Open the Greatest Gift

I truly have received the best Christmas, Hannukah, and Id-e-Milad presents this year from my children and students. No matter what their religion or race or color of their hair, they have all given back to me what I have given to them.......seeing themselves for what they truly are.....

Beautiful, possible, and capable of anything they set their minds to

They have given me the shining of their inner beauty.........and as I realize what they have already done in just half a year I feel as if all the holiday lights are shining within me

The math class began the year as the lowest performing students on last year's state tests. On an online program they are now number one in the school and the district, and second in the county among all classes. They are also ranked as the 40th highest among all classes in the state and the 18th highest of all 5th grade classes.

THIS IS HUGE and VERY IMPORTANT for all of us as it could and should lead to the evolution of mankind! How does a group of students/people change so fast in such a short time?

Because they BELIEVED they could, and learned to use those POWERFUL FEELINGS to guide their thoughts towards a POWERFUL PURPOSE.

In reading more students now score A's than anything else, and most do it without sitting in their seats all week being "taught". Instead they spend their time learning about the things THEY WANT TO, and take the tests "cold", seeing the story for the first time, and still ace it.

****(This is a solution for the age-old complaint, "You can lead a horse to water but can't make him drink." - While this is true, what you can do is find out what he or she is thirsty for. What do they want to know more about? If they can master the traditional curriculum (ace the tests) they set themselves free from being chained to their desks by it.)

In social studies and science students tell me they can't wait to get to school to work on and show their projects, one telling me he dreams of being able to come to school at 2am to have the time he wants to work on his boat.

And they have done all this in less time than any other class I've taught. Instead of one group spending all day integrating their subjects, they have to do it in @ one hour then move on to another class.

What it's taken is an accelerated process of what it means to truly dream big (believe in the beauty of yourself) and do big. I've hollered the hades out of them and hugged more heaven into them faster and harder than I've ever done with any class before.

Three different times I've seen my maker beckoning me home before politely refusing the invitation. (Thank you Ray - I needed help refusing one of these requests and you were there to do it. And thank you son, hugging me two years ago after you made a mistake and promised me you wouldn't think you were a mistake because of it.)

It is OK to "work ourselves to death"....for what? To make the boss happy, pay our bills, provide for our children, make as much money as we can, etc.

And we admire our greatest heroes, our sports champions, who "play in pain"....for what? To win a game.

The point is we are all so much more than what we're living, and have been living for thousands of years. We all live, we all sometimes hurt, and we all die. The question we don't ask ourselves is what are we going to live for, suffer in pain for, and eventually die for?

If we're living for more than individual fame and glory, to bring out the best in those around us, to help them see and develop their most beautiful and powerful selves........then we're living for is the most valuable and powerful thing of all........LOVE for more than ourselves.

And what we're one day going to die for is something very valuable and worthwhile.....that leads to the evolution of mankind where more people succeed at becoming more evolved

I just asked Sofia, "What does Daddy live for?"


"What is Daddy going to die for?"


"Are you OK with that?"

"Of course", she just said with a confused look (validating once again that we do know the truth as youth, before it is "taught" out of us and forgotten during adulthood).

"No Dad, you live for money!", she just said with a mocking grin.

With real sadness I told her that's what most of us do end up living and dying for, with short breaks in between called vacations and holidays.

Teachers can also do this math program and I accomplished in one week what it took some to do in 11 months. Very quickly I moved to #1 in the state and 7th in the country. This can only be explained by the fact that I teach to many students individually at the same time, causing my brain to adapt and grow very quickly on a daily basis. 

This is the second program that ranks me as one of the smartest people in the country (the other one in the world). And my mother thought I might be mentally handicapped when I was younger, but so was Einstein and Edison.

I'm thinking so-called "geniuses" are simply those whose brains resist the unnatural filling of its neurons with memorized information and instead learn TO USE their brains to think, connect, solve and create at faster and faster rates. And it's very possible that the smartest of us might still only be using 10% of our brains.

