This is When the Magic Happens ~ Act 3: The Rise of Man


(continued from This is When the Magic Happens ~ Act 2: Find the Love)

The image of the warrior standing alone at the end of the night has returned, only this time struggling harder than ever to get off the ground. Normally unphased by the slings and arrows of the everyday battle, even welcoming them knowing they make him stronger........this time two arrows have pierced his heart at the same time.........and he feels as if he has lost the heart to go on.

He needs to use his sword just to help him get on his knees........his head down........eyes closed........in immense pain........Even though great victory has been achieved........he has suffered even greater defeat in his heart.....

Calling for the cool night rain to wash off the dirt from his mangled hair and the blood from his scarred face and body........imagining the water of the god's soaking into him through his skin and down into his soul........and giving him the courage and strength to stand once again.........

He hears whispers from the coming winds bringing great rain clouds his way.........

You must get up! ......You have to!........We all have to!..........To STAND.....ONCE AGAIN!

This......This is the rise of man!

And with trembling hands gripping the sword's handle, his forehead pressed against the soiled blade........he begins to feel something different.....

Instead of feeling distant and disconnected from others....he begins to feel connected to every soul in the universe......

past and present

He is in a moment shared by all of humanity........the moment when you simply feel you can't go on.......or even should.......

And saying silent prayers from moving lips..........not knowing how.........but fully intending that he will stand again........

Only this time with more INTELLIGENCE and UNDERSTANDING than ever before.....with more PASSION and FIRE than ever before......

That when he does stand he will spread his arms and raise them to the sky in full appreciation for a the chance to live a full life..........

So grateful and so much more than he ever was before that light will burst from his soul and his entire world will be illuminated in the explosion........Because we are meant to be ALIVE with LIFE!

.......If he can just hold on a little longer........if he can just hold on until the rains come to rejuvenate him.......

Concentrating on that small light within himself that never goes out.........focusing on that beauty and truth that we can CREATE a better world versus let it be DESTROYED......until it becomes bigger and brighter.........bigger and brighter!

Because this is when the magic happens.......in this moment of holding on.......having the courage to stand when confidence is gone.........having the courage to stand in the face of insurmountable odds........

Having faith in oneself and one's world...........no matter what..........Listening not to those who say it can't be done.....but to those who say it can....and must

He must find the heart to go on.......We must find the heart to go on in spite of our circumstances........in spite of our difficulties

This is life in all its emotions being fully experienced......This is the journey being fully lived, no matter where the destination takes us!

And when we do find the strength to rise once again..........we rise above ourselves........and create brand new worlds in the process where once impossible things are now part of a magical possibility......

A world where fellow travelers journey together......shaking hands in confidence and courage.......learning from one another instead of fighting.......rising above limitation after limitation........generation after generation!

This is the journey of the human soul.

This is When the Magic Happens ~ Act 2: Find the Love

(continued from This is When the Magic Happens ~ Act 1)

An increase of 121 points in reading v. just 18....

How does anyone NOT teach individually when it produces results almost 700% greater than traditional teaching????

The students dreamed big, did big and BECAME BIG....much bigger than ever before. And if my ultimate teaching goal was to have them leave my door the last day of the year being able to THINK FOR THEMSELVES and FEELING and BEING UNSTOPPABLE......then that goal has been achieved.

Why isn't this done on a wide-spread level?.....The students obviously win...and win big! Perhaps they win so big that they have the intelligence and confidence to go on and become GREAT in a profession(s) that they LOVE. Tell me that's not success....doing what you love to do and being so good at it that it IMPROVES your profession and all the worlds and people related to it.

Only about 10% of humanity does this. Some even do the opposite, destroying their profession and hurting the worlds and people related to it. Most just maintain the status quo.

So for a teacher to dream and do big enough that ALL students can become this 10% is a very worthwhile and honorable pursuit. The same is true for parents.

But on the flip side.....as education is right now....the teacher who does this loses....and loses big. Instead of this accomplishment being celebrated and built upon I have been both indirectly and directly attacked. Instead of being simply left alone and allowed to recharge my batteries, I've been threatened once more with the loss of my job.

The 80/20 rule is in full effect.

