He Taught My Daughter

I got a message this morning from someone asking me to contribute a chapter to a book they're working on. I said I was in the last week of school and had to get started on finishing my thesis right away, but if it would help others then I was willing to find the time to write it for her book.

The key point would be about approaching these unfortunate and destructive situations from a point of love, and with the intention on helping the abuser to become better than he or she is, as well as the victims to stop having victimization mentality.

For things to really change, we have to really change. I wanted to give her the link to the Breakdown post but couldn't find it because i didn't bulletin it. When i went to the post the song spirit began playing

MySpace Music Playlist at MixPod.com

as the song played, combined with the state FCAT scores we just received, it gave me a very spiritual experience....

the scores were phenomenal - the student who supposedly has a learning disability, the one who isn't supposed to be able to learn.......had MORE learning gains in BOTH reading and math than ANY OTHER STUDENT in the entire 5th grade

100-and-some points equals one year's worth of growth

he had over 800 points in reading and 700 in math

i don't know how, because i know im going to giv this same effort to my new class next year...but after this rare, beautiful, phenomenal success....i want to help him make his dream come true of being the next stan lee comic book writer

which off course i told him he is not the next stan lee....he is THE FIRST him (i gave my word not to mention names or add pics this year and i'll keep it no matter how much it angers me......fear......fear of lawsuits, fear of the smallest possibility of losing your job)

fear is a demon, that's all it is....and it holds us in the current limiting reality of fear, creating more of it.........and less of us

the student i got suspended for earlier in the year by grabbing him to keep him from hurting himself and others is also learning "disabled"......

the county decided not to fire me but he was moved from my classroom

he went down by over 200 points from last year. and the cycle of the poor getting poorer, the dumber getting dumber, the hopeless getting more hopeless, is just getting worse......

but what can u do? he's "disabled" emotionally and mentally. he's not supposed to learn very much if at all. he's not capable.......


we're supposed to be human beings, "being" and evolving towards our highest selves........appreciating each day so much we see it as a new life......a new chance to be more than we were yesterday......more intelligent, more loving, more confident, more capable

The longer limitations are allowed to exist the bigger and the more concrete they become.....and the less we become by having them. Adults are the hardest to change. They have had their limiting beliefs 4 so long that they actually fight you for their continued existence. Victims of abuse are often victims of victimization thinking......the abuser's not the only one who needs to change if real change is going to be made

.....And we abuse ourselves every time we give excuses for our limited thinking

now i want 2 pick up a desk and smash it because this student's difficulties WEREN'T smashed to the ground

yesterday during the teacher-student kickball game, as he made one great play after another, he hugged me and said, "Did u see that Mr. Stuart? Did u see what I did?", i hugged him back and said....."I did! Do YOU see how great YOU ARE? Do YOU see how GREAT you can be in ANYTHING when u BELIEVE U CAN!?!"

.....and then in a very clear whisper, "Because when you have GREAT BELIEF, you will take GREAT ACTION, and YOU WILL BECOME your GREATEST DREAMS".

the student i mentioned in my last post who found herself, who found her belief in herself, scored ON GRADE LEVEL in reading for the first time in her life!

the student whose parent threatened to have me fired because her child wasn't smart enough to learn my way, scored on grade level in reading and ABOVE GRADE LEVEL in math

and the student who was arrested earlier this year, whose parent threatened to have me arrested because i was demanding too much from her son, this kid who had everyone thinking he was going to score a level one in reading, scored a level 3, ON GRADE LEVEL, and only ONE point away from scoring a level 4, or ABOVE grade level

even more, i haven't had to redirect him once in the last month for bad behavior or for giving up on himself

he has BECOME MORE, and instead we've been working on his interpersonal intelligence (not interrupting the student i'm trying to help because he's excited to show me something he's done or learned)

real change......real growth.....i want to pick up another desk and smash it to smithereens.....because we have smashed his limitations to smithereens.....and we need to smash the limitations of our current educational system to smithereens

we've broken down whats been holding him back....me, his former teacher who would tell him she's hearing how well he's doing, everyone else who ever said a kind and encouraging word to him throughout the year........we even had another teacher of other students last year stop by the class to tell them how proud she is of them

did it take going to the point of breakdown myself? yes.......all year long ive been trying to get him to trust me, asking him to put all his doubts and demons in my hands....letting me carry and fight with them while he is free to begin to feel safe, confident and capable again of being worthy and deserving of unlimited growth, happiness, and success

he did learn to trust me, and together we damned his devils and defeated his demons

he even went to my daughter's class to teach them about science and math......HE TAUGHT MY DAUGHTER'S CLASS!!!

i have a picture of him showing Sofia how to use the catapult he built, which im not allowed to show, but it touched me so deeply that i see it in my mind right now

this proves that it's not about one teacher, one person...it's not about me.....it is most truly about WE

because when we give more to another, they have more to give to others....and this year it has come full circle.....he taught my daughter


And for 21 students this year, their truest and most concrete reality, really is......

