Today.....today I saw true magic happen.....magic manifested from 7 months of having a belief in someone that was greater in their disbelief in themselves

And today was a day of breaking through barriers and crossing into a new world of reality for one young man......a boy not predicted to pass 5th grade.........a man in the making fighting to be the prophet of his own future

This is what he scored on 5 on-grade level reading tests, with the same logical reasoning and complete explanations as the gifted students are required to give me:

100%, 100%, 88%, 100%, 63%

I think on the last test he went into a state of "It's too good to be true" and started to doubt himself. Of course he has never worked this hard in one day before, and he tuckered his brain out pretty good.

As I'm remembering watching him jump high in the air with great excitement mid-morning, and coming to pick the class up at lunch and seeing him sitting at the same table he used to get sent to because he was always in trouble......but this time he had sat himself there to do just two more problems he wouldn't normally have done......

I say to him......with tears coming to my eyes....out of joy.....out of exhaustion that has paid off......





For a long time I've had people asking me why I give so much to my teaching. Lately I've been asking myself that too, more so than usual.

For 21 students I'm planning individual lesson plans each day for at least 3 subjects (reading, science and math). That's 63 different plans a day, 200-300 papers to grade a night, inputting their data in spreadsheets to assess their progress, then planning the next day's work for each one.

My eyes hurt, my fingers numb, and all 3 of my home computers have frozen up at one point or another, causing me to put my head in my hands and wonder why I'm doing this, telling myself I can't keep this up.......and then retaking control and overcoming the negatives by thinking and feeling of all the positives of why I am doing this...........because they are worth it.

And the breakthrough for the students, for myself, for education, for the world........... of what we all CAN do and be, is right here, right now.

Just now I assessed on-grade level tests of four students who are far below grade level and aren't supposed to be able to achieve these scores:

100%, 90%, 75%, 100%

I know right now I don't have the time to write, but I do have the compassion to share with anyone who is listening of what we all can do and become. It IS possible and it IS happening on a daily basis.

We have 60,000 thoughts a day. Can you imagine the power of all these thoughts on what you DO want to see in your life and ONLY what you want?

We have 100 billion neurons capable of making 10,000 connections each, yet 95% of our brains are left unused. Can you imagine how easily we could overcome all of our fears, doubts and current lack of ability if we use just a fraction more of our brains than we currently do?

There is enough potential power in each one of our bodies to power the city we live in for an entire week. Do you know how powerful and energetic we become when we turn that stored, or potential power, into used, or kinetic energy?.......And use that to TAKE MASSIVE ACTION that DOES CREATE what our hearts dream of and minds imagine?

Add all these together and we are in scientific reality unquestionably UNLIMITED BEINGS. It is time for us all to stop living such unnecessarily limited lives. It is hurting the world. It's allowing terrorism to grow and nature to die. It's time for us to shine and develop the light within us so brightly and brilliantly that it lights up all those around us.......

.....Where the focus is on the light, not the dark

It may not be easy, especially at first.....but the more you practice taking control of your own thoughts and feelings the easier it becomes, and allows you to push deeper and deeper into this amazing world of illuminated possibility.

That alone is the reason for pushing oneself and those you care about to the very limits of possibility, and then breaking through those limits into a new world of limitless realities. This for me is the idea of a parallel universe existing right along side of our current reality.

The students have begun to change where they sit according to their production (the number of questions they have passed and mastered). One noticed this was the physical manifestation or creation of my daily challenge to change their lives in 24 hours; To be more than they were the day before.

Based on the real-world of business and athletics, the top 5 are the highest producers who keep their jobs and are the first string because they're giving the most to the team. 6-10 are the second sting players. 11-15 the 3rd string. And 16-21 the 4th.

The top 5 are set free to sit anywhere they want (which they seem to put their desks right against mine as if I'm a magnet :-)

The next, 6-10, are in the first row. 11-15 in the 2nd. 16-21 in the back. If they don't like where they are then all they have to do is change it by changing what they produce that day. If they tell me they want to move but don't do what it takes to move, then I tell them they don't want it enough, or they don't believe in themselves enough, or both.....and that's what we work on that day.

All 60,000 of their thoughts that day are focused on what they CAN do, which greatly increases their feeling and belief in what they CAN do, which wakes up all the energy in them to power up those neurons of what they DO know, creating connections to what they don't know, and using this electrical storm to make sense of it and now DO know.

An ever-growing electrical charge of courage and confidence flows through the class every time just one student holds on and believes in him or herself long enough to turn a failure into mastery.....

We are no longer an industrial society that needs schools to turn out well-behaved workers who will do as they are told. We need powerful thinkers, creative problem solvers and human beings with their hearts set on fire.

To my children, Brosden, Bella and Sofia (who is 7 today!), and students everywhere, which we all are in terms of learning how to develop ourselves, I dedicate this:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who actually strive to do the deed: who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt


Going Old School with Grandma and Grandpa

When Brosden and I called Grandma tonight she was curled up in bed watching The Lawrence Welk Show, something I used to do with her and Grandpa 35-40 years ago......to which Brosden replied, "No! Surely not. No one was ALIVE that long ago!" (my thanks to Eddie Izzard for that joke).

