Tag Archives: Dreams

Week 37: Fifth Grade Web Redemption

I owe my kids a little web redemption today. Despite the challenges of this roller coaster week, we ended on a high note. I let go, they settled down a bit, we all won. My dad even brought them all Belgium chocolate bars, which they eagerly devoured movie-theater style as we watched students practice their culminating presentations.

Listening to their projects was enough to make your heart melt into a chocolatey syrupy mess. Sometimes I really wish I could tell all their stories. Sure I can tell you that the girl who collected donations for W.E.A.V.E. ended with a tear-jerking declaration that helping battered women changed her life, or that another little girl recorded a song in an actual studio about all of the things that make her happy, including food and fluffy stuffed animals and One Direction, (yes, she was the girl with the purple guitar).

But, what I can’t tell you is the story so personal, so moving, I feel reinvigorated to teach these children. His story might follow one day. I’m trying to convince his family to let me find an agent for the book he wrote about anger management and ADHD. It’s that good and he’s only 11. Shoot, I’d buy five copies for my class alone.

The good news, as much as teaching can have some extremely low points, there is always a highest high just around the corner. Now if only I could tell my future self not to let those low days get you down…

Don't hate on my art skills, I did this in 2 minutes flat before school to model for the students next week when they have a guest teacher. It bothered them we didn't have anything up at 2050 on our class timeline, so now we'll have us, just old (and apparently bearded  in my case).

Don’t hate on my art skills, I did this in 2 minutes flat before school. It bothered them we didn’t have anything up at 2050 on our class timeline, so now we’ll have us, just old (and apparently bearded in my case).

I have to admit, I teared up a little bit when I imagined myself as 66 with published books living at the ocean with my husband and two new dogs. A lifetime and a moment away.

I have to admit, I teared up a bit when I imagined myself as 66 with published books living at the ocean with my husband and two new dogs. A lifetime and a moment away.

Now I challenge you to do the same– give yourself no think time and just quickly jot down where you’ll be at some random point seemingly far in the future. What you come up with may surprise you! (And, no, dead is not an acceptable response…)

PS. Care to share? The comment box is waiting just a scroll away.

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Fifth Grade: Big Dreams in Their Hearts

Today I sat at my back table during recess and listened. Three boys and three girls huddled around a group of desks and discussed their futures while they graded papers instead of going outside to play.

“Which college do you plan to attend?”

“What do you want to do when you grow up?”

I was just as amazed by their questions as I was by their answers. Children who will be the first in their families to go to college, some of whose parents work for minimum wage, answered in detail. They offered the names of obscure colleges, ones which require actual consideration instead of the obvious “Harvard because I’ve heard it’s the best” or “Sac State because it’s here.”

“I plan to be a lawyer,” said a boy who likes to argue. I often question whether he hears me when I tell him he is a born leader. He may not always act like one, but I see it in him. I also tell him he should grow up to be a lawyer. I guess he listens more than I realize.

“I plan to be a fashion designer or a doctor,” said a girl whose family does not speak English. She is undauntedly focused. Last year she wrote me a letter about how sad it makes her when other students disrupt and keep her from learning. If anyone deserves to succeed, it is this child.

I busied myself with the mess at my back desk and allowed their college talk to wash over me. Part of me was afraid that if I really listened I might cry. These are kids I have loved for nearly two years who will leave me in less than two months. Without realizing it, I am beginning to detach. Still, I am comforted to know they will leave my classroom with big dreams in their hearts. I hope they last.

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Dream Big or Go Home

Every fall, the organization I work for holds a region-wide professional development day. With roots in Silicon Valley and tech start-ups, my charter school group is forward thinking, technology-driven, and business minded. Last year’s theme was the importance of reframing failure as a welcomed opportunity for improvement.

This year, the theme was BHAGs, Big Hairy Audacious Goals. The idea, you have to dream bigger than you can imagine in order to succeed beyond your wildest dreams. You have to think decades, not just years. Then, you have to create an actionable plan to bring these goals to fruition. The more seemingly outlandish, the better.

While I applaud my charter organization for having BHAGs, I decided I needed to also have my own big hairy audacious goals. Usually, I think just one year at a time, maybe five at the most, stretching for what is within reach. Instead, this evening, I pushed myself to imagine the kind of over-the-top success I usually only let linger in my brain for a few minutes before settling on smaller, more seemingly attainable goals.

So, here you go. My BHAGs.

1. Be an internationally published author with readers around the world. I am currently living vicariously through Eowyn Ivey, author of the Snow Child, on her trip around the world to market her book and visit her foreign publishers. To achieve this BHAG, I need to write, write, write, and write some more.

2. At first I wanted to have a blog following of 1,000, but that seemed minuscule in the shadow of a big hairy audacious goal. Instead, I want to establish a following of 10,000. Why not? The more readers of my blog, the more potential readers of my books, and the more likely I can sustain myself as a writer. 10,000 definitely feels big and hairy. Again, I need to write, write, write, and put myself out there.

3. Live or have a vacation property overlooking the ocean. It’s easy to say you want wealth or any number of things that come with it, but I think specificity is important to achieving goals. I want to wake up to the ocean, write with the sound of the waves, do yoga on the beach until I’m a little old lady who can’t do yoga anymore, (aka dead). Again, sounds like I need to write, write, write, because teaching certainly isn’t going to buy that dream.

To write by the sea is the life for me.

My dream.

As writers, I think we’re often discouraged from dreaming big because most of us will never get there. However, as long as your happiness doesn’t depend solely on whether or not you achieve your goals, I disagree with all the disillusioned souls who say it’s too hard, too unlikely. As long as someone out there is doing it, it’s possible. Might as well be me, or you, or better yet, both of us.

Reminds me of my beloved Marianne Williamson quote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

So shine on and be free with me.

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To Be With You

Hurtling down an unknown highway, sitting in the middle of a crowded minivan filled with people from various points in my life, I died in my dream tonight.  As I was declared gone, all my lives were listed off, some men, mostly women, a ratio that was oddly pleasing.  However, as the list was read, I panicked.  I was afraid there was no turning back.  I still had so much to do, I still wanted to be with you.

Then I was reassured we’d still be together, in time, if that is what we wanted.  Once I trusted this was true, I was alright.  All the while, “To Be With You” played loudly in my head.  As if on cue, my husband crawled into bed, waking me, rousing me to say, “I have good news… I’ll still get to be with you.”

Then I cried, knowing how much I hoped my words to be true, because deep inside all I want is to be with you.  Song still playing loudly in my head, I grabbed the laptop, and we watched the music video together, the lyrics forcing more tears down my cheeks.  The moment passed, my husband quickly fell asleep, cat and dog breathing quietly nearby, our sweet little family that I never want to give up, me still awake, softly singing, maybe even still crying.  All because someone emailed me a lip sync rendition of that song yesterday.

I share because I’d like nothing better than for this to be true.  Also because I hope the thoughts will stop swirling through my head and that now I’ll be able to go to sleep.

Hold on, little girl
Show me what he’s done to you
Stand up, little girl
A broken heart can’t be that bad
When it’s through, it’s through
Fate will twist the both of you
So come on, baby, come on over
Let me be the one to show you

I’m the one who wants to be with you
Deep inside I hope you’ll feel it too
Waited on a line of greens and blues 
Just to be the next to be with you…

Good night.

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