Friday, August 28, 2015

My prayer for my kids

I sent this to my boys this morning via text message.
It’s my prayer for them.
They haven’t replied.
They probably think I’m crazy.
Or wonder
if I’ve been 
so early in the morning.

They will assume,
probably, a little of both.

But seriously,
interesting is a 

On a straight trail,
you can see 
there is to see
at the
of the trip.


On a crooked (curvy, not corrupt) trail, there are surprises around the corner.  You can only see enough to entice you to take the next step
To keep going.
To see what’s next.

It doesn’t show what’s at the end 
the first step. 
There may be a meadow of flowers
a babbling brook
There may be
  dark scary parts, too. 

Enjoy the meadows

Learn to
  be cautious
in the dark parts of the trail. 

And when 
the trail leads to a mountain 


than you ever thought you could climb,

you’ll be glad 
you couldn’t

see the end. 

If you could see from the first step
A winding trail
how far,
how high,
how scary,
how dark,
how narrow,
how treacherous,
how daunting-
would miss 


beautiful lessons

the trail has to offer

along the way.

I don’t pray for my children to be “safe.”
I pray for them to be surrounded by God’s love and protection.
If they are always safe, 
and never face a danger or fear as a child,

How will they
the ominous dangers
  as an adult?

 I don’t pray for them to be smart
but wise.

 I don’t pray they are never hurt
but that they learn from the pain.

I don’t pray they are popular
I pray they have the courage 
and confidence 
to be who God created them to be
of what others 

I don’t pray that their hearts are 
 Or that they 
never experience grief.

 I don’t pray for their relationships 
to be peaceful
but passionate.  

It is in learning as a child 
about grieving 
the death of a pet 
that we learn to grieve bigger losses.

It’s how we handle the disagreements and fights 
in our childhood friendships 
that teach us how to handle it 
the next time.

I don’t pray for their immediate success
but that they
  never give up.  
That they allow their failures 
to teach them 
how to 
do it better 
next time.

It’s in the lonely times 
when we learn to love ourselves.

It is only by 
being left out 
that we
learn how it feels 
to be left out.

Can you imagine an adult :

who always experienced 
immediate success 
in school and in relationships
Who never lost 
a game

Or fought
 with a friend
Or lost a pet
Who was
never sick 
sprained an ankle 
had a pimple
Whose teeth were straight
And face was beautiful
Was not
 too fat 
too thin
Who reached puberty 
at the perfect age

Who was always 
protected and safe

Who never faced 




Where could such a person live as an adult that they 
wouldn’t immediately
  plundered and pillaged?
  if there was such a place

what would happen 
to that person when :
their grandparent died,
their parent,
spouce ..

 How would they 

deal with 

the loss



the devastation


their spouse 

left them

their child 

  special needs


to drugs

What if
 they got 
 from a job

What skills 

would they 


 to deal 
with loss

How would they


other people


How would they


To other people


Can you imagine a friend like this? 


I don’t pray for my children to be

or safe,

or popular.

Because I love them

too much

to want them 

to experience 



than the





Sunday, December 28, 2014

Teacher Appreciation

A few months ago, 
I had the privilege of attending Houston’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work for award ceremonies.   The companies were judged on:
  • work-life balance
  • culture
  • diversity
  • communication
  • employee education
  • employee recognition
  • employee retention
As the companies described their cultures and hiring processes, I couldn't help but think of teachers and education.  There were companies at the ceremony who described their rigorous interview and selection process, which included more than one personality testand up to eight interviews with members from various levels of the company.

The companies focused on finding people who would be the best fit for their company.  The companies all had amazing cultures based on teamwork, collaboration, and sincere relationships.  (I could talk here at length about how teachers are randomly forced to work together without any consideration of personalities whatsoever, and expected to get along, collaborate and support each other, but I'll save that for another post.)

Some companies had gyms, free healthy meals, and even nightclubs.  But one simple thing ALL the BEST AND BRIGHTEST had in common was :


Some gave recognition in forms of personal recognition during “town hall” type meetings. Some gave monetary rewards.  Some companies had regular happy hours to celebrate accomplishments.  Others gave “shout outs “on social media. 

What a simple, but meaningful idea-

A shout out on social media.

 It could be a tweet, an instagram, or a quick note on facebook. 

Recognition doesn't cost a dime.  Just a few minutes to say “great job with ( whatever it is)” and tag the person. Maybe snap a picture of the teacher or the activity. ( be careful only to get children whom have permission to be photographed, or just get the backs of their heads)

The best and brightest businesses have figured that out and they use it to encourage their employees.

And again- I can't help but think of my teacher friends.
How encouraging it would be for them to get a shout out on social media to say – you're doing a great job, and we noticed.

I was asked once if I just “wanted people to clap for me” in recognition of my accomplishments. Mainly the fact that I survived another year teaching a classroom full of "That kid." ( How dare I ask for a handshake or a pat on the back when year after year my class was comprised more and more with those kids and less and less of the "best and brightest." What was I thinking?)

I responded that I don’t need applause, but some sort of recognition for my accomplishments after 14 years of teaching, and now leaving the profession- would be nice.

But that’s ridiculous.

 Why don't we celebrate teachers everyday? 

Whether or not we agree with the present educational system.

Whether or not we like the teacher.

Seriously, administrators, how much effort would it possibly take to snap a photo during a walk through or after an ARD of a teacher who did an amazing job – maybe holding their tongue, or trying a new <<gasp>> technology or teaching method?


It doesn't cost a dime!  Just a quick “shout out” to someone who did something you noticed.

It’s not a nightclub.

It’s not a gym.

It’s not a bonus.

It’s not a week after a really long year where the students are told what to bring the teacher for “Teacher Appreciation Week.” ( how meaningful it is to receive a gift someone was TOLD to bring you <<eyeroll>>)

It’s a two second act

That could mean the world…

And maybe ... just maybe- 
keep teachers from 
leaving the 
like I did.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Another Way

Along my journey, I have made some friends, kindred souls who share my vision for change.  Theses friends are from around the globe, and they are uniting on a shared blog called, Another Way.  Check out their latest post.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

If you only read one thing today...

I am so excited to announce a blog launching today, Another Way. It is an amazing, collaborative endeavor by Martin Hodges and Ciara Brehony advocating social, emotional, and educational rights for children everywhere. If you read one other blog today, read theirs! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Clarkson University

 This school makes my heart smile!  Clarkson University fellows  mentor students K-12 to teach them STEM skills through project based learning. That's what I'm talking about! That is the kind of learning that will stick. It's meaningful empowering, engaging, interactive learning that positively impacts everyone involved. We need more of this kind of mentorship between schools and within schools.  Phenomenal!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sir Ken Robinson's Video

This is the video by Sir Ken Robinson which inspired me to make changes.