Category: Ethics (ISLLC 5)

A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of the students by acting with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner.

Maturity, Autonomy and Independence

We’ve been working with our 10 year-old on a decision for the past couple of weeks. There’s a summer opportunity we’ve been excited about for him. He has not been excited with us. In fact, he doesn’t want the opportunity. He tried it last year and found that, for him, the cons outweigh the pros. 

We believe the challenges involved would help him develop increased maturity, autonomy and independence. We think the experience, cons and all, would help him build strength. We wanted him to try it one more time. When we told him that’s what we wanted he told us he felt like he was being forced to do something he didn’t want to do.

This was a tough spot. This is the type of decision parents talk about not having access to instructions for. Do we insist that our ten year-old engage in a growth opportunity because we know it’s good for him, or do we give him space to make the decision for himself because we trust that he knows what’s good or him? Maybe the decision itself is the opportunity. Maybe it’s a chance to let him make a decision and live with it. Maybe it’s a safe way to give him a taste of responsibility. 

We decided to exhaust the dialogue with him. We decided to give him some space and time to think and reflect. We hoped he would see things our way after a while. We worked through thoughts and emotions with him for a couple of weeks. We shared our thinking and our feelings and encouraged him to do the same. We told him it was his decision, and we also tried to try to persuade him. We did our best to keep it guilt free, but we could see him struggling with not wanting to disappoint us. 

We gave him a timeline, at the end of which we sat on the couch together, put forward our closing statements and asked him to make it official. Would he take it on or not? He was energized and lighthearted. We could see he knew the decision was his, and we could see he gained strength from that. I started to see the irony.

With a smile he asked if he could use one of our phones to text the other phone his decision. He asked us not to look until he was clear from the room. He texted and left. This is what we saw when we turned the phone over: “I appreciate everything you’ve said but I need to make a decision, so I’m going to say…um, uh, I don’t want to – but I love you:).”

A demonstration of maturity, autonomy and independence. This experience has me revisiting the balance of goal setting and decision making with my kids as they progress toward independence. Turns out there’s more than one path to learning and growth. Once again, the kid opened my eyes. 

We can’t know for sure what’s right in any given situation. When we provide space and time, when we listen with compassion, and when we allow ourselves to consider other people’s perspectives, I feel like we’re on the right track. 

Thanks for reading…in it together for the kids!

Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead.

Spending the College Fund on a Pony

The other day our 8 year-old daughter approached me and began with, “Daddy?”

I asked, “Yes?”

She continued, “Are you and mommy saving up money for me to go to college?”

I answered, “We sure are. We’re saving up money for you and your brothers to go to college.”

She said, “Great! How much is it going to cost?”

I told her, “Sweetheart, between the four of you it’s going to cost tens of thousands of dollars.”

“Wonderful!” She said, followed by, “I have an idea.

“Let’s hear it,” I prompted.

With an altogether straight face and not a hint of hyperbole, she introduced an option I had not yet considered. “Instead of sending me to college, you could use that money to buy me a pony.”

I realized she and I have very different perspectives on the matter. I also understood that we both have a stake in the outcome, that we were going to have to agree on a meaningful path forward, and that the meaningful path should result in fulfillment for her. After all, it is her life we were talking about.

Maybe, she would be happier with pony ownership that she would with a college degree. Maybe, if we end up spending her college fund on the purchase of a pony, she would end up becoming a pony farmer. Maybe pony ownership is something she feels strongly about and something she could find joy from. Maybe she would raise the first pony to ever win the triple crown or start a pony-pulled sled team that would eventually compete in the Iditarod. Maybe, if we deny her the pony we would be denying her the opportunity to live out a dream.

On the other hand, it seems to me that lot’s of kids talk about wanting ponies. Maybe it’s a passing fancy. What if depleting the college fund in favor of the pony is the wrong move. What is insisting on a college degree is actually the sound decision. Maybe it’s too soon to turn the long-term planning over to our 8 year-old. Besides, I can think of multiple degree that could potentially lead to any farming. Maybe we take it one step at a time and expand her options. 

Maybe there’s a middle ground that would be suitable for all involved. We could send her to college while supporting the pony dream, and help her understand that there’s more than one way to achieve a goal. We could impart the valuable life lesson that not having something today doesn’t mean you’ll be without it down the road. Maybe insisting on college over a pony would help her understand that sometimes in life, “first thing’s first” is a good way to move about. 

