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What are YOU waiting on?

I am a known Nickelback fan. The song, What Are You Waiting For? spoke to me. A good friend sent it to me during a trying time in my life. I find I refer this song to many of my clients and friends. Here are the powerful lyrics:

What are you waiting for?
What are you Waiting for?

Are you waiting on a lightning strike?
Are you waiting for the perfect night?
Are you waiting ’til the time is right?
What are you waiting for?
Don’t you wanna learn to deal with fear?
Don’t you wanna take the wheel and steer?
Don’t you wait another minute here.
What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

You gotta go and reach for the top
Believe in every dream that you got
You’re only living once so tell me
What are you, what are you waiting for?
You know you gotta give it your all
And don’t you be afraid if you fall
You’re only living once so tell me
What are you, what are you waiting for?

Are you waiting for the right excuse?
Are you waiting for a sign to choose?
While you’re waiting it’s the time you lose.
What are you waiting for?
Don’t you really wanna live your life?
Don’t you wanna love before you die?
What are you waiting for?

….

Everybody’s gonna make mistakes
But everybody’s got a chance to make
Everybody needs a leap of faith
When are you taking yours?

What are you waiting for?

For the complete lyrics, please check various favorite sites and download a copy of this inspiring song. I listen to each morning to inspire me to not drag my feet to get stuff done.  I am in the business of creating and living dreams. Once I found myself in a very dark place unable to believe dreams could come true. Life likes to toss you in dungeons or oubliettesfacebook_july-7 with the false notion we can never find our way out. We find ourselves waiting with thousands of excuses. But why? False realities and excuses leave us in a dark place. Life can change if you ask yourself, what am I waiting on? What am I waiting for? The answer… you are waiting on you to decide to move forward on the path to your dreams. Make them happen, only YOU can. 

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Rethinking Change and Compassion

The world is changing. We are changing. Recent events have caused a stir in our thinking and judgement patterns. It has stirred fear, anger, and restlessness in many. Adult emotions and reactions do influence children. Be mindful of your words around growing minds. Hate is learned. Judgement is influenced by parental reactions.

For a moment, let us think about the refugee children and what might be going through their minds. Life was pleasant. Homes, be they small or large, were safe havens. Life had order and routine at all social and economic levels, pretty much. Then, the terror starts. Gun fire, bombs, death, destruction, and loss of everything which symbolized safety, trust, and security in human lives is gone. In a child’s mind these are game changers, nightmares becoming reality which will forever haunt their daily lives and dreams. Mass hysteria sets in. No one is safe. No place to call home just chaos. Parents and family members are stressed because there are no answers. Life is centered around running for their lives in places they have never been to before. The sounds, sights, and smells of destruction fill their minds, they cannot be avoided. The memories are stored for a life time never erased.

Now, they hear their parents say no one wants them. No one wants to take on the burden to save them or help. There is nowhere to go. No place is safe, not even the woods or random buildings they hide in. Hate and resentment sets in the emotions of their care givers. Anger manifests. Children become second level victims of the rage and fear manifesting in those trying to care for them. No food, water, or shelter, the basic needs which we all seek are not available. Can you see how these terrors will affect the young adult mind as this child grows up?

I wonder if those causing the terror were child victims of war. Where does the hate start? Why would someone feel the need to harm others? Were their parents victims and pass down the hate via bias and judgement? We need to look at what happens to a young mind to cause such acts as adults.

What can we do? How can we help? I do not have the answers. What I ask is that we rethink what is happening and our reactions. How can we empower a nation to fight back instead of fleeing? How can we influence the next generation so they do not hate or lash out with weapons of mass destruction? How do we create change in our own homes so if this happens in our towns and cities? How can we prepare our children to be positive empowered survivors instead of angry hate revengeful adults?