...what their spirit is......THEY CAN BE!


Real Growth....Real Happiness....Tremendous Success

The growth I mentioned in my last post had very little to do with basic and factual scientific knowledge. It has led to an exciting ability for 10 and 11 year-olds to creatively use and apply this knowledge in demonstrations and experiments OUTSIDE of the classroom.

And if they can learn to do it in school, they're much more likely to learn how to do it in life.

Even students who were supposed to achieve very little, if any, grew. One who is SLD, or Severe Learning Disabled, grew by 28%. He isn't supposed to be able to learn very much. From day one I told him to throw out that label of disabled. He may have a severe learning DIFFICULTY, but in no way was he unable to learn......and we would work with that and OVERCOME IT!

On our way to the park last week he said, "Mr. Stuart, someday a boy just like me is going to be holding a comic book in is hands just like I am.......one that is written by me."

His ability to visualize his dreams clearly and specifically is well above average. He doesn't hope, he SEES and FEELS his dream as if it was real! We've used that to work on a comic book together, giving his super heroes and villians super scientific powers......and he has learned science in the process.

More importantly, he has learned how to go from just Dreaming Big, to now DOING BIG!......and it is changing his life!

The student who achieved the lowest growth in the class, 12%, has done something much more profound than show growth when during the year she showed very little...........She has found herself!

In the beginning of the year she felt hopeless, and would use her intelligence to come up with really good lies to cover her lack of effort and production.

I would tell her that she was giving all her power away by blaming anything and everyone for her failures....everyone but herself. She was losing, and would continue to lose, as long as she continued.

And one day she would lose herself, wondering how life got away from her, why all these bad things happened in her life, and she would feel even more hopeless than she does now.

As she was made to look in the mirror of who she was deciding to be, her hopelessness turned to hate. I tried many different things with her, but the one that worked was looking past the hate and into hope.

Her very frustrated mother had scheduled a parent-teacher conference on a Friday afternoon. By law it only has to last 15 minutes, and by God, I told myself I had too much to do if I was going to get any sleep that night and that's all I was going to give............it lasted 1 1/2 hours......but it did show this girl how much two people believed in her and were willing to work together to get on the same page FOR HER

The next time she gave me excuses instead of results, I reminded her of this meeting, and told her she was better than this. I told her it was rare to find someone who could see you for everything you could be, instead of seeing and judging you for what you are.

Instead of going from hopelessness to happiness, her eyes turned to hate. This went on for about two months, with her hating my guts. Even though I focus not on what the student thinks of me, but on what she thinks of herself, I was failing to reach her.

If you're a great teacher for 99% of your students, that means you are succeeding with 99%, and failing with 1%........EVERY STUDENT is as important as the any of them. So, one day I decided to be more concrete with her by literally looking past the hate and into her heart.

As she was glaring at me I leaned past her face and whispered in her ear, "You're more than what you're living. Forget about me. Forget about mom. What you think and feel matters most. Think and feel GREAT about yourself, like you're capable of ANYTHING. We know you can. And you know we love you........It's time to Be More."

One of the last to finish anything all year, she was the first to finish the next big project, and has become one of the best at taking full responsibility for her own learning. Pictures of her show a child very happy with herself now, even sticking out her tongue and mugging for the camera......She likes who she is, and is a brand new child.

Most of us search for things to bring us happiness........approval, grades, income, possessions...........She has found the secret to success.........what most people struggle to find all their lives........happiness with herself, with who she is.

It is this great inner happiness, this inner empowerment that will bring her the things she most wants in her life.


Can You See it?

This one's for my children, and I think all other posts from here on. Maybe it's always been for them. Maybe I want them to understand why their father lived as he did.....why he loved them and the world so much.

It's the only he really knew, and the thing he could most clearly see.......Love

There's a great hypocrisy in the world that's keeping humans from evolving as we should. We tell you children, "You can do it! Shine your gifts and goodness onto the world"..........