Either way, she had obviously done the research (thank you internet). We want to encourage that exploration. We also want her to know that we value her voice. We want her to know that her perspective matters, and we want her to feel good about the journey she’s on.

In the end, whatever happens, it’s clear to me that whatever we decide we need to work as hard as we can to understand her perspective and stand behind the vision she has for her own life. Kids don’t have a ton of life experiences they can draw on for long-term decision making. While that sometimes causes them to want to spend their college funds on ponies, it also causes them to have open minds and open hearts, and to believe in a wonderful range of possibilities. While steering them in “right” direction is critical, we should simultaneously seek to support them maintaining that magical perspective for as long as they can. 

Thanks for reading…in it together for the kids!

Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead.

Not As Bad As I Thought It Would Be

Because of the snow days I was able to take our daughter to the orthodontist to get her expander out. She’s had some form of corrective equipment in her mouth for a long time now. This removal represents her first opportunity in a while to chew gum and eat taffy.

You would think she’d be excited. Instead, she was worried. She was worried about the procedure. She was worried about how it would feel and that it might hurt. She was worried that it would be a bad experience. She invited one of her brothers to come along for emotional support. He graciously accepted and comforted her along the way. 

When she was finally in the chair she found it difficult to go through with. She had trouble letting the doctor’s assistant wiggle the expander out. She resisted. Her brother and I sat with her, encouraged her and reminded about the benefits of not having an expander. We promised to stop on the way home for bubble gum. I asked the doctor’s assistant if she could simple show the kid what it would feel like to have the removal device latched on to the expander without wiggling it. She agreed and we moved a step forward. 

We went through those motions two times before it was agreed that we would give it try. Still, she maintained a worried expression and kept her hands clinched together. She was facing the moment she’d been afraid of. I told her I was proud of the courage she was showing…and I was. Regardless of the praise or the outcome, she was still worried about the process. A justified worry for an eight year-old. 

As difficult as it was for her to allow it to happen, she sat still for what seemed to be an inordinate amount of time as the doctor’s assistant had trouble making it work. During the procedure there was even an equipment shift. It wasn’t working for while, yet she stayed with it through the worry. She enlisted additional courage with each clamp and each pull. She started something that she was going to finish. She didn’t give up and eventually, the expander was out!

Afterward, I asked her how bad it was. With a contemplative look on her face she replied, “Not as bad as I thought it would be.”

Most things aren’t. We each face challenges every day. Some are momentous and some are relatively inconsequential. Of those I’ve faced, the great majority have not been as bad as I thought they would be. Some take considerable time and effort to navigate, some come along with intense struggle and some seem to tough. Sometimes, when we’re in the midst of grappling with a challenge it’s hard to visualize a positive outcome. Even when that’s the case, time pulls us forward. 

We don’t always see our way through challenges to outcomes we want, however, when we face them with courage and conviction we’re better positioned to be able to learn and to grow from them. As we continue putting one step in front of the other during these challenging times, we’re all well served to remember that with hope and courage we have the capacity to overcome what sometimes feel like insurmountable obstacles. I believe that in this way, we can carve pathways to joy and balance, and we can find the light at end of any tunnel. 

Thanks for reading…in it together for the kids!

Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead.

Emotional Support Plant

We were watching the movie “Sing 2” this weekend. In one scene, Miss Crawly (Buster Moon’s secretary) was driving to the country to locate and recruit the famous, hermitic, aging rock star Clay Calloway. Buster Moon and his cast of characters needed Clay in order to be able to put on a big show in the big city, but Clay was not easy to find, nor would he be easy to convince. Miss Crawly had set out on a seemingly insurmountable mission. 

As we watched her drive down the winding country road, we noticed that there was something in the passenger seat of Miss Crawly’s car. After a moment I realized it was the fruit basket Buster Moon sent with his secretary as a piece of the puzzle to try to win over Mr. Calloway. I pointed it out. Our 7 year-old matter-of-factly said, “Oh, I thought it was her emotional support plant.”

He never fails to amaze me. I don’t know where he heard the phrase “emotional support plant”, why he remembered it, or how he made the connection, but it was a reasonable thought. Miss Crawly was in a very difficult position. Sure, “Sing 2” is a piece of fiction and Miss Crawly is an imaginary, anthropomorphized elderly lizard, but she was dealing with some really tough stuff. She might have needed an emotional support plant.

