#SOL18 No Mud, No Lotus

I've been listening to the most interesting, inspiring stories of redemption and success after adversity. I follow Rachel Hollis, the author of Girl, Wash Your Face and the founder of a multi-media company (which she created, as she likes to say, "with a high school diploma and a Google search bar.) Rachel's "Rise" podcast is perfectly named, as every episode I've listened to has a person who has had the worst Good Fridays become a life of Easter Sundays. In other words, people who have had trying or difficult circumstances have taken their pain and made something beautiful, or helpful, or inspiring. 

The most recent episode I listened to featured Scott Harrison, the founder of Charity: Water and the author of a new book called Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World. His story was completely captivating. It began with a move to a new home when he was 4 and a carbon monoxide leak that left his mother forever damaged and his childhood completely altered. He became a club owner in New York City and by his words, a heavy drug user/smoker/drinker. Today he has created an organization that helps people all over the world access clean water. After this episode, I want to buy the book (where all the proceeds go directly to Charity:Water) and learn more about his story. 

But all of this has me thinking about pain, scars, and life after. Princess Eugenie just got married and chose a dress that allowed the world to see the scars on her back from previous surgeries. What an interesting and brave choice. Do our scars make us who we are? Do they change our lives and push us into places of light and growth? How do we get through the pain to the other side? 

No mud, no lotus, right? No rain, no rainbow. We all have hard things, some harder than others. Some unthinkable. Life, unfortunately, is not sunny days all the time. But what do you do when it rains and you think the storm will never cease? 

The stories I've heard on the podcast remind me that even in your darkest hours, it's not over. You can choose the next choice and you just might find a way to a better life than you could have imagined. 

I'm still mulling over the implications of this on my teaching, but I think mostly it comes to this: Don't write anyone off. Believe all of your students have the ability to lead amazing and inspiring lives. Let them know you believe in them. 

What inspiring stories have you heard lately? 


  1. I also like to hear inspiring stories. When my niece, who is 19 now, turned 16, she chose to raise money for Charity: Water, so I read and learned of this inspiring story. From tragedy, so much good can come. I don't know if I would be able to turn hopelessness to hope, but I believe it's possible, and that's what matters, right?

  2. I love posts like this that make me think (and teach me too)! Scars do make us who we are (both the physical scars and those internal). I like your thoughts on the implications as a teacher- people always amaze me and it is hard to believe what some have been through.

  3. I saw the photos of Eugenie in her dress and read about her decision to show her “beauty mark,” which did give her the ability to stand tall and hold her head high. I love her dress and her bravery.

    I just finished reading “Heartland: A Memoir of Growing Up Hardworking and Poor in the Richest Country in the Workd” by Sarah Smarsh. The book is shortlisted for the NBA. Smarsh is from Kansas, close to where I grew up in Missouri. I think you’d find the book inspirational as well as a mentor text for telling your and your son’s story. It’s a special book w/ a unique trope.

  4. Lots of ideas for inspiring resources. I love your phrase “Good Friday’s turning to Easter.”

  5. Kathy, You've been very brave yourself re your son's recent unfortunate experience. Christine now wears her heart scar proudly and makes no attempt to cover it up. Time does help heal...it doesn't change the fact that it happened or make it go away. You'll have to go with your son's feelings about it all. In time he will make his needs known. For now, you have chosen a wonderful way to channel your experience by making you more compassionate to those whose scars are not visible.

  6. I've been searching for a new podcast to listen to on my way to work. Thanks for inspiring me to try this one! Sounds like a great mindset to get into each day.


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