Sunday, October 12, 2014

I Choose To See Great Potential

Sometimes when you are really close to a situation you see every flaw.  As you analyze and critique the flaws you have the tendency to become discouraged or even pessimistic.

I have lived most of my life in Jackson County.  During this time I have witnessed a lot of memorable events.  

Truth be told I have not always enjoyed life in Jackson County.  As a high schooler I specifically remember being ready to get out of town.  It was during my time away that I began to appreciate Jackson.  During the last few years I have really come to enjoy many things that Jackson offers. Some of the events that I have enjoyed are:

- The Amazing Race Jackson, Michigan
- The Jackson Running Series
- The Jackson Rose Festival
- The Civil War Muster
- Cascade Falls
- Thought 1 Foundation Events
- Eve on the Ave
- Grand River Expedition
- Fitness Council Events
- Hot Air Jubilee
- Tough Mudder at MIS

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but the point is Jackson has some fun stuff going just simply have to look!

I say all that because sometimes when people get close to something they don't look at the positives...they focus on the flaws. 

Last year I was asked to be a judge for The Outstanding Teen Jackson.  I was honored, and so I accepted. I had never been a judge before, but I thought my experience with young people would really help. The first part of the competition was Q & A.  The question focused on how they would celebrate Jackson.  As I listened to twenty girls share outstanding ideas I couldn't help but feel pride for our youth and Jackson County.  A few of the young ladies talked about how they feel doubted by adults and how some of their peers frown on Jackson County.  I could tell the stress and pressure to be everything to everyone was weighing on them.

I have heard several times in the past few years that the kids of today are not prepared for the real world.  I feel the urge to share a few reasons why I believe in our kids and our future.

My first story is from 5th grade camp.  Each year the Western 5th graders head north to Mystic Lake Campground in Northern Michigan.  Each year we take 25-30 High School students to be Counselors, Mentors and Role Models for our students.  This year I was really impressed with a few of our outstanding high school students.  
The first day at camp is always filled with nervous excitement.  As I headed out to take pictures and check on the groups I noticed one of our groups located at the giant swing.  As I approached I noticed Julia.  She was talking to the students in her group about cheering for each other and being brave.  I took a handful of pictures, but what I really noticed was Julia's warm nature and ability to be the consummate positive force.  Over the course of three days I was truly impressed with Julia.  I don't ever remember seeing her on her phone...every image of Julia was her supporting kids.

Next comes two counselors that really stepped up!  I met with Nora and Jacob about a week before we left for camp.  I told the two of them that I was going to lean on them during camp. Those two didn't blink!  They both looked me in the eye and said, "no problem."  At the time I thought, well we'll see, once things become difficult I'll need to step in.  To my surprise those two never needed me.  I checked in with them a few times and each time they were in control. As 5th grade camp began to wind down I sat down and began to organize pictures.  Going through the pictures allows for reflection.  It didn't take long to stumble across pictures of Jacob and Nora.

When I hear negative comments about our youth I sometimes struggle to respond.  Just last week I had an adult tell me that the kids of today will not be as successful as their parents.  She went on to tell me that they are too dependent on technology and they don't understand what responsibility truly is.  These conversations make me sad, but then I think of Julia, Jacob, Nora and so many others. I remind myself that we have amazing kids all around us.  I won't give up on our youth and I won't give up on our community.

The next time I have someone talking negatively about our youth or about our community I'm going to ask them if they have ever heard of the group, Most Teens Don't.  I'm going to shift the conversation.  I urge you to do the same.  Speak up for what you believe in...I believe in our kids, I believe we have a lot to look forward to in our community.

This week's big question(s):  Do you focus on the flaws?   How do you show your community pride?


Monday, October 13th:  Spirit Week: Crazy Socks
Monday, October 13th:  MAISA Writing Visit
Monday, October 13th:  String Team 3:45pm
Tuesday, October 14th:  Admin Meeting 9am
Tuesday, October 14th:  Spirit Week:  Pajama Day
Tuesday, October 14th:  7pm PTO Meeting
Wednesday, October 15th:  Grades 3-5 Assembly
Wednesday, October 15th:  Spirit Week:  Hat Day
Wednesday, October 15th:  String Team 3:45pm
Thursday, October 16th:  Spirit Week:  Crazy Hair Day
Friday, October 17th:  Spirit Week:  Western Wear! Go Panthers versus Mounties!
Sunday, October 19th:  Red Egg Farm Fundraiser...proceeds benefit Warner Elementary

Articles Worth Reading:

A Letter to My Daughter's Kindergarten Teacher @pernilleripp

A Veteran Teacher Turned Coach Discovers a Sobering Lesson... @grantwiggins

The Wonderful Comfort of a Blanket Book @strohreads

Reflecting on the #Bammys

Be The Hope @coolcatteacher

How to Burn Yourself Out @TeachThought

After being told their son died, parents get the shock of a lifetime...

11 Ways To Let Go and Feel Stress Free @marcandangel

Consumers Energy App helps teach Warner Students...

Videos Worth Watching:

#Hashtag Humor on Jimmy Fallon (3 min)

Ellen from the backseat... (3 min)

What Play Can Teach Us... (11 min)

1 comment:

  1. Ben this is one of my all time favorite posts of yours. I absolutely love the positive energy and the photos make it. You can tell from the photos that each one of these kids gives off incredible positive energy. Thank you for mentoring me and thank you for pushing me to always look for the positive and the potential!