This is what brain plasticity is, and what we're ALL capable of, which the students in my classes are proving as an undeniable fact year-after-year-after-year.

If education doesn't change because of this, then despite how loving, smart and strong I have become, I have failed in becoming nothing more than a poster on someone's wall in the future for someone who probably doesn't need the motivation anyway.

And education will continue to be dotted with teachers who believe they can only hope to reach at least one student each year, and those rare teachers who reach all students in at least one way.

Every single one of us is deserving of having the best brought out in us, each and every year, and going on to spend our lives, living and dying to change the world for the better in our own very special and very powerful way.

We change history by changing the future, and we change the future by changing the present. It's a beautiful thing to see the people around you change and see how beautiful they truly are...

Thank you for doing this kids.

From all of us to all the world,

Happy Holidays

May the best present you open this holiday be yourself.

**Definitely watch this.....every day if possible.....and FEEL it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nv4mlFxLD90 (same clip but better quality - embedding disabled)

Another great and important clip from the movie about how the brain works


I'm Having a Geat Fatherhood

My children are always telling me how happy they are and thanking me for giving them a great childhood.

Tonight after a late-night game of basketball I thanked them for gving me a great fatherhood.

Life in itself is wonderful.

Life fully and happily lived is even more wonderful.

Thank you guys.



( The kids sitting in our favorite ice cream shop in Hilton Head, South Carolina.)

(Me standing in the same crik Abe Lincoln played in as a boy in Kentucky)


Winners Cry While Losers Whine and Wallow

One of my students asked if I saw the Florida/Alabama game last weekend (college football) and mentioned how the losing quarterback was crying at the end of the game. I told them that was because he (Tim Tebow) was a winner, and that winners cry when they lose because of how deeply they feel. It is this depth of feeling that makes them winners, in times of great frustration and of great happiness.

Mark Ingram cried when he won the Heisman Trophy tonight. Brosden cried after I spent 20 minutes the other day telling him he was better than how he was behaving for his mother. Sofia cried when she heard for the first time how on the day she was pulled out of my school 2 years ago I found out because I stopped by her class to give her a love note. Bella has teared up and so have I as one student after another tears up as I communicate very clearly they are more than they are giving and comes back the next day believing in themselves so much that they do things they've never done before.

And tonight my friend and neighbor told me how he cried at a movie he saw today. This guy is a champion tennis player and a champion Kindergarten teacher. He gets his students to believe in themselves and accomplish incredible things because he does in himself.

Anyway, it's just another random thought I thought I'd share before it passes through my head is soon forgotten because I didn't write it down.

Instead of pretending that you don't care, powerfully practice caring more.


You Think You're All That!

The day after the student with no electricity at home found a way to still do his online math assignment, his friend who also rarely does his homework became the next day's highest grower in terms of points earned. I noticed he was looking at his friend in amazement and pointed out to him that when he does go on the program he does well, which shows me he is very smart.

What further helped him believe in himself was that this observation/praise was coming from his teacher who was the number one teacher in the state on the program and in the top 10 of all teachers in the nation......and it was done in one week as opposed to teachers who have been on the program for 11 months.

So if his friend thinks he's capable of all that and his teacher thinks he's capable of all that....then why not believe he is capable of all that too?

When people "criticize" us by telling us "Oh you think you're all that!", what they are really telling us is that they themselves are feeling insecure at the moment, and our self-confidence is intimidating to them so much that they react by trying to put us down.

The truth is, if we don't believe we are capable of all that - all that growth, all that greatness - how are those around us supposed to believe they are capable of all that too?

The next day after that the student with no computer at home became the day's highest grower by going to the local library and using their computers. He is now the 3rd highest in class overall.....and he doesn't even have a computer at home. What he does have is belief in himself to find a way to overcome his problem.

Another student who has never been the player of the day in class has been our player of the day for the past three days in a row, and two of those days the player of the day for the entire school, and went from a 46% on the Fall county math test to a 96% on yesterday's Winter math test.

