Celebrate the One

Earlier this summer my daughter took a journal outside and it has been there ever since. There is no good reason why we haven’t brought it back inside. We just haven’t. And over the past six months it has taken quite a beating. So much so that we’ve just decided to make it part of the backyard.

But this morning my daughter looked out the back window and this is what she saw:

frozen page

It mesmerized me from the moment I saw it and I knew that this beautiful image was meant to teach me something. A lesson that I hadn’t yet learned. And then it hit me!

One page out of many.

Standing up straight and tall

while the others remain frozen and stiff.

Do we celebrate the one

or do we lament the others?

We judge our children based on their ability to be successful at everything, despite the fact that we are all specialists in our own fields. A child could have all A’s and one B on their report card and yet many would ask, “Why did you get that B?”

What if each child only received one grade on their report card? Each child gets to choose the subject area that represents their true passion, their calling. They would continue to receive instruction in all subjects areas. But their report card, their grade, their self-worth and their self-esteem would ultimately be determined by what they do best. How awesome would that be? How many of us would want the same for ourselves? For our own children?

We adore star athletes and actors because they excel in one area. We don’t score Peyton Manning on how well he can fix a sink and we don’t judge Beyonce on how well she treats a wound. We marvel at them excelling in their area of expertise.

einstein fish

Every child has their strengths and every child has their weaknesses and it is important to spend time on each.

To a point.

But how soon is too soon to begin looking for students’ pockets of greatness? How soon is too soon to begin finding out what kids love and what they are passionate about? I don’t know that answer.

We should be inspiring our students to follow their dreams, instead of spending the majority of our time pointing out their weaknesses.

But we better do it soon.

If we wait too long to ignite the spark that we see in our students then their passions will wither away.

And that would be a shame.

No, that would be a travesty!

To know that a student decided not to pursue their passion because it wasn’t noticed. Or because so much energy was spent trying to be great in everything that they had no energy left to devote to their one true passion.

Look for that one special talent that each child has and help them develop it as far as it will take them.

Celebrate the One!


  1. This is my favorite blog post that I have read in a long time. I think it is extremely well-written, easy-to-understand, logical, and absolutely true. This is a very important concept written eloquently. Thank you so much for sharing this! The greatest writings come at times when you have one of those “aha” moments and then you let the passion do the writing.

    I will think about this article daily. I really hope that everyone has an opportunity to read this. Students everywhere deserve it.

    Thank you!!!

    Oliver Schinkten

  2. What a great post. I totally agree. For this question; “But how soon is too soon to begin looking for students’ pockets of greatness? How soon is too soon to begin finding out what kids love and what they are passionate about? I don’t know that answer.”

    I have always thought I would use a sliding type system. So by G6 or 7 students can start to elect to spend more time doing X and less doing Y
    As the grades go on, they will be able to increase the ratio of “chosen” to “mandated” until by G11 they will mostly be doing subjects they have chosen themselves.

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