Putting Zing in Your Yin Yang

I love this clip ESPN plays before their college games. The tremendous energy and great plays, especially the devastating tackles, fire me up to do the same in the game of life.

But instead of proving to another man I am tougher, smarter, stronger, etc. than him......what if I helped my fellow man tackle his limitations? What if enough of us had this attitude towards terrorism and poverty and world hunger? What if we could inspire enough people to stop creating these nasty things in their own lives?

We go back to school today, and I am looking forward to an incredibly fun day of slobber-knocking my students' current limitations and so-called disabilities to the ground. I will make sure every student achieves victory and scores at least one touchdown every day this week.

One student who can't help himself from messing with others' experiments had to be banned from all three lab areas before we left on break. His victory today will be sparked by emphasizing that he already is extremely curious, JUST LIKE A REAL SCIENTIST.

So he and I today will set up his own lab where he can plant seeds and pull up the sprouts to find out how the root system works to his heart's content.

And I bet ya that this will internally motivate him to read more to find out more answers to the positive questions that are forming inside his head more and more.

Instead of being forced to sit at his desk and ask "Why am I here? Why do I have to do this? Why am I so dumb?", he will be given a small area to move around in and allowed to ask, "How does a seed turn into a plant?", "What will happen if I pull up the sprout?", and other naturally-forming questions that EMPOWER HIM to form a hypothesis as to what the answer might be, and will WANT TO READ as he researches and experiments and WRITES down his observations. Heck, he'll even do some math as he learns how to create a chart to graph his plant's growth.

And once he does this, he'll be inspired to ask another scientific question....and have new confidence to believe HE CAN find the answer. His victory has been achieved, leading to another and another and another. All of a sudden, HE WANTS to come to school. He is EXCITED at doing more and becoming more.


Instead of school being one boring subject disconnected from another, he begins to see the interconnectedness of science and math and reading and writing.......and it is this experience that will enable him to see later on in life the interconnectedness between his thoughts and actions and the results he gets in life, between himself and his fellow man, between the economy and culture, and between man and nature. And his life will take on more meaning than wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch TV, go to bed, wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch TV, go to bed, rinse and repeat until you die.

It is exactly this system that allowed four Level 1 students last year to change their lives and no longer score at the bottom-of-the-barrel on the state tests.

Research shows that this type of real inquiry teaching makes an even bigger difference among the higher students. It is a place where "A" students learn to do something with all these facts they've stored as nothing more than surface knowledge (proving that knowledge isn't power, but the ability to use that knowledge is).

I see education as what it will be, a place where year-after-year the schools of the world unleash wave-after-wave of truly happy and courageous thinkers and problem-solvers. You take this vision and combine it with the passion and intensity you see on the football field.....and baby, it just might come true!

Because it needs to.......

“Tomorrow’s employees will be doing what robots can’t do, which means that their work will call for the exercise of sophisticated intelligence. What we now appear to need is not individuals trained for the hierarchical and mechanical workplace but individuals who can govern themselves. Tomorrow’s successful employees will have to be problem solvers, decision makers, adept negotiators, and thinkers who are at home with open-endedness, flexibility, and resourcefulness. They must be able to deal with uncertainty, complexity, the global village, the information explosion, other technologies, and many different cultures – and still maintain a set of values that foster an adequate degree of individual stability, integrity, and social harmony. It will not be enough for people to have acquired a store of nontransferable facts. They must have understood and internalized content, such as math, economics, and history, sufficiently to make it available spontaneously, appropriately, and in many different contexts.” (Making Connections, p.14)

We all need great energy if we're going to move mountains today. The mountain that needs moving is KNOWING YOU CAN WIN!

That is number one on my lesson plan today......and by God, by Buddha, and by Mohammed, my students WILL KNOW they can win, and they will achieve REAL VICTORY today!

Let's get jacked up and play it again!

NeverLand Does Exist

When I watch this movie I end up speaking to my own children in Depp's soft Scottish accent for days.

And I realize just how much I am similar to the real-life J.M. Barrie in that I too believe in a NeverLand. A place where the impossible of what we all can be, do, and have IS possible.

I am not bothered by what others think of me. I am not here to impress people with what I am, but to impress upon other people with everything they already are and everything they can become....especially children.

Children are bigger believers than adults. And it's not because they're young and foolish, unrealistic, and don't know any better. The scientific fact is that ARE realistic and THEY DO KNOW BETTER.