First, let’s develop an understanding of different cultures and beliefs. Let’s learn about them not run from them. In schools in the US now, parents are refusing to allow their children to be exposed to the teaching of world religions. Please know, children do not decide to run to a religion based upon the 10 minute lecture in a middle school class. The attitude of exclusion brings on curiosity more so than the brief exposure. Secondly, let me refer to quotes from one of my favorite books, The Art of War.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“Foreknowledge cannot be gotten from ghosts and spirits, cannot be had by analogy, cannot be found out by calculation. It must be obtained from people, people who know the conditions of the enemy.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Educate yourself. Understand the nature of those you do not understand. Create a space of knowledge before you judge and attack. This not only true in war but in our daily lives. Our workplace, our homes, and in all relationships, know the other party before engaging in battle or, engaging in alliance. Create a hunger of knowledge in your children at a young age so they will be victors instead of victims.

A third thing, create an atmosphere of mindfulness and compassion. This does not mean to be weak but to listen and understand as not to create mass unnecessary chaos. Teach your children  self reliance. Create a means of self-regulation and comforting in various environments and situations.  Help your children as well as yourself to find positive in the least likely of places. We are never guaranteed a stable tomorrow. Life throws curve balls and monkey wrenches when we least expect it. Build a working tool box of life skills and supports when times turn into the unspeakable.

We create the future within ourselves and those around us. Let’s be game changers for our children so their future may become a more positive environment. No, we can never rid the world of all hatred and violence but we can reduce it. We can also prepare our children and ourselves emotionally, mentally, and physically to be survivors not victims. It all lies in our actions and reaction. Children are influenced by those around them. Let’s be the positive change for the future of our children, and their world. It just takes a spark, make it positive to set the fire a blaze in their hearts to spread to others.

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To INFINITY and beyond!!

Got to love Buzz Lightyear. But this time I am not talking Toy Story, I am talking focus. I know your mind races on an infinite journey to nowhere yet everywhere. Tapping back into my Shark Like Focus work again to give solutions for those moments when you cannot find your focus. Here is a simple solution to help you get your thoughts collected from the vast chaos flowing in your mind. It can be done in a variety of ways. You can even get creative after a while developing your own personal methods, the possibilities are endless or should I say… infinite. So, what is this magic which can help you focus?

Infinity sign      Yes, it is just that simple lazy 8 looking symbol. Ok, so I see puzzled faces. Drawing the infinity sign or a lazy 8 helps trigger balance in the brain by engaging both the left and right brain. There actually is a lot of information and scientific stuff on this but you can “Google that” if you want to know the in-depth details. You can air draw this sign. You can be extra creative and get your whole body in motion to do figure 8s. The best is when you are in a boring meeting and need a focus brain boost. You can use your fingers to draw it on the table top or you can get your pen and paper out and doodle them everywhere. Retracing the sign over and over has a meditative like effect on the brain. It is rather magic.

There is a certain path you need to follow to enhance the power of the 8. in the diagram below you see an X, that is the starting point. Move your pen, finger or whatever you choice to use, up towards the left to complete the first loop. Follow the arrow pattern to complete your first ….TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!!!

infinity how to

 

 

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Word Party

Was always a huge fan of word walls as a student. Despite what some might think there are times, mostly in school, I was at a loss for words. Word walls helped me to collect my thoughts to focus on the topic. I still use word walls. Now they say more about my feelings and direction I wish to focus on as I move forward. I metal mess cube sits upon my desk. It is filled with an assortment of magnetic words. I collect them. When I get stuck or hit a road block in thinking I start moving my words around the cube. One side might be negatives while another reflects my current state of mind yet another side filled with aspiring dreams and emotions I want to experience. There are endless possibilities of sorting through the words. It also frees my mind of actually stating the words I feel. Sometimes it is hard to say the words. It is so much easier to pick and chose them to create a visual which reflects that which I cannot admit or say out loud. There is power in the words, even unspoken onesword wall.

What would your word wall say about your thoughts?

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My Captain, My Captain… why?

No passing of a famous person has effected me like the passing of Robin Williams. I am a huge fan of his. He was also an example of success I used when speaking to others who struggle with ADHD and Learning Challenges. His wit and unstoppable motion made him the star and in my belief, a philosopher. He used his challenges as gifts to rise above.

