A happy surprise

We relished in the meals provided by loved ones after our children were born. Seven years after the first round of deliciousness, we still reminisce about the perfect baked ziti and the homemade place and bake cookies. The twins were born over a year ago and our house is at full capacity so we assumed that era of homemade deliveries to have ended. Lo and behold, our former neighbors showed up at the door tonight with a full meal. Not only was the food fabulous, and the company exceptional, they also pitched in with the dishes.

It what ways can we all provide a happy surprise, just because?

A child with wings

Our fourteen month old son was glued to me this afternoon. I decided to make the most of it by strapping him on my back while folding laundry. So, out to the van we went for the baby backpack. As I put Dowan down on the driveway, a grin spread across his face and his stature began to increase. Hearing a few nearby crows, Dowan’s smile widened. The next moment, he puffed out his chest and raised his arms as if to join in their flight. No one has yet to tell this boy he can’t fly.

Do you still have your wings?

Beyond the expected

Let’s be honest, bedtime prayers in our house have gotten pretty stale and routine at best. Tonight we just happened to be perusing an atlas before bed and decided flip to a random page and pray for the people who lived there. From a water reserve in West Virginia, to the country of Burma and Cape Town, South Africa, our prayers moved beyond the expected.

In what ways can we all move beyond the expected?

Student led conferences

Instead of hours of teacher/ parent speculation, the fifth grade team spent the past two afternoons hosting student lead conferences. Students shared work samples and written reflections on topics such as “digital citizenship” and “upholding behavioral norms” as well as their work studying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, math and science.
Most importantly, the highest stake holder led the conference, invariably guiding the conversation to what mattered most, be it the need for homework help or support in the social realm. Instead of speculation, all members of the student’s team had a opportunity to brainstorm the next actionable steps as a unit.

How can we continue to foster growth through thoughtful leadership and self reflection?

Contributing to the collective brain

Our school district is big into PLCs (professional learning communities). In theory, this is an exciting way to connect with other professionals and analyze student work in order to improve teaching and learning. In reality, these extra meetings seem to always feel like “one more thing”. Today we had the opportunity to share the fruits of our labor. My opinion? This process is totally worth it. Nobody reinvented what it means to teach and learn. However, everyone had a new insight that added to our collective brain.

How can we continue to find ways to contribute to the collective brain?

Filling our time

Our lives stand before us, a large expanse of time. It is the way we fill that time or choose not to fill that time that forms who we are.Today we shlepped six kids to open swim time at the YMCA. Staying home would have meant a lot less laundry and kid wrangling, but today we decided a trip to the pool and building confidence in the water was a good use of time.

How do you fill your time in conscious ways?

The good we leave behind

I have been biking down a veritable death trap during my daily commute. Today the creators, cracks and swells were hidden under a blanket of fresh pavement. On my way up that buttery smooth hill, I thanked the workers with a kind of enthusiasm usually reserved for Super Bowl victories or something of the sort. I shared my glee, because like this road crew, most of us leave behind the good work we have done, rarely knowing the impact. From sending students off to a new class or adding coins to an anonymous parking meter, we live our lives hoping to create good whether or not we see the fruit of our labors.

While those construction workers may never drive down that steep back street again, hopefully they will remember the good they left behind.