Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Power of Inspiration ( Part 2 of 2 )

     With the outset of every new year we have the opportunity to renew our passion and our commitment to improving the quality of our lives.   This year I have made a commitment to make these improvements by seeking inspiration wherever possible and as often as possible. Once inspired it has been my intention to "pay it forward" and inspire others. This daily quest for inspiration literally has been the foundation of my positive energy and attitude that quite honestly needed a boost.
     Thus far the inspiration has come in the form of quotes, articles, songs, TED talks, or from the commitment of the members of my PLN, to improve the quality of education for students throughout the world. Sometimes I look for it and sometimes it finds me. Friday night it found me. It was not my intention to post another blog entry about inspiration or to post another entry during the month of January but than I read the Huffington Post article and watched the (Ted Talk X Mid-Atlantic 2013) about Sam Berns and his philosophy "For a Happy Life".  His passion, his positive attitude and his overall philosophy on life moved me, to move the cursors on my keyboard and share his amazing and inspirational story with all of you.
     Sam Berns passed away on January 10 after living an amazing life with an amazing attitude, despite insurmountable odds. Early on in his life Sam was diagnosed with a rare aging disease called  Progeria that effects approximately 350 children in the world today. Throughout his life he refused to allow his disease to define and limit him but rather used it as a driving force to accomplish things that may have seemed impossible based on his condition. His ability to clear what seemed insurmountable hurdles resulted from being incredibly self motivated and his ability to utilize a loving and supportive family.
     The inspirational anecdote that struck me the most was linked to his love for music. After joining the marching band at his high school as a drummer, Sam was told that he could not march with the snare drum due to his weight of just 50 pounds and that he would have to be assigned to the immobile pit percussion section. Devastated, but determined, and undeterred, Sam and his parents hired an engineer. The engineer then designed a 6 pound harness that allowed Sam the mobility that he needed to march in the band and fulfill his dream. This was just one inspiring example of Sam's resiliency despite a medical condition that might have other wise hampered him.  His attitude and his "Philosophy for a Happy Life" were indicative of the inspiration and positive energy that apparently defined his character up until his death this past Friday. Sam may have lived for only seventeen years and those that loved and knew him certainly grieve his passing. However his legacy of living life with passion and his ability to inspire others is one worthy of a celebration for the ages.  (www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/.../watch-sam-berns-died-porgeria-tedx-2013_n...) Watch My Philosophy for a Happy Life, Inspirational Student Sam Berns (You Tube)

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Power of Inspiration (Part 1)

The Power of Inspiration

     There are times in our lives where the existing conditions necessitate change. During these times we contemplate how to make these changes.  Do we dip our toes in the water? Or do we jump in with both feet?  A little over a month ago, a dear friend and colleague inspired me to check out the potential of using Twitter as means to improve my craft as an educator. Early on as I surveyed the landscape I was immediately impressed by the evident bond in exsistance that connected various types of educators, from superintendents to principals, to the classroom teacher.  The common thread was a passionate commitment towards improving the quality of education, in order to best serve the needs and interests of their students.
     Needless to say it didn't take long to be convinced of the inspirational powers of Twitter.  The thousands of educators sharing wisdom, support and resources in the name of professional growth inspired me to begin constructing my own professional learning network.  My early followers allowed me the opportunity to reconnect with one of the most passionate and positive educators that I know.  His support along with the positive energy of my many early followers has strengthened my passion for my craft and my students.  Sharing a common vision with educators around the globe has reaffirmed my belief that despite all of the challenges brought by educational reform, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to the growth of our students through exceptional educational opportunities.
     Inspiration is a powerful force that ultimately can change the direction of our lives when we least expect it.  If we follow the path of inspirational opportunity there is no telling what we can achieve.  Inspiration is a gift, and when it is bestowed upon us, the best way to show gratitude, is to look for opportunities to inspire others and pay the gift forward.