But there is a dark side to ADHD and learning challenges. Often the struggles lead to addictions and depression. Many fail to treat the side effects of ADHD and LD. I often wonder if when we identify children and adults with ADHD why we do not address the side effects as seriously as do assigning the label. If counseling and positive alternatives to medications were added to the treatment and educational component to strive for success, how many lives might avoid the torment?

Depression is a reality when performance is a challenge. When a person is faced daily with perceived failures, bullies who pray upon such frustrating moments, and authority figures who demand nothing less than impossible unrealistic perfection. It isn’t unusual to find ADHD and Learning Challenged types to seek humor and comedy to combat the frustrations and depression. Laughter we are told is the best medicine.

Laughter can divert others from the pending embarrassing moment at hand. A quick wit can cover a multitude of oops or blonde moments. It often becomes a coping mechanism for many ADHD and learning challenged sorts. Though it is often a quick fix or a means to recover from a potentially worse embarrassing moment, the reality of what happened will be revisited. I believe this was the case with Robin Williams. He used his coping mechanism to its fullest yet it never gave complete resolve to the frustrations and challenges of his disability. Yes, I said it, ADHD is and can be very disabling.

ADHD and Learning Challenges cause the mind to be in constant motions. It rarely stops or slows down. It is the human mental processing form of the internet, a Google search engine on overdrive which is Yahooing on top of that mixed in with a touch of Bing.Trying running the 3 of those all at the same time and see how happy your computer is not. I can easily delete, cancel, and shut down my computer but the brain isn’t so easy to stop even one of these search engines. Plus the brain’s filing system isn’t as organized as a search engine. As I work with more and more adults with ADHD I am understanding why they chose drugs and other forms of distraction to stop the madness taking place inside of their heads.

Take time to seek help and support to help find outlets and non harmful ways to quiet the madness if you have ADHD. Let’s not lose another brilliant shining star to the emptiness of suicide as the only means to quiet their tormented soul. Let’s start implementing safe guards early on when ADHD is diagnosed. Educators, take depression seriously when you suspect a student is suffering. Parents, take your child’s mood swings seriously if they suffer from ADHD and struggle to maintain balance in their life. Friends, don’t let depressed friends suffer, help them seek help.
“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I’ll guarantee you’ll win.” – Robin Williams
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1406611/remembering-robin-williams-10-greatest-robin-williams-quotes/#bimzHjlOQAzJgyLY.99

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Why I Write

That is a good question, why do I write? I accepted the challenge to answer this question but found it not a simple answer. Never thought of myself as a blogger. If you know me well you are probably wondering the same thing. I am a proof reader’s worst nightmare. My spelling issues are beyond the dyslexia level, I think I was just passed over then that gene was being handled out. And, there is this weird writing style I have. I would like to say e e Cummings was my English teacher and I acquired it from studying from the master but that would just be a lie. I know the rules but… When writing like this I prefer the flow method then to edit. Well, that’s a dyslexic nightmare. I am the worst choice to go public with my ramblings according to English majors and editors.

I do have a message and greater purpose. To narrow down the list, there are two main reasons I write. The first would be to offer hope to those who struggle with challenges. From personal experience and as an educator, I write about trends and solutions I have found to work. I blog about solutions anyone can try which are practical. The other reasons I write is to promote the healing factor found in the arts. I firmly believe the reasons students are failing and behavior is getting worse is due to the exclusion of the arts in all aspects of their lives. Sports are important too but the arts have a broader spectrum of meeting needs to all regardless of age or ability level. Creative Tidal Wave is about solutions, life long ones. It is about healing. And, it is about creating new pathways to integrating the expressive arts as a tool for success.

I would like to introduce you to two fellow bloggers I enjoy following.

Shannon Barrett is a Martha Beck certified Life Coach, a student of Positive Psychology and an energy wrangler. She uses all these tools plus her intuitive abilities to help her clients rediscover their focus. She is also a certified Level Two Crystalline Consciousness Technique teacher. Shannon writes about the synchronies that show up in her life, the things that fascinate her and the lessons she learns from her clients. You can find her new blog, “What I Have To Say,” at http://eshannonbarrett.com/say/. You can also find her on FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/shannon.barrett2.

