Linda Hamilton

Director and Developer, www.thanknest.com

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What are you doing & what were the turning points in your life that led you there?

Over the last 2 years I have been developing a website - Thanknest.com

During that time I was also working on a longitudinal study looking at why students want to leave high school early, & what makes them to change their mind. This got me to thinking about the pivotal moments in my life that have led me to develop my wesbite. For me, there were four turning points that led me to develop Thanknest:

(1) a life changing experience - I am a Mum of two & we almost lost our first child during childbirth (thankfully we had a happy ending). This experience made me realise the importance of being thankful & giving thanks. I wanted to say thank you in a unique way & I wanted to share my thank you with the world;

(2) to motivate myself - there have been times in my life when someone has helped me, supported me, inspired me, or touched my life... but I had never sat down to thank them. I came to realise that if I never made the time to say thank you, they would never know they had touched my life;

(3) the Australian $5 note - when I was about 9 years old we had a school lesson on Caroline Chisholm who had assisted women & children immigrating to Australia. I don't remember the details, but according to Wiki!, she helped with the settlement of 14 000 people. Her contribution to Australian society was honoured with her image being placed on the Australian $5 note between 1967 and 1992. During that lesson I distinctly remember that I too wanted to do something positive in my life;

(4) feeling compelled to spread something positive - during my teenage years & beyond I often watched Oprah. She was always an ambassador for spreading the positives of the world. Whenever I watched her programs, I felt strongly compelled to be one of those people who would give something positive and unique back to the world.

These four moments in time led me to develop Thanknest. What are you doing & what were the turning points in your life that brought you there?

http://thanknest.com/

  • Sep 9 2012: I would have to say that the most motiavtional people for me over the years have indeed been my teachers.The creative, off the wall, interested in life ones those for whom A to B didn't have to be in a straight line and that way of working has been my guide. I have only recently come to realise that all my disapointments in life have been down to expecting to be recognised and praised for my achievements because I put my heart and sole into them but failed to realise nobody, knew that because I was not good at promoting myself I didn't laep up and down and show off.Now it doesn't matter as long as I am happy with the end result.
    I have spent my life linking both Art and Education and have been able to work with disaffected young people in a pupil referral unit.These are the youngsters who are kicked out of school for many reasons and who are so busy kicking out at the system that they fail to see just how goo they can be and where they can make a valid contribution in their own way.The people who work with such youngsters are often very similar and have their own needs and demands and this is often missed because of the calm outer layer they have to put on.
    My enlightenment happened when as Head of Centre going through the Ofsted experience and coupled with my dad being diagnosed with MND I hit the wall and had a breakdown.It was through the help of a very special Lady my mentor and Life Coach that I was able to come out the other side and turn things around.That last sentence doesn't begin to tell the tale ,b ut suffice to say it gave my the inspiration and motivation to re-direct myself and I now continue to teach Art but mainly spend time Coaching and supporting all the staff across the Counties Centres.
    I am particularly interested in women in the menopause and how their circumstances can be re wired to enable them to find themselves again. I am planning a to build a Retreat centre on Kos and offer workshops and holidays for them and use Art as a medium.
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      Sep 10 2012: Hi Sallyann,

      Thank you for sharing your personal story, journey, & those important turning points in your life. You have shared with us some very important lessons.

      Teachers & mentors are amazing - such important work spending time to help... yet they do not get the full recognition they deserve. Your story reminds me of an article I read recently about an organisation 'Hands On Learning' helping students to believe in themselves - I think you may like this - http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/how-this-student-proved-a-teacher-wrong-20120907-25k28.html

      I commend you for taking a journey that has and will continue to benefit many others. Your work is very important & your future retreat sounds like a wonderful project. I wish you much success :)
      • Sep 10 2012: Hi Linda
        thankyou for your kind words of support and the lead for me to follow.I am always searching for new ways to develop and work with both pupils and their teachers/mentors and coaches.
  • Sep 14 2012: Two years ago, I left my abusive husband. It was the most hardest thing I could ever do. Being brought up in a traditional home, divorce to me was not something I contemplated. But as he threw me and our son into the trash can, my life flashed by me and I suddenly saw that it was just a matter of time before I would end up dead . This was my wake up call, for where would my children be without me ? With that in mind, I made up my mind to leave after being tormented for 10 years.

    My children propels me to do more each day, they inspire me to be the best, to fight for what is right and I know this to be true , that they saved my life . Everytime I feel weak and lonely and sad, they spur me on. I sometimes feel so weak, so lost and so misguided. I sometimes feel like such a coward, and then I look at them and realized that I need to be the role model here and I find my voice . I was timid and shy and now I try , I try hard to stand up for what is right because they look to me for guidance and I can't fail them.

