Thursday, April 27, 2017

Merchant of Hope

Merchant of Hope
There are many wonderful things that I enjoy about education, but one of them that always rises to the top is being a merchant of hope. Hope is the heart of compassion which teachers and administrators need to navigate the waters of people and situations in our schools. Hope is found in the middle of the storms at work, not the shoreline on either end where the storm has subsided. Hope arises on the capsizing waves not the white foam found on the shoreline that tickles your toes. Hope is found in the darkness of a situation before the promised light comes. It is found in the hallways as we are faced with many doors of decisions to make as we ponder which to choose. Hope is the greatest gift, asset or treasure we can give out. Hope is being part of the solution, not the problem. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it whispers to you that it can be solved. Being a merchant of hope has to be part of the school culture.

As a teacher, staff member or an administrator, it is vital to be a merchant of hope. That doesn’t mean that we live in an alternative reality where everything is always awesome because we know that it is not, but we know that it does mean that we are not paralyzed by fear because we have hope. We might find ourselves in spaces where our heart is broken in raw and relevant ways though we have done everything possible to make mattering the agenda. We all have sat behind a closed door with our head between our knees from time to time, gathering our spirits again to open the door to hope. Hope is what we give and what we need & breeds successful schools.

We can do this by honoring the stories that people want to tell by authentically listening and by creating spaces for that speaking and listening to flourish. I myself find that geniushour and teaching students to harness the power of hope through speaking & listening skills as they prepare to give TED Talks of their own creates a learning legacy because I am letting students know that they are born for significance. I do this with intentionality as I remind them that their purpose is wrapped up in both their passions and their compassion and to give hope to others.
Hope is a gift received as well as a gift returned to the world.

Future of Life Institute

I approach all the students as little seeds. I partner with the parents and the school to plant seeds and nurture the seeds so that it will grow. I am only given so much time to help the seed grow, but in that time I must water it well and give it needed nutrients. Those nutrients give it strength to push through the dark, cold soil into the sunlight with hopes of becoming something more than just a seed and being part of that becoming is my honor.

Hope in our classroom or school says:
I accept you.
I love you.
I appreciate you.
I see you.
I support you.
I respect you.
I will protect you.
I believe in you and you can do this.

In fact, hope even goes farther. Hope says to the students, families and staff, HOLD ON! I will row my boat out to the middle of the lake where you are. Hope says you can get in the boat with me or I will get in the boat with you. It even offers to tether the two boats together to continue moving forward. Hope throws you a life-preserver. Hope helps airlift you out. Hope makes way for extraordinary change because hope takes risks together.

Illuminate with hope. Let it fly around our workspaces like fireflies free at night, the tiniest bits of light pushing through the dark and in that moment when we can’t catch our breath, hope comes in and fills our lungs and turns our heads finally just when we least expected it. Schools that thrive, have hope found in their hallways, offices and classrooms. Anything is possible when we are a merchant of hope and create this culture at school.