Like Miss Crawly, parents and educators are dealing with some really tough stuff right now. Also like Miss Crawly, we are showing tremendous grit. We are resilient and determined, and we are pushing through challenge after challenge for the benefit of our kids. Instead of emotional support plants, we have one another. 

I like the idea of an emotional support plant. Plants are steady and stable, and if you take care of them, they thrive. We need to be taking care of one another. We are here for one another. We need to remember that we are not alone, and that we can only weather the ebbs and flows of this uniquely challenging time hand in hand, and heart in heart.

The best thing we can do for one another is be present and available. We’ve been doing a great job of providing our kids days filled with joy and balance, in large part because we’ve been doing the same for each other. These days are not always easy, however, each one is an opportunity for learning and growth. Once again, our kids remind us of what’s important. The emotional support we provide for one another is the foundation for everything else. Our partnerships are the key to our well-being and our progress.

Thanks for reading…in it together for the kids!

Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead.

Awareness as an Anxiety Antidote

When the past and the future are out of mind the present is available. That’s why our breath is such a wonderful tool. Our breath is here now. Breathing is what we do in the moment. There is consistency and certainty in our breath. While we live and breath, our breath reliably moves in and out of our lungs. Unlike the many less connected facets of our daily lives that drive uncertainty and plague us with worry, doubt and fear, we can depend on our breath for comfort. 

When we focus on our breath we are focusing on our vitality. In that way, we can use our breath to be aware of reality in real time. Because anxiety is often based on unfounded, even fantasized accounts of the past and fictionalized predictions about the future, awareness of reality in real time can counterbalance it (anxiety, that is). 

Habitual awareness can serve as an extended antidote, diminishing the worry, stress and myriad other negative impacts associate with habitual anxiety. We are each already in the habit of breathing. Broadening the habit to a focus on our breath as we breath can have immediate positive implications on our behavior and long-term positive implications on our well-being.  

Over the past couple of decades I’ve exerted considerable effort and spent loads of time exploring and practicing strategies aimed at finding calm in the eye of the storm. So much time and effort that you’d think I’ve perfected it. Yeah, right. Come to find out, while most of what I’ve learned and relearned is based on a combination of awareness and common sense, it may still be a lifelong pursuit. Even as you read this reflection you may well recognize I’m not referring to anything you don’t already know. Especially if that’s the case, you also understand that knowledge and practice often sit at distance ends of a deep divide.  

That said, in my experience (and according to every philosophy, methodology or program dealing with problem solving, crisis management or deescalation I’ve ever come across) calm continuously surfaces as the ideal posture for maximizing safety, productivity and progress during stressful events or periods of time. Calm is a catalyst to well-being. 

This exploration of calm has been based in large part on the path I tread as a husband, a parent and an educator, it’s predicated on a desire I’ve long held to relieve the feelings of worry and stress I periodically (and sometimes habitually) fall into, and it is now proving as important and opportune as ever during a time when I see and feel a great deal of anxiety swirling around me, seeming to have a deep and determined impact on an enormous swath of the children I serve and the adults I partner with in that service. 

With the world on it’s side in so many ways, I often find myself wondering if now is the ideal time for simplicity. The challenge is, simplicity isn’t easy.

Timelines and obligations are real. The sun rises and sets, and in between those two events we do have to get certain things accomplished. How much time, though, do we spend toiling in worry? How frequently do we think about and relive our regrets, fret over the lack of progress we’re making on a task or a project, or doubt our ability to meed a target date? How often do we stand by while that thinking, reliving, fretting and doubting seizes our minds and our hearts? How much time do we spend outside of ourselves, watching as we perpetuate extended cycles of worry? 

What if we used the same amount, or even a fraction of that time for a focus on awareness? Without even considering a shift in how we feel or how we behave, could a simple shift in how we watch and listen to ourselves support increased well-being? 

What if instead of perceiving ourselves from the outside, as spectators, we intentionally kept and eye on ourselves from the inside? What if we zeroed in on our thoughts and feelings by way of a straight forward, pretense-free focus on our breath, even thoughts of and feeling around worry and stress? What if we accepted and attended to those thoughts and feelings with curiosity and kindness, not asking why but rather how it feels to feel the way we feel? 

