Saturday, August 30, 2014

Excited with Anticipation!

Exactly 80 days ago we waived goodbye to our students.  For many of us the summer was filled with re-connecting with family, re-charging our own batteries and getting re-committed for an exciting new year!  In just three days we get to welcome our students back and do what we do best, make a difference in kids lives.

Every Summer something occurs that leaves me in awe of our staff.  

My first year at Warner I attended a PLC Summit in Lincolnshire, Illinois.  I spent days connecting and learning from/with Warner teachers.  We went to dinner together, we talked about family and we discussed education (we even scrunched into a cab together... boy that was tight quarters).  As a professional it was the first time I had ever attended a multi-day conference with so many team members.

My second year I remember teachers spending hour after hour in curriculum camp.  Teachers developed calendars, activities, assessments and strategies.  It was once again an eye-opening event to watch the dedication of our team!

Summer number three was a critical time.  Teacher evaluations had taken place and it was vital to take the time during the summer to meet with staff and let them know I care about them. That summer I had several heart felt conversations.  The efforts made that summer by our staff helped build our culture to new levels.

My fourth summer literally blew my mind...we had committed to creating inviting spaces at Warner Elementary.  The plan was to paint the restrooms (beginning our Leader in Me journey).  By the end of the summer the restrooms, the entryways and most classrooms were painted.  That summer I remember walking past teachers and staff and listening to the conversations.  That summer I was so impressed with what I watched.  The building transformed!  The surface looked beautiful, but the connections and relationships are what grew the most.

This summer I fully expected most staff members to getaway and recharge.  Last year's changes simply zapped us.  I knew people needed time.  But then it began to happen.  One by one I began seeing staff come in to the building.  Some came in to get their hands on the new math curriculum.  Others came in to paint and still others came in to redesign their classrooms.  I walked the halls and talked to many staff.  In those conversations you could hear could hear the excitement, the passion and the anticipation in their voices.

Last Thursday was our Back 2 School Night and I can say, in my five years at Warner I have never been to a better Open House!  Families came in droves and the positive energy was simply amazing.

I can't tell you how often I hear people share negatives about public education.  I hear people talk about testing and funding.  I hear people talk about educators leaving the profession.  Most of all I hear people talk about the stresses of teaching.  I may be naive, but I believe Warner is simply different.  Our focus is on relationships.  We have endured challenges and the beauty of it is that we went through the challenges together.  You find out a lot about people in times of crisis.

Everyday we continue to build our culture, we take risks, we put relationships first and we pride ourselves in strong communication.

In three short days our kids come back.  I know this will be a great year!  I know this because I know our staff.  I know we can handle adversity, we can handle challenges, we can handle bumps in the road...because we love kids!  I can't wait to walk side-by-side with all of you.


Tuesday, Sept. 2nd:  Make Sure SafeSchools Online Training is complete
Tuesday, Sept. 2nd:  Boo-Hoo Breakfast for parents (in cafeteria from 8:30-9:30am)
Tuesday, Sept. 2nd:  First day of school! 8:30am arrival and 3:35pm dismissal.  If you can assist with bussing and dismissals that would be wonderful.

Wednesday, Sept. 3rd:  No assembly (early release begins on the 10th)
Friday, Sept. 5th:  Happy B-Day to Jenny Shearer

*  A few reminders
- discuss fire drill, tornado drill and lockdown procedures with your students
- please do not leave doors leading outside propped open, if you need a key please see me
- please be patient with lunch (remember we have a brand new Kitchen Assistant and she doesn't know the kids yet
- the bus situation is always a test at the beginning of the year, please prepare your students early for dismissal
- remember patience...your technology may not be where you want it for day one...but we will get there!

*  I will be posting the lounge schedule on Monday, Sept. 1st


Why Have a Classroom Site +Beth Still @BethStill

Finding Our Element +Dennis Schug @DJrSchug

The Issue With Comfort Zones +Joe Sanfelippo @joesanfelippofc

The Power of Branding +Tony Sinanis +Joe Sanfelippo @TonySinanis

Change Your Mindset... +Angela Watson @Angela_Watson

The Obsolete Tech Director +Tom Murray @thomascmurray

What if... +Geniene Delahunty @GenieneD

20 Things Life is Too Short Not to Appreciate +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel


Every Kid Needs a Champion! Must see for ALL EDUCATORS.  (7 min)

If you watched this each morning it would be tough to ever have a bad day.  (10 min) Music starts at 4 min mark.

