Speaking of Education

I have just complete classes 5 and 6 towards my master’s degree. I have six more classes to go. I have never had a concern about my education. I always knew I would go to college. My dream was to attend law school and become a Supreme Court Justice. I distinctly remember standing on the porch of our house looking out over the horizon and having this thought. I was in the second grade. A lot of things have deterred me from that path but the desire is still in my heart.
I grew up and attended schools in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD). I was always highly motivated to study and learn. We had Talented and Gifted (TAG) classes for kids like me. We left the regular classroom to meet in a different class to work on more advanced lessons. Looking back, I don’t know that we learned anything the rest of the class couldn’t have learned but I’m thankful for the experience. My elementary school teacher recommended I attend a TAG school within the district for junior high school students. That didn’t workout for many reasons. I was accepted to Law Magnet for high school. For many reason, I did not attend. Immaturity will cause you to make poor decisions.
I went to college, earned and bachelors degree and was accepted to a Master’s program at that same school. I didn’t attend. I moved back home.
Fast forward to today. I am in the process of achieving a goal of getting a Master’s degree.
When I look back on my education, I was never in a panicky state over whether or not I would have the opportunity to attend school. I never had to wonder if my school doors would be locked and all the teachers laid off. I never had to wonder what would happen if my school district could not afford to buy me a diploma or what they had done with the funds for my cap and gown. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/09/buena-vista-graduation_n_3248553.html This story not only breaks my heart, it also raises some concerns.
What is going on with the educational system in some of our cities? Please note I said some. I know there are some fabulous schools out there. The ones my children attend are included in that number. My youngest attend a charter school and the oldest attends our local school. I appreciate the ability to have several options available for students in my state. We have the standard local and private but we also have a good selection of charter and a number of my friends home school.
I never had to worry about my quality of education. I don’t worry about the education my children receive. They attend a great school with manageable class sizes. The teachers care. The teacher’s talk to each other about the best way to handle the students. I know because the Little Dude who is in second grade still gets to visit his kindergarten teacher when he is having a hard day. She loves on him, talks to him, encourages him and sends him back to class. We love her! She referred to my youngest three as her personal fan club. She couldn’t be more right.
Back on topic. Not everybody has the educational opportunities we have. I don’t know what I would do if I had to enter a lottery or if I felt the need to lie about my address or if I just felt hopeless and helpless to do anything about the education my children were receiving. Reading stories and seeing movies/documentaries about children and their families wanting better but being caught up in other’s agendas and power struggles is appalling to me.
No Child Left Behind? That’s an untrue statement. There are lots of children being left behind. I am not even hinting at the government getting involved. I don’t think we need more of that. We do need more understanding of what is going on with our educational systems that are not working and figure out what’s happening.
I hear a lot of blame on the teachers. Their classrooms are crowded and full of kids who either think they are the class prince or princess or who are bullies and everything in between. Teachers are not miracle workers. They are humans who are undervalued and blamed.
I keep thinking about Laura Ingalls as a teenage teacher. Yes, I am referring to a tv show. What happened to the one room school-house where the students were taught the basics? The good old days.
I don’t have the answers to my many questions. I want to understand why we are falling behind. I want to understand why some of the teenage young men I know are uninterested in school. What is the disconnect for them? Why do young ladies start falling behind in science and math?
I am passionate about education. I want the best schools for my children. Who doesn’t? What do you do when the best is not available to you. What do you do when sub par is all that is available? What do you do when your child’s name is not pulled in the lottery and you can’t afford private school? What do you do?

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Ice Breaker- Labeling

I recently facilitated a workshop for my team. After reading a blog, my sincerest apologies in advance for not remembering which blog I saw the attached video, I incorporated the video into and Ice Breaker. If I figure it out, I will post the credits.
Why don’t you play along as I describe what I did.
You will need a bottle or cup of water.
Take a label or marker and write one word on the bottle or label. Attach the label to the water bottle or cup.
Watch the video…

My question to my team after watching the video is would you drink the water you just labeled? Most of the team said they would.
Then we had a series of questions and comments. One person asked whether or not a tattoo would have the same effects on us as a label would on a bottle of water. Something to think about.

