The Current State of Education: EU 99 with Rami Donahoe
I have a very special guest today and we are going to talk about something near and dear to our hearts.
She is the author of Fight, Flex, or Flight. Her mission is to help parents find the right educational environments for their kids. She worked for 20 years as a school counselor, a parent-student advocate, a crisis counselor, and CPS intake specialist.
She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California and earned her master’s degree at Cal Lutheran University in counseling and guidance. Simultaneously work in child protective services and 24/7 crisis line intake counselor.
She retired as a school counselor and earned certificate as a success principal’s coach with Jack Canfield.
She realized she had passion for helping the student with their general needs.
Her name is Rami Donahoe.
And we are going to talk about education and all the different options that parents have with choosing education and direction in which they get educated and all the different options.
You have options. You are not stuck. You are not alone. [4:54]
Fight, Flex, and Flight. [9:36]
Parents are frustrated with just getting basic services/goal for their kids. [11:35]
People are going to notice the huge change and they are going to respect you and make an impact on other people. [36:56]
The three kinds of people. [56:29]
… and much more!
EU 99 audio
[00:00:00] Rami Donahoe: I’d say one of my biggest things that I want to advocate for, I believe that parents want the basic goals such as I want to. My kid safe from other people. Yeah. I want to keep my kid safe from harming themselves. I want to keep my kid from harming other people and I want people not to come on campus and try to destroy the children there.
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Let’s get started.
[00:01:10] Joel Erway:
Hey, what’s up everybody. Joel Erway here and welcome to another very special episode of experts unleashed. I am excited because today I have a very special guest Rami Donahoe, and we are going to be talking about something very near and dear to my heart. Very important. As a father of two beautiful children, we are going to be talking.
The current state of education for our kids and all the different options that parents have with choosing education and choosing the direction in which they get educated and all the different options. And I have a very, very special guest Rami who is going to be talking about. Her mission, her path and what she does to help parents and to help children find the best environment for themselves.
And so, what I want to do real quick is let me read you her bio. And then we’ll jump right into the interview where we’re going to have a blast today. So, Rami is the author of fight. Flex or flight. And her mission is to help parents find the right educational environments for their kids. Rami has worked for 20 years as a school counselor and a parent student advocate.
She was a crisis counselor and CPS intake specialist. She received her undergraduate degree from the university of Southern California, where she had an internship and went to work for Coca. She returned to school to earn her master’s degree at Cal Lutheran university in counseling and guidance, and simultaneously worked in child protective services and was a 24 7 crisis line intake counselor California was where her career as a counselor started and ended up relocating to Hawaii where she was a counselor for about eight years in the spring of 2020.
She retired as a school counselor and earned her certificate as a success principal’s coach with Jack Canfield. Rami welcome to the show. I’m very excited.
[00:02:59] Rami Donahoe:
Thank you so, much for having me today, Joel. I really appreciate it.
[00:03:04] Joel Erway:
Rami why don’t you give us a little bit of background as how you got started in this field?
Like what drives you and what inspires you every day to work in this field?
[00:03:12] Rami Donahoe:
So, basically Joel, the reason why I had decided to go into counseling because originally, I was going for sales. I was in communication sales marketing went to work for Coca-Cola, which I really loved it. It was fun selling sugar water for a little bit of time.
But then I realized I was counseling a lot of my Coca-Cola clients at the liquor stores, the grocery stores. And I went. Hmm. Maybe this is not the best avenue for me. And when I was at the university of Southern California, I worked over there as a career basically a, a career center specialist. So, we’d see all different kinds of people, alumni that were changing their course of career in their forties, fifties, sixties.
And then we’d have your regular student. Who’s trying to get their name out there and get hired. Right out of college. So, I realized I had a passion for career counseling and helping the student with their general needs and the family.
[00:04:13] Joel Erway:
Awesome. Cool. So, let’s talk about fight flex or flight, right. So, explain what that is.
And then let’s dive into that fight.
[00:04:20] Rami Donahoe:
Flex flight is a wonderful book. It gives parents options.
A lot of parents, especially since COVID, they have been stunned and shocked. A lot of them were discouraged with the mandates, whether it be masking or no face-to-face learning, they weren’t happy with that.
And they felt kind of stuck. So, what we do as a company and what we’re talking to you about in fight flex flight is you have options. You’re not stuck. You’re not alone. And it’s our job to work with you to try to figure out the best option for your kid.
[00:05:03] Joel Erway:
Okay. Awesome. So, you know, what are, you know, what are the typical options right now?
Like what would somebody be interested in? Considering this as a path for their kids.
[00:05:13] Rami Donahoe:
Okay. So, the system of fight flex flight can be used in various needs and education. These options can be used to address safe, touch learning, disabilities, bullying, self-harm and certain curriculum that parents just don’t want their kids to be exposed to.
Or maybe it does. Align with their values. So, what we do is we say, Hey, you really have three options. Inactivity is not an option. It is a choice you’re choosing basically to do nothing, but I’m not recommending that as a counselor for your beautiful children. So, you can fight. And I’ve done this all my life, and I will tell you from personal experience, it’s exhausting.
But if God’s calling you to do. Go in faith and do it. You’ve got to be praying. You’ve got to be reading your Bible, possibly fasting because it takes a lot of energy. And a lot of times you’re left with the anger and, and just, oh my gosh, should I have done this? I should. I have fought. And you’re questioning yourself.
But if God is truly leading, you go for it, do it, but do it with. Because you’re going to fail on your own guaranteed. Only if he’s calling you to do it. Flexing. I’d like to give an example from when I was growing up, I, I didn’t like elementary school. I wasn’t one of those kids who was like, yay. I get to learn my alphabet at school knew I was not into it.
