What If Anything is Possible

Have you ever read any of Brad Montague’s stuff? Changing the world is on his to do list! When you get a moment, definitely give him a look, listen, and read.

In the March/April 2019 Ideas Issue of Good Grit, Brad says his workshop is “the kind of space where if someone comes to work with us, they would feel like anything is possible.” How awesome is that?

I love that idea, and this cover shot. It makes me smile and chuckle — but it’s also super profound right? Anything is possible. Grab hold of your dream — and your trusty colander — and make it happen!

My thoughts immediately go to my students. I can see us — goggles on, capes flapping behind us, dripping with jewels, multiple bags on each arm — laughing out loud as we run to join Brad in his time traveling machine. I revel in the joy I see on our faces. Then my thoughts turn to the makerspace where we turn ordinary objects into extraordinary inventions. And finally, I see us sitting together in reading groups — eyes wide with amazement as they read!

One of the practices Rosamund and Benjamin Zander suggest in their book The Art of Possibility is stepping into a universe of possibility. What if all educators worked to create a space in their minds and hearts, as well as in their physical learning space, where anything is possible and miracles happened every moment of the day? What if we created universes of possibility for ourselves and our students?

It would be amazing and world changing!

But how? How do we create universes of possibility that others can feel? We can’t just say it’s a universe of possibility where anything is possible, we have to work to make it a reality. Our choice of words, classroom design, norms, agreements, rules, and beliefs have to support everyone in the universe of possibility. We need to believe it’s true, and then speak and act in a way to make it real for others.

I’m thinking what that might look like for me.

Model curiosity.
Engage in conversation.
Listen.
Wonder.
Marvel at ideas and give them a go. Even, and especially, the ideas of a 5-6 year old.
Laugh.
Collaborate.
Make mistakes.
Use, and teach, “How Fascinating!”
Explore.
Investigate.
Think.
Problem-find.
Problem-solve.
Be creative.
Be teachable.
Learn.
Regularly engage in What if? moments with myself and my students!
Believe the best about others.
Help others see and believe the best about themselves.
Radiate positivity.
Speak from a mindset of abundance.
Speak of beauty and goodness.
Be grateful.
Invite others to join in.

And what if we didn’t just create that space in our classroom? What if we created universes of possibility fin our everyday lives? Again, amazing, and world changing!

Is my life a universe of possibility? Yes. I am the Queen of Possibility.

Do I always live in that knowledge? No. Sometimes I forget I live in a Universe of Possibility, and get mired in the slog that the day brings me.

Clearly, even as the Queen, I can deepen my practice of believing, speaking, and living possibility.

So, the universe of possibility I’m working on today.

Cancer? A cure is possible.
Side effects? No problem, I can manage.
The pandemic? Brilliant creative people are working on a vaccine and treatment. Prayerful people are praying them closer to it. It can end.
People hating and being less than human to one another? We can choose to love and be kind. We can make a difference.
Experiencing stress? I can breathe, pray, nutraceutical up, and move through it.
My washer and drier are old and hanging on with a thread? They can continue to work. And, if they need to be replaced, I can stay safe and comfortable in the process.
Feeling small in the face of it all? God is greater. God is generous. God is trustworthy.
Hope? Always good to have, and never disappoints.
Joy? Absolutely.
Possibility? Everywhere.

And, thanks to my good friend, Jojo, I can leave you with one of my favorite Universe of Possibility creating quotes.

When nothing is sure, everything is possible. (Margaret Drabble, The Middle Ground).

A Joyful Rebellion of Kindness

Awhile back I participated in the UC Berkeley’s MOOC The Science of Happiness. It was a great course — a ton of work — but a great course. One of the interesting things they suggested is that children have innate altruistic tendencies. Their research and information was compelling and hopeful!

The other day, my Kindergartners and I watched Joyful Rebellion by Brad Montague (Kid President’s brother-in-law).

It’s a great little video with encouragement and challenge. He invited us to to acknowledge our greatness and power, to dream big, and fill the world with more hope, more love, and more beauty.

After we watched the video, and talked about it a bit, I shared the idea of  Mirror Messages with them. I asked them what they thought about them. Could we do that for others at our school? They were intrigued, and asked many questions.

I told them our messages might not look exactly like the mirror messages. We might use index cards, or regular paper. Perhaps we’d place them on desks, or lockers, instead of mirrors. Maybe we’d pick a particular grade to gift. They were remarkably excited at the idea that we might encourage first graders, or *gasp* 12th graders! They responded with an enthusiastic “YES, we can do this!” But, their questions continued.

Them: “What about each other? Can we make them for each other?!?”

Me: “Sure! That’d be great.”

Them: “What about you? Can we make them for you?!?”

Me: “Absolutely! I’d love it.”

I got these that day …

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And these in an envelope the next day.

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If my experience is any example,  the Science of Happiness people are right. Children are fantastic, altruistic beings, who find joy in encouraging others. All they need is the opportunity. Let’s provide them with many!

I’m excited to see how this plays out for my girls — and those we gift with our messages.