This great belief that nothing is impossible has spilled over to the rest of the class - there are 9 people with over 1,000 points on the program - and into the reading class which some of them are also in.On Friday's reading test the lowest score was a C, and there were more A's than any other grade (15 students kicked their desks out of the way by earning their freedom this week to work on projects they want to know more about....when I first started doing this only 2 or 3 were able to earn this freedom).

Yesterday we went outside to practice the vocab for this week's test by saying the word and its definition then running across the field to catch foam golf balls I was sling-shotting high into the air. Last week we used my late Grandfather's golf club, and the results speak for themselves.

And what the results say is that when you don't think you're all that it's not just you who suffers......It's the world around you that does too. If you stay small and afraid of criticism from insecure people, so do those around you. 

But the most important "Oh, Adam you think you're all that" was yesterday. For some reason when my son is with me he is an amazing person who is capable of amazing things, and doesn't need to be on his meds to do it.

And what have I heard? "Oh Adam. You think you're all that."

You better believe I do. He is my son! And if I as his father don't think I'm capable of helping him realize he is capable of all that......How is he suppossed to believe it and become it himself?

It's not what the world thinks of you that matters. It's what the world thinks of itself. It's time to show it that it's not about Me, but We.

Think Big! Be a hero for someone around you everyday.


Today We Become Heroes

One student who didn't do any work over break on the new online math program didn't have electricity. This is the same one who used to throw chairs and punch people. Because I do believe in him and want to protect who he's becoming, I said, "So? That's just an excuse. It's a pretty good one, but it still stopped you didn't it? This other student right here who doesn't have a computer went to his grandfather's a couple of days over break and had the second highest growth in class because of it. How about coming in with a stack of papers filled in with your work, telling me, "Mr. Stuart, I didn't have electricity in my home but I did have it in my heart. Look at what I did do."

What about doing math in the dirt with a stick? Go ahead and cry if u want. Refuse to do the classwork if u want. It's your life. It's your children you'll have to explain why you don't have electricity to as an adult because you didn't overcome the problem as a child.

You can't change the past. You can only change the future. Find a way!

He came up to me in the hallway during bus dismissal and told me his cousin was going to come over with his wireless laptop. I told him if he follows through, if he really does find a way to overcome a very real problem that would hold most people back, he breaks the cycle holding him back......and becomes the stuff movies are made of. All I was trying to do was help him break the cycle by building him into something bigger than the problems creating it.

Because whether or not a movie is actually made of this kid's life, he is the star actor in it. Is he acting with the courage, passion, and power he could and should be? Is he the hero in his own life? Or is he the villain?

The answer is, yes he is the hero. When I checked the progress this morning he grew enough to put him in the top 10 of the class in most growth yesterday.

And it just may have broken the cycle and changed his life because of what he had to overcome in order to do it.

The question for the rest of us now becomes, are we acting with the same courage as this 11-year old? And are we changing our lives because of it?

My uncle died yesterday. I bet he would take on any difficulty no matter how great just to be alive again.

Let's not wait until it's too late. What stopped us yesterday that we won't let stop us today? What obstacle or limiting belief can we overcome by having the courage of an 11-year old?

Let today the day we become heroes.


8,000 Years of Lessons Packed Into One

Watching a program involving Columbus' arrival to America and all the way back to the Incan Empire of 8,000 years ago. Man has been around for a long, long time, and I can't help but wonder how far we've really come, how much have we truly evolved and liberated ourselves in this time.....

What I do know is that all of my students are going to evolve as much as possible in the year that I have them. They are going to free themselves from limiting beliefs that hold them back, the ones that make them worry about not being enough and what others may think of them as they pursue their dreams.

A month ago on a Date Night With Dad I had to apologize to my kids and lay down in bed when we got home. I was having a stroke. I had to unplug myself so I couldn't give anymore and just shut down. By morning I was fine, but since then I've limited myself to being a dad, teaching and writing while I regained my strength.

