Next week is Valentines Day.  My thoughts reflect today on my mom, who provided a strong example of strength based learning, even before any tests or reports could label it as such.  (Or maybe this is more about my Grandma’s strengths.)

My mom lived in a tiny area  called Blackrock, Idaho.   She had seven sisters and a father who loved farming.  Each time another child was born, I am sure he prayed for a son to help with farm work, but alas, only girls graced their household.  Finally, my Grandpa sold the farm and took a job for the railroad.  My mom and her sisters moved into the “Big City” of Pocatello, Idaho.

She was the 7th child.  That means 7 opportunities for hand me downs.  7 sisters who had things first.  Well loved, but painfully shy she entered elementary school.  Now there was a girl there who was quite popular.  She decided my mom was not the type of person who should have friends and spent time mocking the way she dressed.  Wait you may say, isn’t this a blog about strengths?

Please keep reading.  Well my mom did make friends because honestly she was a really amazing person, but this one girl, Betty Jean,  NEVER let up on the teasing. Now my mom’s family might have been poor, but Grandma knew what was important.  On Valentines Day, she would make cards and  put little candies inside each  Valentine that her daughter’s would give.  Mom told Grandma NOT to make a card for Betty Jean.  Grandma just smiled.  On Valentines Day, when Mom took her cards, she discovered Grandma had made one HUGE Valentine.  It was created with lace and absolutely beautiful.  It was for mom’s “arch enemy!”  Now the same girl did give mom a card.  Mom remembers it was a joke card designed to make her feel bad. However the last laugh was on my mom when she saw Betty look at the biggest Valentine in the class and discover it was given to her by my mom.

I think the moral here is that kindness is a strength.  It is easy to be kind to those we love, but what about those we have difficulties with. How can we apply my Grandma’s Valentine Card to relationships?   Just a thought.


About the author: Camie Walker
I am excited to join other educators in a quest to create a strength based educational movement. All children need to know they are successful, loved and appreciated for their talents, dreams and ideas. I have embraced the NGSS philosophy because I have seen how it allows students to thrive and develop their strengths. However along with strengths, traits such as empathy, creativity and compassion for others can be cultivated using service opportunities aligned to the NGSS human impacts. Success is not an end, but a journey. Finding happiness ins the present is my focus for both my students and the teachers. I appreciate CTA for providing this forum to build strengths and develop both professional and social connections. Let's learn and grow together.