Honoring the Constitution

Every day I begin my class with a flag salute and a discussion of the Constitution. I tell my fifth-graders how great our nation is because we have Freedom of Speech, Assembly, Religion, Press, and the ability to redress grievances to our elected officials. That each and every one of them is a precious citizen.

I say, “No matter what your background in this country, you have equal rights under the law.”

But on Thursday one student asked, “But aren’t some religions illegal?”

I looked at him, confused. “No, of course not.”

Another child raised her hand. “Yes, Ms. Woodward. Those terrorist ones. I saw it on the news.”

Then I realized what the kids were thinking. I started to say that it was impossible, the Constitution was the highest law of the land, even if someone said that on the news, it couldn’t really happen.

My class looked at me doubtfully. That’s when I realized that maybe they were right. Perhaps someone was trying to deny certain people equality. And it gave me a sick feeling deep in my  heart.

I am a patriot. I love America. To me the Constitution is one of the most inspirational documents of all time. One worth fighting for. We must continue to say, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

I believe these ideals should guide our choices as educators and citizens. Keep the Constitution safe. For our children.


Marching for Peace and Equality

Women’s March In San Luis Obispo

Yesterday I joined the Women’s March, a global event to promote equality, peace, and kindness. Although, like many I’d been saddened by the rancor of our recent election and was feeling hopeless that anger, racism, and finger-pointing would continue, I still knew that there were many people who see the good in others.

That’s why I marched. Because I have a daughter and want her to be free from fear, I marched. I marched because I have a son who treats women with respect. I marched because there are little girls in my classroom who deserve the chance to dream of the same future as boys. I marched for the little boys who need to see role models who treat others with respect.

Because I believe in the United States Constitution, I marched. I believe in the First Amendment and that all American should have the right to free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble peacefully, and to redress grievances with individuals in public service.

I marched because I believe with every cell, molecule, and atom of my body that people are essentially good.

And that is what I saw on January 22, 2017: a sea of beautiful, caring faces.



What is Your Mission?

No matter how large your business is, be it one novel you are promoting or a large corporation, a mission statement can guide your direction as you move forward. Each endeavor has its individual characteristics that should be capitalized on and guiding principles will make that unique in the public eye.

As an author, I want my work to achieve several things. First, I’d like to help children see the magic that resides in all of us. Secondly, I’d love to affect positive change in readers’ lives. And then of course, I want my readers to have fun, and ride a roller coaster that transports them to amazing worlds both real and imagined.

Others have different goals. My friend and colleague, Dean Bernal, for example, has one of the most admirable mission statements I’ve ever seen. His Dean and JoJo brand wishes to educate, awaken, inspire, and ignite. How? Through the example of his true lifelong friendship with a wild dolphin named JoJo, Dean has created books, films, and digital characters that spark the desire for service. In greater detail they seek to:

– Educate our audience about the delicate and essential interdependence between earth and ocean, man and animal.

– Awaken our audience so that every individual sees him/herself as an essential part of the equation for preserving the planet.

– Inspire our audience to take actions – large and small that will benefit the earth, the ocean, man and animals.

– Ignite a collective consciousness & awakening and movement for taking actions that contribute to the survival/preservation of the planet.

What do you want your business to do? Try writing a mission statement and see where it takes you.



Paths to Peace: People Who Changed the World — Teach Peace Now

Make a Difference “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.” Steve Jobs Real stories are often the most inspiring. In Paths to Peace, author Jane Zalben has selected 16 people she thinks have made a difference in the world. For each person, she gives…

via Paths to Peace: People Who Changed the World — Teach Peace Now