No answering emails or responding to comments even when they made feel terrific and helped me heal. Instead I gave that energy to my kids and students. No thinking about what I didn't want or could be worried about. I simply didn't have the energy to waste it on anything that didn't make the situation better.

Today was the first day of our Thanksgiving Break, and I feel a rejuvenated sense of passion for what I do. The faces of my students appear often in my head, and I see such aliveness in their faces that I know I owe it to them to help them evolve into powerful, loving and passionate creatures.

Forget preparing them for just an end-of-the-year state test. We're studying 8,000 years of what human history has taught us to prepare for an end-of-our-lives test.

We're preparing ourselves to have the courage and intelligence to discover where else the world isn't flat, where else do we have accepted yet limiting beliefs of how life is and what we're capable of.

We are preparing to evolve for a lifetime......for all of time.


Fearless Entities After a Dream

As I passed out the math tests Friday morning I played the beginning of Korn's song "Blind", which after a slowly building crescendo asks the question, "ARE YOU READY?"

I was also wearing a shirt that said, "Go Hard or Go Home" from the insane bodybuilding clan called, "Animal", which I would point to when the students looked my way during the test.

I admire anyone who challenges the limits of what they can be, do or have. And as big as we can build ourselves externally through our  bodies, bank accounts and list of buddies who approve of us.......it is the size of our spirits that allows us to become gigantic on the inside, abundantly and richly alive, and believe in ourselves no matter what.

It is this state that allows us overcome seemingly impossible odds.......what can be only temporary limitations for ourselves.......and just as importantly........for others.

If humanity is going to evolve past the, "Look at me and what I can do" world......and into the "Look at we and what WE can do" world, we have to change from the inside-out, and BELIEVE no amount of difficulty is too heavy for us to lift if we're willing to work together to develop the strength to lift it.

The student who is finally dreaming big but able to do nothing on math tests can't even add.On Monday she was sure 6 + 2 = 7. It is well-known fact that it impossible to teach someone 5th-grade math when they're only on a Kindergarten level..........unless....

"If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning."

.......the impossible is changed to in-possible and the teaching goes internal in an unbelievably effective way. Since she trusts me I was allowed to wander around in her head this week, acting as electrician rewiring her neural network until she was able to begin understanding the basic math concepts that would allow her to figure out more advanced problems than simple addition.

We played, "I Have a Dream" and some Buddhist Zen meditation music for the rest of the test, and as time ran out I went over to her. I knelt down in front of the desk and looked at her answers. I reached my arms over the desk and wrapped her in my arms. Last week she got a 0%. This week she got a 40%.

Last week another student got his highest score, a 38%, and when another student said, "So what? You still failed", he said back, "So? I got a new high score. I'm growing!". I smiled and it was as if my heart could take a rest because the change had happened not just from an external grade, but from an internal change in his inner wisdom and strength.

And I KNOW this will happen with this girl too.

In fact the male student understands the concept of place value so well now that he's going to his former 4th and 3rd grade teachers next week to teach a lesson to their students. I heard these two teachers also cared for and pushed him like I do, so I've been bringing them into my head and heart to teach him this year; three teachers for just one student. And now he'll be teaching in the same class where just two years ago he had to be removed for punching kids in the face or throwing a chair across the room on a weekly basis.

"I believe that life is a journey, often difficult and sometimes incredibly cruel, but we are well equipped for it if only we tap into our talents and gifts and allow them to blossom."
Les Brown

And while all 23 students in class failed the first test 2 1/2 months ago, of the ones who took #6 on Friday only 9 are still failing (but growing), 3 scored a D (including the former chair-thrower), 1 scored a C, 2 scored B's, and 4 scored A's (one whose previous high was a 73% scored a 98%, and the student who scored a 100% last week did it again - freeing her to work on advanced math projects as if she was in a gifted class).

