March 7, 2013

Inspiring Greatness

With Kayla turning 12 in January, it has come to my attention that my years of total influence on her could be coming to a close in the near future. I mean, she is almost a teenager. Now I was a pretty good teen and Kurt was a pretty good teen so we are hoping that we will have pretty good teens but you never know. Those hormones could fully kick in and our sweet little girl could go crazy. Hopefully not, but what if?

So I have been thinking a lot lately about what else I want to get into her head before my door is possibly slammed shut. I have been finding a lot of positive, uplifting stories or quotes on Facebook, believe it or not. I started a file and have been putting them in there not quite sure what to do with them.

Well, last Friday, Kurt and I went to an Inspiring Greatness seminar at our kids' school. The Inspiring Greatness seminars are held monthly and are for parents, teachers, leaders or anyone else who wants to come. They talk about a variety of things from the 9 Core Values of the school to continuing our own education in the classics. Friday was the first one that we were able to go to since all the others had fallen on nights that we already had plans. Mrs. Brown (one of the 4th grade teachers) and Mrs. Yerocostas (Greek and upper grades math teacher) spoke along with 2 parents and 1 scholar. They shared all the great things that they have been doing in their classes, what they have seen their scholars do and what the scholar had experienced himself.

I was very inspired. I walked away feeling like I want to do my best. I want my kids to do their best. I want to do whatever I can to create the best environment at home. I was just inspired. Don't you love it when that happens? I do!

I talked other parents who had been to some seminars before and they thought this one was ok but that others had been better. Wow. I would have loved to be at those! One of the things that hit me at the seminar was that this school doesn't just want to teach kids to read, to write or to do math. They want to teach them to be their absolute best. They don't want them to just meet the state standards, they want them to reach the bar that has been set higher. They don't want them to just "get by," they want them to soar. A "D" grade is not passing at our school. If you get a D, you repeat the class. They really want the kids to "get it" and then it hit me. They aren't just teaching the standard school stuff, they are teaching them a life style. They are teaching them not to settle. They are teaching them to always do their best. I don't feel like I am explaining this right but they are trying to teach them to aim higher, go farther, do more.

One of our favorite movies is Facing the Giants. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It is a inspirational movie that we have watched numerous times. We own a copy so if you want to borrow it, let me know. Or better yet, come over and we'll watch it with you. (Little side note: the acting is a little hokey but you can easily get passed it). It is about a high school football coach who has had quite a few losing seasons and he decides to totally change his coaching strategy to try a new approach. One of his assistant coaches starts to see what he is doing and at one point says something like "Man, if they catch hold of this, it will change their life." And that is what I am feeling about our school right now. If the kids can catch hold of the greater vision of this school, it will change their life.

So I came home thinking, "what can I do at home to inspire them to reach their greatness?" And all those quotes and stories I have been saving up came to mind so I created our "Inspiring Greatness Wall" or actually "door." I have taped all those great things I have found up on our door that goes into the garage.

Every time they come in the kitchen, they see it. Every time they leave for school they see it. I catch them standing there reading stuff all the time. I just added 4 new pieces to it yesterday. I hope to continue to add to it. My hope is that even if they don't stop to read one every time they pass, at least something will trigger in their minds "oh ya, that one is about the arrow" or "what were some of those habits of happy people?". I just want a positive thought to enter their minds whenever they see this door. I want them to be inspired by these quotes.

Also, every morning when we go to school, I let one of the kids pick one quote and then we discuss it on the way to school. This mornings quote was picked by Kayla and says:

"An arrow can be shot only by pulling it backwards. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it's going to launch you into something great" (Author unknown)

We discussed about how sometimes in life you go through tough times and that it is ok. You have to hang in there and do your absolute best while you wait for the "launch" forward. We also talked about how that launch doesn't always come on our time or when we want it or when we think we need it but only when the time is right.

I don't know if anything I am saying makes any sense but I just want my kids to know they are capable of amazing things. I want them to know that they can accomplish anything they want to. I want them to know they can survive difficult times. I just want them to be their best.

One side effect I didn't anticipate was me. This "wall" has helped me tremendously already. I have quotes about happy people, positive people, advice to teenagers, parenting, etc. but it is the parenting ones that have struck me the most, for obvious reasons. My patience this week has been amazing. I admit, when I am stressed, I have no patience. Lately has been a little crazy with tons of stuff going on and I have felt overwhelmed, inadequate, like I am totally losing my mind (like when I left groceries in the car over night or dropped my phone in water and thereby killing it) but this wall has helped. I guess it seems to refocus me on the bigger picture or something.

My parenting quote that I got yesterday was from a Facebook page I liked called Positive Parenting Solutions. It says "Don't let yourself become so concerned with raising a good kid that you forget you already have one" by Glennon Melton.

Isn't that kid just adorable?!!

It helps me to remember that each one of my children is amazing, that they are good. I just love that. Apparently in the craziness of life I needed to be reminded of that so this one jumps out at me each time I walk by.

Ok, so that is my inspiring week. Please know that I realize our school is not perfect. I never said it was. It has issues just like any other school and it is not for everybody. That is ok. I just truly felt inspired and wanted to share. 

We all need to inspire our kids and ourselves to be our greatest because we are all capable of amazing things! Now, go inspire someone! And have fun doing it!

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