Recently, I had the opportunity to go to a workshop at Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, GA. This was actually a dream come true for me; Ron Clark has been my teaching idol for years. I’ve modeled the way I present myself to students after Ron Clark’s methods since my first year as a teacher.
I try to build the connections he makes with his students. I hold them to very high standards. I try to make learning fun. I try to make everything I do as fun and engaging and challenging as Ron Clark and the other teachers at his Academy. Watching them in action was incredible, to say the least.
One of my favorite things I observed at RCA was the celebrations teachers throw for their students when they do something outstanding. Ron Clark has a red button that activates a dance party. Teachers have chants and cheers and dances. They show the kids how amazing and incredible they are. They stop and party and celebrate.
And it’s a beautiful thing.
Because what those students are learning is that their importance comes from within. They are taught that the thing that makes them incredible, amazing, wonderful, and unique comes from within. They’re taught to celebrate their achievements healthily. They’re taught that it’s okay to acknowledge when you are successful, based on hard work. They’re taught that it’s okay to take a moment after a job well done and pat yourself on your back.
And it made me realize how little we do this as adults. We’re told to be humble. We’re told to hold back. You’re considered a jerk, arrogant, self-centered if you want to celebrate your achievements. We’re told that we have to veil our own achievements behind a veil of humility.
We’re expected to be successful, but not too successful. We’re expected to let our lights shine, but not too brightly. We don’t want our light to overpower somebody else’s.
But what nobody can manage to tell me is why?
Why are we not allowed to celebrate ourselves? Why are we not supposed to share our successes with others? Why aren’t we allowed to brag, just a little bit? Are we so insecure in our own failures that we can’t allow others to celebrate their accomplishments?
What is so broken in our human nature that we can’t bear to watch other people do great things without us? Why aren’t we celebrating achievements? And if we feel bad about it, why don’t we just try harder?
When did we lose the ability to hit our own red button? When did we lose the desire to throw our own party?
Our Deepest Fear
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
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