My Hand Up

The school my elementary-aged children attend hosts an annual event called Leadership Day.  It’s a day when students and staff host parents and community members in sharing experiences with leadership.  The school uses a program called the Leader in Me, which is Stephen Covey’s 7 habits adapted for use in a school setting.  I love the exposure my children have to these great principles every single day at school, and I’m trying to use them more at home also.

This year all the students had to complete an art project of their choice for display on Leadership Day.  The theme was “Finding Your Voice”, which is Covey’s 8th habit.  I really enjoyed watching my kids think of ways to share this idea.  One of my daughters entered this piece that she painted on President’s Day , using the image of birds singing to describe how she felt about finding her voice.

My first grader’s project was so sweet.

She’s very loud and emotional at home, but at school is quiet as a mouse.   She’s a perfectionist in her school work and stresses about all the little things.  She’s been slow to make friends, but is learning a lot.  Her reading teacher is in love with her and emails me constantly about what an ideal student she is.  (My husband and I chuckle at this because we also know the rest of her personality, but it’s a relief to know that she is a model child at school.  Sometimes I wonder which is worse, the kid who’s perfect at home and a problem elsewhere, or the child who’s great everywhere but at home?)  She is a little sweetheart, and my heart salutes her because we know how much stress and anxiety she experiences in order to be that model student.

At her student-led conference a few weeks ago she was invited to set a goal for herself.  We chose the 8th habit, and her goal is to have the courage to raise her hand at least once every day and share something in class.  Oh, it made her nervous to write it down, but it is such a great goal for her.  With this goal in mind, she created her piece of art using oil pastels.

Her title:  My Hand Up.

Her description:  I will be brave and raise my hand.  I will share my thoughts.

She had me trace her arm on the paper, which gave it more meaning for her.  It’s her arm, her hand up high.  My heart swelled with love and pride when she showed me the final product.  I love the colorful fingernails.  I’m so proud of her for setting a goal that will truly help her grow.  I’m proud of her for having the courage even to declare the goal.  And I’m grateful for this little first grader in my life.

Hopeful Homemaker


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