This is why I don't blame or judge any other teacher who just does their job and teaches to the entire class and as many small groups as they can. In education as it is now, the more you give, the more you lose. Only the student gets more. Howard Gardner said our educational system is entirely dysfunctional, and it seems he is right. In talking with Jerry and Angela, a husband-and-wife team (how cool is that?) where my children practice cheer leading, they feel school has become an institution of babysitting v. education for most students.

Maybe I should wait to say this until after I'm a well-publicized author and have earned my doctorate, or maybe I simply have the stupid courage to point out what's not working and sound a call-to-arms for us to fix it now. Doesn't each child deserve to be taught in a way that creates the greatest amount of real learning and self-confidence in them?

Do we need new schools, new systems, new mindsets, new cooperation? Can it even be done? Or are we simply too limited in general as human beings? Both HG Wells and Confucius died feeling they had failed in their life pursuits that enlightenment and education could raise any person, and therefore the world, to higher levels of humanity.

Who am I to think I can play a part in the fulfillment of that same dream? Am I just another foolish dreamer of an impossible dream, acting the rebel fool in a predetermined play? At best, will I die feeling I have failed too, only having left fool's gold for other foolish dreamers to follow?

Or is a sleeping lion being woken up inside of me......one that will carry on the dream by teaching with the intent of Confucius and writing with the intent of HG.......combining the power of two masters as he fights for the lives of others?

I will die someday. Some days I feel as if death is walking right beside me, as if we have some peaceful coexistence, or appreciation for each other. My question to myself is if I will have died for something or nothing at all?

"Death isn't sad. The sad thing is that most people don't live at all."
- Peaceful Warrior

Added to all this great depth of thought and reflection has been even greater depth of emotion. During the latter part of the school year my son's mother wanted him to live with me because she was having too much trouble with a boy approaching the teenage years. My son living with me again! I was exhilarated at the mere thought.

Then Sofia's mother said she wanted her to go to my school next year if I would pay for all the gas and she didn't have to do any of the driving. Seeing Sofia every day again, in my classroom before and after school, visiting her at lunch and spending more nights with me!!!!!!! Oh!....I was in Heaven!

Neither happened or are going to happen. Both offers were retracted a month later without explanation.....and my heart shattered in a million pieces..........

But for one month, dreaming.......seeing........feeling as if they were going to happen......I.....We....were in Heaven....and I am grateful for that. I don't have time for bitterness. It does no good and only harm. The same goes with victimization, anger, hostility or any other destructive emotion.

From my experience Heaven and Hell are not places out there.....they are places in here. The art of allowing others to be who they are is not easily practiced, but well worth the effort.

Loss of my job, loss of my life, loss of time and experience with my children.......it's all getting too familiar though.....as if I'm some actor in a predetermined Stranger Than Fiction play...where my life is either a complete comedy or terrible tragedy

And LOVE, my greatest source of strength.....it seems is also my greatest form of kryptonite.......my greatest vulnerability.......my heart has been broken again......and the image of the warrior standing alone has returned.......trying to find the love in what he does......trying to find courage in the moments where even after you've proven the impossible to be possible.......it's knocked you off your feet and it seems impossible to get back up....

(continued in This is When the Magic Happens ~ Act 3)


This is When the Magic Happens ~ Act 1: Taking Out the Trash

People often look at someone who accomplishes great things and say, "My God, how lucky is he. It's as if he's magic! I can't do that." Or they will say, "Oh he thinks he's so much better than I am. I'm going to look for ways to take him down off his high horse."

In business this is known as the 80/20 rule, where 80% of the staff will choose to be negative towards new ideas and others' successes, sometimes violently attacking them. After 10 years in business my experience validates this rule to be true.

Very few (about 20%) will say, "My God, how focused he must be. He must have chosen to have courage in those times when he doubted himself the most! I'm going to choose to be courageous too in my own life experiences. I CAN achieve the same or even greater results!"

After almost 10 years in education, I would also say that from my experience the 80/20 rule applies here, too.

Unfortunately, or should I say fortunately, I find myself in one of those times right now. For the past month I've been blessed to have one hard thing after another come into my experience, offering an abundance of potential for learning and growth.....provided I have the courage to choose the path of learning and growth.....making another evolution upwards towards all that I and the world around me can become.

