claus.


Saturday, 10 December 2016

Identifying Your Values for Success…


Values exist, whether you recognize them or not. Life can be much easier when you acknowledge your values – and when you make plans and decisions that honour them. Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They (should) determine your priorities, and, deep down, they're probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.
If you'd like to experience the most success in both your personal and your professional life you will live them based on the values that are most important to you. To know what you value most, it is extraordinarily useful to spend some time identifying your key values.

Sure, you can recite a few values that are important to you without doing this work. We all can. But, if you want to use your values as a personal compass to light your way, you'll spend the time.
Understanding your most deeply held beliefs forms the foundation for creating a life that brings you happiness, fulfilment, and success. They provide the cornerstone that each individual needs for guidance and making choices.

Your values help you judge the appropriateness of careers and jobs. They help you select hobbies and volunteer activities. They drive how you interact with your colleagues and bosses and govern your relationships with your family and friends. Convinced you need to identify your values? Let's start by talking about values.

What Are Values?

Values are traits or qualities that are considered worthwhile; they represent your highest priorities and deeply held driving forces. When you are part of any organization, you bring your deeply held values and beliefs to the organization.
There they co-mingle with those of the other members of the company to create an organization or family culture.

Value statements are derived from and grounded in values. They define how people want to behave with each other in an organization, an institution, a company, or a family. They are statements about how the organization will value customers, suppliers, and the internal community.
Value statements describe actions that are the living enactment of the fundamental values held by most individuals within the organization.
In one organization, a university healthcare centre, all of the employees helped to identify the organization's core values.
They ended up with the acronym, I CARE. Integrity, compassion, accountability, respect, and excellence were the values identified. Then each department took each of the values and developed value statements that the employees believed well/best exemplified the values in action in their department.
An example of a value statement was, "We will keep no student who needs care waiting for more than fifteen minutes." Another was, "No student will need to remove items of clothing until they were seen by a doctor and the removal was deemed necessary for a proper examination."
The following are examples of values. You might use these as the starting point for thinking about and articulating them as a human being.

Examples of Values

ambition, competency, individuality, equality, integrity, service, responsibility, accuracy, respect, dedication, diversity, improvement, enjoyment/fun, loyalty, credibility, honesty, innovativeness, teamwork, excellence, accountability, empowerment, quality, efficiency, dignity, collaboration, stewardship, empathy, accomplishment, courage, wisdom, independence, security, challenge, influence, learning, compassion, friendliness, discipline/order, generosity, persistence, optimism, dependability, flexibility, change

Why Identify and Establish Your Values?

Your values are made up of everything that has happened to you in your life and they include influences from your parents and family, your religious affiliation, your friends and peers, your education, your reading, your experiences, and more.
Effective people recognize these environmental influences and identify and develop a clear, concise, and meaningful set of values/beliefs, and priorities. Once defined, values have an impact on every aspect of your life.
  • You demonstrate and model your values in action in your personal and work behaviours, decision making, contribution, and interpersonal interaction.
  • You use your values to make decisions about priorities in your daily work and home life.
  • Your goals and life purpose are grounded in your values.
Choose the values that are most important to you, the values that you believe in and that define your character. Adopt them, commit to them, and then live them visibly every day at work and at home.
Living your values is one of the most powerful tools available to you to help you become the person you want to be, to help you accomplish your goals and dreams, and to help you lead and influence others.
A value-based and principled person is most able to create a successful and fulfilling career and life. Don't waste your best opportunity.

Down-side to Identifying Values

The downside to identifying values occurs when an organization's leaders claim certain values and then behave in ways that are contradictory to their stated values. In these workplaces, values deflate motivation because employees don’t trust their leaders’ word.
Remember that employees are like radar machines watching everything you do, listening to everything you say, and watching your interaction with customers and their co-workers. They see your values in action every day at work - or not.
Employees want to work in a workplace that shares their values. They want their overall work culture to promote being a part of a whole bigger than themselves. They experience motivation and engagement when their workplace exhibits their most important values. Never underestimate the power of values in creating a motivating work environment - or not.