Whose Hope Were You Today?


A frequent theme in my work is that young people are geniuses from which we have much to learn.

I spent the first 14 years of my career in the classroom with kids from Kindergarten to second grade. I cherished this time in my life; students this age are brave and bold, comfortable with their genius and unanimously believe they can and will use it to change the world.

I’ve spent the last ten years with a broad range of students, teachers, administrators and leaders of all stripes. Most of them are not quite as comfortable with honoring their genius.

Each morning, I ask my “Genius Question of the Day” on Facebook. I usually get a few answers, but not as many as you’d expect to a simple question asked of 4,600 adults. This is because most adults struggle with recognizing, accepting, and living up and into their genius.

Today’s question was, “Am I Serving as Only I Can Serve?”

This received more answers than usual, because my beautiful friend Joli Barker-Erwin shared it with her third grade class in McKinney, Texas. Now, this is no ordinary class; it has its own moniker: The Fearless Classroom. With Joli’s leadership, these students are intrepid, determined and fully living up and into their genius.

Here is how they responded to the question, “Am I Serving As Only I Can Serve?”

“Yes because I prayed with my mom this morning because she was having a really bad morning.”

“Yes because I am a really good reader and I helped a friend learn a new way to remember the important stuff. “

“No, but I will be now. I sometimes forget that I have something special to give to people. But I remember now. I can be a really good friend. “

“Yes, because I walked with a friend to school in the rain and held his umbrella for him so he wouldn’t drop his stuff. “

“Yes because I try to smile at other kids in our school when we are in the hallway. Smiles always make me feel better so I figure if I smile then they will feel happy too.”

“Yes because I am a genius and you are helping us use what we are learning in class to help others. I feel really good about helping people. Before this year, I didn’t think I could actually be someone’s hope.”

Are you serving as only you can serve?

As a leader whose hope were you today?

Image credit: violetkaipa / 123RF Stock Photo

My life path has always been about teaching and communication. My twenty years as an educator and my passionate pursuit of literacy and learning, gave me the healthy dose of courage and skills that have led me through a wonderful variety of experiences, including classroom and University teaching, instructional coaching, research, writing, publishing, corporate training, and starting my own business.

  • Mark, great point here. As kids, we are ready to conquer the world. Only a select few need to unlearn what they picked up through childhood into adulthood. At 38 years old – thank goodness – I am starting to scratch the surface, traveling the world, writing inspirational ebooks, teaching people how to make money online through blogging and doing other cool stuff too.

    We all have genius in us. Uncover the blocks, dissolve them, and it will ooze out.


  • Thank you Ryan! Own your genius this week, and stop back to share your awesome with us! You are absolutely just scratching the surface!

  • Loved this post, Angela! What a simple but powerful question to ask ourselves…and what a great way to focus our day on what really matters – serving others, and by doing so, providing them hope.

    I love the simplicity of the children’s answers, but hope doesn’t have to come in big packages….thanks for the reminder!

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  • Maggie Maslowski

    We all have a Genius within us. As educators it is our DUTY to ensure that our students know that they have a Genius within them. We shouldn’t stay at the front of the class and show our genius. We should allow and encourage students to share their Genius. The only way they will be able to share their Genius is by giving them the motivation and the confidence to believe that I believe in them and that I know they have a Genius. It is my duty as an educator to give students opportunities to showcase their genius and to be proud of who they are. They are the future. They have a lot to teach me…us! I cannot be an educator who preaches my Genius; I need to be an educator who gives them class time to showcase their Genius. And, that may mean that I have to encourage and motivate and engage because they may have been taught that their opinion does not matter. Yet, it is sooooooooooo worth it to change their perspective because they will make a difference and they will use their confidence and their pride to help all of us succeed. That’s the power in learning. We all learn from each other. They are important. They Matter. Once they truly believe that their voice matters, we all win! Our success is due to our future generation. That’s a beautiful thing! When I’m not in class, learning is still happening, because they have the confidence to complete the tasks that will move them toward mastery in our next unit. I don’t need to be there once I teach the routine of learning and that’s beautiful!

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