“I am absolutely delighted to share this letter from Maria Sanchez,” said Adam Steele in a message to all of his employees. “Maria is one of the young immigrants my children worked with on one of my blue highways journeys. My children and their immigrant friends have decided to take their talent to blue highways towns. Maria is a teacher in 6th grade in a small town that has been largely bypassed. She also serves as a facilitator in a women’s support group. I think her letter offers something for all of us. Please read it.”
Taylor and Jordan have asked us to share stories of blue highways living. I hope this story is helpful. When I arrived here, I was struck by the defeatist attitude that I encountered. The children in my class were convinced they couldn’t learn. The women’s group I facilitate was also lacking in confidence.
I’ve found that one word has begun to change the gloomy attitudes that both students and women have. The word is “yet”. I heard this in my education classes.
At the top of the board in my classroom, I have this big sign saying: Don’t Forget the Yet. When a student says something like: “I don’t know how to do this” other kids will shout out “Don’t forget the yet”. Think about how yet changes the attitude. Now the students are saying: “I don’t know how to do this, yet…”
The children have begun to educate their parents on the value of yet. I’ve bought shirts for them that say “Don’t Forget the Yet”. When someone say they can’t do something, the children way “Yet”. What I’m trying to teach is hopefulness.
The word Yet has now become the message in the woman’s group I facilitate. In case you think that the Yet attitude is leading to unrealistic expectations, that hasn’t happened. We added one more word: But. Now students say: “I don’t know how to do this, yet. But….” The but is what they plan to do.
It’s amazing when a student goes from whining about something they can’t do to owning what they will do.
Adam ended the note to his employees by saying: “Don’t forget the yet when you feel like you don’t understand something or you get frustrated in not being able to do something. Just think what a difference two words can mean. I hope you will share this message with your family and others.”
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“To be an overachiever, you have to be an over-believer.”
– Dabo Swinney