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May 18, 2017

A Top 20 Teacher Shares his Weekly Letter to Parents/Guardians! Entry #15

This week’s communication (sent home to the parents/guardians of Mr. Bowlin’s 4th graders) ignites the barrage of brainpower combating the evil enemy that has been limiting potential since the beginning of time: STUPID! The assault on STUPID reminds us that Stupid doesn’t exist, real experiences do. Read more from Mr. Bowlin below.

Top 20: Four Cs of Stupid

We continued with our unit called “Know How We’re Smart” with a conversation about feeling “stupid” or NGE (Not Good Enough) when we are called, compared, confused, our use or hear the word can’t. The reality is that we have our strengths (smarts) and weaknesses (areas for improvement) when it comes to school, activities, sports, relationships, etc. Unfortunately when we encounter the feelings of stupid or NGE, we often have thoughts of giving up. It is in this moment where we must call on our EQ/Star Qualities to help us overcome adversity. With a strong EQ, we understand that we aren’t going to be good at everything especially things that are new to us. The feelings of stupid have the potential to hold us back from becoming our best. Often our greatest triumphs start with confusion and difficulty, but if we persevere the satisfaction of success is extremely rewarding.

We viewed and discussed scenes from the popular 1993 movie, The Sandlot, to help us recognize the feelings associated with the four Cs of stupid. We used two characters from the movie, Scotty Smalls and Benny Rodriguez, to guide our conversation on keeping “Stupid in the Box.” Scotty was new to town and desperate to fit in and make friends. He noticed a group of kids who got together frequently to play baseball at the sandlot. Through a couple short scenes, we picked out times where Scotty was called stupid, compared to others, confused, and used the word can’t. Scotty had never played baseball, didn’t know how to throw, catch, or hit, and was the subject of many laughs for others in the group. With the help of the leader of the group, Benny, he eventually became another one of the guys.

We are all unique and different and when we try new things mistakes are going to happen. Too often in schools, a group of students with varying level of skills are expected to leave with the same set of developed skills. Logically we know this is impossible, but we haven’t done a good enough job of communicating this to students and parents. Comparison is incredibly prevalent in our society and as Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” If we sit and compare our weaknesses to another person’s strengths, we will always feel inadequate. That is why it is important to embrace and know the ways in which we are smart and continuously strive to strengthen our weaknesses to the best of our ability.

When we are called stupid, compared to others, confused, or use the word can’t, the feelings of NGE can surface quickly. The metaphor of keeping stupid in the box reminds us that we have the choice to ignore theses thoughts and feelings. As human beings we are constantly learning and developing skills. Stupid is a roadblock to helping us learn and grow to our full potential. That is why we need to keep stupid in the box. If we allow stupid to emerge in our thoughts and words, we will be held back from becoming the best version of ourselves. It is extremely challenging to avoid these feelings because it is engrained in us at an early age that mistakes and confusion should be avoided. However if we keep a clear vision of how we’re smart, focus on ways we can improve, and live with the intention to get better each day, success will be inevitable.

 

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