We all have people in our lives that we connected with right away. Maggie Bolado was one of those people for me. We have never met in person, but I feel as if I know her better than I know people that I see every day. My guess is that it is because we share the same unwavering love for children. Our own and the ones that we serve.
Maggie is the type of person that has the uncanny ability to find the perfect quote or just the right lyric that resonates with her PLN. She somehow knows who to tag each time she sends these gems out. Her most recent quote to kick off 2017 was wonderful.
Welcome To Flight 2017
We are prepared to take off into the “New Year”. Make sure your attitude and blessings are secured and locked in an upright position. All negative and self-destructive devices must be turned off at this time. Should we lose altitude under pressure during the flight, reach up and pull down a Prayer. Prayers will automatically be activated by faith. Once your Faith is activated you will be able to assist other passengers.
I am not a “religious person” and by that, I mean that don’t adhere to one faith but rather borrow from many. Having said this, the quote above resonated with me very deeply because, I believe in prayer, I believe in Faith, I believe in people and I believe in Maggie Bolado.
Therefore, it meant a lot to know that Maggie believed in me enough to trust me with her story. Because it is a powerful one. One that I know wasn’t easy to share. One that I know not is easy to listen to. But one that we all must. If you have not yet heard her episode, please listen now before reading any further.
Do you see what I mean? Tell me those weren’t ten of the most authentic and vulnerable minutes you’ve ever heard in your life. I dare you. But as Maggie said herself;
There was Mrs. Bolado before becoming a mom. There was Mrs. Bolado before she was a connected educator. Before she was a reflective educator. And there is me now. And I’m going to let the audience measure that growth with this account.
Maggie bared her soul to us for ten powerful minutes. And I truly believe that each person that hears her story is better for it.
I am now going to briefly recap what Maggie shared in her interview. But before I do, I can’t emphasize enough how much more powerful and poignant it is to hear it from her mouth as opposed to reading it here on paper. Promise me, that if you didn’t stop to listen to the episode earlier, that you will when you finish this piece. Once you do I think you will understand why I was so adamant.
As Maggie mentioned in the interview, she is a much different teacher now than when she first started. The mistake that she shared on My Bad is not one that she would make today. Of that I am certain. And that is why I am so grateful to Maggie for being so vulnerable and willing to share with us where she once was.
The events that she shared with us took place the first or second year she was teaching. While her primary task was teaching science to ten and eleven-year-old children, she also realized that she had a responsibility to help prepare her students for the real world. And she realized this was no small feat. Maggie took this responsibility quite seriously. In the interview, Maggie talked about a young girl who she had to continually remind to pay attention to her physical hygiene. Besides her usual body odor, this girl had begun coming to class with a head full of lice. It reached the point where Maggie could see them jumping off of the young girl and onto her desk.
As her teacher, she felt it was her responsibility to point out to the girl her poor physical hygiene. What bothered Maggie was the fact that this young girl appeared to be ignoring Maggie’s advice. So, one day when Maggie had seen enough. She took the girl out into the hallway to admonish her for, what Maggie believed, was a lack of respect for herself and for the advice that Maggie had given her. In Maggie’s mind, this young girl was simply lazy. Up until that day, she believed it was as simply a matter of this young girl taking better care of herself.
Once they were in the hallway, Maggie harshly expressed her disappointment in the young girl in such a way that tears began to form in her eyes. Because she had addressed this issue many times before, Maggie had felt she had to be more blunt. And so she asked her, “Do you not take showers at home? How often do you shower?”
To which the young girl tearfully replied, “As a matter of fact Mrs. Bolado. I don’t take showers. Because every time that I do. Or that I go into the bathroom. My stepfather tries to take advantage of me.”
Maggie tearfully shared how this was one of the most difficult moments of her life and how she has been a different person ever since. She owned her behavior and never once made any excuses. But since that day she has become a staunch advocate for kids and I’m certain that anyone that knows her or that is connected with her, knows this to be true. To this day, she shared that, “it really irks me to hear educators complain about children and how they don’t do this and how they don’t do that.”
Maggie and I connected on Voxer several times before the day of the interview. I knew exactly what she was going to be sharing. And even though I had heard it before, I was moved. In fact, I was moved more. More, because I knew that Maggie wasn’t just sharing her story with me on that day. I knew she was opening up and sharing it with many more ears than mine. But I also knew that that was what she wanted.
I must admit that when Maggie first shared this story with me I was taken back. The Maggie that I knew was very different. This was the same person who posts inspirational quotes every other day. The same person that inspired and championed a group of female students to develop an app for their blind classmate that would eventually lead to them being invited to The White House. And the same person who I know would stop at nothing to help any one of her students that needed her.
And yet, herein lies the power of sharing our mistakes. Of being vulnerable and showing sides of ourselves that many never see. When I began asking educators in the spring of 2016 to come on the show and share big mistakes I could have never imagined what has taken place. When Todd Whitaker came on and shared how he had gone off on a referee I was blown away by his willingness to share so openly. And each week since I have had the honor of helping amazing educators share their stories. Or to be more specific, share their mistakes with the world.
So, after doing this for over a year now I have learned a very important lesson. One that was best taught to me by Maggie Bolado. And that is that none of us are perfect nor should we strive to be. We do the best that we can or as Maya Angelou so eloquently put it, “Do the best you can until you know better. And then when you know better, do better.” I have also learned that this game we play called Life is not an easy one. And since it is our first time playing it we are going to make a lot of mistakes. And that’s okay.
But this message is not reaching everyone. There are still countless children and adults who somehow think that they have to be perfect. And that what they see on social media is what has always been. We too often forget that what we see on Twitter, Facebook, etc. are people’s highlight reels. We are seeing their end product. But what we don’t see is the in-between. The struggles, the mistakes, the screw-ups the My Bads. Hopefully, the stories you listen to each week on My Bad have inspired you to go out and share yours. And when you do, leave nothing out. I can promise you, my guests didn’t.
* This is the 7th in a series of 10 pieces I’ll be publishing weekly in which I highlight a past My Bad guest(s). I hope you enjoy them. And if you do, please pass them on.
Here is the link to Maggie’s episode: