Friday, August 11, 2017

With Thanks to @mrshoweihs Be Kind, A Great 2017-2018 Motto

I am writing in total appreciation of Denise Howe, a teacher I was fortunate to work with during the 2016 Invitational Leadership Institute and the 2017 College Ready Writers Program. A graduate of Fairfield University's English Education program, Denise is everything her mentor, Dr. Emily Smith, said she would be. When she applied to CWP-Fairfield programs, Emily wrote, "You will love her. She is an amazing human being."

An amazing human being: mother, teacher, and even a winter guard supporter, I've loved every second I've had learning alongside her.

While I was cleaning my office yesterday, I found a package she delivered to my office that I, sadly, didn't see until I was tidying. Denise bought me a gift from Ben's Bells.
For over a decade, Ben's Bells has been infusing the practice of intentional kindness throughout communities. Tens of thousands of citizens are engaged with Ben's Bells educational programming offered through our studios, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. 
Ben's Bells Project's mission is to education communities about the known positive impacts of intentional kindness, and to empower individuals to act according to that awareness.
I am honored, especially as it is Denise Howe who is too kind. Inscribed in a note, Denise wrote,
Dear Bryan, 
When I think of Ben's Bells and the "Be Kind" movement, I'm reminded of the kindness you have shown me. I appreciate your confidence in me, a renewed confidence in myself to continue to pursue my passions.

Inspired by National Writing Project work, the love for her daughter and her son, and a drive for social justice, Denise has been heading toward a trajectory of fulfilling her want for a better world and a more equitable classroom. She is a gifted educator and a wonderful human being.

When I opened the present, I simply realized this needs to be the motto for 2017-2018, especially as Pandora's box has reopened internationally and fear, hatred, envy and spite have spread like wildfire, especially across the U.S. in ways I didn't know was possible.

Driving from work yesterday I heard a report about the power of negativity and the toxic ways it becomes rampant amongst people and friends. When surrounded by negative thought, it is easy to jump into similar misery as a habit of mind. I'm joining Denise to counter such a movement and looking to joy. I'm thankful for my gift and will look at it daily for inspiration and the reminder that love should always be the answer.

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