Sacrificial Love

I was talking to someone and they were saying they believe love is measured in sacrifice, the more you sacrifice the more you love and the more you love the more you will sacrifice. I am not sure that I completely agree with that thought. Sacrifice alone is not enough. If your words and actions don’t align with your sacrifice then you still end up at zero.

Does love spill over from one day to the other? Is love renewed and proven on a daily basis?

When I was married I honestly thought if I said I love you today then you should just assume I still love you tomorrow unless I said something different. I now realize some people need more. There is nothing wrong with showing, saying and sacrificing on a daily basis to confirm your commitment and love to those in your life.

There really is not a greater love than to lay down you life, agenda, pride, fear, guilt, preferences or plans for another.

A little bit of love goes a long way. I little bit of inconsideration goes further. Forgiveness bridges the gap between the two.

What is your value?

Tree in a DC park

I’m sure you have heard the quote, “if a tree falls in a forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Wikipedia has lots of information about the saying if you are interested in the original intent but for the rest of you, keep reading.

As I think about this quote, I can’t help but to wonder, if you are skilled, talented, loving, smart, strong, respectable, artistic, etc. and nobody recognizes them, do those qualities still exist in you? Do our gifts and talents require acknowledgement before they are considered authentic?

We all know the tree does make a sound. But if there isn’t somebody there to hear the tree and verify it made a sound then I guess you could argue there isn’t any proof there was a sound.

Along those same lines, it seems we were created with a need to have affirmations and confirmations. It’s all together possible that we could have been created self-reliant. Sometimes we try to pretend we don’t need a touch or kind word but we do need those words and those actions. Some training classes I have attended in the past had the students write down words of affirmation. The instructor would encourage us to write the words on a note card and tape them to our mirror. Saying those phrases out loud each morning was deemed the next step towards success in the workplace or personally.

In the movie The Help, I am touched every time the maid says to the daughter of her employer, “you is kind, you is smart, you is important.” The maid was trying to counteract the actions or rather inactions of the child’s mother. She understood human value and the potential impact on the child if she didn’t tell her those words.

If you haven’t heard it lately, I am declaring with all honesty and sincerity, you are smarter that you give yourself credit. You are creative. You have everything inside of you today to become the person you want to become tomorrow. You are worthy of love, honor and respect.

Do you remember?

Do you remember the song that was playing during your first slow dance? This is not mine but I like this song. I will just listen to this as I try to think back to the seventh grade dance. I wore a pink dress with a white lace collar. I went alone because I was too young to date although I did like somebody. I can’t say we really slow danced as much as stood close to each other and moved in sync to the music. Yes I know this song is more appropriate for a wedding but I’m not reflecting on that memory at this moment.
Take it away Randy!

Wax on…wax off

Wax on, wax off…these four little words have been on my mind daily for over a week. Does that ever happen to you? You get something stuck in your head and you don’t know why. I’m not talking about songs you hear like the Diamonds by Rihanna that my dear friend Fraulein Von Prude and I would torture each other with. I am talking about a word or phrase that drops in your mind for no good reason or so it seems.
I remember watching the original Karate Kid and I watched the newest version with the Fantastic4 last year. I can’t say that I remember a whole lot of detail about either movie but this quote keeps popping up in my mind. I did what I do when this happens to me, I contemplated what it means to me and mine. Then, I top that with some research to determine the true or implied meaning.
See the video here.
I could go into a long monologue about doing the small things consistently and diligently will lead to a greater reward. I could talk about the importance of following directions. I could tie this into being a good mentor or teacher. I could even reference my own life as both the teacher and the student. But I won’t. Instead I will talk more about listening to your inner voice. It’s the one that gives you ideas or inspiration. For me it also provides direction, poetry and blog ideas.
When these words pop into my head and won’t leave, I know I need to stop and take a look at my life. I see this as an opportunity to grow and develop personally. Wax on… wax off, I can’t say that I have a full understanding of how this applies to me right now but I do know I will keep contemplating until I understand how it applies to my life today or in the near future.