The Tale of Two Brains... (13 min)

Morgan Freeman on the Tonight Show.  Great stuff! (3 min)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

More than just a Challenge

Growing up with a brother often means taking on odd risks.  I remember some ridiculous things we did as kids.  The whole "I dare you" or even the dreaded "double dare", would push us into precarious spots and test our manhood.  I'm not proud of it, but we watched a lot of WWF wrestling and this would typically start the rambunctiousness.  I do remember a specific dare that I took, and if you know me, I'm not really a daredevil.  As kids, my brother and our two cousins, played this game that we created called Shin-Up Steve.  We were nuts. We chased each other through the woods with a rope and some kind of object (rocks, etc) attached to the end trying to whip it at the others. Obviously, this often inflicted physical harm.  I'm pretty sure the whole game started as a dare.  There's something about accepting a challenge that lights a fire in many of us.

Just last week I was challenged again.  I was challenged by +Brad Gustafson and +Tom Whitford to do the #ALSIceBucketChallenge.  I had heard about the challenge and I even watched a few celebrities do it, but I didn't know how it started and I couldn't tell you much about ALS.  This is what I did know, I knew ALS was synonymous for Lou Gehrig's disease.  I knew that once diagnosed a person's life expectancy was less than five years, but I didn't know a whole lot more.  That didn't stop me, I took the challenge...

But then after I took the challenge I realized the importance of understanding the how and why.  My two boys helped with my #ALSIceBucketChallenge and I could quickly tell it was all about the challenge and not about ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).  So the dad and educator in me decided to share, but first I needed to be a bit sharper with my facts.  So this is what I learned:

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects your nerve cells in your brain and the spinal chord.  That's a mouth full.  So what I told my boys was, ALS often includes muscle weakness/loss, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing and breathing.  

My words seemed to make a small difference, but then I decided it would be best to sit down and watch the #SCFeature, Pete's Challenge.  It was after watching this video (below) that my 9 year old started to truly understand that this was more than just a challenge.

So often our society and our children see the final product, but often times the story is an afterthought. I believe the stories are what provide the lasting impacts.  A few weeks ago I didn't know the name Pete Frates.  Now, I'll never forget the name.  We as adults have the power to take these viral moments and create teachable moments.  I urge you to take the time and educate our youth.  With knowledge comes power to be a true difference maker.  Pete Frates' impact on society is only possible if we choose to learn his story and share the real reason behind the #ALSIceBucketChallenge.

Kids around the World are heading back to school, and viral moments will continue to happen. Will we choose to treat them as "teachable moments?"  I know that the #ALSIceBucketChallenge is more than just a trendy social media's people joining together to create a genuine movement.


Sunday, August 24th:  Back-2-School Bash at the Gilpin's 5-8pm
Monday, August 25th:  New Teacher Orientation
Tuesday, August 26th:  (Optional PD day)  All-Staff are welcome to come to Parma at 11am for our Nurtured Heart Training.  11:30 - 3:00pm
Wednesday, August 27th:  7:15 All Staff BKfast followed by Welcome message
Wednesday, August 27th:  MAISA Writing PD day
Thursday, August 28th:  8:30am All-Staff meet at Jackson High School for Ruby Payne
Thursday, August 28th:  12:15pm Staff Luncheon provided by our PTO!
Thursday, August 28th:  1:00pm Staff Meeting followed by classroom time
Thursday, August 28th:  5:30-7:30 Back-2-School Night

Articles Worth Reading:

5 #ALSIceBucketChallenge Takeaways for Educators +Joe Mazza @Joe_Mazza

10 Things to do with QR Codes on Back to School Night +Gwyneth Jones @GwynethJones

Looking for a Silver Bullet? It Begins with Us. +Jimmy Casas @casas_jimmy

Some Ideas for Book Clubs +Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp

Bright Ideas: How Voxer changed my personal & professional life +Angela Watson @Angela_Watson

The Most Dangerous Phrase In Education +Terry Heick @TeachThought

Opening Day! +Jeff Zoul @Jeff_Zoul

15 Examples of Student-Centered Teaching +Terry Heick @TeachThought

Classroom Cribs Challenge +A.J. Juliani @ajjuliani

OK, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Worked, now where will the dollars go?

25 Things to Remember When Life Gets Rough +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel

Videos Worth Watching:

Lou Gehrig's famous speech... (1 min)

Rhode Island Coach Truly GETS IT! I wish all adults had this mentality. (2 min) MUST SEE!