".....but just not so much that it makes others feel bad about their choices not to believe they can develop and shine their own light."

While as a whole my grade level didn't show annual growth on the county science tests, the average student in my class showed a 44% growth.

Instead of coming to me to learn one thing I'm doing differently than them, there's bitching and moaning about me not answering emails on time, even though I was out sick for two days.

It's humans acting as crabs caught in a trap, pulling the ones trying to escape back in. If they feel there's no escape from "what is", then everyone should die too, and they're going to pull them back down to their level even if they have to rip the arms of those escaping in the process.

And we humans are the most evolved species on the planet? It makes me feel so heartbroken and lonely sometimes, living in the limited world of "what is" while living with the world of "what could be" inside of me.

As adults we tell ourselves, "Have the courage to stand up for what's right! Make a difference in this world! Never. Never! NEVER give up!"......

......"Just as long as it's not too difficult or tire you out too much, or if others start gossiping, or it get's too risky and dangerous."

And while we're all holding hands singing "We Can Change the World", we either talk about how bad it is without taking real action to change it, blame others, or close our eyes, talking about how "one day" things will change for the better.

There is no other day than "today". What we do today creates the "what is" of "tomorrow". Today is the day we laugh out loud. Today we love so strongly we chase away the darkness and hate. Today we think beautiful thoughts and do things we've never done before, living more fully and completely in every moment than we ever have in our lifetime.

Because these moments of our "todays" is the only time we have in our life.

I like these pictures you take of me Brosden on our early morning walks. It's in these moments that I sometimes feel so small compared to the vastness of the world. I wonder "how in the hell" is it possible for me to make any real difference at all?.......yet I do.

To my children I make a huge difference. To my students I make a huge difference. To the people I meet I make a huge difference. To readers I've never met I make a huge difference.

But most of all............to myself I make a huge difference, as my spirit becomes bigger than the man.

You can't make a real difference when you're living in the limited mortal world of hell. You may have to enter hell to make this difference, facing your fears and helping others face theirs, but you better be bringing heaven with you, and be a whole lot more hellish than hell itself if you're going to make it out alive.

Right now my body is calling it quits. My mind is having trouble keeping the outside negativity from entering.......And right now my heart and spirit have taken over, fighting to keep on living while the man in me is dying.

This is changing me on a molecular level, with new cells of even greater possibility, not less, splitting and recreating at a rapid rate, almost as if they're in a race against time.

It's in these toughest times that you must find the strength to elevate yourself and those around you to new heights of evolved thinking and being.

If you WANT MORE in this world, you have to BECOME MORE in this world.

And it's in these toughest times you must hold onto the vision of what could be in a world of what is.

This is when reality changes, and the "what is" becomes the "what could be"....and a new and better "what is" becomes the new and better reality.

Can you see this more loving, evolved, passionate and powerful world?

Can you see it clearly and convincingly enough to dance to it and make it happen?

Your father could....no matter how difficult and dangerous the dance became.

And he loved you enough to make it happen in your lifetime.

It's as simple as that.


From a Breakdown to a Breakthrough

before there's a breakthrough, there's often a breakdown - james arthur ray

took last friday off. havent been feeling well for going on 2 weeks. on tuesday i was home sick again with strep. still completely worn out today.

on my bday a week ago i was wishing i would just lay down and die, wondering if all this giving of myself to life was worth it

and then my son wraps his arms around me, thanking me for not getting angry with him for the mistake he just made

and then a student who i found out last week didn't know 07/09/09 meant July 9, 2009 (basic memorization - the lowest level of thinking) finally stopped fighting me about evaluating his test and working with me (the highest level of thinking) and scored a 100% for the first time in his life, and on the hardest story in the 5th grade textbook....a verifiable and literal "miracle"

out of the 1,ooo+ students ive had in the past 10 years, he's been the toughest to reach. wen he was arrested two months ago i really thought he would be the first student ive had to be held back

now his victory has been achieved

and then another person confided in me about their abusive situation, where legal action isn't effective or an option, and i offered my help in making it right

writing from a state of depletion, if i am willing to step in and make myself the target of this misplaced anger and aggression instead of the victim...... how do i hav the strength if it turns ugly when ive already reached my breaking point and am literally breaking down?

