This post begins with a picture of cows in a field during a light rain.  I smile when I see this photo because as we were driving along old Highway 61 last week, my husband began to laugh.  When I asked him what was so funny, he pointed out the cows and said, “Look how they have their heads down and are washing off their backs in the rain!”  Only something a farmer with a trained eye could notice.  This photo reminds me of the importance of the trained eye of us who are in education.  We notice the things that maybe the untrained do not – a child’s downcast eyes, a silly poke by another student, the correct answer but also the incorrect with clues as to what a student does and does not understand.  What is beautiful about a trained eye is the knowledge we gain through that vision!  In Maquoketa we were treated to a morning and afternoon with talented individuals who were willing to share their trained “eyes and voices,” with their only purpose being to inspire our students.

Sharing her talent
Caroline Jones sharing her talent
Signing autographs
Giving out autographs

Dreams! Goals! Identity! Focus! Inspiration! Love!  Themes from the motivational workshops provided to the Maquoketa Community School District students in grades K-8 in August.  Caroline Jones with her trained voice took us on a journey of inspiration through her sharing of music and lyrics.  She shared the stage with numerous students who were enthusiastic about showcasing their talents.  Her lyrics were filled with messages about following your passion that inspires you and to “love the journey every step of your life.”  Students came forward to sing their favorite songs and enjoy a moment of “stardom” as they shared the stage and microphone with Caroline.  After her performance, she took time to sign autographs and share words of wisdom with students who were lucky enough to spend a morning with one very passionate and joy-filled performer.

Sharing the spotlight with students

In the afternoon, older students were treated to words of wisdom by Stedman Graham. His message was focused on understanding your identity and defining who you are through your interests and passions.  He also shared the auditorium with many volunteers who gave their insight on what it means to be a leader.  Graham emphasized the importance of leading not following with a positive attitude and with love at the center of your decisions.  His final advice, “All you have to do to win is rise each time you fall!”  Something of which all of us need to be reminded.