We found out later I had vision issues and that’s why I was copying from all my friends in elementary school and getting in trouble for that. Right. Or maybe I just didn’t study one or the other we found out. But, bottom line is I didn’t like elementary school and it proceeded to in, in the sixth grade, I took those.
That anger. And it came from being scared of school. And then I changed it into anger, and I destroyed school, property and void. Did it feel great to destroy, but the thing is there are natural consequences to destroying property and to taking out your anger. I wish I would’ve chosen a journal to write down my feelings rather than a whole school and permanent marker.
So, my mom at that time decided okay, after she blasted it to everybody at church, my child got in trouble for writing all over the school walls. So, I had to take ownership of that. I take a hundred percent responsibility for that. And then she decided to work with me. She decided to flex. She decided to say, this environment, this large public school environment is not good for you.
So, let’s try to find a smaller one. So, at that time, my mother took me around. Basically school tours and we found a smaller school that I could get more individualized help and kind of grow into a better person. We can either choose to be better or bitter. And my mom was, Nope, you are not getting bitter, not going to have it.
The other consequences were, she forced me to be on the praise worship. I said, no, mom, I’m not going to do it. I don’t want to do it. She said, that’s nice veto. She that’s one of my consequences and I really enjoyed it. Then she had me do my community service hours at the church preschool where she was monitoring me constantly.
Mom, I’m not going to go to church. I’m not, I refuse. Well, sorry. These are the rules in my. You’re going to get yourself to church. So, I think with all these things and I needed these constructs, I needed this scaffolding to get me on the right path. And I really believe in consequences because if I didn’t feel the consequences of community service that I had to do the 25 hours if I didn’t have a probation officer.
It’s kind of like you’re getting off Scott free. Mm-hmm and this is what I see in the world today is just no real consequences. I can do my crime. I can continue to do my crime without any consequences. Take it from me. I needed the consequences, hard head. Sure. Yeah.
[00:09:29] Joel Erway:
So, let me recap real quick. So, fight and flex fight is giving me a quick synopsis of fight.
Again. Obviously, we just went through flex and flexes when your parents are working with the child yes. To help adapt to their, their ideal environment and exposing them to different options. Did I get that correctly?
[00:09:48] Rami Donahoe:
You, you are totally correct. And you’re staying within the system. Fighting means there’s something you don’t like about that school and you’re going to fight.
Whatever that looks like. If you’re going to go to the school board, you better be prepared. I have my own strategy. If you’re going to fight the school. I’ve been in the school district. So, I know how it works. That’s also, in my book of how to actually plan a strategy without spinning your wheels. Sure. And the last option is flight, and this means you’re just going to flee the system.
You don’t want to go through the construct of principal, vice principal teachers. You want to be more in control? Actually, you have full control. If you are choosing to flight, this could look like homeschool. This could look like a student getting their G E D at 16 and fleeing high school. And all three are options are viable options, all three, right?
[00:10:45] Joel Erway:
Yes. Yes. Got it. They’re all really viable options. So, fighting is now staying within the confines of the existing system that you’re in and trying to bring about change from within now. Not necessarily change from, well, yeah. Change from within, but your child or your children you’ve made the decision.
Nope. We are going to stay within the system and. We’re going to try and drive the change from within to help better the situation. Is that correct?
[00:11:09] Rami Donahoe:
Exactly. And this could mean academics. It could be a value issue. It could be because they’re not getting the individual needs for their child met. And we see this a lot with disabilities.
If people are trying to get special ed basically qualified for special ed services or 5 0 4 accommodations not to get to. You know, acronym on you. But a lot of times parents are frustrated with just getting basic services for their kids, because they can see you’re, you’re your kid’s parent, you know, your kid the best you can see, huh?
My kid maybe isn’t learning as, as fast as the other people are and we just need to make adjustments. But I have seen when parents haven’t gotten what they wanted. They do fight and they should fight. Yeah. They should absolutely fight things that I, maybe not an advocate of fighting just because I’ve done it all my life, but I know how to do it.
And this is what I’m willing to give to parents. If God is calling them to do it is how to do it. Establishing things like paper trail, getting an attorney, if you need it. Other kind of strategies that we can use, I’ve seen most recently. I love those parents that are getting up and talking to the school board.
But the biggest problem that I see is they’re always shut down. Their mic is shut off, or the parent takes it personally and starts attacking one of the school board. They just shut it down. So, I want to do a very purposeful and strategic. Fight. If you’re going to do it and remain calm, cool collected in the presence of Jesus.
And don’t go off on side tangents. Also, don’t get prompted to fight because your friend is doing it. Your friend feels like they want to fight well. Is that God’s plan for you right now to fight for this? Because in the end, you have to remember when you’re done with the fight and if your second strategy isn’t to flee and leave the.
Your kid is stuck there. Yeah. With everybody else and all the teachers and principals, even though they smile at you, come on, let’s be real that’s so, and so’s kid, I don’t want that for your kid. So, that is a viable option. I just really, as we’re going there with parents, we tell them. What they’re going to expect.
Yeah. And don’t be surprised if this happens, but to be honest, if they have God on their side and they’re doing it with the Lord, they’re not usually scared. They know God’s called them to do it and they use their resources and, and they do it with love. Mm-hmm.
[00:13:41] Joel Erway:
So, that that’s fight. So, now flex is when it’s almost, it’s a hybrid where you are still considering you’re still going to stay within the system, but now you are going to introduce your child or your children to other avenues.