I convinced him that there were indeed human beings walking around way back in 1968, and to prove it I showed him this clip from the Lawrence Welk show. He liked it so much that when it was over he wanted to see it again.....NEVER........and left to set up our Madden NFL Just-Dad-and-Son-No-Sisters-Allowed All Night Football Tournament.

So as I leave to go a little old school on the boy and run all over his All-Madden team with my 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers (I haven't lost yet!), I dedicate this rockin' tune to my Grandma and Grandpa, and say "Thanks for giving me so many happy memories. You do indeed, Rock!"


Extra Fries for the Nice Guy

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Another late night and another Happy Meal for the kids.....And another set of extra fries we didn't order, even after shooting the paper off the straws at each while waiting for our meal (which we cleaned up)

When we left I noticed the extra fries and joked maybe they were trying to get us to leave. Brosden told me that while I was in the bathroom the customer ahead of us was very mean to the person behind the counter. When I came out he noticed I was very nice.

It doesn't matter if you're famous or you're making fries, you're a person and deserve to be treated with respect.

This is easier said than done, but it can be done, even when others aren't making it easy to do. Most of us get caught up in "if...then" relationships (If you're nice to me then I'll be nice to you, loving towards you, etc.)

I was taking my cable boxes back to the company and I love putting the roof down and taking the windows off "The Panther". I also enjoy the freedom of not locking anything when I get out. It's too easy to break in even if you do. I made a stop before the cable company and when I came out I saw a young guy staring at the boxes on the seat.

He looked at me and I stopped and looked at him. He looked back at the boxes, wanting to take them, and when he looked back at me I was smiling. I said, "If you can grab them and run before I can run and grab you, you can have them."

Confused, he looked back at the boxes and at me a couple more times, then walked away.

I wasn't going to judge him for wanting something for nothing, that's human nature. But I did respect him enough to make him earn it.

At the cable company someone cut in front of a very long line, rudely saying he had already been there. Since I was next I walked over to the counter, pushed his boxes aside, set mine down, and said, "If she tells me that I'll wait."

She asked him to wait until she took care of me, and the crowd let out a little "Hurray!" It was one of those movie moments when someone stands up against injustice.

Not wanting him to feel bad I thanked him for understanding when I left. I was stopped outside in the parking lot by someone letting me know they appreciated watching what I did. I thanked her for that and we both left smiling.

I remember after my 2nd divorce I thought being nice was being foolish. The nicer I was and the more I gave, the less it was appreciated and the more I was criticized and taken for granted. I came to the conclusion that "Nice guys finish last", and spent the next 3 years in a hellish nightmare, unable to change who I was and hating myself for it, which hurt my parents deeply who raised me to be this way.

That's why I would dream of dying and going to Heaven, and then causing so much chaos I would get kicked out and sent to the Hell where I belonged.

But out of great failure can come great learning, and I realized that although I couldn't control what others gave me, I could control what I gave to others. I could respect others even if they didn't respect me. I could be nice to them even when they were being mean to me. And I could choose to not harm others who were trying to harm me, physically, emotionally or mentally.

And most of all, I learned that being nice doesn't mean being a doormat.

I used to live in a very bad neighborhood. When I walked away from the bad treatment of my 2nd marriage I walked away with nothing but a few possessions, one of which being a broken-down car.

It was my first inner city experience, and I could tell that the dreams of what these 4th graders saw they could be were so small that they really didn't see any reason to learn in school. So I would stay late trying to contact celebrities to write to them and the "Dream Big, Do Big, and Be Big!" motto was born.

By the time I was done it was usually dark. If my car didn't start I had to walk home, and almost every time someone tried to mug me. This experience allowed me to truly strengthen my resolve to respect everyone I met, overcome fear, and be nice without being a doormat.

My son makes fun of the scar on my forehead, which I got when two guys came around a corner to surprise me. I leaned in the face of the one on my right and said, "Hi boys!" and then headbutted the one blocking my path in front.

And kept walking. I didn't throw my shoulders back challenging their toughness. I didn't hunch over and run away. I kept walking as if nothing happened (although inside I was saying, "Please don't hear the click of a gun. Please, please! What am I going to do, duck and roll? This isn't a fire drill!?!?."

They tried to hurt me. It didn't work. I let it go........And instead of being a doormat or fighting back in ugliness, hate and anger.....I actually strengthened my ability to see humor in a very intense experience.

We can't control if others choose to treat us poorly, but we can control how long we allow them to....and we can be nice, and maybe even humorous about it.

I'm going to lose my job, but not my life? I can handle that.

I AM going to lose my life, but I'm still breathing right now? Then I still have a chance.

When I do die I might not get into Heaven? Then I better make sure I'm doing things for the right reasons, and not trying to get something from someone, even God.

I don't have my children all the time but I do have them right now? Then there's going to be laughter and love all around us......and perhaps we'll get extra fries with that.

Listen to this song as often as you can.........................................................What SPIRIT is.......man CAN BE!!!!!