You can't teach an old dog new tricks because scientifically, every time one of our cells split (which happens many times every day) the new cell has more of the dominant receptors of the mother or sister cell (mitosis).

The new cell has more receptors for neuro peptides, or hormones, of empowerment or hopelessness, joy or sadness, creativity or dullness, love or hatred, intelligence or disbelief, depending on what our dominant thoughts have been prior to the mitosis.

(This video is great for understanding why even though we want to change, we often don't. Listen to how we are compared to dogs. It also explains how to change our current inability to change. It does contain some adult content.)

If you're in my class you are required to believe and to dream ....to Dream Big, Bigger than you ever have.

And you WILL Do Big, which is not just memorizing facts and formulas and getting an "A" on a test. Getting an "A" is just the beginning. Every time your cells split you will have more positive receptors than before. As this happens, you will become more powerful.

You are required to keep splitting your cells with the belief you can become unstoppable and are able to do and be more than you ever have. Last year it produced an average improvement 700 times greater than normal classes.

This year one failing student walked out of class, again....... giving up, again.......and creating failure for himself, again. When he's done this before I've spoken with him, hugged him, hollered at him, even told him I loved him.

This time when I found him crying in the stairwell I punched the railing, intending to break him out of this pattern of giving up. He stopped crying and stared at me. I asked him why he thought he keeps giving up when things get hard. He began telling me all the ways he's a victim and soon broke down crying again.

I punched the railing even harder, the rings I wear to keep my children close making an enormous banging sound on the metal. He jerked his head up and stopped crying. I told him to look at me, in my eyes, and asked him if he thought anything could stop me. He said "no". I told him he and I were one. For one year he and I were the same person. All of my strength was his. Everything I had, he had. Then I said. "Now get your butt back in class and let's change your life for good!"

And he has.

Later while eating lunch with my daughter, she told me she heard a loud banging sound and a deep voice through the walls of her classroom. She whispered, "That was you, wasn't it?" I said, "Yes. I was trying to help someone." She smiled and said, "I knew it."

For one year every student in my class will be in NeverLand, a place where there are no limits to what they can do or be. They will live in their imaginations of great possibilities and work on making what they imagine come true. After that, it's up to them to keep themselves there.

(Bella brought a bug that had been stepped on to this tree hoping it would be OK. It didn't make it, and why she had the look on her face 5 pictures above and why she's holding my arm in the 2nd picture below.)

And from what I hear when I run into former students and their parents, they ARE keeping themselves in NeverLand; in advanced classes doing very well, taking risks and challenging their fears by joining clubs and plays, and most importantly, are very happy. They are.....Forever Young

What makes me happy is not realizing that my life has meaning, but that the lives of those I've touched has meaning, GREAT MEANING. And it is an incredibly beautiful feeling, helping me when I begin to doubt and wonder if I'm a fool believing in an unrealistic world that will never be.

This "I Am Beautiful" song means we are beautiful not when we are seen as beautiful by others, or the media, or the church. We are truly beautiful when we are having the courage to be ourselves, beauty marks AND beauty warts - when we are being the person we feel we are in our hearts.....and not giving up on ourselves............

Not allowing our unique inner beauty to fade away before it is too late...........and having the strength to continue to believe in ourselves no matter what......THAT is beautiful.........and beautiful enough..........for you.

Although it's not allowed to be embedded, the link to this beautiful song and video is here, and is worth the few minutes to watch. Who knows, it could be the few minutes that change the few cells needed to change your life: Finding NeverLand - Beautiful


Today I Will Play!!!!!

I'm taking this opportunity while on Thanksgiving Break to download my camera - although I should be working solely on my thesis.........see?........guilt.........guilt's my thing.........

The thing my mother used on me while growing up, the thing both wives used on me when we were married, and the thing I use on myself at age 41.

Using guilt on ourselves or others doesn't mean we're bad. It's just "the thing" used on us while growing up which we in turn use as adults.

So guilt is "my thing" that I need to overcome....feeling guilty if I'm not doing what I "should be doing". I think a lot of us share that, and if we aren't paying attention, we'll continue the cycle with our own children.

Someone has to break the cycle. Why not you? Why not me? Our children have enough problems to solve without us putting burdens on them that we can carry and conquer ourselves.....

Anyway, I'm glad I took the time to empty my camera because I found these pics and this video.

I hope this post is still around for my grandchildren to see how wonderful their parents are, and as a reminder for my children to see how wonderful being carefree and childlike is.

A big thank you to my sister (the psychologist) who sent us these glasses. I wonder if she ever puts them on during one of her sessions? I don't think I would be able to resist doing it.

Hooray 4 Today!

Nutty Dad & Daughter Two ~ Together

We never know what memories our children are going to take with them into adulthood. All we can do is make sure they have as many happy ones to choose from as possible. This doesn't take a lot of money or even a lot of time.

All it seems to take is you and them together in that moment.

The key is to be together....two together.....experiencing what is happening in that moment together with each other.

A few moments after I posted "The Nutty Dad & Daughter" I clicked on another video that was even funnier. I chuckled while she giggled. I became Professor Kelp and asked her to dance with me to this "toe-tapper". She said, "Yes!", and asked me to dance on the bed with her.

We danced and danced and danced, falling down in exhaustion. I wanted to post this video and include a few words about how easy it is for anyone to take the time to create Heaven on Earth right now, and create happy memories that allow us to return there in the future, especially when the two are not together.....perhaps for forever.

As I started to post it Sofia asked me to watch the rest of the movie with her. I did, putting the laptop down and wrapping her up in my arms. As she fell asleep I just looked at her, whispering, "Daddy loves you", and thanking her for being in my life.

Heaven is not someplace I'll go to when I die if I've been good. Heaven is right here, right now. And even though Sofia is gone right now, she is right here in my arms again, and I am in Heaven again......all from choosing to be with her right in the moment.

These pictures are from one day after school last month. It was about that time last year she was withdrawn from my school. It is about this time this year that I treasure every day she's with me.....

This year, this day, this moment.........That's all we ever have...and it can be really good.

Watch what happens about 30 seconds into the video.


The Nutty Dad & Daughter

Sofia and I are watching the original version of The Nutty Professor with Jerry Lewis. When I imitate the voices of Professor Kelp and Dr. Warfield she holds her stomach in laughter.

This is our favorite part, and she dances on the bed to it over and over again. Watch the lady in the green near the end. She can barely stop herself from breaking out in laughter.


This is My Boy

My son is one of the youngsters caught using the "F" word that inspired my "The 'F' Word" post. Middle School is full of this word, probably because middle schoolers entering pubescent adolescence are full of insecurities.

Surrounded by classmates who have already started to stop dreaming and doing big, their animalistic/human nature absurdly tries to keep others from continuing to follow their own dreams to freedom. If someone doesn't reawaken their self-worth, they will continue to do this as adults.

Crabs in a trap do this. Once the food is gone, and some crabs try to leave through the opening at the top of the trap, other crabs will keep pulling them back down. The harder the crabs fight to get out, the harder the others try and stop them, even pulling off their legs if they have to.

Brosden can do things physically most others can't do. He saw this scene from "Singin' in the Rain" long ago and joined gymnastics and cheer leading to learn how to do it. He loves to have fun and and likes putting smiles on others' faces as he does flips and somersaults off the walls at school.

However, a few insecure kids feel even less secure about their own abilities as they watch him, and instead of asking him how they can learn to do it too, they are trying to make him feel less about himself by spreading ugly rumors. He is now the gay cheer leader at school, and choosing to fight back by using the "F" word.

Wednesday night I showed him the clip from "Roadhouse", where undersized bar bouncer Patrick Swayze is constantly being told he's not big enough to be a bouncer. His reply is, "opinions vary". Other peoples' opinions don't matter when our own opinion of ourselves is strong. When we don't feel good about ourselves, other peoples' opinions about us mean everything.

The next morning on our walk with Shanghai we talked some more. We talked about how instead of dreading today he could look forward to it because he feels good enough about himself to know he can look at his attackers and say, "opinions vary".

Instead of his bullies making him look bad, Brosden can keep his cool and use the same situation to make himself look even better and more admirable for not attacking back or using the "F" word. He can also feel enough self-worth to know he does not have to put up with abuse, and can go to a counselor to get the bullying to stop without feeling weak.

As we talked he kept finding different types of sticks to bring back to the house. He told me I should find some too. I told him I was enjoying finding my son.

Who he was.....

What he was feeling...

And how much I really loved him....

I told him that on these walks, "I find you."

