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What Do You See?

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What do you see when you look at the photo above?

I think after reading this piece I will know your answer. At least that is my hope.

In the past week both my daughter and my son have gotten very angry with me. My son is five and my daughter is eleven and so their anger take different forms.

Sometimes my son will whine and cry if he doesn’t get what he wants. We usually ignore him so that he realizes that that is not how life works. Oftentimes this makes it worse and the result can often be quite embarrassing. Especially if we are out in public.

My daughter’s way of expressing her anger is different. She is old enough to use words or looks. I know she doesn’t mean them. And she only uses them when I have really upset her. But sometimes ... wow they get me fired up!

I imagine that what I am describing is not that uncommon to most parents. We have seen our children at their absolute worst. And yet when we think of our children that is not what we see. These are not the pictures we have hanging up on or walls. These are not the images we take out of our wallets or purses to share with our friends.

As I am typing this I have within view, several pictures of my children. My son innocently sitting on a blanket and my daughter lying on a wagon with a smile too beautiful for words. They are captured moments of my children that I adore.

Neither of them are home at the moment. But they are always with me. And when I close my eyes I see them both at their absolute best. Maybe I picture my son giggling in the bath tub as we blow bubbles and play with action figures. And maybe I imagine my daughter curled up next to me, asking for my advice on boys and crushes.

I choose to see the beautiful, the wonderful and the lovely. Why wouldn’t I? Of course, I realize that there is other. I can make it through the other. Because the beautiful, the wonderful and the lovely and so damn worth it.

Now scroll back up to the photo. Look in the center. You will see a rock that is a little bit bluer than the others. Do you see it? Once you do, I guarantee you that every time you look at the photo your eyes will go immediately to the blue rock.

Can we do this with our students? I realize it is difficult. I realize it can be a stretch. But I think we must try. If we are able to do this with our children, we can at least try to do it with the children we serve each day. The children that may need us more than we’ll ever know. The children who need someone to see them for what they can become. To see them as beautiful and wonderful and lovely. The children who, unfortunately, may not have ever seen themselves as beautiful and lovely.

Take one last glance at the photo above. Notice there are hundreds of other rocks scattered about. But what rock did your eyes immediately go to? The beautiful blue rock in the center. The other rocks are clearly there. And they clearly outnumber the beautiful blue rock in the center. But we mustn’t let them overpower it. We must continue to look for the blue rock. Because it’s there. And once you see it, you always will.


The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe


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Jon is currently the assistant principal in Dorchester County, Maryland. This is his seventh year serving as an assistant principal at the elementary level. Prior to becoming an administrator he served as a Math Coach and an elementary school teacher. During his ten years as a classroom teacher he taught first, second, fourth and fifth grades. During his sixth year teaching he earned Nationally Board Certification, which he held for ten years. For seven years he ran a Young Gentleman's Club that was aimed at helping young men reach their full potential.  

Jon received a B.A. from Furman University while majoring in Philosophy. He later went on to earn his B.S from Salisbury University while majoring in Elementary Education. Jon was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to student teach in New Zealand. He eventually received his M.A. degree from Salisbury University in Public School Administration.

Jon lives in Cambridge, Maryland with his amazing wife and two awesome children.

  • Guest
    Justin Tuesday, 21 March 2017

    Absolutely killer post Jon! Hits home with my young ladies as well and the image and relation back to it - super memeorable my friend. I'll remember this post for a looong time!

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Guest Sunday, 17 February 2019