Moments to Fill Your Heart (5 min)

Facebreakers with Jimmy Fallon (3 min)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Together We're Better

The other day I was sitting in a conference and I heard an amazing story by a fellow educator. Some of the people in the room were brought to tears...but everyone in the room was inspired. After I heard the story I approached the individual and thanked him for sharing.  Then I asked him what his twitter handle was.  I told him that his message was moving and I wanted to share it with others.  His response surprised me...he laughed.  In the next moment he turned and began to talk with other people.  As I stood there for a moment, I began to genuinely wonder why there is such a divide in our profession. 

I hope I never come across as pushy or forceful when it comes to being a connected educator.  I simply see being Connected as a tremendous resource.  I believe the World needs to hear the positive stories. As I reflect, I think his story reached a couple hundred...but what if his story reached more...?

Recently I attended #edcampldr in Philadelphia.  For me the event actually began months earlier. My good friend +Tom Whitford reached out and asked if I was interested in doing a road trip to Philadelphia. Without much thought, I committed!  I was all-in for this event.  I viewed it as a chance to build stronger relationships and to be a part of one of the most amazing think tanks in the nation.

Shortly after Tom and I committed, others decided to join in the fun.  The Road Trip was taking on a life of its own.  Our group communicated through Voxer and Twitter for the better part of three months.  Some of us even got together in May and took in a Cubs game.  Finally the time came and we flew to Philadelphia and stayed at the home of +Tom Murray.  

People that aren't connected look at me in disbelief.  I had one person say, "You're flying to Philadelphia to spend four days with people you've only met once or twice in person?"  I casually responded, "Yes."  You see, being connected is about learning...but even more importantly it's about connecting.  You've probably heard it's about relationships!  For over four years I have leaned on my #PLN for support.  I'm blessed to work with several of my #PLN members, but what's great is I have friends around the country willing to help out anytime.  Would I be an effective educator without my #PLN? Maybe. But I truly believe "Together We're Better!"  

During the weekend leading up to #edcampldr I had the opportunity to talk with experts.  We discussed Google+, Blogger, WordPress, Instagram, Learning Spaces, Edcamps, Conferences, Books, Voxer and more.  The learning and connecting was truly fantastic.  

If that wasn't enough, Monday arrived.  All of us got there early to help +Joe Mazza set-up and get #edcampldr rolling.  Watching a group of educators acting in a completely selfless manner is powerful. It wasn't about one person. Again the attitude was "Together We're Better!"

I will tell you that I've attended a lot of conferences, but nothing compares to the four day learning experience that #edcampldr was for me.  That Monday, over two hundred people were tweeting and sharing their learning on Twitter and Voxer.  The positive vibes at Penn Law were contagious.  

I do have one regret though.  I wish it would have been longer.  I left thinking that I can't wait to connect with +Brad Gustafson and discuss Augmented Reality.  Plus I was thinking of more ways to stay in contact with +Victoria Day so we could discuss #PTcamp.  The day flew by and I was only able to spend minutes with some of my favorite #PLN members.  

I share that with you because I strongly believe that Together We're Better.  

This Week's Questions Are:  Who pushes your thinking?  Who challenges you to be your best? Who gets you out of your comfort zone? 

Whether you are connected or not we all need a Personal Learning Network.  I encourage you to build your #PLN; find those people that make you a better person.  I feel lucky to have so many caring friends.  I truly have an amazing life!  Thank You 

For more on #EdCampLDR check out these photos: EdCampLDR Photos

For more on the Power of a #PLN, check out these posts:

Upcoming Dates For Your Calendar:

Tuesday, August 12th:  Jackson County EdTech Kick-Off at Western High School
Sunday, August 24th:  Family Cookout at the Gilpin's 5pm
Monday, August 25th:  NEW teacher orientation
Tuesday, August 26th:  TBD...stay tuned
Wednesday, August 27th:  ALL Staff - 7:30am BKfast followed by 8am Western Kick-Off!
Thursday, August 28th:  ALL Staff - 8:30am in the Jackson High School Auditorium
Thursday, August 28th:  5:30 - 7:30pm Back 2 School Night
Tuesday, Sept. 2nd:  First Day of School

Articles Worth Reading:

Videos Worth Watching:

Stuart Scott's Moving Speech... (7 min)

Young Boy and a Soldier (7 min) +TheEllenShow 

I'm not a huge Badger fan, but I must say this gets me jacked up for College Football! (2 min)

Thanks for Leading Sessions with me friends, I appreciate you all. @thomascmurray @KleinErin @Joe_Mazza 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Transforming Learning Spaces (2 of 2)

Our society typically views bigger as better.  We also prefer more, rather than less.  What am I referring to?