"You don't get in life what you want;
you get in life what you are."
Les Brown

The most beautiful, special and powerful thing about the results of all this newly created belief and ability, and the fact that it has created fearless entities after their dreams, is that it goes far beyond the walls of the  classroom...

It goes back into all those who have ever believed in them........and out into the universe for anyone wanting to believe in themselves more.............and for the rest of all time.

This is why "WE" are so important.

"Believing in yourself is not for you; it's for every person who has touched your life in a significant way and for every person your life will touch the same way five minutes from now, or five centuries from now."
Jaye Miller


Dear Mr. Stuart (actual letter from student)

While I was writing the "Dear Mr. Stuart" poem last weekend for the student who scored a 0% on her math test, she was writing her own actual letter to me, which she gave me on Monday morning.

"hello Mr Staurt I was thinking on the other day when we took Big 20# Math test and I noticed I am failing Math class and I really want to pass 5th grade math I don't want to fail math I want to work harder then I did Before I want to Be aBle to help you sometimes and I missed you when I was ABsent that Day tell every Body I missingfriends. But I Still Just want to Pass 5th grade Math. Please forgive me

I Love you Mr Staurt

Nov 10th

You rock"

I told her I was going to keep this letter in my pocket until she got an A on one of these 5th-grade level tests, then shared my poem with her.

Today she takes another test, and we we find out if I've learned how to teach her better, and if she'll have better results on today's test. Dreaming Big, believing v just wishing things can be better than they are, is step one.

Step two is Doing Big.

Step two happens today


Dear Mr. Stuart

The student who scored a zero on Friday's math test can't even add simple numbers, which means she and I have to literally start from the beginning (kindergarten level). This is a lot of work to do in only an hour a day, but what about the other 20+ students who also need to be taught? Three of them are on advanced individual lesson plans. (Former student who has one of the most supportive parents I've ever seen. How can you not continue this support in the classroom?)

How does one doctor effectively cure more than one patient at a time? My answer is by the great capacity of our minds (on average we only use 3-5% of it). So even though I teach alone, I don't teach alone mentally. I bring the ESE teacher into class by constantly asking myself, "What accommodations would Ms. Wilson be providing right now?".

I also bring in the gifted teacher by asking, "What project would Mrs. Grimes provide to this student is she was gifted?"

And one student who is on an advanced lesson plan is a great teacher herself, and I've noticed particularly wants to help this failing student. Last week I told her mother that although her daughter was getting A's from me in reading and math I was failing in my job to reach her on deeper levels of thought and ability. She feels lucky and unworthy and still tries to remember what the answers are instead of becoming smarter by thinking what the answers could be and then evaluating her answer to make sure it's right.

I've learned to first focus on and deeply appreciate the things I'm doing right in life (including pushing past my imagined limits yet waking up still alive for another day...."Dude. You made it! And you know what they say about that which doesn't kill you....That means I can do EVEN MORE today.......I must be insane....actually just in case this is my last day I'm living fully and fearlessly....that's my insanity and I can live with that :-)"

This is what gives me the confidence to also appreciate where I can improve and look at where I'm honestly failing, and believing that today is the day I'll succeed.

From Friday's tests I could tell that this student DID BELIEVE she was able to think on deeper levels  as I watched her evaluate her answers in depth (evaluation is the highest level of thought as opposed to getting questions right because you have memorized the answers).

From this I know that this succeeding student now has even more to offer the failing student.

And what can I bring into the mix? The same thing I brought to the A student I'm now succeeding with on a deeper and longer lasting level: unflinching, uncompromising belief!

Dear Mr. Stuart
You silly, silly man

While I prove to you that I can't
You continue to believe that I can

Yes Dear Student
This is all true

But you're forgetting one thing
I know the Real You

And because at least four people will be teaching this one child today, all of our combined belief, intelligence and expertise will make this a very, very good day for her.

