Faith in Humanity Restored

The middle school years have a reputation for being a rough period of time for kids where name calling and mistreatment of peers is often the norm. Does this sound familiar? I know, it does to me too, it sounds eerily similar to the political campaigns we are seeing from our so-called political candidates as they run for party nominations right now.

So, I was a little nervous when our middle school students took to the stage for campaign speeches this past week. I know our kids well, and while I was not worried they would resort to calling someone ugly in their campaign speech or show an unflattering picture of their mom or dad on the big screen, I was curious to see how the current climate of politics would impact their middle school campaign speeches.

My faith in humanity was restored as I watched and listened to each  brave young man and woman get up on the stage to discuss why they wanted to run, how they would make The Woods better, and what made them qualified candidates to hold a student government position. They would often compliment one another as they spoke, they displayed grace and a willingness to listen to the students and they ALL kept things positive (even when they spoke about areas they wanted to fix). I only wish I had videotaped it all and sent it to the “adults” who are actually running for President.

Civics and civility can go together. I know it can. I just witnessed pre-teens do it. In our upside down world of where “adults” are spending their days insulting one another and our younger politicians are acting like mature and responsible adults, I am just glad I am on the right side of this upside down world. Our kids can and will lead the way and this past Tuesday was living proof. Well done Woods Academy candidates. You have my vote!

Irony While Sleeping on a Cardboard Box

I am just freshly showered after a cold and wet night of sleeping outside. Our 8th graders, as part of preparation for the Capstone Leadership Projects, just spent the night outside, in our courtyard, in a homelessness simulation. It was definitely cold and wet and not all made it through the night outside, but ALL took something from this experience,  yours truly included.

The reflection we did this morning after the night of “roughing” it was fantastic. The students “got it.” They have a deeper understanding of what it is like for homeless men and woman. While it was just one night, and we all knew we would be back in our Sleep Number beds tonight, the thoughts shared by the students lead me to believe they will look at the homeless person with a Giant shopping cart, filled with plastic bags, cardboard and dirty blankets, a bit differently now. There was a great deal of empathy shared as we reflected and that makes me feel proud.

My View

My View

As I awoke this morning, after sleeping on brick pavers under a portico, with pizza boxes underneath my sleeping bag, I sat up to survey the courtyard where many slept. I was leaning up against the wall as I glanced over at the students, and then reached for my bag. I had to check and see who the New York Jets drafted last night. After gathering this all important information I noticed a zippered pocket on my bag that I had not opnened in a while. I unzipped the pocket to find a receipt in it from a stay at the Four Season’s Hotel in DC from November of 1999 (look below). Two things stood out immediately. This was the receipt from the night Brit and I got engaged and the bill was $648.02 FOR ONE NIGHT! Yes it was a memorable night as our marriage soon began and yes my wife is worth every penny of it, but $648.02 FOR ONE NIGHT!

$648.02 FOR ONE NIGHT!

$648.02 FOR ONE NIGHT!

The irony is rich here. Finding this receipt on the morning of a homelessness simulation is not lost on me. It is something I will probably never forget because the memory leaves a feeling inside of me. It only hammers home the point more about how fortunate I am and our students are as well. “To whom much is given, much is expected,” is a quote I think of often and believe in wholeheartedly. The UNS are not given much. They are definitely not given living accommodations for $648.02 a night. Last night will stick with me for a while. I know I can do more to help those with less. I think our students feel the same way.


Power(s)ball Madness


The largest Powerball drawing ever is about to take place on Saturday night. With the numbers approaching $800 million, the lines to get tickets are growing my the minute. By the time you read this blog post, I may already be at my private cabana over the water (yet to be purchased) in Bora Bora.

That said, we had a great conversation at our house this morning about what we would do with all that money if we won. The conversation started after the news reported the way previous winners had spent their money. While the story showed a few had given some of their earnings to charity or to support a cause, it focused more on the excessive and dysfunctional ways people used their new found wealth. The line about winning the lottery and how it “changes you” was illustrated for sure; good, bad and ugly.

Yes, all that money would change things. FOR SURE!  The kids could not imagine how all that money could be spent. How could you? After each of us shared some fun ways we would spend it, we settled on this: “Yes, we will take care of our family, but we would spend the rest of our lives giving away the majority of the money where it was needed most.” While I may have added that we would find a nice house at our favorite beach, the consensus was clear. Everyone agreed with that idea and I was proud they did.

So, after I am bitten by a shark, struck by lightning, win a world series MVP and score a touchdown in the Rose Bowl (wait, I already did that), I look forward to spending a lot of money doing good things. That would be so cool and I am glad the minions feel the same way.

I mean, our name is Powers, how can we not win? Right?

P.S. See you Monday:)