I often meet educators that think money and space are the key factors in creating the most optimal learning environment.  I believe this mentality is off base.  I will admit that I've had that belief in the past, but I have learned through the years that even small spaces can lead to amazing outcomes.

Last week I shared some takeaways from #NerdCampMI and I began discussing learning spaces in this post Transforming Learning Spaces (1 of 2).  It should come as no surprise that Learning Spaces is a hot topic.  Educators around the country have adjusted their thinking about student learning.  The focus is centered on relationships, teamwork, student choice and movement. Essentially the space should reflect the culture and learning you aim for in your classroom.

Classroom Design is not a new topic.  What I'm sharing is not groundbreaking, but I will say that I have witnessed a profound shift in classroom design over the past few years.  The shift has coincided with three things:

1.  The Common Core:  As educators around the country shift to CCSS the importance of differentiation takes on a greater significance.

2.  Technology:  Increased classroom technology has brought the need of flexible spaces to the forefront.

3.  Project Based Learning/Genius Hour:  Teachers are transitioning to Facilitators, the "teacher-centric" way of conducting class no longer fits the demands of the current classroom.  Many educators are re-designing with a focus on collaboration and movement.

With all that being the foundation, now let's get to the challenge.  Several weeks ago I began working with +Erin Klein and +A.J. Juliani in an effort to inspire and motivate educators to transform learning spaces. The intent is truly student-centered.  Our students crave a new learning environment.  One that will allow freedom, exploration and creativity. 

Here is the challenge, if you choose to accept!

We have launched the website ClassroomCribs
Check out the website and then...

Between August 14th and September 14th - 
Create and Share a 3-minute (or less) video of your learning space detailing the setup, aesthetics, function and overall rationale.

This is what is preferred:

*  Before & After pics/video - please have the video in a URL so it can be posted
*  250 word (or less) rationale of the space
*  Bio of the teacher

We also encourage educators to share pics and videos on twitter using the hashtag #classroomcribs

Your videos will be on the website and Youtube channel to help inspire educators!

You may be wondering, what is in it for me?  First and foremost it is a chance to reshape learning.  If you are anything like me your classroom is a second home.  Shouldn't you feel happy and proud of your space?  Second, there is a panel of judges that will choose the best designs. Check out the website for more information on this aspect.  Third, this isn't just for teachers.  We strongly encourage all educators to re-design their spaces.  That includes librarians, administrators, name it! The goal is to focus on pedagogy and brain based theories...not just the cutesy stuff.

Still have questions?  Check out Erin's video for the #SummerLS

Finally, I can't say it enough...our students desire learning environments that promote creativity.  I challenge you to sit in your classroom, if you were a student how would you feel?  Is it time to re-design?

Articles Worth Reading:

Do You Wanna Play? @Jonharper70bd

Videos Worth Watching:

For the Heroes! (4 min) shared by @bethhill2829

Meet Mighty George! (7 min)

Food Labels?  This will make you laugh! (5 min)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Transforming Learning Spaces (1 of 2)

Last week I attended #nErDcampMI and the electric atmosphere was contagious!  I was working one of the check-in areas on the first day and at approximately 11:30am I looked up to witness dozens of educators collaborating, connecting and sharing stories.  I was proud to be an educator and I was also proud to be a part of #nErDcampMI.  This year #nErDcampMI moved to the Western School District where I am an administrator.  The event took place in our newly re-designed high school.  I was impressed with the use of space and the opportunities for people to gather in groups.  Some of the best parts of #nErDcampMI were the scenes of educators gathering together.

During #nErDcampMI inevitably I reflected on what I was hearing and learning.  Several topics came up frequently.  These were my big takeaways from #nErDcampMI:
1)  The importance of building relationships with your students and tapping into their interests as learners and readers.
2)  Incorporating some level of choice in student reading, writing and learning.  As educators we can still narrow the scope, but choice creates intrinsic learning.
3)  Educators should be modeling and sharing more.  Let students see what you are reading and talk to your students about the book.  
4)  Embrace technology in the learning environment...unfortunately this still exists in our classrooms...