Eddie Snipes: I am a writer, gardener, and father of five. I manage a tech support group by day, and write by night.

Visit my site @ http://www.eddiesnipes.com
Just east of Crazy
Twitter: @eddiesnipes

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The Secret of the Paradiddle

For those of you who are not drummers, this is the definition of a paradiddle from Webster’s :a quick succession of drum beats slower than a roll and alternating left and right-hand strokes in a typical L-R-L-L, R-L-R-R pattern.

In the 9th grade I went from an oboe player to a mallet player on the drumline for the marching band. Oboes do not march. There was a huge shift from being in the wood wind section to becoming a drummer. Wood wind sections in the early 80’s were made up of predominately quiet and polite female sorts. There is one exception, when fighting for chair placement or rank there could be a cat fight. What can I say about the drumline? They had a reputation for being wild and not so polite but very driven guys who owned their rank and had the mindset they were the greatest of all drumlines. (I need to note that to my recollection, during 4 years on the drumline, we only received top ratings. So the guys lived up to their reputation.) Here is this quiet, reserved freshman entering her worst nightmare, so she thought. And, my first assignment was to learn to paradiddle.

Like all music sorts, I did tap out rhythms and beats but not like drummers. First lesson I learned was as a drummer your drumsticks never left your side. And, nothing was a forbidden drum. If I only knew then what I know now, I could have capitalized on the fame STOMP and Blue Man group has by creating endless drumming sources. In my case and my fellow mallet player, we had our mallet sticks with us. Yes, I was rapping our drum things as I called them on tables, chairs, on people who stood still too long, and even on a bag of Cheetos. None of which was producing the results I needed quick enough. Growing up in a family of teachers I knew the best way to learn something is to teach someone else. But who would want to learn to paradiddle?

I have the most remarkable cousin. He is 3 years older than me. He has taught me more about life and learning than any professor or teaching guru in the 34 years since I left high school and pursued a career in education. In fact I think he should have an honorary doctorate for the impact he has had on not just my life but others as well. Brad never attended college. I think the IQ label he was given is very misleading though he must have constant care. Downs Syndrome is interesting. Folks sporting genetic issues sure enlighten the lives of us who are suppose to have our genetic codes in order. Brad’s eagerness to learn any crazy thing I came up with made him the perfect candidate.

Thirty-four years later, Brad and I are still paradiddling. The paradiddle held its magic all these years. When he was basically unresponsive in the hospital the word paradiddle created a response. During a trying family time when I returned to spend time with him, what does he want to do? “PARADIDDLE, DONNA!!” When there is stress he looks at me and I know, we need to paradiddle.

Over my life time, the paradiddle has followed me. Out of the frustration to learn play the mallets a single word and rhythm pattern has brought only happiness at the mere mentioning of the word. I have paradiddle with my students. I have paradiddle with friends. But most of all, during personal times of challenges and heartbreak, I have paradiddled alone. The rhythm brings me back to the moments of happiness. The paradiddle reminds me I can rise above if I just get with it. I also need to share it. When I find I am challenged to learn something I remember the paradiddle. To be able to teach another means you must know it well enough yourself. I reach out to others to teach them the lessons I need to learn myself. It hasn’t failed me yet.

As freshmen on the drumline, one of the pro drummers told me if I just learned to paradiddle the rest would be easy. Thank you, Paul Pendleton! I need to give this guy another shout out. After 34 years he agreed to teach me to drum again. This time he had a much harder challenge since there was some slight neurological challenges as a result of an incident. Due to his magic of Pendlejam, drumming has been the rehab I needed not only for my left hand and brain but for my life. So once again, the paradiddle has come to my rescue. I am empowered, got my groove back, and conquering the impossible.

So what is the secret of the paradiddle? It is a wordless means to bringing a positive rhythm back into a dull broke silent moment in life. It is timeless and ageless. Anyone can learn to paradiddle. Just the word brings on a smile.

