My Next Thirty Years

As our principal rolled out the 2015-2016 theme for our staff, honestly at first I had no clue what it was!  🙂  It was not until he began explaining why it was chosen did something awesome happen. First, I realized how great and intentional he is at everything he does for the school and staff.  Second, many feelings stirred inside of me.

Our theme is:                           
30 for 30 (like the ESPN series)

30 Years of Working Hard and Changing Lives. 

With of course, our goal to continue on even better for 30 more!

This year is our school’s 30th year anniversary and what an incredible way to celebrate it than with memories of our first thirty years.
If you do not know about the 30 for 30 series, here’s my attempt to explain.  🙂  It is a TV series of films on ESPN that showcase the issues, rivals, events, and such in the sports world that transformed the culture and impacted our world from 1979-2009.   Each one is told from a different filmmaker’s point of view and tells a compelling story that many have forgotten.  

Relating this theme to our school year:

  • What are the implications for O.C. Taylor and telling our stories this year?  
  • What stories do we want retold and not forgotten after these next 30 years?  

How empowering to students and teachers is that?!  It stirred up some really powerful feelings inside me – and this is my first year at this school!!  🙂  I can guarantee every teacher in that building felt a refreshed sense of WHY we are here doing what we are doing.  Mr. Kinney brought it back and made it real for us.

Here are a few things we know.

  1. We will be very intentional in everything we do.
  2. We will be very intentional in how we are putting our stories out there so that they are to be retold and not forgotten.
  3. We want stories to be told from kids and parents about how we are a community.  
  4. We want stories to be told from kids about how much they know they are loved by their teachers because we want to leave a legacy of relationships that will not disappear.
  5. We want stories to be told from kids about how much they love the learning they are doing and how proud they are.  
  6. We want stories to be told from kids about how empowered they feel because of their teachers.
  7. Inspired Minds = Innovative Society …..We need that innovative society for our future, so we need to inspire these minds TODAY!

We need to be the first ones to communicate and tell our stories.  We need to tell about the awesome things going on in our school and be an open window for parents and community members to peek in and see for themselves.

I will never forget when my daughter was in Pre-K at the ECDC with Mrs. Jennifer Pettit.  The amazing Mrs. Jennifer.  The one we loved so dearly because of the relationships she developed with each child and family.

Mrs. Jennifer and my sweet little Pre-K Sofie.

Do you know what she did that was so AMAZING!?  Are you ready, it’s a huge secret?!  She blogged.  She talked about the amazing things they were doing in her class.  She always had pictures of every single child on the blog.  For a mother to this only child, it was the little piece of sunshine in my day of being away from my child that I craved.  I got to see her happy and learning through this blog.  I never doubted anything Mrs. Jennifer did or said for one minute!  This is exactly why I started blogging with my class years ago.  I wanted every one of my parents to see a glimpse of their child’s daily life when they couldn’t be there. It establishes so much trust and understanding between all parties.  It means so much. It actually meant a lot to my daughter, too. Two years later, she still looked at the blog and wanted to remember those days.  Hmmm, this sounds familiar….stories of special memories continuing to be retold years later.  It all starts with communicating from the inside out.

I look forward to embarking on this incredible 30th year celebrating a school that has many sentimental, fun, and special memories to celebrate.

Here’s to Our Next Thirty Years!  🙂

Inside Out – Let’s Talk About Emotions

When I took my daughter to the theater this morning to see Inside Out, I left with more than I imagined I would.  I left there hand in hand with my sweet, little girl discussing feelings, emotions, and why each emotion is important and plays such an important role in our lives.  How many movies these days can claim that?!  I also left thinking, I need to blog about this. 
Say what?!
Sidebar:  I know, I know.  I am not sure if you know or not, but I have always said, “I am not a writer.  I can’t just write about anything.  I don’t understand how people can just blog stuff. That is not me.”  (I know, opposite of Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset.) However, this summer has brought a change in me.  I have found that 1. My husband probably doesn’t want to discuss every single thing I have learned and the millions of feelings I have about them (kidding…kind of) and 2. Blogging about things I am learning or things I am feeling is really energizing.  It secures the learning in my brain. (Fundamental Five thinking)  and it makes me feel as if I have discussed it with someone, even if no one out there reads it!  It is like a lightbulb has gone off this summer….writing it down DOES help it stick.

So back to this amazing movie…..As we continued through our day, my daughter would turn to me and say, “This is my family island. This is my music island.”  It was precious.  If you have not seen the movie, I am going to attempt to not give away too much about it, but the little girl has an island for each core memory in her life.  
I love the fact that this movie showcased these emotions and gave meaning to each one in a way that children can understand.  It attached a visual to this feeling.  I know that each person who sees this movie will walk away with many different things, but I want to list my key take aways. 
First, It is okay to be sad.  It is okay to be angry.  It is okay to have all of those feelings that some will encourage you not to feel at times because that might show weakness.  I feel it is all of these emotions working together that creates the human beings that we are.  This movie put meaning to the feelings that are so hard to describe to a child or for a child to describe to you.  I can’t count the number of times that my daughter has said, “I feel like my brain is bursting I am so happy.  Why does it feel like this?”  Or, “I feel a sad feeling for some reason but I am not sad.  Why do I feel like this?”  Putting words like joy, fear, sadness, disgust, and anger with a visual meaning helped put it all together for her.   
This movie poster is a visual that shows how they all work together.  This movie is one that every single person should see.  It allows children to understand the feelings going on in someone else’s head and understand where they are coming from.  It helps develop the empathy that we need as human beings.  
Next, just as it is okay to have all of those emotions, we also have the opportunity to change how we feel and make the best of it.  In the words of Joy, “It will be okay.  We can turn it into something good.”  It reminds me of this quote I found by Simply Fresh Designs. 
I will not tell a lie and say that it is easy to do this and that I do it every single day.  Not at all. However, it is something I try to keep in my mind.  I am so grateful that I have an amazing husband who models this every day for me and keeps me in check! 🙂  My final thought in this is that we all have days and moments, but we should try our very best to surround ourselves with great people and great relationships that remind us of life’s greatest blessings!
One final thing I will have to say is that I loved how it discussed long term memory, core memories…and the nerdy brain stuff that I love!  
Inside Out is a movie that every single person should see.  That’s right, I said every human being.  Pixar was BRILLIANT creating something like this.  It tugged our heartstrings and had both of us crying (I will say pretty intensely for me…), but walking out smiling and being so glad we saw this.  In my opinion, their BEST movie ever for many reasons.  But who am I to say, go see for yourself!