My friend Leslie Rennie-Hill calls this her “just do it” poem.

You Reading This, Be Ready

Starting here, what do you want to remember?

How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?

What scent of old wood hovers, what softened

sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world

than the breathing respect that you carry

wherever you go right now? Are you waiting

for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this

new glimpse that you found; carry into evening

all that you want from this day. This interval you spent

reading or hearing this, keep it for life –

What can anyone give you greater than now,

starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

William Stafford

Thought about this poem today when talking about the difficulty of building a coherent instructional program utilizing lots of first gen components. Stuff will obviously be better in a couple years but “What can anyone give you greater than now?”

[See Leslie’s story that goes with the poem in Teaching with Fire. Proceeds benefit teacher development.]

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and Learn Capital and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


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