He felt so good he raised his sticks in the air and shouted, "I am Spartacus!"

This is my boy. He's the one in the middle of the video and the blur that flies across the screen. I am proud of him not because he can do this. I am proud of him for learning how to do something he wanted to learn how to do. And I am proud of him as he learns to keep following his heart no matter what others think.

This is my boy. I'm here for him as he develops the inner strength to resist giving up on his dreams, and increases his determination to make more of them come true.

Only by having the courage to freely pursue his dreams will he ever be truly free.


The "F" Word

Either I'm getting older or the world's getting more vulgar, but I am surprised by the use of the "F" word at younger and younger ages.

This is a powerful word, yet is said with the same intensity as if one was saying, "Oh, darn!". No, NO! A powerful word should only be used in powerfully emotional situations. If a child is being beaten and abused and their spirit is dying you say, "F" NO! I WILL NOT let this happen!

If the world's pressures are crushing in upon you and telling you your greatest dreams can't happen, you positively and powerfully give the world of doubt and negativity the finger and say, "F " what I'm told can't be done. I'm going to create new worlds of possibility for my fellow man by showing what CAN BE DONE!

And in the midst of powerfully pleasurable passion, the ecstatic orgasmic state that takes you completely out of your mind and to the height of your senses, you feel it utter out of your deepest being, escaping from your throat as if you're speaking in tongues, and say in shouts and whispers..........F!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rarely does anyone feel deeply enough or experience life passionately enough to use this word, especially the young trying to be cool or the adult who is simply frustrated.

This is a word reserved for the fully courageous, and the fully alive. You have to earn the right to use it.


I'm Free

Love this song......It was my lil sister's favorite back in college and it played in my head as I was playing with Brosden this weekend

Music Playlist at MixPod.com

Our freedom comes to us every second of each new day....our freedom to choose empowering or disempowering thoughts......to hope or to hate.....to surpass expectations or to stress excessively about them

One of the biggest goals I have as a father and teacher is to strengthen the inner core of a child to the point where they not only feel they can handle the expectations put on them now, but to chew them up and spit them out......far surpassing them, and unleashing their freedom at higher and higher levels with each new gain in self-confidence.

The way to do this without turning then into mini-adult stress mongers or ego maniacs (I'm only OK as my grades say I am) is to wake up their hearts with everything they already are and everything they are capable of becoming. Then connect that to their brain's inexhaustible capacity to make sense of what it's learning and you have unusual success (EVERY child growing and succeeding, some at ridiculously high levels).

One student scored a 04% on a beginning-of-the-year science assessment. She broke down in tears as she stressed about how little she knew now and how much she had to learn. Her tears were her answer. I told her the depth of her emotion was the key to not only catching up, but overcoming, but she had to trust me, and use that depth of emotion to give me everything she had. She was going to have to bring it in high levels everyday.

She has brought it, and has an 86% average on the last 4 science tests. That's over a 2000% growth, all coming from using her freedom to feel deeply, desire and dream greatly, and do bigger than she ever has. (the kids practicing yoga, or just being kids, I can't remember which)

When we take full responsibility for our situations (grades, jobs, relationships) we become fully free....to think clearly and only on what WE WANT TO HAPPEN, and to focus our actions completely on creating that dream and desire into existence..........and at unbelievable levels.

When we learn to do this as a child, using our freedom to become new creations, we have a great chance of doing this as an adult as our dreams and desires change and evolve. And if we don't learn it in our childhood, well then we are free to begin learning how to do it by practicing it in each passing second of each new day.....

Don't be afraid of your freedom

Become a new creation

Dream Big

Do even Bigger


S.M.I.L.E. Right Now

I'm looking for a pony-tail holder to get the hair out of my face for my workout, and I find a $5 Super Target discount card instead. I want to be upset because I just took the kids shopping yesterday and I could have used it.........but then I smile, because I imagine giving it to the kids on Date Night with Dad this week for a trip to get ice cream.

Yesterday morning I was getting annoyed because I misplaced my water bottle cap. To be fair, I had already been up for hours and had just finished 6,000 lines of lesson planning for science, and was physically and mentally drained....... but then I smiled, because it was this effort that created 13 "A's", 3 "B's", 2 "C's", 1 "D", and only 2 "F's" on Friday's reading test, and I knew lives were changing.