..........maybe its by believing i can, and searching for a way to break through to a level i don't know i have

this man isn't my enemy, he's my brother, someone lost and angry..........and needing someone stronger to show him he's capable of being stronger than he's acting

the fact that others, and rightfully so, would call me insane and idiotic, doesnt matter compared to stopping someone else's insane and idiotic behavior that is destroying lives, including his own

do i love my kids? yes i do. enough to not only protect them from the ugliness of life, but to eliminate it where i can

what if i can concentrate 100% of my 60,000 thoughts/day on having the strength and intelligence to solve this problem, instead of talking about it, thinking about it, complaining about it, and then forgetting about it pretending it magically went away?

those who know me know i have a wicked temper. as much love and laughter shines from my eyes, so does lightning. all my students know that after everything they've become from just one year, if they ever do something as pathetic and pointless as taking their own lives, they can count on this happening:

when they get to the gates of the Underworld and their name is checked off, they will be told there's no way in hell they can come in

"you're one of Mr. Stuart's kids. We can't let you in. He comes down here and busts open the gates, breaking down doors and walls and wrecking the place looking for you guys. It's just not worth it. You better get back up to earth and get your life back before he finds out what you've done. But there's absolutely no way in hell we're letting you in here."

this takes mastery over one's emotions. if i can master my high ones, im sure i can master my low ones too.

all i have to do is search for truth and wisdom, even criticism, for the smallest iota of strength that will help me grow, while at the same time being careful not to allow negative emotions such as worry and fear coming from these criticisms to come into me.

"you may get hurt" or "make things worse" are valid criticisms, and they can come into my head to plan intelligent action without allowing the fear of them to come into my heart. this is where i could be stopped, and the truth is, others ARE being hurt and will continue being hurt if somebody doesn't do something

the breakthrough im looking for has to come from a teacher better and wiser than me, from the wisdom of someone who has done it before. from the earliest and most revered military treatise in our history, written by the scholar wu sun tzu, the art of war

if anyone has achieved success in the past, then anyone can achieve success in the present by internalizing the same wisdom and developing the same ability

To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
- Wu Sun Tzu (c. 544-496 b.c.), The Art of War

Sun Tzu, the Art of War
from my experience most men only attack those he sees as weaker. when a more powerful and intimidating agent enters the picture, he will stop.

and if he doesn't, and you are intelligent enough, you don't make things worse, you make him direct his anger and energy on you instead of those less capable of withstanding the physical and psychological attacks

Throw your soldiers into positions whence there is no escape, and they will prefer death to flight. If they will face death, there is nothing they may not achieve.
- Sun Tzu

even tho "i will kill you" is shouted out to the opposition in athletic arenas around the world, it is a very distasteful thought in real life. if i am clear i am willing to go all the way to to change hate into love, then unless he is in incredible pain or incredibly drunk or high, he will back down

he might still try to hurt you, but now HE is at a psychological disadvantage, knowing your light is so strong that he can't continue hiding in his darkness.....knowing you are unafraid of him trying to kill this light burning inside and bursting out from within you....and knowing you are holding him accountable for his actions by doing to him whatever he does to them

and knowing all this, he knows it all has to end right here, and right now.......and he's being given the choice to end it, by changing his choices when he gets angry

if he chooses to do nothing to them, he chooses that i do nothing to him

knowing i am willing to give my life to change his and his victim's lives makes me a gigantic and overwhelming foe.......and begins to plant the seed that since i am ultimately trying to help him, maybe i am also his best friend right now

and the victory i am fighting for becomes his victory too

In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it.
-Sun Tzu

things dont change unless we change. the danger of not helping the abuser change is that he needs constant policing. this wears out and exhausts the resources of the policer tremendously.

helping him realize he is not my enemy, but my brother who is temporarily lost and angry gives him hope; hope that he is not permanently damaged, hope that he doesn't need to take his insecurities out on those around him, hope that life isnt a barbaric fight to the finish. hope that there is a better way

and if he changes for the better.......so do the lives and world around him.......

and isnt that outcome so much more desirable to the current "isnt that so sad, so terrible?" reality.....

isnt this better than "he is a bad man that needs to be punished and made to pay forever because he is forever a bad person?"

what if we help him stop being a bad person?

WE are the modern-day samurai; we parents, teachers, role models and leaders

WE are the ones standing for something better than what is

and we GIVE OUR LIVES to the creation of what could be.....what WILL BE....and a BETTER WHAT IS

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I'm betting my life on it.........and I think I've broken through to new levels of wisdom, strength and spirituality that I didn't know I had