And that was the example that you gave when you did community service at your church mm-hmm and your mother was, was getting you involved in other things to help. Yes. You know, create a different environment for you. Is that correct?
[00:14:07] Rami Donahoe:
Yes. And I actually go more into my book about. You basically just wrote my book with me.
I think you were there in my mind. Yes, that’s exactly what it is. It’s a hybrid. You’re working with the system. So, you are staying within teacher principal. Maybe you want to change teams such as a teacher, maybe. It’s not working with you, but you’re being flexible. You’re going to tell your, the school, your concerns, and then they’ll hopefully work with you finding a different school, even a private school option.
You’re still staying within the constructs of, I would really like a principal, an organized schedule for my kids, and I’m going to stay within the.
[00:14:51] Joel Erway:
Perfect. And the final option is flight where it’s okay. Maybe I’ve exhausted all resources and the signs are there that staying here is absolutely not a viable option anymore for the wellbeing of my child or my children.
So, that is when you look at exiting the system. Yes, entering a new system, whether that’s homeschooling, whether that’s any other, you know, number of options or right. School district or whatever. Right. So, exactly. Let me, let me ask you this Rami at what age do you typically see parents considering other options?
How young are the children and what are some of the warning signs that a parent needs to be aware of when, you know, analyzing this situation, you know fight flight or flex or fight flex or flight?
[00:15:44] Rami Donahoe:
You, you got it. It’s a tongue twister. Basically, in my book, I go over, if you want to transition out of elementary school, if you want to transition during the wonderful stages of middle school or high school.
So, it addresses all levels, elementary school, some of the warning signs that I saw, just knowing from my own personal experience in elementary school, I just never. Really was at the same level as the other kids. I probably should have been in a Jesus follower, Christian, some kind of a Christian school to keep me on my way.
And that’s what I did for my kids. So, I knew how, how it was for me. So, I started evaluating it even before I started thinking about taking my kids to public school. I did have one of my children in public school for, for a year. And I just didn’t like that the Jesus component wasn’t there, and I could see history repeating itself.
So, we. Both my kids out. And for the majority of their elementary school years, we decided to put them in Adventist elementary school, which was wonderful because it was comprehensive. A lot of kids do not learn the same way they had them gardening. They had them doing. Basically, systemic living, oh, this is how, this is how you recycle your plants.
This is how you use them again. They would take them to the library. They would take them swimming. I liked that model. And of course, I liked the Jesus component. They were singing worship songs. So, this worked out for me. So, I know that kids are going to learn their very, very basics in elementary school. If you choose to ignore that.
Your child may be held back just because they’re not going to get the basics in middle school. You really need to figure out basically what kind of elements am I. Going to expose my child to let’s put it in the fact of values and just academics. Parents are frustrated with that. Some of the values that are coming into our system, our school systems.
And if, if they’re thinking, you know, I there’s so, much stimulus happening, they’re constantly talking about these issues. I don’t want to deal with it anymore. Take them out flex, take them to a private Christian school, Catholic school, Adventist, whatever, you know, models, your values, or you could also, homeschool and just put your own values in there.
And it’s going to totally align with you. The other situation would be high school and high school is a really great time. If you do not want a homeschool, but you want your kid not to be exposed to all the many wonderful things that social life brings you in high school. This is what I tell parents.
They’re like, I’m so afraid that my child’s going to miss out on the social aspects of school. I would be afraid. They’re going to be exposed to a lot of things you don’t know about. Mm-hmm a, and one of my biggest. I I’d say one of my biggest things that I want to advocate for. I believe that parents want the basic goals such as I want to keep my kid safe from other people.
I want to keep my kid safe from harming themselves. I want to keep my kid from harming other people and I want people not to come on campus and try to destroy the children there. So, I think those. The four basic goals. And if you don’t have a hundred percent confidence that this is going to happen at any school system, then why would you do it?
Mm-hmm, it’s just a question. If you don’t have faith in the system and that they’re covering all these things. Let’s look at what I say in my book. I’m going to show you what they’re going to be exposed to. Yeah. And you really have to digest it and say, do I want that? Do I want that? Yes, they can survive.
They can, but you need to be on top of it as a parent. I mean, that’s yeah. That’s the bottom line.
[00:19:53] Joel Erway:
You know, I love what you said about, you know, the core values of like, you know, protecting my children, protecting them from themselves, protecting you know, preventing them from being exposed to harmful situations or, or being in harm’s way.
And like, you know, that should be in, in my mind. So, my I’ve got two children who are, you know my oldest is about to turn six. My youngest is about to turn three. And so, he’s on his way to kindergarten and Even preschool. We had these discussions, it was okay. You know, first of all, he’s got a fall birthday, so, it’s that odd age?
Do we send him to four, turning five, five turning six, blah, blah, blah? But it was before we even talked about that, it was okay. Now that we know where we’re going to send him to preschool and, you know, was it Montessori or was it, you know, a Christian school or was it, you know, public school where they did, you know, half day and, and, but it all.
Predicated on the fact like, okay, well, what are they teaching? What’s the environment like? And there were a lot of unknowns because it’s not like we can go sit in class for a week and go experience it. Right. You’re on the outside.
[00:21:00] Rami Donahoe:
Well, you could. Okay. Well, there is an option it’s called shadowing and I didn’t know it existed either.
So, I mean, you brought up a, a whole host of really great topics for question, but just to let you know, if you’re ever concerned about your child and you want, know what goes on in a day, you just ask them for permission to shadow your kid for a day. It’s an eye opener anywhere and you may like it and you may not like it.