    Before I die, I want to be able to make sure that my children grow up strong , grow up wise and grow up knowing that they were my salvation . Then I can rest in peace knowing that I tried my best
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      Sep 17 2012: Wow, thank you for sharing your story. You sound truly courageous... that would have been incredibly difficult to leave your abusive husband. You have done an amazing thing & I admire you for taking the step to do so, for you and for your kids. Don't ever doubt yourself, even for a second - you are such a strong woman & your kids will definitely see that too. I wish you and your family a future of happiness, health, & freedom.
  • Sep 6 2012: What I am doing is preparing a successor so that I may retire from a successful business created by a most pivotal incident in my early years. I was a stay at home mom with two infants and a 5-1/2 year old son. Being a stay-at-home mom in a community where most moms worked, I was asked to provide day care for a 4-year old boy - a friend of a friend.

    On the first day, as I took Johnny out to wait for his Head Start bus (I had no idea what Head Start was at the time), he threw his little body on the ground in front of the garbage truck!! When I grabbed him out of the way and asked him why on earth he did such a thing, he told me "cuz I'm no good and I want to be runned over." Still gives me chills when I think of that day, 33 years ago.

    So that was a turning point in my life. I learned about the system of child care, social services for low income families, public policy and how to effect change at the federal level. I developed a private non profit company that builds and monitors child care facilities. We teach nutrition, child development, health and safety, both in workshop settings and online.

    Our work is important - teaching children and their caregivers how to establish healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

    I sincerely believe that you will be successful in your pursuits if you have a passion and believe in what you do. When hiring people, you need to let them know the culture of your organzation is one of excellence - mediocrity is not good enough. Perhaps that is why our organization was named the #1 Best non profit to work for in 2011 by Oregon Business Magazine.
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      Sep 7 2012: Thank you for sharing this turning point in your life Carolyn. That is one intense situation... a young boy throwing himself in front of a bus - just heartbreaking. Every little interaction we have with our children (or the children of others) has such a profound impact on their sense of self... even at such a young age.

      Sometimes it is those hard hitting moments that become our turning points for giving our life direction & implementing change for social good.

      I applaud you for building (& maintaining) your strong & valuable company. I agree, your work is important. I imagine your company has made a positive impact in the lives of so many more children than you alone could have reached if you did not start it. For the important work that you do - thank YOU.

      What you said about being an organization of excellence is also significant. This line was an 'ah-ha' moment for me that I will keep in my mind for my own line of work.

      Well done to you Carolyn on leading your organisation to be the '#1 Best non profit to work for in 2011 by Oregon Business Magazine' & for the important work that you do. It is truly inspiring :)
      • Sep 7 2012: Thank you, Linda, for posing the question and your kind words of reply. It is good knowing what you do has a positive impact and endless ripple affect. Something else I have learned along the way is that kindness is always a good thing and is more important that sharing your wisdom. Many times people don't want or need to know what is the "best " thing for them at the moment and just need to be heard and treated as an equal. If our world was a kinder place it would be a better place for all. Best to you and again, thank you.
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    Sep 5 2012: This is such an interesting question. Some turning points are triggered by small things, like reading a book or hearing a speaker or someone's somehow saying the right thing at a time one was receptive to listening. Other changes come from typically life-altering things, like almost losing a child, or seeing a loved one decline in Alzheimers, or losing a job or a leg...
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      Sep 7 2012: Thank you for sharing your insight Fritzie - I agree with you... even the smallest comment, quote, or observation can be as great a life changing event as the most intense experience.

      And it may not even be the moment you remember the most, but the feeling you had when it happened. These feelings tend to stick in the mind very clearly.
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    Sep 5 2012: I'm a storyteller. I love writing for stage and screen.
    I went to a boarding school in my high school days; and I shared a room with four other boys who were equally crazy about films and novels.
    We would write plays and songs; then we would invite our friends to what we call 'social night' on Saturdays, where we would perform and sing. Soon we had people from other rooms who wanted to feature in our performances, and our rehearsals became more demanding.
    Those were fun times. From then on, I knew that I would be in the film/entertainment industry.
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      Sep 7 2012: Thank you for sharing Feyisayo... wow, from a young age it was meant to be... social night would have been something your friends would have looked forward to. I bet your life story would make for a really interesting film, read, or stage show! What was your most memorable performance from back in those fun times?
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        Sep 7 2012: There was a time that we ran out of ideas for a coming Saturday performance. We were trying to compose a song like the ones we have been known and applauded for, but we could not do it. So one of my friends suggested that we compose a song based on a night that we were chased by the school's security guard when we sneaked out of our room after light-out time. I objected because we usually write love songs and inspirational songs.
        The guys decided that we should go ahead with the idea and we composed a comedic song. THere was so much applause when we performed it, we heard the loudest cheers. Later we found out that we were not the only ones that would sneak out after lights out.
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          Sep 10 2012: Hahaha - that is hilarious - I'm sure the teachers were happy!! You were influential even at a young age. Thank you for sharing your story, it brought a smile to my face :)
  • Sep 17 2012: Thank you ..... I can only try :) and hope I am not failing horribly
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      Sep 19 2012: And you are doing so much more than just trying. Thank you for being such a strong role model for your children :)
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    Sep 5 2012: I was young .... I worked

    I got old ...... I retired

    I have no monitary growth potential ..... I will meet the Obama death panel

    Bummer