Speak The Beautiful

It’s easy to appreciate others from afar. What a game changer it would be if people shared their thoughts of admiration and appreciation out loud with each other! Words are incredibly powerful. You could change the course of someone’s day, week or even (not to be too dramatic) their life.

Going through my divorce was the most arduous time in my life. I felt unworthy of God’s love. I felt like I had failed my parents. I was overwhelmed with guilt about what my sweet, young babies were about to go through. I was unsure of my future and feeling utterly devastated at the turn my life had taken. It’s nearly impossible to pull out of that tarpit by yourself.

Thankfully, there are human beings in the world created with beautiful hearts and armed with kind words.

I was shopping for groceries with my girls. A woman I have never met approached me and said, “I hope this won’t freak you out but I’ve been watching you with your girls. You’re a great Mom. I just felt like I needed to tell you.” I just stared at her for what seemed like an eternity and then I burst into tears. I told her how much it meant to me and shared a small bit of my story. We hugged and she shed tears with me. Two perfect strangers in the middle of the produce isle, hugging and crying. All because she decided to speak what she felt.

Believe me, a compliment was the last thing I thought I deserved but it was tremendously impactful. It was my game changer. I’m not saying it was solid ground from that day forward. There were plenty more moments in the tarpit but I held my head up a little higher after that encounter. The power of compassion and the bravery to share, even when it’s a bit awkward, was the small spark I needed.

If you feel the tug on your heart to speak to someone, DO IT! You never know what they are going through. Your words of appreciation, affirmation or just genuine kindness may be exactly what that person needs. Why not let it be you to give them such a magnificent gift? Be a blessing and speak life into someone today!

What Do Students in Oklahoma Deserve?

See this young lady? She’s my daughter. She is currently attending college to be an early childhood education teacher. She’s going to be one of the best. She has an incredible heart for kids. She is gifted with unending patience and a gentleness that you cannot teach. She values what children have to offer and understands that sometimes students can teach the adults a thing or two!

Oklahoma students deserve a future teacher like her.

My daughter and I have already had many conversations about her options when she graduates. I’m sad to say, I’ve told her she should consider leaving the state (or teach with me at HH!). I know the OK legislature just passed the bill for teacher raises (whole other can of worms with that one) but this is about more than a decent salary. This is about her being able to actually have the resources and means to teach her students. She will need pencils and paper that she doesn’t have to pay for out of her own pocket or beg and plead parents to donate. She must have books that are not falling apart, or so old they are irrelevant, so she can teach them how to read. She will need chairs and tables that don’t look like they have been through a war. She must have class sizes that are reasonable. 30 children in an early childhood classroom is absurd!

I want her to be able to come home from work without feeling defeated. She will pour her heart out, giving all she’s got to those kids but at the end of EVERY day, it will never seem like it is enough. She will look at those sweet faces and know they deserve so much better. Then, when the weight is just too much, when her heart finally breaks because of one more budget cut or snide remark about “you get the summer off” or “you knew what you signed up for”, she will leave the state and possibly the profession all together. It’s already happening in droves. What a tragedy!

As a Mom, I am so proud of her for following her heart. I want her to be happy, fulfilled, valued and appreciated. As an educator, I’m anxious and worried that if she stays in Oklahoma and teaches in public school, it will crush her. This state is losing the battle and it needs a major wake up call. Come April 2nd, the “phone” will start ringing. Let’s see if anyone picks up.

Current teachers deserve better. Future teachers deserve better. Students deserve better. Oklahoma deserves better.