Individuals working together make an awesome community

Edward Biagiotti, Tapping into Genius

I am feeling like everything is awesome. That is due, in part, to that fact that I just finished watching The Lego Movie with my wife and son. This film, with it’s inclusive view of life, hit home in a big way. Masterfully written and visually fun, it weaves in many principles that we emphasize with our students in Culver City Unified School District, such as team work and creativity. The Lego Movie is also aligned with the ideas and practices we discuss each week on Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed on Unity Online Radio.

At the heart of the movie is a character named Emmet. He is fantastic at following rules and living simply. He has a pure heart and is always friendly with his fellow citizens. He turns out to be the bridge between the “master builders”, who are extremely creative individuals, and the “normal people” who are not much for new ideas, but work very well as a team. As a parent and an educator, I see the importance of combining the ability to think creatively with the ability to cooperate and work together as a team. It is the coming together of our unique paths that creates an amazingly diverse and precious world of possibilities. I enjoy collaborating with people who are kind to each other, while staying true to their own creative ideas and dreams.

As the Inclusion Specialist, my job is to remind our students that they can be who they are while working, and playing, together as a community. The lunch groups in our district create a breeding ground for this type of inclusive attitude through direct, satisfying, and fun experiences. Some of our students have trouble thinking outside the lines, while others have trouble coloring inside the lines. Either way, we are here to work together and create amazing new realities. This might sound like a big claim, but we are creating new experiences each and every day. That is why our attitudes and healthy sense of self are so important.

I have a student who is often perceived as a rebel because he is very sensitive to the energy around him and has difficulty sitting in one place for too long. He does not sleep well, and is prone to anxiety. For people who have not experienced intense anxiety, these things can sound like excuses. As someone who has found effective ways of addressing my own anxieties, I recognize a student who faces challenging situations on a daily basis. He has legitimate difficulty remaining in his seat when the energy around him does not feel good. While maintaining this understanding perspective, I have seen him go from rejecting my help, to coming to me for support in all areas of his life. When I stop judging him based on his struggles, I see a young man with a knack for business, who will make a successful entrepreneur as he matures. I encourage him to face his fears now so that they will not catch up with him later. We have developed an effective working relationship in which is he able to be himself, while learning how to work with his teachers to create a positive educational experience.

Taking an elevated view of life requires practice. It also requires motivation. It could be the desire to see things through the lens of positive possibilities, or simply the desire to feel better about the world we live in. For me it was the realization that fear, doubt, and worry, are simply the misuse of my imagination. I was focusing on the things I feared rather than the outcomes I desired. Ask yourself, how does your life look if you let go of your fear and judgment, and assume that it is all working out in better than expected ways? Set aside time in your day to try on this perspective, even a few minutes in the morning and night. Try it for thirty days and see what happens. If you do, email me at FunniestThing@UnityOnlineRadio. org, and share your experiences.

Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District. He is also co-host of the popular radio show, Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed, live each week at 3 pm on www.UnityOnlineRadio. org. Visit www.TappingIntoGenius. com for more articles and a free, inspirational parenting download.

Photo courtesy of Ed Biagiotti team players—Jonathan Fino, Instructional Assistant, left, and Ben Knight, Kindergarten teacher work together at El Rincon Elementary School to create an environment that promotes teamwork and creativity. Students are remi
Individuals working together make an awesome community