So, just know that you do have that tool accessible for you.
[00:21:31] Joel Erway:
The parenting in me, like with that idea of shadowing. Yes. I immediately went back to like when I was a kid in school. Yeah. And heaven forbid if my parent ever shadowed me, like I would probably. I would probably change as a child. I would probably be like, oh my goodness, what is my parent doing?
What is my mom doing? What is my dad? I would be so, embarrassed. Like, does that, would that happen?
[00:21:54] Rami Donahoe:
That is true. We’ve also used that as a disciplinary measure so, that that’s, you can use that at school. Okay. Well, your mom has volunteered to shadow you to see what your, your teacher is talking about. And then they have great behavior than I say so, it can be used as that usually, but you’ll be surprised in shadowing, especially if you decide to do that in elementary school, they notice mom and dad are back there, especially in elementary school.
They’re kind of proud about it. And after a while, they kind of forget you’re there. Like mm-hmm five, 10 minutes are like, They’re kind of aloof about it. You’re correct. Middle school is totally a different ballgame, so, they do notice you’re there and they do so, it can also, be used as a correctional measure.
Oh, you’re all over it though. Joel, you’ve really thought about this.
[00:22:40] Joel Erway:
Well, it’s just, you know, I just would put my, I put myself in, in the shoes of, of, you know, Eight-year-old, Joel, you know, if my parents were making this decision trying to figure out, Hey, do we keep him in the school or do we, do we flex or flight?
And then all of a sudden, boom, they show up for a day. Oh my goodness. You know, it’s like, it was bad enough. And my parents are, and my friends, even my friends’ parents showed up to the school dances and they were the chaperones. Right. Imagine they short for an entire day at school. Oh, but anyway, you know, those are the decisions they have to make as parents, you know, those are right.
[00:23:14] Rami Donahoe:
And it does show follow through because I know you can say to kids, if you don’t do this, this consequence will happen. They’re not going to show up at my school. And sure enough, these parents will show up and the kid is, wow. My mom showed up. I’m not going to mess around. She, she showed up for missed a whole day of.
And a lot of times it’s with the kids that are more defiant, like mm-hmm, this human, we kind of need those. Wow. They really followed through on their consequences for most other kids. You aren’t going to need to do that unless you’re just checking out, you know, the system and how it, how it works. And then you might not need to stay there for a whole day.
You see, parents will stay there half an hour or two hours. Okay. I got the gist of what it looks like, you know? So, again, those kind of tools that I know. Because I’m a school counselor because I’m a parent because I’m, I’m a bad child. I grew up as a bad child. I’m looking at it through three lenses of compassion, I would say.
[00:24:11] Joel Erway:
Let me ask you this. When somebody, when a parent has come to the decision of, something’s not right in our current situation, in our current environment, and there needs to be a change. What is usually, I’ve got a two-part question what is usually. That trigger point that causes them to say, okay, it’s time to make a change and now start exploring other options.
Right. And then let’s take that a step further. And once they make that decision for change and they implement that change, how long does it normally take to start seeing the results of the new environment that their children are experiencing?
[00:24:54] Rami Donahoe:
Okay. So, some of the triggers that I’ve seen with my parents.
I’ll bring up COVID for example. Yeah. When March happened in 2020, and it went all virtual parents were so, frustrated, especially for the ones who had elementary schoolers, because the parent literally had to sit with their child in front of the computer because they aren’t old enough to navigate that the middle school and high school they can navigate.
Like the back of their hands. So, I ran into parents that I don’t like this face-to-face model. I hate it. I don’t go back in September 2020 and have this for my child. I, I want my child to see smiles teachers. And at least if we were wearing masks at least have someone physical there. So, we gave them options.
A lot of the private schools were meeting face to face when regular ed was not..
[00:25:46] Joel Erway:
Mm-hmm, our kids were, our son was in a private school. He was four years old and they went five days a week. I mean they had glass, you know, the plexiglass barriers at their desks, but that was the whole reason we sent him to Preschool at, you know, at St. Peter’s. So, anyway, I didn’t mean to cut you off but
[00:26:04] Rami Donahoe:
I think that’s a great decision. And that’s basically where I scaffold my parents to. I said, look, you’ve got to go here. It, it’s not going to be all face to face your kids. This particular school allowed them to surf. Garden again, another Adventist model.
We’re lucky we have two Adventist schools here, so, they let you get outside. They had animals at their house where they were offering this cohort of Adventist teaching. The mother came back to me and said, thank you so, much. My son is so, happy. He would’ve been forced. To do virtual. And I think it’s just that, that point where you’re like saying this learning is not going to match my child.
That was totally evident. I think during that time we saw probably at least 10 parents actually choose to switch and they were way happier. They did. They were so, thankful that we educated them. This is what’s going to happen. This is what it’s going to look like. Is this what you’re prepared to do with, or is your kid more of a hands-on learner?
That would be one. Another thing you see is bullying where the parent has tried to get traction with the school. Their kid is still being bullied and they need to flee, and we don’t want the same kids that have been bullying. My child let’s say since elementary school, and now they’re following to middle school.
Now they’re going to follow them to high school. So, they wanted to break that cycle. And they moved them. So, I think once they’ve processed it out enough, of course, praying reading the Bible and God will give you the way to do it. And the funds, I didn’t think I had the funds to do it. And I basically prayed that in about getting both of my kids into the Adventist education, because I don’t have an extra $1,500 and the people of my church, the Adventist community as well, they said, keep praying, keep praying. Funny thing is I was called by my principal when I was making this decision. Should I Lord, should I keep him in Adventist?