Instead of considering what we can do to feel better, what if we could be calm and aware enough to simply ask ourselves to identify details about the thoughts and feelings we have while we are having them? What if a focus on our breath could help us? What if being aware could promote genuine learning and growth? A simple (not easy) path that, with practice and dedication might have the potential for prolonged and universal application and impact. By the way, as you know, breath as mindfulness tool is a centuries old concept that has had an incredibly  meaningful impact on the history and progress of humanity, across a multitude of regions, cultures and theologies.

Dr. Judson Brewer wrote a wonderfully thoughtful and well-researched book called, “Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to heal Your Mind.” In it, he points to habit loops through a reward-based learning paradigm as the basis for persistent entrenchment in anxiety. He recalls anecdotes from his research lab and clinic and puts forward simplified explanations of neuroscience to point out how we get ourselves stuck in habit loops through triggers, which catalyze behaviors and produce results that trick our brains into thinking some relief is at hand.

For example, if I wake up in the middle of the night feeling panicked about the uncertainly of a busy week ahead I might start making mental plans or checking emails. While planning and checking emails may give me a moment of relief and distraction from the worry, those behaviors are also likely to open the floodgates of stress and trip the signal wire for a worry habit loop. Dr. Brewer might map it like this:

Trigger: Middle of the night panic

Behavior: Planning/checking emails

Result: Temporary relief from immediate worry/perpetuation of extended stressfulness and possible trigger for additional feelings of panic

Alternatively, I could focus on my breathing (consistent and comforting) and turn into the  feelings of panic with awareness, curiosity and kindness, asking my mind, my heart and my body to describe what they’re feeling. I could live in the moment, accepting the situation, exploring what’s happening, allowing myself to spend time with with the panicky feelings, and providing my brain with some important data about how I process stressful situations.

I may not magically feel relieved from the panic and be able to quickly go back to sleep, but in theory, this alternative behavior could help me find pathways to breaking worry habit loops, not necessarily because I’m searching for those pathways, but simply because I’m developing a deepened understanding of myself and my capacities. Again, not easy but simple. 

Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the mindfulness standard “Wherever you go, there you are, reminds us that while being aware (specifically through the practice of mindfulness) is challenging work, it is worthwhile and growth-producing in that, “it literally allows us to see more clearly, and therefore come to understand more deeply, that which we were out of touch with or unwilling to look at (p.8).”

We are living through waves of trauma. If you, your kids or anyone around you are experiencing negative impacts from situational or extended anxiety, an intentional and dedicated focus on awareness through mindful breathing could be a step in the right direction. None of us wants to suffer. We are better for ourselves, the kids we serve and the adults we serve with when we’re clear-headed and calm. Face the challenges, celebrate the triumphs and approach stumbles and roadblocks with forgiveness and loving kindness, for yourself and others. 

It’s a journey for us all. One step at a time, with intentionality and togetherness we are strong. 

Thanks for reading…in it together for the kids!

Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead.

…and take.

We’ve been giving for while now. Parents and educators, we’ve spent the last couple of years pouring ourselves into finding ways to provide safe spaces within which our kids can learn and grow. We’re happy to do it and we will continue. Still, it’s hard…something we don’t always admit or take into account. 

We’ve tried with all our might to provide our kids with consistency and routine. We’ve found ways to let them be kids during a time that we didn’t see coming and often struggle to understand. We’ve seen the world shift in unthinkable ways. We’ve all been washed over by waves of trauma. Still, we continue to employ every ounce of our energy on behalf of a joyful and balanced childhood for our children. 

Through cavernous ebbs and unrestrained flows, we’ve realized that there has always been good to find, and with that realization we continue to find it. We’ve faced challenges with courage and grace, and we’ve celebrate triumphs with delight. I have no doubt that we will carry in this way. Our children are in good hands. I believe that with our love, guidance and support they will endure and become a generation of resilience like no other. 

Ironically, in this season of giving, I would suggest it’s now time to take.

Parents and educators, take a breath. Take a moment to relax. The work will be there when we return to school in the new year. 

Take self-care seriously. Start that routine you’ve been meaning to start. Get into a habit. Exercise each day. Take a walk. Take time to prepare healthy food and eat with meals with your friends and family. Take the liberty to eat some meals by yourself if you’d like. Enjoy every bite. Take trips to places you love. Take a nap. Take a step out of your door when the sun is shining, just to feel the warmth on your face.

