My sister Kirstie is studying to be a health teacher at SIU-E. A few weeks ago, she sent me the text message below. I am already an incredibly proud big brother. My sisters and my brother are the three most amazing people I know. That said, my pride in Kirstie’s words, her learning and her commitment to helping those coming after her has its own space in my heart. In a week where cynicism and coursework have ruled most days, returning to this text has been helpful.
Today I was teaching yoga at Glenwood middle school to a few of the girls pe classes, and I had them do an activity to help with positive thinking and so I told them to write a list of 5 things they like about themselves. A good amount of the girls didn’t have too much trouble, but there were far too many of them that thought it was difficult. The saddest piece of paper I found had only the word “none” written on it. I think that the positive reinforcement needs to start at home, but why can’t our schools help children love themselves too? I believe in what you’re doing Zachary, I hope you do make a difference for every student and help make school a better place for everyone. Middle school is tough, but it shouldn’t be so hard that a 12 year old can’t name one thing they like about him or herself.
I am sad that my little sister has to feel and build her understanding of the places where the world falls down, but I feel much better knowing she’s out there helping to pull it back up.