I recently taught a day-long workshop for a fantastic group of early childhood educators on intentional teaching and the power of play. In preparing for that, I spent a lot of time reading Dr. Stuart Brown’s book,Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul (*affiliate link).
It’s been quiet here.
It’s Teacher Appreciation Day! In the middle of putting together notes and treats for my kids’ teachers, I’ve also been invited by friend, Allison of No Time for Flash Cards to write a thank you note to one of my own teachers. What a treat to thank one of the many amazing teachers in my life!
Dear Mr. Blanchard,
I have a history of accomplishing.
I graduated high school with a 4.0 and a full-ride scholarship. I had been an athlete, class president, and valedictorian. In college, I completed a dual major in four years and was set with an acceptance to graduate school and a teaching assistantship before closing my final term as an undergrad.
I’m not listing these things to brag. As I run through this resume, what I recognize is how much satisfaction I get from setting my sights on something, checking the to-do boxes, and accomplishing goals. For years, I rode on a wave of short-term accomplishments; enjoying the rush of goals set and completed within semesters, years, or seasons.
I was an accomplishment junkie.
In the interest of full disclosure, this post really should be called “On My iPhone”. I go through most of my books by listening on Audible .* I pay a monthly membership to have someone read to me while I drive, cook, clean, run, or fold laundry because I find I have a lot more of that time available than I have sitting down and reading quietly time. As a bonus, I find I’m much more eager to cook, clean, fold laundry, etc. if I am deep into a book! So it’s a win-win. I don’t fall asleep (which often happens when I sit down to read–I blame motherhood) and my household tasks get taken care of with less grumbling from me! Also on the topic of full disclosure, all links with an asterisk indicate an affiliate link.
You’ve probably noticed that I didn’t spend a whole lot of time writing in December and January. I did, however, spend a lot of time reading. Or at least, I spent a lot of time cleaning and moving (*again*), which for me, equals a lot of time listening to books! Here are a few of my favorite recent reads.
The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism* by Kristine Barnett
This book was fascinating! And while this memoir centers around the author’s son and their family’s journey with autism, Barnett points out very clearly that this book and her philosophy of finding and feeding a child’s spark is not unique to children with autism. It’s a message for all children and all parents: Find the spark. Celebrate it. Feed it. And don’t be afraid to blaze your own trail. This book was really inspiring to me both as a parent and an educator. [Read more…]
Each new year, as I think on new beginnings here on the blog, I feel this strange need to reassert that I am nothing special. I am a far from perfect parent, teacher, researcher, and writer.
I am generally and generously flawed as a human being.
I don’t know why I feel the urge to make that disclaimer so frequently. Why this need to make it absolutely clear that I am, so obviously, human? The urge has been particularly strong this year, as our family is in the middle of an adventure….or in the middle of chaos, depending upon your perspective!
I think it’s because I work in this professional sphere of ideal theory and best practice, meshed with the Pinterest-perfection of the blogosphere. I want to be able to share all the best that’s out there, without creating any false illusion that I am actually doing it all perfectly myself.
Then there are days when I not only feel the need to make the disclaimer, but to ask the ever-ready “Who am I?” question.
“Who am I to teach people how to be good parents?”
“Who am I to write about classroom practice?”
“Who am I to get up in front of an auditorium full of people and tell them how to be champions for childhood?”
“Who am I to do any of it, when I’m just me — perfectly imperfect me?”
I know I’m not alone in this. I think the pandemic of perfectionism makes a valiant attempt to stop many of us in our tracks.
I hear it all around me:
My friend who worries as a blogger, about matching up with the strengths of her peers.
My friend who’s a health coach, who feels weighed down by guilt because she struggles as much as her clients do with food demons and negative self-talk.
My fellow moms who say we’re aware of the fact that we’re in charge of these little people, but quite honestly aren’t sure we know what the heck we’re doing from moment to moment.
We aren’t perfect. Not one of us.
And that’s OK.
What’s not OK, is when we let our imperfections get in the way of our greatness. [Read more…]
It’s been said that the days are long, but the years are short.
I’m pleased to share another piece from Beryl Ayn Young, a talented teacher and photographer. As I know many of my readers are using photography either personally or professionally as a tool for documentation, I’m always happy to share Beryl’s work. The focus for this latest course particularly caught my attention: Photography as a form of self-care.
Happy Mother’s Day!
The Academy Awards were held Sunday night.