These days can be wild and fast. A break is a blessing. Whatever urge pulls you to linger in hurried thoughts, whatever sense tries to trick you into sleepless nights, whatever confusion attempts to distract you, deny it. Deny it all. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to twist, turn and toil again very soon. For now, take what you know you need. Take what you know will help you continue to be strong in the coming days, weeks and months. 

Just like we give tirelessly for the kids we serve, take for them now. It will benefit them as much as it will you. It will allow you to regenerate into your best self. It’s time for balance. In the great give and take of this extraordinary ride, it’s time to take.

Thanks for reading…in it tougether for the kids!

Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead.

Don’t Yuck Someone Else’s Yum

We were sitting at the dinner table the other day when a dish was served that was beyond the ability for our pickier eaters to understand. I don’t remember if there were onions on a burger or tomatoes on a slice of pizza. Regardless, our 7-year-old was digging in with a huge smile on his face. Yum, yum, yum.

After a few bites he turned to one of his big brothers and offered a taste. The offer he was met with a wrinkled up face and a reply laden with pure disgust. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

The little guy quickly fired back with, “Don’t yuck someone else yum.”

I stopped in my tracks. 

“Don’t yuck someone else’s yum.” I love it. 

This time it applied to food, but that’s not the foundation of the message. I found out later that he learned if from his incredible first grade teacher. It means just what you think it means. 

We all have different tastes, we all have different views of the world, and while there are some universal joys we experience, we are each unique. We are all always well served when we recognize, support, encourage and celebrate one another. When our minds and hearts are open, our connections are genuine. When our connections are genuine, we are strong. 

So, don’t yuck someone else’s yum. Instead, lift them up, let them know you value them even if you don’t agree or understand. Build collective strength for the benefit and wellbeing of both of you. Strong, happy people perpetuate strong, happy communities…and that benefits everyone.

Thanks for reading…in it together for the kids!

Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead.

Relaxation Time

This week I had the opportunity to spend some time as a guest teacher in music and art classes. I’m not a music teacher or an art teacher, but I do appreciate both disciplines, and both music and art play significant roles in my life. So I enlisted my experience with and knowledge of each, and I thought about how the creative arts bring joy and balance into my life as I prepared to teach.

When I was a child my parents enrolled me in piano lessons. I never became a virtuoso, but I gained enough understanding to be able to connect with the keys in a way that produces sound some might consider music. Occasionally I sit at the piano, produce that sound and find myself entering into and enjoying a state of mind research around well-being would identify as a “flow.” It’s a state of mind that can engender pathways to focus and calm.

In each music class I spent some time playing the piano as the kids rested. I asked them to aim at letting the music guide their thinking. I wasn’t sure how it would go. It went well. It especially went well with our youngest learners. Kindergarten and first grade students in each class allowed themselves to dive deep into the activity. The room became still and calm each time I facilitated this process. They seemed to have an aptitude for mindfulness. Moreover, they seemed to have an interest in it.

The day after my short tenure as a music teacher I received a note that described an extension of the meditation activity. A parent wrote to her child’s teacher and the teacher forwarded the note to me. She wrote that her first grader came home from school talking about having “relaxation time” in music class. She went on to share that they recreated the activity before bedtime with some music and guidance on relaxation. According to her report, the child said, “This feels nice, we should do this every night.”

I believe we all should do this every night, or during each day if it fits in better. The fact is, everyone can benefit from mindfulness as a part of a consisted self care focus. 

The world in an incredibly busy place. The stressors are real and the challenges are…well, really quite challenging. When we take the time to be present and calm, when we dedicate ourselves to a positive mindset, when we focus and deeply engage, we reflect, process and heal with increased efficiency and productivity. 

Individually and collectively, when take deep breaths and allow ourselves to live in each moment, we build capacity for a genuine focus on what truly matters…ourselves and one another. When we teach this critical life skill to our children, we enhance their futures and the future of our world. 

Slow down, breath deep, we got this. 

Thanks for reading…in it together for the kids!

Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead.

The Perfect Time to be Nice

 

We were at the playground, deep into a game in which I was an ogre, our 6-yr-old was my ogre kid, and the big brothers (9-yr-old and 11-year-old) were humans we were chasing. The goal was to catch them so that we could eat them for dinner. 

We were having a blast, running up and down playground structures, jumping, sliding, climbing poles, swinging on ropes, and growling. 

The engagement was high and the excitement was palpable. It was one of those games, where every once in a while a bust of energy shot through you and you burst into high speed. We were at if for two and a half hours before something interesting happened (our 6-yr-old can most often be counted on for something interesting – the others too, for that matter). 

