“We all belong here equally…Just by being born onto the earth we are accepted and the earth supports us. We don’t have to be especially good. We don’t have to accomplish anything. We don’t even have to be healthy.” – Polly Horvath, My One Hundred Adventures
Remember the anticipation of your first day of school?
Parents and teachers offered encouragement and reassurance by cheerfully
talking about all the opportunities to make new friends. Did you ever move to a
different neighborhood or change jobs? I imagine that questions of finding
welcoming neighbors or fitting in with your new colleagues crossed your mind
during your transition. These thoughts are likely due to the fact that human
beings have a psychological need for love and belonging. In humanistic
psychology, the human need for belonging aligns with our inclinations as social
creatures. Our emotional relationships are driven by our connections among our
family, as well as social and community groups. And sometimes, we have the
fortune of being a bystander to the fulfillment of this need of belonging and
the nurturing of the soul…
“Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances.” –Dr. Wayne Dyer
The fall season has arrived and in our house that means
football and wrestling. Over the years, countless evenings have been spent
watching our sons practice in their individual sport then cheering them on when
it’s time to take the field or hit the mat. Our support for them continues despite
the fact that one coaches a high school team that’s a 5-hour drive east from
here and the other wrestles at a college that’s a 6-hour drive north. For some
it may seem excessive but I humbly learned that everything happens for a reason.
In my profile, I mention the synergy I often experience between my career life and my personal life. The past few weeks proved to be no exception. As an instructional coach in elementary education, my role allows me to engage with teachers about maintaining a growth mindset while working together to ensure our practices maximize student learning. Recently, many of my discussions with my colleagues focused on a process called the CRA Model when teaching mathematics. It’s a practice that takes students from Concrete, to Representational, and then to Abstract ways of thinking in order to develop mathematical reasoning and conceptual understanding. I’ve witnessed the powerful effectiveness of this instructional practice with students and wondered…Can this CRA process help us to reason and conceptually understand life lessons as well?
“There is something different about this place where we live now. All people are free to go where they want and do what they can. Book learning swims freely around in my head and I hold it long as I want. I see a man reading a newspaper aloud and all doubt falls away. I have found hope, and it is as brown as me.” – Excerpt from More Than Anything Else: A Story of Booker T. Washington by Marie Bradby
When my children started elementary school, I took advantage of the
privilege granted to me as a mother who made a choice to suspend working
outside of the home for a number of years. I was able to volunteer at the
school to support my children academically in the classroom and continue with
story time, learning activities, and art projects at home. But it didn’t take
long for me to understand that my presence at their school extended farther than
the academic support of my own children. This understanding became the
foundation for why I chose teaching as a career.
In a bright and colorful classroom, several toddlers busily
moved about from toy to toy with their watchful mothers following close behind
to insure safety and protection. Some mothers were able to sit and chat
together, still watchful, as their little sons and daughters found activities
that kept them in one place for longer than a moment or two. At Stepping
Stones, parents, mostly stay-at-home moms, enjoyed the opportunity to be alongside
their children in a structured setting while they learned to socialize, play,
and follow their curiosities. It was a space of beginnings and hope.
“Our ability to
create has outreached our ability to use wisely the products of our inventions.”
Whitney M. Young, Jr. (1921-1971) Civil rights activist
In the tradition of many ancient practices and indigenous
cultures, our ancestors from all parts of the world turned to the wise for knowledge,
information, and problem solving. For example the African storyteller, or griot, ensured the survival of culture
and custom through telling both triumphant and disastrous stories of warriors, agriculture,
or medicine. It is the way villagers learned when and how to fight, cultivate
food, and heal. Today, when we seek insights, or cultural and historical
wisdom, we tend to no longer turn to our knowledge keepers. We turn to…the
internet. Let’s face it. Our village elders aren’t on the internet.
The journey to embrace self-love
and limit my ego continues to bring internal struggles that ultimately lead me
to become an enhanced version of myself.
The work it takes to delve deep into the shadows of my past often feels
like rummaging through a mountain of mess to find a key to unlock yet another lesson, a renewed
insight, or a universal truth. However, honoring my Self brings on unexpected external
challenges as well. Much like a pebble tossed into the center of a calm pond, adjustments
of my own thoughts and actions cause the energies in my environment and the
people within it to ripple in kind. And
it’s not always as positive as I assume.
If you have been following along
in my blog, you will know that this is the fourth post in a series based on the
following quote by Dr. Wayne Dyer: “When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change.” This will be the final post in this series but
certainly not the last of Dr. Dyer’s influence. The implicit challenge of
‘looking at things differently’ urges us to reconsider our previous thoughts
and realities. Not always as simple as it sounds. This week I reconsider being
This post is the third in a series highlighting the way Dr. Wayne Dyer’s quote, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” has proven to be a natural process of learning and growing in my experiences. I’ve noticed that much of our growth is defined by changing or even shedding our beliefs. Today I reflect on redefining the self.
The following post is
the second in a series based on Dr. Wayne Dyer’s quote, “When you change the
way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Given the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom for 11 years followed by a continuing career in elementary education, I’ve spent plenty of time with children over the years. Children, without intending to, remind us of the many things we forget as adulthood forces us to conform to social expectations and responsibilities. When I learned to really listen and observe children carefully, I realized that their ways actually aligned closely to what adults come to, or should I say return to, believe are important keys to life. Here are a few things (not all) I have learned from both my own children and my students: