How The Other ‘R’ Word Leads to Change

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m not one to do things just because of social norms.

I did yoga with my class 9 years ago before it was trendy, I don’t have a Twitter or Instagram account, I stood up to the homework debate 10 years ago before it made the media, and on New Year’s Eve-I was asleep by 9:30pm. Needless to say, I don’t ‘do resolutions’ just because it’s January.

I do however, ‘do reflections’ and constant improvement. Thanks to a process I discovered a few years ago, I also ‘do Desire Mapping’. It’s a way to focus on areas of your life to determine how you want to feel, then owning those feelings and making a plan to take actions that bring about those feelings. It can be a soulful process if you consider how much power words possess. (It helps that I’m a sucker for quotes and mantras too.)

I won’t share all of my core desired feelings, or CDFs, here but this is how I take them a step further after I’ve identified them. I create a page with images or quotes that help make a visual connection to how I want to feel and then refer to it daily.

What was eye-opening for me when I was reflecting this week was the realization that because I have intentionally become more courageous, I have gotten to hear more words of positive support than I ever anticipated, which fills me with joy (another one of my CDFs) and in turn I feel encouraged to take another courageous step after that.

Take speaking out and starting this blog for example. Making the commitment to share my ideas and what’s close to my heart was a courageous step for me. But this is what I was met with:

Your Positive Words & The Joy It Created

-I was told that I was trusted.

-I was told that people were proud of me.

-I was told that “I’m happy that someone is following their dream.”

-I was encouraged by those who loved me.

-I was uplifted by people who I haven’t talked to in years.

-I had four new families reach out and say that they wanted to discuss enrolling their student for next year.

-I had three families begin the enrollment process.

-I had friends tell me that they wanted to help.

-I had friends take action to help!

-I was invited to speak at the NAEYC, The National Association for the Education of Young Children-Pinellas Chapter Conference.

-I felt like a weight was lifted.

-I could go on, but the bottom line is that I felt the love and support!

This got me thinking about the other courageous actions I’ve taken and the joy that has come as a result and whether or not we allow our children to have those same opportunities?

Do we genuinely allow our children to acknowledge how they want to feel? (Or are they just being forced to act a certain way?) Do we allow our children to see that they have some control over their lives? Do we allow our children to genuinely reflect and actually ‘see’ the progress that they’ve made? (I’m not talking about on a scale either teachers. I mean can you name something that your little one is proud of?) Do our children hear us share that we love and support them and make them feel confident to take appropriate risks?

Last year around this same time was the first time that I attempted to have my students use the Desire Mapping process instead of setting traditional goals or resolutions for the new year and what happened was astounding. We watched a video about changing our perspectives with our words. We worked together to brainstorm lists of feelings that we wanted to feel in certain areas of their lives. Then they chose their own CDFs and created collages that served as reminders of how they wanted to feel.

We worked with these words and feelings throughout the year and I felt like it allowed me to genuinely get to know my students on a deeper level and that they got to know themselves even more. The sad reality is that in most classrooms, we are bombarded madates that have nothing to do with devleloping our children’s personal growth. But isn’t that our most important work?

As a part of my reflections, I want to say THANK YOU to all of you who have supported my uniqueness in the past and THANK YOU to those of you who continue to send positive messages of support as I work towards creating meaningful change within our schools and within our children. This work matters.