And that's how you turn an impossible situation (one teacher/doctor trying to truly teach/treat every student/patient at the same time) into a possible situation (four doctors treating the one patient)

This is how you change lives for the better.


Waking Up With More to Give

MySpace Playlist at MixPod.com

By the time I went to bed last night I was completely drained and dead.

When I woke up this morning I was completely refreshed and alive.


Anyone can carry his or her burden however hard until nightfall.  Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day.   Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely till
the sun goes down.  And this is all that life really means.

— R.L. Stevenson 

(Author of such works as Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and A Child's Garden of Verses......and by a man who, a victim of poor health, found himself constantly at death's door. He died over 100 years ago at the age 44 but is still among the most popularly read writers of all time.)

I feel that by giving 100% of yourself to what you're doing during your waking hours, you give back to yourself 100% during your sleeping hours. 

Millions of our cells are being shed every second, and they are being replaced by millions more through mitosis in the same amount of time. Even if you conservatively adjust this process to one million per minute, that's 60 million new cells being created for every hour of sleep you get.

During the day not everything goes as planned. Before yesterday's math test the student who stormed out of class in the beginning of the year in pain from my poor teaching method with her (I dropped the hammer instead of realizing she needed the hug) wrote this:

"Hello Mr. Staurt (she still misspells my name) thank you for really helping me and when I got in trouble (a few weeks ago she lost it and started throwing chairs in the cafeteria) you hugged me and I really was joyful and I really want to pass Mr. Staurt's class and go to 6th grade and I know I can pass because you teached me how to do math.

THANK YOU very much"

And on a separate piece of paper she filled it with: 


She has changed from a person believing very little in herself and her world, to now dreaming very big. And guess what she scored on yesterday's 5th-grade level test?

A zero......nothing

And guess how I felt after I graded it?

A nothing. I had given her and her fellow students everything I had, and now there was nothing left in me to give. Even though the average student in class increased their grade by 17% and we had our first 100% score of the year, my best teaching scored a zero with her. She and I had both failed, and I went to bed with that fact. 

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those spoor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
— Theodore Roosevelt

(For Teddy character was ultimately about action and struggle, rather than good intentions and reflection)

 And since through my own struggles I've developed a powerful ability to focus my thoughts on what I want to see in the world, the cells that had nothing left to give died away during the night and were replaced by new cells full of power and hope and new intelligence of how I can help her succeed.

At the rate of at least 60 million an hour.

Next week is going to be the best week of her life. This is the fact I woke up to.

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

(poet, philosopher, lecturer, and essayist who based many of his works from the observations he made in his journal as a boy.......Adding to my belief that we know the answers to life as children, forget them as adults, and remember them in old age)

“One life on this earth is all that we get, whether it is enough or not enough, and the obvious conclusion would seem to be that at the very least we are fools if we do not live it as fully and bravely and beautifully as we can.”
— Frederick Buechner 

(novelist and preacher who as a boy overcame the loss of his father to suicide, fueling a literary search for truth, joy, home and courage)




Chapter 10 ~ The Power of The Parent - Kicking the Desk Out of the Way

Before I came to teach at my children's school (and a few years before the famous, "This is Sparta!" scene), I was sitting around a table at the inner city school where I taught. The purpose of the meeting was to see how we could help a student who kept failing, partly because he had severe ADHD but was unable to take medication because his body rejected all types of medicine diagnosed.

One by one, everyone around the table said how they were doing everything possible and that his failure wasn't their fault. The parents, divorced and full of animosity, began blaming each other. I spoke up and said he was failing because I was failing to reach him. I confessed I didn't know what to do, but that I would keep trying to find a way, and that it was my fault.

It was as if everyone breathed a sigh of relief and sent all of the blame into me. I felt physically sick to my stomach and wondered why I had said that. I felt dizzy as we ended the meeting and I got up to leave.

Outside the door the boy's father was waiting for me. He told me no one had ever taken the blame for his son's failure and began to cry. He put his hand on my shoulder and told me I had his permission to do whatever it took to help his son.

