Today may go down as one of the top-10 best days of my life.
I visited Mrs. Willis' 4th Grade class at Odyssey Elementary School and, through sharing Car Window Poetry with them, got to live out my dream of giving kids a platform to create and express themselves.
I started by sharing a poem with them by Kid President creator Brad Montague called Don't Hide Your Magic. The beginning of the poem says, "Don't hide your magic. Please share your gift. Seeing you shine gives the whole world a lift." I shared this poem with Mrs. Willis' students because, like Montague, I believe kids are wizards with incredible, magical powers and I wanted them to know that.
In sharing their magic, I asked them to write poems with advice they wanted to give grownups. I was so inspired by their simple, beautiful truths and wanted to share them with you. In a time where grownups are busy arguing on Facebook about problems they can't solve, I believe you'll be inspired too.
Here are 3 lessons grownups can learn from kids:
1. Be happy.
While kids wrote poems, I walked around the classroom and asked them what they like to do. My favorite answer to this question came from Bryson, a student in Mrs. Willis' class. He said he liked playing with his dogs. When I asked him what grownups could learn from dogs, he said, "If a three-legged dog can be happy, you can too."
So simple, yet so wise and beautiful. Bryson understands bad things happen. In this case, it's a dog losing one of his legs. But Bryson knows there's hope in the midst of that darkness. During a time where many feel hopeless, you aren't helpless from being happy. It doesn't take much. Find one thing in your life that lifts your spirits and allow that to bring you happiness.
2. Believe in your magic.
When I started the class by telling kids they were wizards with awesome, magical powers, they owned it. Some yelled, "Oh yeah!" A few of them started waving imaginary wands. And all of them allowed that to carry over into their writing. Because they believed they were wizards, they wanted to create magic. They filled every single card I brought with a poem, and, when I ran out, they started cutting pieces of notebook paper and writing their poems on them.
You may not feel like it, but you're a wizard with awesome, magical powers too. The mom who's able to take care of multiple kids and still obtain awesome results at work is a wizard. The college student who has loads of homework but still makes time to show up in someone's life is a wizard. You do something magical everyday. Believe it. Embrace it.
3. Share your magic.
As we were wrapping up today's class, Aidan, one of Mrs. Willis' students, came up to me and said, "I have another poem, but this one's for you." The handwriting wasn't the best. The spelling wasn't perfect. But Aidan's words touched my heart, and that poem is now hanging on my wall at work. It said:
Don't be sad
Don't be mad
Have the year of your life
And you're my friend
It doesn't take much to make a difference in someone's life. Your magic doesn't have to be perfectly manicured and prepared before being shared. It's ready now, because, however you package it, it's still magic. And magic is powerful.
Mrs. Willis, thank you so much for believing in me and this project and giving me the opportunity to share Car Window Poetry with your students! You show up every day in your students' lives with a belief that they can change the world. You are a true wizard, and I hope you never hide your magic!