The big brothers were several yards away, on the top of a hill. They were taunting us with some general, “Na, na, na, na, na’s” and their fingers were in the shape of “L’s” on their foreheads. Enough was enough for the kid ogre.

He turned to me and said, “They’re being so mean.”

Even thought they were just playing, he felt it. It was a game, but he felt sad that they were being so mean. Instead of crying, pouting, or quitting, he said, “This is the perfect time to be nice.”

I asked him what he meant by that. He explained. 

Now that we know what it feels like when someone isn’t nice to you, we should be nice to them, so that they don’t have to feel that way. He suggested that, instead of running after them, trying to catch them and eat them for dinner, maybe we should try to get them to be our guests for dinner, and eat vegetables.

The suggestion didn’t sound as fun to the big guys, so we compromised. I would still chase them, trying to catch and eat them, but my ogre kid would try to convince me to befriend the humans and become a vegetarian. Still fun, and we still got to pretend that someone was in danger of being cooked and eaten – a favored play theme among my kids.

We stayed a while longer and continued to have excited fun. 

Later that evening came to me with a big smile (that he was attempting to conceal) and said, “I had a lot of fun playing today.”

I said, “So did I, buddy.”

He said, “Ya, it was a really special time.”

My heart melted. We hugged. I would have liked for that moment to last forever, but as you know, they don’t (one of the reasons I write about them).

Here’s the thing…he’s was so right. When people are not being nice to you, it may actually be the perfect time to be nice to them. It’s healing. Even if they don’t appreciate it in the moment (or ever), it’s healing for you.

Najwa Zebian said, “Today I decided to forgive you, not because you apologized or because you acknowledged the pain you caused me, but because my soul deserves peace.”

Being mean is toxic. Being unkind is uncomfortable and stressful. Being hurtful is frustrating, and it diminishes well-being for both the hurtful and the hurt…both end up hurting.

Being kind is freeing. Being pleasant is elevating. Being friendly uplifts. Being nice is…well, it’s nice. 

We should be nice. In fact, anytime, and all the time, may be the perfect time to be nice. 

Thanks, buddy – you always know just how to deliver the message I need, in the moment I need it. I love you and I love learning from you.

In it together for the kids.

Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead. Thanks.

It’s What Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Taught Me

Yesterday I was sitting in the parking lot of Panera with our three boys, waiting for a mobile order of bagels and cream cheese, when Joe Cocker came on singing the Beatle’s “With A Little Help From My Friends.” I was so excited to share that experience with the boys. It was exhilarating to know they’d be hearing this song, sung in this way, for the first time. What a cool experience! Pure passion. Music capable of jolting you to another place. Awesome.

The screen in my car shows pictures when it plays songs. A picture of Joe Cocker came up. He was sweating and contorted. He was singing his heart out in his signature style. Our 11- year-old looked at the picture and did a double take. 

He said, “I did not expect him to look like that!”

I said, “What do you mean?”

He said, “I didn’t expect someone who sings like that to look like that.”

And from the back of the car, our 6-year-old calmly reminded us, “It’s not important what you look like…it’s only important how you treat people.”

We all stopped in our tracks and looked at him. I turned the volume down a bit. We stared at him for a moment with comforted, proud smiles on our faces. 

He shrugged his shoulders, raised one eyebrow, and said, “What, it’s what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught me…you know, it doesn’t matter what people look like, it matters how we treat each other.”

We all smiled. He got a round of high fives and “attaboys.”. I couldn’t stop smiling, and neither could he.

In 1967, when the Beatles were putting out Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was speaking about seeing “the enemy’s point of view” so that “we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.” Dr. King was teaching us how to see beyond appearances, how to listen to one another with open hearts and open minds, and how to seek to understand one another so that we can fully understand and realize our best selves. 

I wonder, at that time, in his infinite wisdom, as he dreamt about a better world, might Dr. King have been envisioning my 6-year-old son, these years later, hearing, holding onto and sharing his prophetic ideas as they continue echoing over and through the decades? I like to think he was. Now, more than ever, I like to think he was. 

It was wonderful to share a profound moment with the boys yesterday…it didn’t turn out to be the moment I was anticipating, but it turned out to be one that I could only have hoped for…and dreamt about.

In it together for the kids.

Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead. Thanks!