The state tests came back, the Bible, God's word from on high of how well students, and therefore teachers, and therefore principals, superintendents, districts and states did. I teach at an A school, with A teachers.

I am not saying I am a better teacher, only that I am a different teacher. While the average student in traditional classes increased their reading score by 18 points from the year before, the average student in my class increased their score by 121 points.

Do I have magical powers? Of course not. All I've done is observe the things great teachers of the past have done and the great things teachers all around me are doing today, and apply them where appropriate to each student individually. Teaching to each student in each subject each day is very difficult and seemingly impossible.....

Although I and I'm sure others have proven it's not impossible...in the current educational system....it does leave a teacher completely exhausted....and worse

And there's no incentive or motivation to teaching this way.

Then a computer virus wiped out my lesson plans and I had to write each one all over again, taking the entire first week of vacation and 2 hours of sleep a night. I had renewed my anti-virus software back in December but had been too busy teaching and studying to make sure it had installed correctly......Now I'm more exhausted.

While my college classmates called in sick during the year to complete their thesis, I went in sick to teach, leaving me sicker at the end of the day and unable to work at all on my thesis.....Martyr? No......It was simply keeping a promise to my students that they would all be prepared for the state tests....

My father taught me that if you're going to do something..........do it right......do it all the way......and do it honestly.....keeping your word about what you say you'll do.

Many other things have happened just before and during this state of exhaustion that have made me question myself. 18 v 121....I should have gotten a burst of happiness, confidence, and rejuvenating energy from this outcome.....instead I'm flat on the ground with my face in the dirt.

Analyzing the test results wasn't to see if I was better than others, only to see if my efforts, this individual-type of teaching, truly made a difference again, or if the past years were flukes. A few days ago I picked up a piece of paper to write something down. When I turned it over it was my analysis of last year's state math scores, showing an average student increase of 113 points from the year before.

But a very big part of me wanted this year to show little, if any, difference, hoping to justify going back to teaching the traditional way with a clear conscious, that it didn't really matter. I would teach one lesson one way to one group and if a student didn't get it then the parent can get them a tutor. I wouldn't be doing anything different. Nobody would be on my back. My job wouldn't be in any danger.

I will have done my job and still have the time to do the little things like paperwork and getting things turned in on time. I could get another job and not have to worry about paying my bills. I would have so much energy left at the end of the day I could write the myriad of books in my heart, finish my thesis and perhaps pursue my doctorate, accept speaking engagements when asked and go to dinner with people who want to meet and speak with me, some of them well-known celebrities.....I could even learn to play the Spanish guitar and simply go out with friends and have a good time.

I could have balance in my life!

But 18 points v. 121 is staring me in the face...........and it's a challenge to stay connected to humanity, devoted 100% to the experience I am having and paying attention to what's happening all around me, and to determine what exactly is the trash in my head I need to take out.

(continued on in This is When the Magic Happens ~ Act 2)

clip from Peaceful Warrior




"All our dreams can come true - if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney

"Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others." -- Sir Winston Churchill

"If there is one thing upon this earth that mankind love and admire better than another, it is a brave man, -- it is the man who dares to look the devil in the face and tell him he is a devil." -- James A. Garfield

"Courage is the thing. All goes if courage goes." -- J.M. Barrie


You Guys Are Making Me Sick


(*Although my posts are all intended to be uplifting and positive and have picture media releases for all students, some anonymous person(s) have gone to others causing a problem and I have been asked not to post any more pictures of students in order to protect me from losing my job.

That is too bad, and I argued for keeping them for the wonderful stories they tell, but in the end said "I wouldn't", and I will kill myself keeping my word once given. It's one of the few important things I am in complete control of, doing what I say I'll do.

I'll work on finding a solution to the problem over the summer, but until further notice, no pictures or even first names will be published, no links to outside blogs, and all blogs set to private where possible. And, I will choose in the meantime to focus on the "sick" success of the students v. letting this latest challenge make me sick.

As a substitute for the pictures, I have found some of the 5th grade banquet where two other teachers (hidden by masks) and I performed as the Jonas Brothers to their song, "Kids of the Future".

I also found one picture of my son by himself, and I understand why he's as full of life as is his father. We both tend to push the envelope a little too far for the comfort of others, but much to the joy of the universe. We both do what supposedly can't be done....Brosden, who doesn't like school, grew by well over a year on the same tests mentioned below.)

