My earliest memory of recognizing that I had unique strengths came at about the age of four. My dad was running for County Commissioner and we were at a huge gathering in the park. (Huge from the perspective of a four-year-old, keep in mind this is Pocatello, Idaho in the 1960’s!)
So the crowd was gathered to hear the candidates. My job was to smile and look cute while passing out campaign stickers.
I remember being dressed in a red and white striped jumper, with blue ribbons in my long blonde hair. I was having fun! All of a sudden, as happens in Idaho in the spring, it started to rain. Nearby there was a huge box of extra buttons. Nestled at the bottom of the box were rain bonnets. I quickly grabbed as many as my small hand could carry and began navigating the crowd, delivering much needed shelter with an important message. “Vote for L.P. Lystrup, he is prepared for ANYTHING!”
I remember the feeling of pride I had that day. Pride in my dad, but also pride that I had come up with a saying to match the weather! Flexibility and creativity have always been friends. Nurtured at this early age these strengths have served me well over the years.
I am grateful for that rainy day in South Easter Idaho. For parents who paved a pathway for me to recognize my strengths. However I also know that many in this world do not come from a family where strengths are fostered or recognized. For our students, caring educators can and must step in to create opportunities for strengths to be discovered then nurtured.
What is your earliest memory of recognizing your strengths? Who was there to help nurture and guide you in developing these talents? How can we as educators create opportunities for our students to find their unique talents? Isn’t this a necessity for social justice and equity for all?
Oh, and yes, my dad won! I’d love to think I had a small part in that!