Three months later this student (who I'll call Ant, which would make you smirk at my "creativity" if you knew his real name) still wasn't paying attention or working hard in class consistently. The state tests were in a month so time was running out. I remembered what his father said so I mentioned that since Ant wasn't using his desk perhaps we should get it out of his way.

I told him what I was going to do might be a little scary, but I was going to try something that might wake him up enough so I could work with the real Ant that was capable of focusing and making sense of what he was trying to learn.

I asked him if he trusted me. Because I had his parents' support at home he believed in and trusted me too (the mother also came forth later and thanked me). I asked him to move away from his desk and said I was going to show him who he really was. What he was really capable of. That he had ALL the power and strength he needed ALREADY INSIDE of him.

Then I shouted, "THIS IS WHO YOU ARE!"..........and kicked his desk so hard that it flew across the room and smashed against the wall.

He had tears in his eyes, but so did his father. He was now awake, and alive. And I had the opening I needed to reach him and teach him.

Yes, it put me in a storm of criticism from parents of other students who didn't know why I did that and didn't bother to ask, but instead called me "mad".

But instead of kicking Ant out of the way as another hopeless cause, I kicked and smashed his limitations and excuses out of the way, freeing him from his slavery of ADHD. In return, he overcame his limitations and  BECAME something he never had been before. In one month he became so powerful he did pass the state tests and graduate into the 6th grade (by one point which makes me wish I had done it earlier).

As teachers it is our job to reach every single one of our students, to stand and fight. Most of us stop trying because we have one parent criticizing us. All we need is one who isn't.

(to be continued...)

(side note to remind myself that this was my 1,000th post on the Samurai Teaching blog)


Chapter 9 ~ The Power of the Parent - Why Educators Stop Trying to Really Educate


Why would someone give everything they have to another person? All of their love, all of their belief, all of their time, energy, effort and strength............Why would someone give their life to another?

The answer is simple......because the person they are giving all this to is that important to them, and to the world.

In education, "that person" is the student. If that student was the teacher's own child, there's no doubt that as that child's parent, everything would be given to their full development. The love of a parent for their child is enormous and never-ending.

But even if a student isn't the teacher's own child, they are somebody's child. They are loved and believed in and the most precious treasure in the world to somebody else. And doesn't that make them deserving of all of you and your best treatment of them? If you're a doctor treating a patient who isn't your own child shouldn't you treat them with the same love and effectiveness as if they were?

And if a student's parent(s) has forgotten how precious their child is, shouldn't you remember it for them, and treat and develop their child so well they do things so incredible and fantastic that it wakes up and reminds their parents how truly capable and special their child really is?

This isn't easy to do of course, and the reason why it's rarely done, because it's not easy and takes an enormous amount out of a person to even try to do, let alone do correctly (I just noticed I italicized the words "not", "even" and "try", which put together is "not even try") . These teachers not even trying are good people, very loving people, but very tired and worn out.

Add parents blaming you as the cause for their child's lack of success and you begin to wonder why you're even trying.....and once that thought is asked enough times it begins to take root, and eventually does grow into not even trying to truly educate students more than just telling them how to solve and memorize problems to prepare them to pass a test.

At least everybody looks good.

The only problem is that a human filled with knowledge is no more impressive or valuable than a laptop computer with access to the internet.....I have one for $300. There is no way I can let anyone leave me being worth no more than a few hundred bucks. I don't care how good I look.

Educating someone in the real sense of the word, getting them to think for themselves and teaching them how to solve problems on their own that they haven't been "taught", or told, how to do, to be able to deal with and overcome failure so it's never more than temporary.......this is worlds more difficult and challenging than teaching someone how to memorize knowledge to get an A on a test.

And it requires you to create what's not yet there; new worlds of possibility for yourself and others, literally changing the history of those involved.

(The power of the parent to help or hurt their child's education is so great there's more on this to come.....Like having the parents' permission to kick the desk out of the way.)


