Get your daily playtime!

“The opposite of play is depression and anxiety” tells us Stuart Brown (2009). You need to play as much as you need connection, physical well-being, honesty, peace, autonomy, and meaning (The Center for Non-Violent Communication, n.d.). You know it already: You have experienced that when you play, you are “in the zone:” not totally in full awareness, but engaged. You are not totally relaxed, but you are in a nonjudgmental kind of mindset. You are playing for the sake of playing: No secondary gain, no ulterior motive, and no specific outcome sought. To play just for the sake of playing and that is why we like it and why we need it!

Parten (1932) described six different types of play, from unoccupied play to cooperative play, the last one being the most complex form of play. In cooperative play, everyone is participating, taking different but complementary roles, and everyone is engaged in a common story. Brown (2009) insists that a childhood filled with play is likely to result in higher self-esteem, stronger confidence, to lower depression, anxiety, as well as anti-social behaviors. If we have better team players and better citizen from playing children, why would we not have better employees and healthier adults from more play in adulthood?

Cooperative players are more equipped for complex situations (Brown, 2009). They have better problem-solving skills, they know when to take rewarding risks, and they have better emotional regulation (Gray, 2014) – in other words, collaborative players are smarter, braver, and more resilient! Cooperative players understand that it is worth playing not because they win all the time, but most of the time – and it is enough to keep it exciting! This is how we build our self-esteem: When we do not need to win all the time, but just frequently enough to remain confident that most of the time, it is worth playing.

Play does not have to be a scheduled activity. It can to be an attitude. Remember what Brown (2009) said, “the opposite of play is depression and anxiety” – not professional and serious! You can be professional and serious about your work with a playful attitude! It is easier to work with cooperative players than with parallel players or with solitary players, is it not? You can be in a playful mode, in the zone, experimenting and living common adventures with other players, be engaged and do what you are doing regardless of the reward, the attention, or the praise that you could or could not receive. No matter what, you have had fun doing it – and it will make it all worth it! If you are not doing it for the people working with you, do it for you: You will focus more, be more creative, solve problems more efficiently, and your health is likely to thank you for it!

Christine Leclerc-Sherling

Psychology and Public Speaking Instructor


Brown, S. (2009). Play is more than fun. Retrieved from

Gray, P. (2014). The decline of play. Retrieved from

Parten, M. B. (1932). Social participation among preschool children. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 27, 243-269.

The Center for Non-Violence Communication. (n.d.). Needs inventory. Retrieved from

Christine Leclerc-Sherling

Psychology and Public Speaking Instructor

Valdosta Campus

Berrien Hall/Room 322

4089 Val Tech Road/Valdosta, GA 31602

Phone: 229-293-6110 Ext. 3090


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You are an “A” student who sometimes makes grades other than “A”s.

Education is the perfect place to build self-esteem – that feeling you have when you are your own best friend whether you succeed or not. Setting the right kind of challenge is the most important step. Too low? Not very exciting. Too high? Exhausting. Too far from now? Easy to lose interest. A good challenge is an exciting adventure.

✓ Based on your past achievements, you believe that the next one is possible.

✓ You possess resources now that you might not have had in the past that make it possible for you to reach your goals.

✓ This challenge is one step above what you know you can reach.

Congratulations! You have the right challenge.

Are you the right person for the challenge, though?

No student registers without believing that he or she can do it. All students have a history of learning that gives them (sometimes just) enough confidence that the next step is achievable. All students are connected to equipment, tools, instructors, tutors, and some have mentors, family support, work flexibility, or financial backing. All students enrolled in a new academic track passed the previous grade.

So who are the “A” students’?

Before even starting a class, an assignment, or a test, “A” students believe that they can make an “A.” When “A” students open their books, they believe that they will comprehend, organize, and retain the information. When “A” students come to class, they know that they deserve answers to their questions. When “A” students do not receive an “A” for a test, it does not prevent them from believing that they can make an “A” next time. And when they do get an “A,” they are not surprised. They are not detached either. They confirmed their belief that they can and they are proud to have met their goal.

We are all “A” students. It may take resizing our challenges or changing our own belief about ourselves.

Welcome back to school!

Christine Leclerc-Sherling

Psychology and Public Speaking Instructor

If higher education was a smartphone…

Using current statistics about Smartphone use in the United States (Mobile Industry Statistics, 2014; Pew Research Internet Project, 2014), let us imagine a world where the same numbers would apply to education.

– 90% of Americans would have earned a high school degree.

– 58% of Americans would have a college degree.

– 67% of Americans would find themselves learning even without being enrolled in a formal class.

– 44% of Americans would put their textbook next to their beds to make sure not to miss any important information.

– 29% of Americans would describe education as something that they cannot live without.

– Demographics would not play a significant role in distinguishing who does or does not benefit from education.

– 86% of Americans would use higher education to solve problems, make decisions, or help in emergency situations.

– 75% of Americans would bring their school work… to the bathroom!

