My OLW for 2016

Honestly, it’s been a struggle to settle on one word. I’ve made lists, in my head and in my notebook. I’ve zeroed in on words and devoted whole pages and the better part of an hour brainstorming, doodling, noodling over those single words. And then… nothing. It doesn’t feel like the one. I’ve moved on.

Listen, Believe, Stretch, Respond, Gather, Balance, Explore, Connect

Each of these words has shown up, hung around for a bit, and then moved on.

And now here is is, New Year’s Day, and I’m thinking about resolutions and clean slates, and clean eating (and taking down the tree)… and I’m still not sure I’ve got the right word. I’m questioning, feeling a bit of doubt, thinking maybe I will just skip it this year.  But there’s that nudge, the one that sits on your shoulder and says “Nope, not this year. This year you need a word Lisa.” A word to guide and anchor, inspire and challenge.

So here it is…


Brave. That’s my word. Learn it, live it, let it nudge me forward. At home, at school. With family and friends. When I listen, when I speak. When I teach and when I learn. When I try. When I want to give up or give in and retreat. I’m going to be brave. 

The willingness to show up changes us, It makes us a little braver each time.” 
 Brené Brown

Brave in the classroom:

I’m wondering what it looks like and how I will let this word guide me during my days.  For now I’m thinking about the following:

-listening more, talking less.
-allowing the lesson to veer off when my instinct tells me that the unexpected direction is important, even if it isn’t the plan.
-inviting colleagues into my classroom to observe me and engaging in honest dialogue about what I can do better.
-asking for help.
-letting go.
-making time for those read alouds even when other things seem more important… I know in my heart that there are so many benefits to this time, and yet it is often the thing I let go if we are “running behind.”

Brave beyond the classroom:

This sounds so simple, but it feels big. This year I want to spend more time by myself at home. I stay busy and am often not home much during the weekend. It feels a little scary, and lonely. And yet, when I do carve out time, and settle in, it is always rejuvenating. Being brave about time alone is a goal.

Come August I will be an empty nester. I want to be brave about that.

“The ultimate act of bravery does not take place on a battlefield. It takes place in your heart, when you have the courage to honor your character, your intellect, your inclinations and yes, your soul by listening to its clean, clear voice of direction instead of following the muddied messages of a timid world.” 
― Anna Quindlen

“Harry – you’re a great wizard, you know.” 
“I’m not as good as you,” said Harry, very embarrassed, as she let go of him.
“Me!” said Hermione. “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery and – oh Harry – be careful!” 
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Friendship, bravery, kindness, connection. Here’s to being brave in 2016.

6 thoughts on “My OLW for 2016

  1. Yes- that is a great song Deb. Has special meaning for me because my oldest sang the solo part in it with her A Capella group, at a concert with hundreds in the audience… SHE was so BRAVE. Happy New Year and thanks for the Twitter shout out and follow.


  2. Being brave beyond the classroom is SO big, especially with what's happening in your personal life. You can do it, Lisa. There are so many of us who will be here to cheer you on (albeit from afar).
    Happy New Year!


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