PARADIDDLE!! I challenge you to learn to paradiddle.

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Paradiddle

Welcome back to Creative Tidal Wave! Lots of awesome things have transpired during the break. Cannot wait to blog about my adventures and new developments.

One of the oldest means of music and communication can be traced back to drumming. Recent studies have shown there are great benefits from listening and taking part in drum circles. Drumming effects alpha waves. Drumming is also an excellent group leadership and community uniting activity. The magic of a drum circle to unite bring all the participates in unison is a phenomenon worth experiencing. It is an ageless activity that people of all backgrounds and levels can take part in together to create one flow of positive energy.

This summer I reconnected with my drummer past. In high school, I was a mallet player on the drumline in the marching band. If you have never been around a high school drumline you may not be able to fully comprehend the magic that occurs when the drummers gather. It is a tribal inner connection which is brought about while drumming. It doesn’t matter which percussion instrument you play, it is being a part of the rhythm and beat created as a unit which brings upon the magical trance of the vibrations which radiate through out your body and soul. Yes, I guess one can say it is somewhat of a spiritual experience.

Over the past years I have experienced some trauma. I was aware there was some neurological damage which manifested on the left side of my body. Very slight but still I was aware something wasn’t right. It was very notable when I started back drumming. Over the past 4 months I have experienced a remarkable change. I do owe some of this to my fantastic drum instructor who has amazed me on inventing ways to work around some of my quirks. Working with the drums I have developed confidence, rehabbed my mind by rerouting the messed up wiring, and I have reset my inner rhythms. Now I cannot go very long without the need of chiming in by hand drumming various beats I hear in my every day life. This has been such a calming effect as well as one which has heightened my focus and awareness. The problems with my left hand are returning back to normal as well.

I was pondering what the outcome would be if drumming became a part of the school curriculum. I remembered back to my early childhood days when the arts especially music was a part of my weekly routine. Rhythm sticks, rhythm bands, listening to drum music and learning to tap out the beats, and the field trips to hear orchestras were all a part of my curriculum. In most schools today this doesn’t happen. I dug into more research to find early drumming experiences can have a positive effect on reading and behavior. Hmmm, could the solution to help struggling students be this simple?

Stay tuned to learn the secret of the paradiddle.

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A Clue to the ADD Increase

Students in the incubation room at the Woodbin...

Students in the incubation room at the Woodbine Agricultural School, New Jersey (Photo credit: Center for Jewish History, NYC)

Before the 80’s students played outside not once but often twice a day. When I started teaching in 1986, I taught the last group of kindergarten students who took naps and had two mandatory playtime hours outside. Lunch time was also a period kids could talk and socialize but within limits. Foods were often fresh not processed or canned. Kids had cookies and cakes which they looked forward to. Music, art, and dance were often a part of the daily curriculum. Field trips were every other month to visit farms, museums or concerts. ALL student participated. All were expected to behave. If they did not it was never the teacher or someone else’s fault. Everyone was accountable for their own actions. There were holiday celebrations. There were days when the entire school would take part in field day or even a school wide movie treat. I remember seeing Disney’s “The Shaggy DA” on a huge movie screen via an old reel to reel projector.  I didn’t have to read 20 books or have perfect attendance. It was just a school wide treat for ALL. I never got plastic toys or stickers everyday. I did get those little foil stars. Boy, those were coveted. I do remember getting ice cream and occasionally a lollipop.

I do not remember classmates or parents cussing. I do not remember kids running around or yelling in the classroom. I do remember class bullies but those were taken care of quickly until the next year. I was certain bullies were empowered during the summer months and had to meet the “board of education” before Christmas to fix their attitudes. But we survived and learned how to deal with those types. I remember others who struggled. I remember the teachers working with those students and their parents never having to challenge or threaten the school. I remember teachers commanding respect and me very willing to give it because in many ways they showed us respect as well. I remember pranksters but never to the extent of causing harm to anyone. Many a few of us got embarrassed but we saw it once again as a lesson learned. I am certain I have no lasting scars from my formative school days. I have good and bad memories but nothing which altered my life to one of crime or disobedience.