– Each day, Americans would spend an average of 197 minutes educating themselves.

We would not be able to put education down. Imagine that: compulsive learning! Students waiting in line for days before the new semester would start. Students would even pay people to wait for them to make sure that they would not miss it!

Education would appear intimidating at first, but its intuitive use would make the instruction manual superfluous. There would be mass market success of education: after the 16% of the early users who simply “get it,” everyone would follow to the point that the next 68%, the mass, would wonder how they lived without it for so long! And the last 16% would follow, just because there would not be any alternative left…

What world would we have then?

We make decisions based on the world we know and not based on what the world really is. Nobody can know everything about the world, but everybody experiences it. If we could rely on education the same way we rely on smartphones to expand our knowledge, our skills, our connections and our confidence; if we could all expand the world we know, what would the world become then?


Mobile Industry Statistics. (2014). Mobile commerce and engagement stats. Retrieved from

Pew Research Internet Project. (2014). Mobile technology fact sheet. Retrieved from

Christine Leclerc-Sherling

Psychology and Public Speaking Instructor

Leading is showing up.

You are a leader.


You are.

Being a leader is not a title that you will one day earn, deserve, justify, or to which you will be promoted. You connect with people every day, therefore you influence others. Period.

It is not always what you plan, what you say, or what you believe. Sometimes, just where you are, how you are, and what your presence means is what leaves the strongest impact.

Leading is showing up.

Great leaders are emulated, not followed. Influence, don’t persuade. Show up and connect. Your influence is needed and your presence matters. Your greatest act of leadership was probably the one that you displayed when you did not think about where it would lead.

Christine Leclerc-Sherling

Psychology and Public Speaking Instructor

The power is in the connection

You know, that brain of yours, that amazing tool that employs over 100 bilions of agents, capable of over 1,000 connections each – without a formal conductor I may add – that can encode, organize, give meaning, retrieve, and retain without limit? Yes, that brain of yours is actually not limited to connecting with your own experiences! You are naturally wired to feel what others feel. You have neurons imitating how it feels to do what someone else is doing: mirror neurons. You observe therefore you feel – and learn! You strive because you can imitate.

In short:

Your brain is more sophisticated than any technological device you are buying on the market – and no upgrade necessary!

Feeling what others around you are feeling is much more satisfying than any media can be – no matter how social that media is being called.

Your connection to others is not your weakness. Your interconnection to and your interdependence with your significant others, your family, your tribes, and other communities are as powerful and as exposed as your spine is.

Take care of one another. It is your – or should I say “our” – utmost strength.

Christine Leclerc-Sherling

Psychology and Public Speaking Instructor

Innovate; create until you reach your most genuine self.

Have you ever seen the irony in a book title resembling the phrase “Be yourself” and being sold to millions of individuals? The universe is expanding, we are told, but it is not a tangible experience. Nevertheless, every time we learn something new, every time we connect this new information with previous ones, every time we come with our own combination of previous and new information, we expand our own representation of the universe. This is tangible to me. My universe is expanding with every new bit of knowledge being combined with my previous understanding.

As Sir Ken Robinson mentions, life is organic, circumstantial, and opportunistic. We create our talents to respond to situations, to fit in specific and custom environments, and to meet our dreams. In the end, we are more than a major in college; we are more than a career; and we are more than the sum of our achievements. In the end, paradoxically, we are the person we were meant to be when we were born in that environment that provided the conditions for us to become who we became. Truly, we cannot be anybody else than …ourselves.

Education provides the conditions. Even Steve Jobs who never graduated from college referenced his experience in college as his inspiration for his future work in his commencement speech at the Stanford graduation where he was a keynote speaker in 2005. Education provides the soil for your mind to flourish, as Sir Ken Robinson illustrates. You may take the same class than your classmates. You may be enrolled in the same program than many. In the end, you are the result from your active learning and from your unique combination between your experience, your skills, your knowledge, and your dreams.

We are glad you are here.

Christine Leclerc-Sherling

Psychology and Public Speaking Instructor

Innate readiness for a good life

Thanks for patience. My “absence” was 6 pounds and 14 ounces on October 15, 2013!

Talking about expecting…

It is expecting good things to happen that makes us happier than the Joneses – not to have more good things happening to us. Who knew?

Tali Sharot explains to us that unless we are clinically depressed, we all have a bias for optimism. We are unrealistically hopeful for ourselves to the point that it can sometimes challenge our wisdom: we marry, we indulge, we have new resolutions each year, and we expect the statistics to apply to others, but not to us.

So… if you want to remain a realistic person, you need to include in your planning stage that you were born optimistic and that you need to protect your confident expectations. You will graduate – but make sure to have good social and academic support on the way. You will have good health – but insist on those annual check-ups, healthy diet habits, and exercise. You will have a satisfying marriage – but maintain healthy communication and ask for feedback often.

Christine Leclerc-Sherling

Psychology and Public Speaking Instructor