“Keep the faith, and keep your eyes on the prize.”

-John Lewis

Last week, I had a tutoring session with a brilliant little dyslexic girl and her father. Her father had read her a newspaper article about John Lewis and she wanted to dive in with me about his quote about causing “good” and “necessary” trouble.

I LOVE that Dad is reading the newspaper with her.  Obviously, as an 8 year old, it is above her grade level, but kids don’t have to independently read text to practice DEEP comprehension skills. We can do this through listening.

In our conversation, I guided her to connect text to self and text to world. I didn’t really do it intentionally.  It’s just part of my teaching at this point. I urge you to make text-to-self; text-to-text; and text-to-world part of your comprehension conversations with your student(s). 

This conversation that was sparked by my student ignited a deep awareness within me. As the country mourns the loss of civil rights leader John Lewis, this quote, “Keep the faith, and keep your eye on the prize” spoke to me. 

In one article I read, the author recounts listening to Congressman Lewis speak about events in his life that required “unrelenting faith in the principle of nonviolence.” At the time, John Lewis was speaking about constitutional rights of Black voters.

However, no matter your Faith, in these challenging times of raising and teaching children during COVID-19, let our mantra be:  “Keep the Faith.” 

Allow me to elaborate. As I do, I  model 3 Learning Targets for comprehension that we need to teach our children how to do if we want them to become mindful, proficient readers. And therefore, agents for change.  Please keep in mind that you do not necessarily need to target all three of these at once. One at a time for one book/text is plenty to start with!  

Learning Target 1: Text to Self 

I am a creature of comfort.  My sun sign is in Taurus and my moon sign is in Leo.  If you know anything about astrology, you know that these are two earth signs.  I like predictability, security, stableness. I thrive with routine, I tend to plan ahead so that I have these things at all costs.  Which can sometimes trigger anxiety when things like a global pandemic puts things like getting basic needs for my family such as food and education, hard to do.  (Perhaps no matter what your sign, you resonate with this at some level too!)

I left an amazing stable job in favor of having a more flexible family life.  I do not like the fact that my Kindergartner and 4th grader (who do not like distance learning) are fated for 100% online learning this year. I do not like that my students, who need face-to-face teaching, are fated for 100% online learning this year. I don’t know HOW my tutoring schedule will fit into the school’s distance learning schedule.  I am completely at the mercy of so many things I can not control. 

This Earth Mama can feel very ungrounded and unsettled in these times. In Yogic philosophy (the yoga sutras), the principle of Non-Violence is one of the Yamas, or social restraints. 

This principle can be seen across faiths, religions, and spiritual beliefs. Non-violence is so much more than hurting other living things. We must also give ourself enough grace and love so that our thought patterns are not violent on our bodies, minds, and spirits.  Keep the Faith. 

Learning Target 2: Text to Text

Last summer I read a book for my yoga teacher training program by Dr. Joe Dispenza called, “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Loose your Mind and Create a New One”.  (If you are at all interested in mediation, I HIGHLY recommend this book–especially if you tend to be more science and logic oriented.)

The main theme of the book that I took away was this:  When we are nurturing our deepest hopes and dreams; when we have a goal in mind; when we are at Point A and want to get to Point B; we need to keep that goal in the forefront of our minds.  We need to not only visualize the end game, but we also need to focus on matching how we will FEEL when that goal is reached. 

Dr. Dispenza teachers that when we visualize, we need to pair our 5 senses with the emotions we will feel when said goal is reached. Doing this will facilitate a manifestation of your dreams.  Most importantly, he emphasizes that we can NOT get caught up in HOW that end goal will be reached.  Doing so will get in the way of the dream coming to fruition and it will cause the dreamer suffering. 

In reading John Lewis’ life work, he said this in another way: Keep the Faith. 

Learning Target 3: Text to World

Amidst all the turmoil this year–the pandemic, the social justice movement, the climate collapse, another polarizing Presidential campaign and all the cause-effect that each of those have in isolation and in combination with each other– we are undoubtedly going to have to practice non-violence, getting into good, necessary trouble, reading MINDFULLY, and asking each other tough questions. Non of these challenges will be resolved without faith.  No matter what your Faith.

One of the first meditations I listened to on The Insight Timer (a tool I highly recommend, especially if your kids need help falling asleep) was The Loving Kindness Mediation.  Let our collective goal be that our children are Happy, Healthy, Safe. How will we ensure this?  By keeping the faith and linking arm and arm to support each other. 

Question for my fellow Parents: How will you help your kids thrive in school this year?

The answer for myself and the other parents I serve is this: By giving myself time to adjust to the new structure; giving myself grace that I won’t get it right all the time; and by leaning in on our growing Mindful Literacy Community.

We’d love to have you! Free resources currently posted to help you prepare to support your child’s literacy learning at home.

Parents: Watch this video to learn more on how to join the free private facebook group and how to gain access to the growing library of my literacy and mindfulness trainings and my live coaching support.  

Teachers: This Membership is for you, too!  You can choose 2 classes a month or 4 classes a month as a founding member to earn CEUs! https://mindfulliteracypractice.org/teacher-tribe/