Yesterday afternoon I was looking for a D battery for an experiment to do today at school. I KNEW I had one and part of me started to get frustrated........but then I smiled, because I found my water bottle top I had been looking for earlier.

When we got back from the store Bella dropped a bag of sugar in some water in the sink. I really felt myself getting uptight because every dollar counts and I wanted to vent by lecturing, preaching or complaining about how she should be more careful. But then I smiled, because my daughter counting more to me than money made me realize she's already telling herself to be more careful, and doesn't need me implying that she's bad or wrong and that her self-esteem isn't worth a bag of sugar to me.

And then I smiled some more, as together we saved as much of it as we could, and she thanked me for not getting upset with her and started singing as she walked away.

And I smiled even more when she came back in asking me for the red cup on the top shelf so she could get a drink. I smiled because that's the cup I finished putting the sugar in, and when she looked in it her grin was as wide as mine, seeing the humor in a situation that could easily have gone the other way. And as I turned to finish the dishes, she wrapped her small arms around me and gave me a GIANT hug! And I smiled Big Time!

Finally, as I was putting the dishes away and opened the silverware drawer, laughter ran up and down the inside of my entire body, as I saw the D battery I had been looking for earlier. I don't know why I or the kids put it in there, but it didn't matter. I am so far from perfect that I find humor in it, so much so that some criticize me for not taking things more seriously. I smile when I say I don't care what others think of me, I care what others think of themselves.

And I care what I think of myself. My life isn't "perfect", but it IS........because in this imperfect life I smile much more than I frown, and most of those I interact with do too, which makes for one fun and exciting day after another.

I'm excited to wake up and challenge my fears to create my ideal life. I'm excited to work out and strengthen my body so it can keep up with my spirit. I'm excited to study and be more enlightened than I was the day before. I'm excited to teach and elevate the hearts and minds of my students.

I'm excited to overcome challenges and solve problems in a way that makes the world a better place to live. I'm excited to dream my biggest dreams and willing to become more in order to get them. I'm excited to see my kids and feel the most precious, powerful, and life-sustaining emotion of all.....love.

And I'm so tired from all this excitement during the day that I'm excited to go to bed. It may not be heaven, but it feels heavenly to crawl into those cool sheets and wrap my arms around those big pillows.

I find myself filled with such an excitement for living, laughing and loving that it comes back to me in such an abundance I can't help but give it away to others.

Positivity has as much momentum as negativity, where you feel you're overwhelmed, out of control, and just can't help yourself from saying and doing hurtful and destructive things to yourself and others you later wished you hadn't.

When you continually focus on the good, the powerful, and the positive.....you can't help but find the laughter and love in nearly every daily experience.....and you find yourself saying and doing loving and constructive things you're glad you did, and you feel so alive because of it!

I still haven't found a pony-tail holder (maybe I should borrow Bella's monkey), but I can feel her arms wrapped around me again right now, and I am smiling!

This may not be the perfect acronym, but it's perfect for now:

S.M.I.L.E. Right Now...................because Something that really Matters in Life Exists Right Now............In this Very Moment

Let it make you smile


Cry Like a Man

I have the movie "Legends of the Fall" on while I'm working this morning, and just saw the scene where Tristan is crying at his brother's grave.

There's a difference between crying like a baby, for what you want.....And crying like a man, for what you've lost.

For three years I cried at the loss of my children from my everyday life. Now I see that immense pain as proof that not only is love very real, but it is as powerful as it is painful.

It was letting this love flow out of my heart and into my head that released me from hell. And it was in letting all this love I felt in me flow out into the world around me that turned my hell into a heaven. (My godson from Ohio who came down to visit this summer)

I still cry sometimes when I think of my children, like when I saw this video. But it's not out of sadness. It's as if the simple thought of them has placed so much new love in my heart that it can't be contained, and bursts out of me in gasps and tears.

*Ironically, I just now got an email from my aunt with the subject line "Sad, sad news". I opened it worried it was about Grandma and wondered if last night was our last "I love you". It was about her dog, Mr. Chips, who passed away this morning.

I just called and she began crying, and when my dad got on the phone he told me his brother's mother-in-law also just passed away.

Death will happen, to us all. I say until that time comes.......we live in love......in so much love that it bursts out of us in gasps and tears, and hurts very badly when what we love is gone.

I'm OK with crying like a man.....because it means I've loved like one.