Le Fou Rire d'une Ballerine écolière

(The Giggles of a Schoolgirl Ballerina)

I went to Sofia's ballet and tap practices yesterday (her mother has taken over payments). As we both sat there watching this beautiful little girl we created out of love.....beauty and love found its way from my worn-out heart to my whimsical head:

We should strive to develop our inner beauty, not to attract another or convince the world of our beauty, but to convince the world of its own.

The beauty of watching children at play is seeing spirit at play. As adults we need to ask ourselves, "Are our own spirits at play?"

We must find our own music, or at least be convinced that we DO have music to play. And it's not what we think the world is telling us we should be playing. It's playfully listening to our own internal rhythms and letting them play within.......to the right people and the ones who need it, our music will sound like a symphony.....and it will be beautiful.

Every moment deserves to be appreciated.....felt.....with 100% of yourself dedicated and committed to this moment.

There's more (small notepad full that Sofia's mom gave me with a grin after watching me fill up both sides of a scrap piece of paper)....but I have to get back to recording and analyzing student data for today's lesson plans. I know it's an insane pace for an already overwhelmed teacher to put themselves through, but for what it's doing to the minds and spirits of these students it's worth it.

The reading class has gone from 4 A's and 14 Failures on the first test to 20 A's and 1 Failure on the latest (and this student has gone from a 23% to a 53%).

Math class has seen an 18% growth rate in average student performance and science, those poor kids in science.......they are going through such an assault on their brains having to demonstrate true understanding and ability that EVERY single one has had their grades drop to F's.........and are now just beginning to come out of this temporary failure.....but much smarter and with hearts beating with deeper beliefs in themselves than they ever had to have.

(It's easy to believe you're smart when you're getting A's.....Can you have the courage to believe in yourself when you're failing?)

Why anyone wants to be in my class I really don't know. It is a lot of fun, but it's brutal. You CAN grow bigger than your obstacles, and by God, Buddha, Allah and YOURSELF, you WILL!

***By the way, Sofia told me yesterday morning that parents were allowed to watch that afternoon's practice and asked me to come. I told her I had a full afternoon scheduled but I would move things around so I could make the time to be there. She said, "I like when you make the time Daddy."

Life is not confusing, just difficult. What's important is making the time for what's important.

Had I not done this I wouldn't have had this experience that led to these thoughts and feelings.

But how do you find the time to make time when life is already full and you're already exhausted? You can't always keep adding one more thing.

Yes, but these are all thoughts of what you can't do. Replace them with thoughts of what you CAN do. You CAN quiet yourself and get rid of pointless thoughts and emotions like stress, worry, doubt, fear and how tired you are. It doesn't matter if they're all true, it's not helping by focusing and hanging onto them.........and this "truth" can be only temporary by creating a new truth for yourself.

I hadn't gone to bed before 4 the past two mornings. I was so truly tired that I started to fall asleep within 5 minutes of watching her class warm up. I emptied my head of thoughts of how tired I was and replaced them with appreciation of seeing the inner beauty radiating out from my daughter.

Before I knew it I was so re-energized at Sofia's practice that I was feeling thoughts that my head was telling me, "Write that down!"

(I do the same thing at school during breaks by visiting other classes (like Mrs. Iiames, Sofia's 1st grade teacher last year, and her neighbor Ms. Pollard.) Sometimes I just stand outside their doors and let the love and playful spirits I see radiating from their classes come into me.)

To other parents I must have looked as if I had an abundance of energy.....which I guess I did after spending 2-3 minutes focusing on the beauty right in front of me v the tiredness I felt physically. My spirit had taken over.....proving that physical beauty and physical strength is nothing compared to who we really are on the deeper sub-atomic levels of our thoughts and emotions.......

This is our consciousness entering the dense matter of our cells and molecules - or what we call spirit.

And spirit is what allows us to find the love to believe more and the energy to be more.........

And to hear your little girl giggle in ballet class.