JAMES ALLRED Each time, he explained to me the merits of taking one’s time to accomplish a task properly to begin with. And each time, I half-listened as I went about my apathetic teenage chore list, begrudgingly crossing items off so that I could go hang out with my friends. As a (not so young) adult, I’m now wrestling with many changing circumstances in life and work and family. Trying to eat healthier and exercise regularly, to be kinder and more understanding. More responsible. Understanding my parents just a little bit more with each misstep or failure and also recognizing the value in learning through error. In my kindergarten/first grade classroom, we have only one rule: Be Kind. It goes for every kid and every teacher. Be kind to each other, our materials, our environment, ourselves. Be kind and understanding of each other’s journeys. We constantly remind each other that, “Everybody’s an expert at something,” and what I’m an expert at has no more or no less value than that which you excel at. It takes many different types of plants to cultivate a beautiful garden. Too much sun, and the mosses and ground cover wither. Not enough sun, and your spring tulips won’t bloom. Each team, each class, each family needs trees, mosses and roses. Each just as valuable as the next to the overall system of balance that goes into a beautifully orchestrated effort. . If your ground cover is scorching, you’d plant a tree to provide shade...maybe an apple because my grandfather had an apple tree. If your lawn is patchy, you’d get a bag of that stuff the Scottish guy talks about in the commercials and make your puppy start peeing in the backyard. As part of a Design Thinking social studies unit at school, my students were tasked with solving four main problems: one for a friend, one for our class, one for our school, and one for some ‘others’ in our greater global community. Spreading kindness in kind.
“WE CONSTANTLY REMIND EACH OTHER THAT, “EVERYBODY’S AN EXPERT AT SOMETHING,” AND WHAT I’M AN EXPERT AT HAS NO MORE OR NO LESS VALUE THAN THAT WHICH YOU EXCEL AT. IT TAKES MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF PLANTS TO CULTIVATE A BEAUTIFUL GARDEN.”
May 2015 issue of Courageous Creativity, themed around 'Creative Teaching'