All of that was wonderful, the discussions were engaging, productive and thoughtful.  But there was one more topic that really caught my interest...

5)  Classroom Learning Spaces!  Teachers were openly discussing getting rid of student desks, teacher desks and transforming learning spaces to best meet the needs of students.

What I enjoyed most about these conversations was the simple fact, it wasn't about the cutesy was centered on pedagogy and student learning.  I consistently heard educators talking about open spaces and having the ability to meet the changing needs of their students.  The conversations were fantastic!  As an administrator I enter several classrooms each day and I see the benefits of well organized, student friendly learning spaces.

What happened after #nErDcampMI was ironic.  Within days I was contacted by +Erin Klein and +A.J. Juliani about doing a post on Classroom Learning Spaces.  Then I read a post by my friend +Nicholas Provenzano his post is titled: NerdySpaces 

This really got my wheels spinning.  This is the ideal time of the year for educators to redesign classroom learning spaces.  As I wrap up this post I will leave you with a couple of things to think about - 

First, classrooms must be hinged around student learning.  Is the space student-friendly and flexible in meeting the diverse needs of our students?

Second, classrooms should be interactive, creative and adaptive.  Does the space allow for communication and collaboration?

Finally, is your learning space teacher-centric or student-centric?  Have you ever asked the students how they feel in the space?

Next week I will be focused squarely on Learning Spaces and I will share an exciting challenge that begins in August.  Stay tuned for part two...

Articles Worth Reading:

Videos Worth Watching:

Re-Designing the Classroom Experience (8 min)

Finish Line... (8 min)

RE2PECT! (2 min)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Worth Hiring?

Almost eight years ago I was asked to be on a committee to select two teachers to join our staff. I was happy to be a part of the selection committee...but I quickly found out that it was a very difficult process.  I remember looking through nearly one-hundred resumes, I remember sorting them into piles and having lengthy discussions about candidates.  The process was tedious and a bit frustrating.  The frustration came from the fact that nearly all candidates looked strong on paper.  Eventually we narrowed to eight candidates.  

At this point you would think things would gain traction and the real excitement would start. Unfortunately that wasn't the case.

As we sat in our air conditioned computer lab and interviewed candidate after candidate I was simply amazed. Each one of us on the committee took a different approach, in hindsight this was a good thing.  We all had unique perspectives and thoughts.  Yet after the interviews concluded things became awkward.

I'll never forgot sitting in that room and listening to the comments of my colleagues.  Not one comment focused on who would be best for kids.  The comments were -

"They would be a great fit with our staff."

"I could really team well with that person."

"Their positive attitude would lift up our morale."

"I would love to work with that person."

As I listened and took in these comments I began to wonder, do educators hire the best candidate or a possible friend?

You may be reading this and thinking, Hire a Possible Friend?  Yes, I've witnessed it first hand...going back eight years ago the teachers I was on the committee with had a selfish viewpoint.  They focused on who they wanted to work with, not who the best candidate was.  

What I've learned through participating in nearly two dozen interview committees is this: The person that is best for kids will likely be a great fit with staff.  The focus must be squarely on, who is best for kids.

I feel compelled to offer a few ways I look for the best candidate...

I've been told the first three minutes are crucial.  Some even say you know if you want the person within the first three minutes of the interview.  My personal viewpoint is, you can't be hired in the first three minutes, but you can shoot yourself in the foot in the first three minutes.  It's important to come in positive, upbeat, happy and ready to share.

Does experience matter?  I would say no.  My personal viewpoint is, I want the candidate that has a growth mindset and shares a passion to work with ALL kids.

Finally, when interviewing a candidate the answers do matter, but the connections and personality matter more.  Here is why, if the candidate has a growth mindset, I'm confident they will learn new methods, strategies and procedures.  I don't expect candidates to know everything, in fact, I appreciate the honesty when candidates admit they don't know something.

If you have had the opportunity to be on a hiring committee I hope you have kept the core values of teaching at the forefront.  Hiring a new teacher is a life changing decision.  It's life changing for the individual, but more importantly it's life changing for 25+ students.

This week's big question: Would you be comfortable hiring a candidate that pushes you as an educator?