Should I do this, or should I just bring him to public school? And my principal called me to do the first Shadowing that I ever did. And she said, Hey, Rami, a parent is requesting to shatter their child for a full day. Can you do. Oh, my gosh, I have all these things to do. Okay, fine. What does this entail? You basically have to sit next to the parent just to make sure everything’s okay.
This is just a legal matter and they can just watch their child all day. I did. And it was like watching paint dry mm-hmm they were stuck in the four walls of the classroom. Kids were bored. It traumatized me. It reminded me of how I was in elementary school. And then I realized God was just. No, you need to keep your kids in a hands-on learning environment.
And that’s what I knew my trigger was. And God will reveal this to you. And then you want to say, how long, how long does it take to actually see those results? The results that I saw in my children were pretty quick, because I would say. My eldest child had a year in kindergarten, and I could kind of notice physically they are not getting as much exercise as I would like them to get in a regular school day.
Changing the school. Really changed their like physical education as well, because they believe in hiking, walking everywhere, climbing, sledding, down mountains, full of pine needles. I mean, just amazing out of the box. Thinking, and my child really slimmed down and I didn’t have to start monitoring food and things like this, but I saw that right away.
I saw the influence of Jesus in the school right away. She was more happy. The kids had a moral code. So, when we had issues, which we did, which someone tried to bully my child when they were even at a Christian school, we dealt with it, but we dealt with it in the construct of, we love Jesus. We know that we wanted work to our optimal good and things.
Things got handled in a completely different way than a public school would handle them, but they got handled in more of a biblical supernatural way.
[00:30:22] Joel Erway:
Awesome. Well, Rami, I know that this is what you do day in and day out. You work for the parents. You help them make these decisions. You help them choose the best path for them depending on their situation.
I want to drop some links here so we can send people to go reach out to you. Go get a copy of your book. Your website is Rami positive space.com. And is your book released now or almost released. I mean, we’re, we’re recording here
[00:30:46] Rami Donahoe:
We’re at the halfway point, but my book that is out right now is called Christian Focus In A Blurry World.
And this is giving people in their twenties on a lot of tools, how to identify toxic people, how to reflect on what you’ve come through with God during COVID I’ll tell you the number one thing I hear from 20 something who are Jesus follower. Why Rami? Why do I need to have goals? If we’re going to get raptured anyways, what’s the point?
I’m like, because God has a point for you. You are the mature Christian. I know you’re looking for mature Christians right now, but maybe God is telling you you’re the mature Christian and you still need to do those five actions every day to be reaching out, smiling at people, telling them about the love of Christ.
And I do a video on that, on my YouTube channel, Rami positive space, check it out. But that book is more like a motivational. Where are we at right now? How do I reboot my life after?
[00:31:45] Joel Erway:
So, we’ll put all those links down below this video so, people can go check it out. Right. And Rami, I want to move into our second part of the interview.
I called this the expert resilience mm-hmm section. And so, this is going to be great because I know that with your specialty and with your expertise, like you have to develop some form of mindset, resilience to get you through, you know, up to where you’ve gotten right now and still working with your clients and with, with the parents of these, of these children. So, I want to ask you a few questions of how you’ve developed a mindset of resilience.
And so, the first question that I’ve got for you is to be as successful as you are. You’ve probably had to bounce back from a low moment. Can you take a minute to share with us a down moment in your life and how you practiced resilience?
[00:32:31] Rami Donahoe:
I have plenty of down moments, Joel, but I’m just going to share one. So, basically, I’ll take you to a story where I ended up in an orange vest and an orange hat working gloves yet searched two times a day. I ended up in the orange county work service program. This is not. Where I thought I was going to be. I had someone working above me called Mr. John, and he would grade us on her days.
This was my second offense that I committed in sophomore year. And sometimes we just need to take another lap around the deserts. Like the Israelis did. I took many laps around the desert. So, in this case I realized something went very wrong. When I’m wearing this orange hat, this orange vest.
Go there. These are Saturday work programs. This is a natural consequence, which I totally am for kids need to feel it. I felt it. And we had to clear out all these ice plants, basically in a beach community. So, I’m looking at all these people in bikinis with their surfboards and I’m wearing this outfit. I am being yelled.
To clean these ice plants out. So, what happened is I’m trying to clean these ice plants with my tools. And Mr. John says lean into it. Rami JT down into it. Mr. John, if I do that, snails are going to get squashed all over my best jeans. I don’t care. You’re here to work for us because of the choices that you made.
Come on, get down into it, or else I’m going to grade you a D for the day. So, with this community service program that I was assigned, I had 25 days. And so, if you get A’s three A’s in a row, they. Take one of your days off. So, he’s threatening me with a D I’m going to squash down into it. So, I, I squashed down into it with my knees, felt the squash, the squash, the shells, all going into my, my jeans, my favorite jeans.
And I was just like, wow, how, how did I end up here? And the way that I ended up there was anger and just making bad choices to express my anger. And I met a lot of people in that time. You know, the biggest question is just like jail actually. Cause you go, how did you get in here? And people will tell you their stories and I’ll tell them my pathetic stories.
I had to enhance my stories because they weren’t as good as everybody else’s grant theft auto and I’ll be just kid up and I’m like, well I need some enhancement or. They’re going to see me as a target, but that’s where I knew it was really, really wrong. And so, that second time of being in trouble in sophomore year, I wasn’t just getting in trouble for petty theft because that’s what I would ditch school to do.