One morning last week as I came down the hall and around the corner to my classroom, I saw my class sitting on the floor reading quietly. Looking up at me with their happy smiling faces, I made my way through them towards the door, and said in my best pretending-to-be-angry voice, "You guys are making me sick".

I looked back at them as I opened the door, and said, "I am getting sick-and-tired of you succeeding at ridiculous levels. The national test results just came in and your scores were unreal. Get in here so we can celebrate!"

I had just come from a morning meeting (of which I was on time for, thank you) where we were handed the results of the national reading and math tests. Although not seen as challenging as the state tests (of which the results are late in arriving, no thank you) these national tests are the last two in two long weeks of testing, and it's challenging to get them to give their best when they're sick-and-tired of being tested.

Many, many students scored in the top 20%, 10% and even 1% of the country, truly the best of the very, very best.

I was looking at the score of a child who didn't score so high, and perhaps with my face indicating I was wondering if I failed this student, the principal told me to look at the student's scores from last year.

When I did, she had grown 3 years in reading and 2 in math!

I began comparing all students' scores, and when the principal came in the file room to see how much the growth was I said, "You're right! Her scores are sick. They're all sick!" Some students had grown by as much as 4.5 years academically based on their scores.

If they're not at the top of the country, they sure as heck-fire are getting there! They have PROVEN that IT IS POSSIBLE to change the reality of your life....because they have done it....and if they continue this rate of growth, will become the best of themselves too!

And they have shown us all that WE CAN ALL DO IT! Whatever it is......beginning with the thoughts we think and feelings we feel.

Throughout the year their thinking and belief systems were constantly challenged by such controversial and envelope-pushing declarations as:

"The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and for the most part.....they deserve to.....because they do the things that either make them richer or poorer.

The truly wealthy save and invest their money to make more...and the truly impoverished spend more than they make. If you want to be richer, start spending less and start investing more.

The same goes for the strong get stronger and the weak get weaker, due to their habits of mind and body. Who do you usually see exercising? ....Those already in shape! The fit burn more calories than they consume......While those out of shape continue to eat more calories than they burn off.

And undoubtedly true is that the smart get smarter and the dumb get dumber! Yes, I said 'dumb'.

Look, quit complaining how unfair the world is. Look at yourself honestly in the mirror, and if you don't like what you see....CHANGE IT by CHANGING YOU!

If you are among the lowest thinkers/performers in the class, you have to start thinking and performing the most. But who are the ones who participate the most in class, speak up when they don't understand, and put the most thought in their homework?.......The already 'smart' ones, because it's safe. They KNOW they're smart.

Who are the ones who do this the least?...The 'dumb' ones, because it's scary. They've been given little EVIDENCE that THEY ARE smart, so they try to be smart less and less often.

But if you don't like being classified as dumb, then stop doing dumb things! Face your fears! I don't see you as dumb or a failure, so it's time to stop failing and doing dumb things. You are not allowed not to believe in yourself any longer!

If you are not one of the best students in class then YOU WILL learn to give THE BEST EFFORT. You will do MORE than what's required, recognize where EVERYONE around you is better than you are and SEEK THEM OUT as teachers, and ASK MORE QUESTIONS than anyone else in class.

And YOU WILL develop your own gifts and TEACH us!

In a phrase, YOU WANT MORE?............DO MORE and GIVE MORE!

I thank all of them for giving themselves their best, and becoming more than they were. They have all DREAMT BIG, DONE BIG, and BECOME BIG......and made the world better in the process, a process that will have a powerfully positive ripple effect throughout the world in the years to come.

And finally, I thank them for showing us the way we adults can do it too.

In the innocence and purity of children, a truth and beauty can be found; one that shows adults the way home again........Home again to our own truth and beauty.....our own innocence and purity.

From the day we are born to the die we day, the universe is constantly trying to welcome us back home.....and giving us opportunity-after-opportunity to develop the inner strength to get there.

With each challenge comes a gift of growth waiting to be unwrapped.

As Enigma's song Return to Innocence says,

"Don't care what people say,

Just follow you're own way,

Don't give up,

Use the chance to return to innocence."