Find Your Voice

If you know me at all, then you know I don’t usually have any trouble opening my mouth. This is great if, for example, I want to make friends with the person in line with me at the grocery (which I do all the time, even if they resist at first). It is not so great when I awkwardly stand up in the middle of a meeting and promptly forget everything I meant to say and end up delivering an incoherent rant. It’s a gift, what can I say.

A gift I share, apparently, with my precious middle child. Last week I spent an hour in the car with him, during which he talked nonstop about every mundane topic that popped into his head. At one point he said, “I talk too much, don’t I?”

“Absolutely not,” I responded immediately.

I understand the value of listening, and I try to encourage it, but I never want my child to feel like a part of their personality is a liability.

Which is why I love that our school provides an opportunity for every kid to play to their individual strengths. I’ve mentioned that our school is a The Leader in Me school before. As part of TLIM, students are encouraged to be leaders of their own lives by practicing the Seven Habits.

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And the school gives them opportunities to do this.

For some this might mean leading younger children during reading time; for others it means participating in a safety patrol group. For Henry, and his mouth, it means being part of the student Lighthouse team, where Henry and other students help generate ideas to make our school even better.

And that experience has helped Henry find his voice.

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Give this kid a microphone and he’s ready to take over the world.

As it turns out, “Find Your Voice,” just happens to be the “8th” habit from TLIM. Yeah, I know I said there are 7 Habits, but then there’s also this 8th one. Henry can explain that for you.

The other day, the principal at our school sent an email saying that the 2015 Leader in Me Symposium national theme would be, “Find Your Voice.” He was sharing this because a few years ago, Henry had been the one to point out that the 8th habit needs to be highlighted. (Read: my kid is brilliant and I’m super proud because an entire symposium is themed after his idea.)

Side note: Thanks to @PrincipalKatte, I even have the video message from Aaron Ashby, lead developer at Franklin Covey, where he thanks Henry for the idea and ensures him they will put it to good use:

So then I was reading online about the 8th Habit and I found all these great quotes, like, “Most educators don’t choose their profession because they want to prepare students for tests; they want to prepare them for life and inspire greatness.” Insert dreamy sigh. Do you see why I love this program?

It has certainly inspired Henry–he has had the opportunity to stand in front of over 200 adults and take part in a keynote speech and just the other night he was the emcee at our school’s Heritage Night. He is currently torn between wanting to become an educator and wanting to be a famous actor, in the future. Just the other day he told me that one of life goals is to host Saturday Night Live. I can see that.

In the meantime, this program, and this school, and this principal, along with these teachers, have inspired Henry to find his voice and given him confidence that impresses me on a daily basis.

…..Now just wait until May when I post the blog about Henry graduating and moving on to middle school. It will just be a blank page with the words, “sobbing” across the top.

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