I also, got in trouble for ditching school. I also, basically. Bottomed out freshman and sophomore year, I pretty much got DS Fs. CS was CS, do nothing for your GPA. They actually just do nothing. And then when I had to turn things around and then I had a full-time probation officer who I loved, he was a great, great person, great motivator.
And I wanted to do better. One of the ways that, again, I’m going to bring up my mother. One of the ways that she did it as a wonderful Christian woman was, she said, why can’t you just be good? And I said, well, I don’t want. Just pretend and see how it feels. I was like, maybe I should try this I tried being good and low and behold, I felt good inside of myself.
People started complimenting me Ram. You’re not trying to run off campus anymore. We don’t have to chase you down with five security. we, we don’t have to, you know get you in trouble anymore. You don’t have to do in-house suspensions. We don’t have to kick you out of in-house suspensions because you’re so, disruptive.
And I got all these rewards because they saw the definite change. So, there is something to be said when I, when I run across kids who are having such a hard time and a hard life, I’m like, you know what? People are going to notice that. People are going to notice your huge change and they’re going to respect you so, much more and you’re going to make an impact on other people.
And I’ve seen that personally with my students. Wow. You used to ditch school. You used to take your mom’s car and drive it in your middle school shirt, not wise, but that’s what they did. and, and I’m like, but now look at you. You’re making the grade, you’re showing up to school and people respect. Good kids respect you.
Bad kids respect you. The middle level. Kids respect you because you live that life. As, as a kid who, you know, was against everything was against all odds and you were constantly angry and then you flipped it. So, that is something I decided I got to be resilient. And instead of destroying things, something that I totally believe in is a, B, C, always B creating, instead of destroying, instead of stealing, I’m going to be creating, I, I have this nervous energy inside of me and I need to always be doing something. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this. Well, we could binge out on Netflix, which I’ve done plenty of times or Disney plus.
But I don’t get my energy out and I decided, okay, I’m going to start creating things. That’s how I created my first album called don’t step on me, which is kind of a compilation of blue songs. And then when we got in the studio in the jungle room in LA, we met someone who mixed for nine-inch nails. And my husband was my husband, and I were huge fans of them at that time.
So, then just always be. Can you help us create music that has a techno kind of electronic a background that was an extra bonus from God, because I can’t put all those things together, but then we got the kind of music that we really thrive off. Now I listen to techno and electronic all the time. So, always be creating, get your kids to write, do poetry, invent music, draw, whatever they, whatever their thing is instead of getting into trouble.
So, that’s what really helps me. Be resilient.
[00:38:45] Joel Erway:
Love it. Okay. So, next question is if you had to pick one, what one mindset would you say has meant the most to you? And do you have an example of how that might work?
[00:38:54] Rami Donahoe:
Okay. So, as I’m working with my individual clients, those ones who are more. Christian focus in a blurry world.
We’re working on their theme for their life. So, this really fits. I tell them if you can’t think of a whole purpose or a mindset, which I have chosen a mindset, I’ve chosen the Proverbs three, five mindsets, which is trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean that on your own understanding in all your ways, acknowledge him.
And he will make your path straight. Not, Rami not the, Rami not you. He will make your past straight. So, if you just trusted him, acknowledge him. Jesus, Jesus. I know you got me. Hallelujah. He’s going to make your past straight saying these affirmations, choosing a Bible verse. For example, or just three words that you can filter your life through is so, important.
I mean, we can just take social media for example. And I know I’ve personally done this where I’m looking at political issues on my Facebook or on Instagram, mostly Facebook that’s like who? That’s the main killer. You really have to come in with the filter when you go in, boy, I sure am convinced I want to write a political statement.
Does that fit in with my purpose? Does that fit in with the Proverbs three, five mindsets? Does that fit in with my purpose, which is creating things that get people closer to Christ that motivate people to know more about him after I run it through that filter. I’m going to have to say no about 98.9% of the time.
And I take a New York minute before I post mm-hmm and this is something I see in high school. I’ve learned this from the high schoolers, I’m emotional. I’m going to post something and then they regret it. Of course, we know that’s going to be there in the computer worldwide web forever. You don’t erase it. You may think you delete it, but it’s there.
So, that’s something that I use is that, that mindset, another verse that I treasure that my mom forced me to memorize and I’m so, thankful for it is first Corinth. 10 13, no temptation has seized you except what is common to man, and God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
Now I’ve used this in times where I was tempted to maybe go back to my old lifestyle or when I was dating, I was tempted to go to somebody else. House and nothing good happen after 10:00 PM. People I’m just telling you right now, don’t do it. Use this, use this verse, tell your kids. Nope. You need to be home way before 10.
Nothing good happens at that 0.1, one evening, I had this choice, a gentleman caller said, do you come back to my place? It was after 10, of course. And I had such a good prayer relationship with the Lord at that time, but I just really didn’t know what to say. Then first Corinthians 10, 13 came into my mind.
No temptation has seized. You. And God you’re going to provide a way of escape for me. I literally just breathed. I just went, the gentleman caller says, you don’t want to come to my house, do you? And I said no. And he goes, okay. No problem. I’m fine with that. Stay here. I’m going to drop you off at your place. And it was, it was like, Force jet amine trip or something but later when we talked, he said, I don’t know what happened to me.
I never would’ve done that. I, why did I let you go? I don’t even know. And he said, well, I prayed. And so, that’s what happened. And I thank you for letting me off the hook. And he said, great, let’s go on another date. And I said, well, prayed on that too. And I’m getting a. What, but I let you, I let you out of the car.
I was a gentleman, I said, yeah, but you know, when you pray to God, he will reveal things to you. And basically, as you’re going through your dating life, I say pray through it because God will speak to you through other people. He’ll speak to you through the Bible. And he’ll just give you that piece that passes all understanding.