I believe we became very successful in our own ways because we were allowed to explore and have time to “unwind.” We were not over scheduled or jetting off to tournaments across the state and region. We were not in everything to make sure we had skills above our developmental levels. We were allowed to be kids. We fell down and skinned our knees without causing a law suit. We fell off bikes without suing the company because the training wheel snapped off. We did witness accidents and learned. Not to be cruel but there is a circle of life we cannot challenge. Things happen even if you live in a bubble. Our parents didn’t shield us from such events. I attended funerals of friends who had unexplainable deaths. I visited friends in the hospital. My parents never hid the truth of what happened, it was a part of life. Maybe more so in my case because I grew up on a farm. I witnessed births and deaths. I loss my pets and had to deal with the fact that farm animals have a dual purpose in life. I will leave it at that. Pain, hunger, fear… all emotions and feelings I was allowed to feel. We all have a right to. The more we shield children from these the more tension and hostility can develop. What we do not understand can haunt us. I am not saying we needed all the dirty details. Children need to know what is age appropriate.

Today kids are rushed around. They are expected to achieve unbelievable feats often before their bodies or minds are ready to be fully aware. Technology is great but even the Wii doesn’t substitute for climbing trees and feeling the effects of gravity. A lesson learned by experience. Their lives mimic super adults or professional athletes. Did we really read 60 books a year? I haven’t noticed my performance being stunted because I got to choose my books from the library and write reports, not take a test to prove if I truly read it. Ok, I will make some folks mad but I believe Accelerated Reader and such programs are causing more harm than good. More so for kids with learning challenges. They just do not read as fast not to mention they hate it even more when being forced. Also there will always be great testers. It doesn’t motivate a challenged student seeing the same folks get prizes. That is another blog in itself.

What homeschooling and private schools have that the public schools do not is time. They allow students time to learn social skills. They allow for recess and organized activities which are necessary for growth. Life is not who can work the fastest math problem or can write the perfect essay as a goal for all. Progress will always happen even without test scores as predictors. Einstein, Graham Bell, Beethoven, and others would have never  accomplished what they did because they did not make the grade we assign now to measure success. What they did was to be inspired to dream and explore. They  played and lived even as adults during a time when it was still allowed.

Working with children and adults with ADHD,  I have found they accomplish more when they are allowed to move around. I do not limit them to a lead pencil. I let them read while under a table. They can listen to music while they study. And, some I take on a hike to discover wonders which inspire them to write or compose. I try to never miss an opportunity to teach-to-the-moment. I teach how I was taught. If we allow some wiggle room and some creative ways of tackling a problem be it math or writing I do believe we will start seeing less problems and more interest. All my opinion so don’t sue me for expressing so. But really, would you want a top scoring test taker or a person who can actually walk you through the process and make a discover while doing so to increase the performance of an assemble line?

Sadly, even the zoos are understanding and making changes. Caged animals are more difficult to deal with and are very unhealthy due to being kept in small quarters with limited interaction. Animals in their natural setting given challenges and stimulated, flourish and thrive. Don’t you think the same would be true of children and adults? Check the research about the bizarre behaviors of caged animals versus those in natural settings. You find some similar problems occurring in our schools. ADD/ ADHD symptoms and those of caged animals are…. well, you decide.

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Another great ap for students with ADHD and Learning Challenges, GoodNotes

I like to pass on great tips. Good friend of mine posted about this great app for college. I think it would be great for high school as well. Always a good idea to have assistive technology addressed in the IEP. With all the outstanding advances and the growing acceptance of using tablets and iPads in the classroom, whatever it takes to help go for it!

Taylor Teems highly recommends GoodNotes. She states it is great for those that struggle with ADHD, OCD, or just want less paperwork and cleaner notes. She reports the app is only $2. Folks, you cannot beat that!

I know many local high schools are using GoodNotes on school owned iPads. The Georgia Vocational Rehab office recommends their clients use it who are in college. I look forward to adding it to my app collection to support note taking at workshops and conferences.

 

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