Articles Worth Reading:

When Teachers Bully Teachers +Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp

A Balanced Approach To Social Media for Teachers +TeachThought @TeachThought

The Thin Line Between Passion and Anger... +Jeff Zoul @Jeff_Zoul

Common Core or Guided Reading? @ReadingShanahan

Reflections of a 1st Year Administrator +Colin Wikan @ColinWikan

Excuses Hold Us Back +Eric Sheninger @NMHS_Principal

16 Things You Shouldn't Have to Justify to Anyone Else +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel

Videos Worth Watching:

5 Things that make Summer Awesome! (3 min)

Jim Gaffigan makes me laugh out loud! (3 min)

Easily one of my favorite speeches of all time... (17 min)

What makes a hero? (4 min)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Letting Go

Has anyone ever said to you, "Kids grow up way too fast"?  I have heard these words for years...I've heard them as an educator and as a dad.

My philosophy with my kids has always been, Be the engine to get them started...and then get out of the way.  When my kids were younger the activities would include kicking a soccer ball, sliding down slides, attempting the monkey bars and playing the game "lava" around the edge of a park.  I have wonderful memories of our visits to the park.  As time has passed the activities have changed.  Now we ice skate, golf, build things, swim, read and explore.  Whether it is past or present I have tried to make activities fun and entertaining.  

As a classroom teacher I took a similar approach.  I wanted to make learning an enjoyable experience.  I remember a time when I was able to step back and watch with sheer pride.  Our class was working on a project, and each student had the choice of how they could show what they learned.  Years ago this would have been my version of Project Based Learning. I had a few students that wanted to use music or song to show off their learning.  One young lady that struggled to show what she knew in a typical setting really blossomed with anything that involved music.  Her name was Macy.  Macy approached me and asked if she could memorize and sing the Star Spangled Banner.  During the final quarter of the school year we had discussed the song and I thought that this would be fitting for Macy.  I told her to learn the basics, who wrote it, when it was completed, and then I had one more caveat for Macy...I told her I would be videotaping. Macy smiled and got nervous, she knew she would be in front of her peers, but also being taped...I thought that might be a deal breaker.  I was pleasantly surprised when Macy excitedly took the challenge!  The day finally arrived and Macy dressed up in red, white and blue. Then the moment of truth...Macy absolutely hit a home run!  All year long she struggled to fit in and find her niche.  I was so proud to watch her excel and nail the Star Spangled Banner!  As I reflected I was happy that I gave Macy the freedom to be herself...but I was most proud she stepped up to the challenge and did it!

I remembered that moment this week after I took my youngest son to his first ever junior golf event.  Troy is nine years old and for the last four or five years he has joined me on the links during the summers.  Last year I could see that Troy had a little drive to improve, so this year I decided to get him started in the Spring and then ask him if he wanted to join the Junior League. He excitedly accepted.  The Saturday before his first event I took him to the course and we walked nine holes.  I got to listen to his grumbling about being tired and carrying his bag, but I was also able to encourage and give him some tips.  I felt fairly confident that he was going to be just fine. Finally, on the morning of his big day I drove him to Sharp Park.  My plan was to watch him on the first tee, encourage him and then leave.  At this point some might wonder, why would I leave? The fact is, I could have walked all nine holes, I could have watched, caddied or even been the score keeper.  I told my wife that I thought it was important to let Troy grow up. Letting Go is a tough thing for adults.  My approach is to try my hardest to put my kids in a spot to succeed and then, let them take it from there.  That's what I did.  I let go and allowed Troy to figure it out.  I could go on and tell you all about that first tee shot, but I won't...I'll let you see it for yourself. (Yes, Troy is the one that looks like he should be on the basketball court...not the links.)

As I drove away from the course I had mixed feelings.  I was proud that he was growing up...he wasn't the little baby anymore.  As a dad I wanted to stay and watch, I wanted to see all the good and bad and just take it in.  Finally, my feeling was one of peace.  I was letting him grow up and figure things out.  (I'll admit, I was pretty proud that he ripped one up the right side about 150 yards!)

The two stories are very different...but they do have parallels.  Both Macy and Troy had the ability to show their stuff.  They needed opportunity, trust and for adults to get out of the way. These two moments will always be with me; they teach me two important things: 

1)  Every kid can succeed...we as adults need to figure out how to bring it out and let them show their stuff!

2)  It's okay to let go.  Our kids are growing up fast and our responsibility as adults is to help put them in a spot to succeed and then get out of the way.

Letting Go is very difficult. I encourage adults to be the engine that gets them started, and then get out of the way.

Articles Worth Reading:

Videos Worth Watching:

Hilarious!  (4 min)

Validation...great short film, you won't regret taking the time to watch. (15 min)