So, those verses are how I frame my mindset, because I need them to live, Joel. I can fail by myself, but I can win with Christ. Period.
[00:43:11] Joel Erway:
Thank you for sharing that. Okay. So, the next question is what is something that you or your company does that you are really good at? And do you have an example or a story to share about it?
[00:43:21] Rami Donahoe:
Yes, of course. One of the things that we specialize in is showing parents that they have options. They don’t have to stay stuck in their current system. They don’t have to do that when we uncover what’s available for them in their area or their environment where they live. They’re very surprised and they’re thankful.
We can use these tools that I bring to them as a counselor, as a mom, as the third lens, I would say I, I, I kind of bring three lenses to the situation. As, as I may have said before, as a, as a trouble kid who may need help need a change of environment as a parent. Who may see my child needs to flee the system due to values that they don’t agree with, or maybe the academics are not rigorous enough, or maybe they have a child who has special need and they, they know how to take care of their kid the best.
So, we can look at these environments and say, Hey, can you homeschool your kid? Homeschooling benefits. Aren’t just, Hey, you have control over the values, ethics and academics over your kid. A huge one. We definitely experienced in, in the recent future was I have a lot of parents who have straight a kid and they definitely want to travel.
They want to get going. They want to have some hands on learning. So, whenever they do this at a public school, they get tons of attendance letters. Your child has. Three days in school, your child has missed five days in school. You’re now at risk for getting in trouble more in our attendance system. This is what we do as counselors.
Unfortunately, this was one of my jobs is I had to monitor the attendance letters, had to monitor the attendance meetings and we will drag you in there. You will have to come in there and do this. However, if you choose something like the homeschool model, You don’t have to deal with that anymore. You can take your child on a vacation anywhere, which I really believe in because vacations not only solidify the family relationship, but they also, get hands on learning through seeing, doing at museums or going on hikes and seeing national treasures that we have in America.
Or maybe. Traveling globally, you can’t do that in a classroom. And I know we do have virtual field trips to colleges and whatever, and why they are while they’re great. They’re not going to be the face to face, touch and feel, see, and experience. So, that’s what we kind of, that’s one example of a way that we get our clients to start seeing outside of the box, see the benefits.
Don’t be so, scared because one, you can do all things through Christ. And if this is truly something that God wants you to do, he’s going to be with you every step of the way you are not alone. And that is a complete. Lie that you’re alone. You have people, you have people like me who want to help you. We now even have online courses that if, if you want more handholding during the whole homeschooling process, we have online schools coming out of the woodwork.
So, you can do a hybrid. And that’s what I’m doing right now with, with my students. Maybe two days virtual and three days face to face. So, there’s a multitude of ideas and that’s what we get the parents to discover and explore. Maybe they decide they want to be in the regular education system.
That’s fine, but at least they know they’ve uncovered every rock and they’ve done whatever was the best interest for their child. And that’s all we really want. We want our child to thrive. And that’s another reason why I, I love fighting. Love it. But ladies and gentlemen, it’s not always the best thing to do, because if you have to go back to that school, be it, you don’t have the funds to afford private school anymore, or maybe you’ve tried homeschooling and maybe you want to go back to the public-school education system.
I would say, just be cautious when you. Because if your kid is going to have to go back there, they will remember you. And I would love to say they would not stigmatize you but come on. We’re all humans. Yep. So, that’s what I’d like to say. So, we, we like to use fight as an option, but we like people to be crystal clear on what.
What that looks like, what the implications are of that. So, they have more options, so, they can go to the buffet and take whatever they want. They don’t have to take a piece of lettuce, a beat, and maybe like a little bit of mashed potatoes. No, we want you to take the whole buffet and we want you to get a steak.
We want you to get your salad. We of course want you to have the dessert. So, that’s the way we kind of look at it at Rami positive.
[00:48:20] Joel Erway:
Awesome. Rami, final question before we wrap up here what is your, why? What gets you out of bed every day to strive for excellence? And can you tell us a story of, you know, how that played out in real life?
[00:48:31] Rami Donahoe:
When I was a school counselor prior to me retiring about five years ago, I just hated the rigor. I hated that there wasn’t enough support. I wanted to see real students more often in, in my office. We as teachers and counselors are bogged down with meetings, we are bogged down with paperwork and constantly documenting, which takes a lot of time from my face-to-face time with my students.
And I really. Was just getting so, frustrated. You’re trying to keep up with everything in this environment. And then I wanted to see 20 kids today and I can’t because I have to document and do all this kind of thing. Not to mention there were kind of battles going on with my school and. Some of the teachers and the administration.
So, you go into systems and sometimes there’s not the best attitude that’s maybe running the system. So, I was just frustrated and I, I was having a conversation with God. I’m like, I, I cannot stand this. I cannot do this anymore. God, first Corinthians 10, 13. I did it again. God, give me away. Of escape. Get me out of this.
Be careful what you ask for. So, what happened one of the days? And I, I was so, excited about going to school this day because I had a boys group that we were just going to paint rocks. I had these big. Big rocks that I had purchased at the home Depot. We were going to paint basically gratitude rocks. So, they could always look at this rock.
And whenever they’re sad, they can look at a word that inspires them or a person that inspires them. So, ready for this story. Then I’m listening to my Christian radio station. I’m driving, it’s six 30 in the morning. It’s early. I like to get to school early and kind of get things in place and in, in position.
