Second-Grade Wisdom: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. in the eyes of a 2nd Grade Student

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For my children, this is simply a day off of school and the chance to sleep in. No different and no more vague than Memorial Day, Winter Break and President’s Day.  Continue reading “Second-Grade Wisdom: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

When Passing is Failing

This is going to make most of you uncomfortable. I will use language in this blog that makes you uncomfortable. Race and bias is not something Americans like to talk about.  We all know there are problems, but we don’t know how to fix them, and we don’t want to admit to ourselves that deep down, we all might have our own prejudices to contend with.

Today, I’m not going to pontificate or problem solve. I’m not going to hypothesize about what’s wrong. Candidly, I don’t have any of the answers nor do I truly understand all of the whys behind our countries issues today.

Instead, I’m going to tell you a little about my story. My experience with prejudice, with feeling different and confused, and how it shaped the person I am today…mostly through making some really cowardly decisions at 18.  Continue reading “When Passing is Failing”

The Magic of Dr. Seuss – A Diffendoofer Day to You Too!

suess_diffendoofer

Dr. Seuss has always been special. There is a magic to his books, the stories, the artwork, that truly transcend time. That’s what makes an exceptional book – for kids or adults, right? A story that can be just as enjoyable and meaningful regardless of when and by whom it is read.  I just learned last night that yesterday was the anniversary of his death after happening on a great article about his best book quotes. In memory of Dr. Seuss, I thought I’d share a little Sheehan family Seuss story.

This week, we rediscovered “Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!” My two oldest kids love this book, and every few months, it becomes part of the “cycle” in bed-time reading. We’ve transitioned from Mom and Dad reading it to them reading it, but the joy at the end is always the same.

Ironically, this is one of those books that isn’t well-known. It almost wasn’t even published. In fact, it’s a book that is only part Dr. Seuss. It’s a book about schools, and teachers, and celebrates that being different is exceptional. Based on the publisher notes at the end of the story, Dr. Seuss wasn’t sure about publishing it but he shared the idea with his editor and then left it be. After he died in 1991, his long-term editor asked to see his notes on the “teacher” idea. While the story wasn’t complete, with permission from his family and help from two other authors, they completed the book.

His lead – Miss Bonkers – is crazy and amazing and fun and silly. She and her fellow teachers teach their kids to be creative and to think in a unique way, yet they learn their ABCs and 123s too.  At its core, this book is about teachers and students and the true power that comes from enabling students to think on their own, even when their style is different.

My life has been influenced so often by teachers. My mom was a teacher, and my sister is a teacher now. I am not sure if I would ever have made it to college without the push of the amazing teachers at my junior high and high school in Banquete, Texas. I’ve seen my children blossom into something that my husband and I could never have fostered on our own thanks to the teachers they have had thus far, even starting in pre-school.

The best part about this story is that this book did not come into our home the way most books do, as gifts or from trips to the bookstore. I was given the book over a decade ago, as a corporate “thank you” for helping to start a Diversity Council at my company. Just like the classic graduation gift book – “Oh The Places You Will Go” – this book speaks to so much more than silly words and stories.

Teachers change lives. They make the world a better place.  And, being different, being a bit unique, is fantastic and amazing! Embrace your Diffendooferness, because for teachers and students alike, that is what makes you special in every way.

In honor of Dr. Seuss, what’s your favorite Seuss moment or book?