Seeing Differently

A poem about the strength of connection and understanding that can come from sharing our experiences with one another, thinking about our different perspectives (points of view), and finding out what we have in common.

"My bedroom is on the top floor of our house," said the child.
"My nest is near the top of a tall tree," said the bird.

My house has three peaks with a window in each one.
My nest is in three tall trees standing together.

From my house I can see the rooftops of my neighbor's houses.
From my nest I can see the tall buildings downtown.

I can watch people walk by from my window.
I can watch clouds pass by from my branch.

When the wind blows my house stands strong and still.
When the wind blows my nest stands strong and sways.

From my house I can hear cars driving by and children playing.
From my trees I can hear planes flying by and children playing.

There are three trees by my house, if I look I can see the tops of the trees.
There is a house by my nest, if I look I can see three peaks on the house.

"I see you and you see me. We live in the same place! We are together."

-Kay Lybeck

The Strongest Classroom

Connection, courage and possibility help me to navigate a strongman contest (insert any challenge in the blank).

Noticing the connection of the process that I share with all of the competitors to improve and grow builds a feeling of community for me. We share struggles, worries and adversities. We share gains, wins and celebrations. Noticing the frustrations and the joy, and experiencing this contrast of emotions together builds “a bonfire of belonging”(a beautifully strong phrase I heard from author Brad Montague).

It takes courage for me to get out there, to push to my edges and possibly beyond in a public setting. At the competition when I look around I see courage in action from the other competitors, the coaches, the judges, the spotters, the host who was brave enough to undertake and organize the event. All the different ways of being brave that I see, and the courage that I know I can’t see, motivate and inspire me to keep going.

Being in that atmosphere of connection and courage I can bravely try. I can go for it!!. I can risk being seen trying and failing, because I know, they know, what success is. I may leave bruised up from the all out effort, and with failed attempts, but I gained insight into how to try it again. I leave feeling fired up for the possibility that’s ahead of me, next time!!

Knowing that I am not alone in this difficult endeavor and bravely, repeatedly choosing to keep going, leads to success no matter the outcome.

From this environment of bravery to try and a community connected by growth, there seems to be a high level of encouragement and care. Care for myself, care for performing to my best and  care for others. That is an AMAZING byproduct of being in a strongman contest (insert your challenge in the blank). 

That is exactly what I want to foster as the teacher  in a classroom (challenge), a caring and encouraging community. Students need time to build a “strongman community” in their classroom before they can take risks to make learning gains. If we don’t allow for that time to build that strong community, and nurture a safe space to grow, which leads to caring, we are limiting great potential and children’s joy of dreaming big and going for it!!


I chose to study elementary education as my major in college. When I was 21 years old it was time to take the knowledge I had gained and put it into practice. It was time to begin my student teaching! I was excited, hopeful, nervous, and scared. This was what I had been preparing for. I was to be a student teacher at an elementary school in a 3rd grade classroom. At a school! In a classroom! Third grade! It all sounded exhilarating and wonderful to me.

On the day I was to begin I woke up very early. I was prepared. My bag was packed. I was dressed in a skirt, and a top that I had  picked out just for this day. I was ready to go.

The time had arrived and I parked in the parking lot. I then slung my bag over my shoulder and proceeded to the front of the school, up the stairway to the impressive double doors, which were LOCKED? My heart was beating quickly already due to nerves and this unexpected event sent it into double time. I headed around to the far side(the wrong side) in search of doors I could enter through. Every set of stairs that I walked up to had a pair of locked doors. I ended up hustling around the whole building, feeling like I was going to be late with each failed attempt. Wouldn’t you know it, the doors right by the parking lot, by my car were unlocked… sensible doors to enter through, which I somehow missed.

At this point I was feeling flustered with a sheen of sweat! I decided to take a breath and a pause before entering the building, because of course I still had time. Time was the only thing that appeared to be on my side despite my worries of being late. 

It was at that moment that I looked down and realized my skirt’s zipper from the back was now in the front. While hunting for an unlocked door some sort of friction had been taking place between my skirt, my nylons and my bag and had completely turned my skirt around backwards! This craziness had also twisted my tucked in shirt to the side. As soon as I noticed this I suddenly felt like my outfit was a boa constrictor wrapping around me squeezing the air out of me. My carefully chosen clothing had turned on me! There was a moment of panic.

This was not how my well prepared morning and entrance into the school as a teacher was supposed to go! Wrong door, long walk, sweatiness, and an outfit on backwards! Doors were saying don’t enter and my clothing was actually turning around and trying to head the other way. I tugged, and twisted to get everything back in order and I prayed that no one would walk in or out the door while this strange dance was going on. This tug of war with my clothing was working and everything on the outside of my body was getting put back in place. My insides, and my feelings were definitely still out of place. I was feeling embarrassed and worried about what could happen next.

After getting situated I paused and I took some deep breaths, just as I was doing before the skirt fiasco.  Then I opened the door, proceeded to the office and stepped into third grade. The classroom where we learned together that mistakes, accidents, and silly things happen to us all and we might feel nervous, defeated, or embarrassed, but that moment doesn’t define the next one. If we have the courage to step forward and keep going the next moment could possibly be amazing. My step through the door to do my student teaching was certainly amazing, skirt frontwards or backwards.