And then I see an SUV. Oncoming traffic. I they’re going the opposite way. So, I’m coming here and their car’s supposed to be coming this way. And then I see them cross the double yellow lines into my lane. I think the only reason why I was calm is because I was listening to this pastor Richard Ellis talks.
He’s an amazing pastor and just super chill. And I was okay, this car is, looks like it’s going to hit me. And I was kind of just processing. Okay. I was hit, I was knocked unconscious for probably at least five minutes and I wake up in excruciating pain. I, I just felt pain in my abdomen. And that was because the seatbelt literally, have you ever seen one of those sausage commercials or anything where they take the string, and they tie the sausage off at the end?
That’s basically what happened to me, the seatbelt squashed all my innards, all my guts up because it was saving my life. But now I’m wounded there. I felt something projecting in my face and I saw this plastic. Long arm right at my face. It was probably about this distance away from my face. And then I looked at my rear-view mirror and I was like, is there something wrong with my face?
Did I lose my eye or something? Because I really couldn’t feel anything, you’re in so, much shock. No, we’re okay. But I, I couldn’t move. And finally, there was, I love kids. Thank you. There were some kids at, at a house next door and really the Lord. Saved me from a guard with a guardrail, because I could have gone off the guardrail into basically a ravine and I didn’t.
The guardrail saved me somehow. They got me out with the jaws of life and, and these kids, they said, Hey, can we help you? And I said, my cell phone’s over there. Can you grab it? So, they initiated. And I think these were like elementary schoolers, middle schoolers. And they initiated the protocol for calling 9 1 1. And they got there, took me to the hospital and what my husband told me was stunning.
And I always say that he has way more, better of a testimony than I do, because this is where the doctors told him it’s a miracle. No bones were broken. It’s a miracle. She is not bleeding all over the place. It’s, it’s a miracle. She doesn’t have any head injuries the way she was hit, just dead-on and when he talked to the tow truck driver, he said, I don’t know how she walked away from this. I’ve seen people not walk away from less. And then God gave me this time because I couldn’t walk for about three to four months. God gave me this time with my recliner. In my house just to be still and know that he is God.
So, sometimes when your world is chaotic and you pray for certain things, God will give you that time. You know, Rami, chill out your, your brain is getting in your way, your meta thinking. You’re thinking about thinking about what’s going to happen here and you don’t like this and just total negativity and negative thoughts and negative self-talk, which is a song that I, I wrote called lonely soldier.
It’s all about your self-talk about God doesn’t want to hear me. God can’t help me. And you flip it to say, no, he can help you. He is with you. And I’m just feeling pathetic right now. So, during that time I realized I was worried about a lot of things that I had no control over, except for I did have control over my thoughts.
I did have control over how much I was pressing into the word I did have control over. Okay. Instead of saying I can’t do it, I can say all things are possible with the Lord. Choose that as an affirmation.
So, then after that, and then the process of going back to school with, I had a stick, I went back to school with to kind of help me walk.
I realized that my worries were nothing and I was worrying about bills and all these stupid things that I could have been dead. So, I’m going to take this opportunity and every day I’m going to wake up with that positive affirmation. This is the day that the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it.
And Lord, I will. However long you want me to, and when you call me home, I will go there. But I am going to put in 200000000% effort to love people, to smile at them, to do racks, random acts of kindness for people. And you know what, that will also, turn your bad mood around as well. And I’ve, I’ve noticed that if I’m in a super bad mood and I have extra cash on me, volunteer to pay for someone’s meal. That is an automatic.
Yes. I love this good feeling. I feel so, good. I just help someone out. And I love racks. I think it’s smiling at people is a RA random act of kindness, because you don’t have to smile at people. Most times we’re not aware of how we look non-verbally, especially with the mask.
But just giving a person that smile and acknowledging that they’re out there, you might have prevented them from hurting themselves or doing, doing something to themselves that was harmful to them. But just because of your smile and you stepped in the gap, you changed that person’s life. So, that’s what we try to do.
And as a team here at positive space, More. So, that’s why I get up every day is I know I have something that is going to help someone. I might not be cheer for everybody. And that’s why we have the law of 25%, which I go over in Christian focus in a blurry world. Maybe 25% of people are really going to. Like you, the rest of the 75%, I can’t guarantee that, but I can guarantee God has put you here for at least those 25% of people.
And if you aren’t reaching out to them, we are missing you. I need you. And there are three kinds of people. There are people who are going to either speak life. Into you, or there’s the kind of people that you are going to speak life into, or there’s the people that are going to deposit negativity to you and just steal any positivity that you could possibly have.
So, that’s another thing, just be aware of that. Be aware of those toxic people and just cut ’em off if you need to. It’s okay. God doesn’t call you to hang out with people who are going to steal your joy. Yeah. And steal, kill, and destroy.
[00:56:43] Joel Erway:
I love it. Law of 25%. That’s a, that’s a really, really good law, I think for a lot of people to, to to grasp and to understand, because we’re not here for everyone.
Like it’s exactly, you know, we’re not the broad brush and right. Awesome Rami, thank you for sharing that. This has been a fantastic conversation. I want to encourage anyone who’s listening right now. If you felt the tug, if you felt the pull and you resonated with. Rami’s message is if you resonate with the idea of taking charge and, and finding a way, finding a plan, finding a path to choosing the right path for your child and or your children and their education, what’s the best space for them. What’s the best environment for them.
I highly encourage you. Go check out ramipositivespace.com. Will also have links down below in this video. Rami, it’s been a blast. Thank you so much. And we’ll talk soon.
[00:57:32] Rami Donahoe:
Thank you so, much, Joel. God bless. Aloha.
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