Kermit Says: Make Time

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Mizzou. Kenya. Japan. Paris. Mexico. Baghdad.

Syria. Beirut. Sinai. Nigeria. Yale.

If you’ve recently turned on the news or opened a newspaper, you’ve likely heard or read a story on the above countries and countless others. In one week, nearly 600 people were killed due to terrorist attacks—and those are just the ones covered by the media. So, who decides what makes front page news or gets its own temporary Facebook profile picture filter? Do those filters mean that some lives are more valuable than others? And does any of it really matter? These are some of the questions that sparked a forty-five minute conversation with my high school sophomores, and it was a conversation I’d suggest everyone have.

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Kermit Says: Lean In

From race and sexuality to class and religion and everything in between, it can be really challenging to push yourself to have these difficult, mature, respectful conversations. For many, these topics are heavy, emotionally charged, and deeply personal. Of course it makes sense to steer clear of such conversations, and quite frankly, it’s the easy thing to do. Who wants to offend others? Who wants to be judged based on their political and/or moral beliefs? Who wants to second guess everything they were taught and, in turn, the very people who imparted such knowledge? No one ever wants to be that guy, but think about all the good that’s come from folks who were courageous enough to stand up and spark lively conversations about challenging topics: Angela DavisTim WiseJane Adams. Jimmy Carter. Marian Wright Edelman. Cesar Chavez. Helen Keller. Nelson Mandela. Gloria Steinem. Howard Zinn. And the list of fearless folks goes on and on and on. Again, the work they did and conversations they started were overwhelmingly difficult, and yet they were also—and more importantly—life changing. They leaned into the discomfort, and so should you!

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Kermit Says: Be About It!

Nigerian girls missing, Ebola ravaging West African countries, ISIS terrorizing innocent civilians, Bubonic plague spreading throughout Madagascar, and hundreds of thousands of people losing the battle against social justice every. single. day. There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and I oftentimes feel angry, sad, confused, powerless, and just plain tired. Tired of the fighting. Tired of the hatred. Tired of the pain. Tired of the judgment. Tired of it all. When will it end? When will love finally drive out hate? When will darkness give way to light? When will we know justice and peace? When will we be the change we want to see in the world?

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Kermit Says: Be Brave

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Everybody’s been there/Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy/Fallen for the fear/And done some disappearing,/Bow down to the mighty/Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue. (“Brave” by Sara Bareilles)

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath/Scared to rock the boat and make a mess/So I sat quietly, agreed politely/I guess that I forgot I had a choice/I let you push me past the breaking point/I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything/You held me down, but I got up (hey!)/Already brushing off the dust/You hear my voice, your hear that sound/Like thunder, gonna shake the ground/You held me down, but I got up/Get ready ’cause I had enough/I see it all, I see it now. (“Roar” by Katy Perry)

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Kermit Says: Be Eager

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As a teacher, I have a number of daily responsibilities: to ensure my students have the fundamentals of reading, writing, analysis, and critical thinking; to guarantee their mental, emotional, and physical safety at all times; and to broaden their horizons. While these are essential aspects of my job, they are not at the core; they are not the most important responsibilities, and they are not the rationale behind why I get up and do what I do every single day. No. Motivating, inspiring, and empowering my kids to believe in themselves and to help them find and follow their passions—to be eager—that’s what drives me.

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Kermit Says: Be Radiant

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The other day, I was sitting in the car blasting my music–what’s new–when suddenly Rihanna’s song, “Shine Bright Like a Diamond,” came on. Now, ordinarily this moment wouldn’t stand out to me, but for some reason this Rihanna song in particular did. I found myself closing my eyes, snapping my fingers, bobbing my head–the typical grooving motions. Of all of the songs I’d listen to that particular day, this one stood out the most. The lyrics resonated with me. Shine bright like a diamond…

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Kermit Says: Be Bold

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As an English teacher, I’ve written this post with the idea of being interactive because, like in my classroom, this is not about me—this is about you. So, if I ask you a question, just give me what you’ve got, okay? What does it mean to be brave?  Now think about this next question: who are some brave people in your lives? Think about these people, what they’ve done, and how their actions align with your own definitions of bravery. Feel free to post your answers below! 

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