Reflecting on the Calmness of Being Supported

When I was a high school dance team member, my mother used to do something every Friday night during our football games. She would wait until the perfect moment of silence that occurred right before the band started our song and yell so loud so that the entire stadium could hear…

“Smile baby! Act like you own the place!”

I remember waiting for that moment and until two days ago, right before I started my RSCON5 keynote, I completely forgot what that moment felt like. There was a moment of quiet right before I began and I just happened to look in the comment box before we started recording. My mother, just as she did before our HS dance team routines started, typed…

“Smile baby! Act like you…”

She didn’t have to complete the rest of that sentence. I knew.

In that moment, I was taken back to our Friday Night Lights. I was that girl on the field…nervously waiting to perform and thinking my way through my steps. It was my mother’s voice that calmed me down and reminded me that I would be ok.

In that moment, right before speaking in an online conference…my mother, in the way that she has always done, found a way to let me know that she was there and that no matter how I “performed”, I was walking in the shadows of my own self which meant that no matter what…I would do just fine.

You Are Supported

Professionally, I have attended book openings, sessions and keynotes given by friends…not just to learn but also to show them that they were not alone. We all need to feel supported. My mother taught me that. There is something that is calming when you look into the audience across the room and see your friends or family there waiting to support you. I experienced this before I spoke at ISTE. While I could not necessarily see my friends in the audience, they tweeted me messages and images with each one providing a much needed sense of calm.

As a matter of fact, that morning, I spoke to Dennis Grice (one of a gazillion Discovery Education Friends). I told him that smiles made me happy and calmed my nerves. He literally took out a huge smiley face and gave it to me. I snapped the image below right before the doors of the auditorium were opened.

Moments before the Ignite session began, I looked down at my phone and saw this tweet.

That moment was everything and even as I write this, it’s amazing how my mother’s words were even present within this act from friends.

We all need feel supported and as we navigate our way through the requirements of life, we must ask ourselves…

  • How are you supporting your own family?
  • How are you supporting your students?
  • How are you supporting your friends?

Sometimes “being there” can be the difference.


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