This morning, I had the blessing of reading and sharing stories with classrooms of 2nd and 3rd graders. It was a part of Read Across America, and I had the opportunity to be in the presence of these young, energetic people.
As an author of numerous children’s books, I’ve long known the power of stories and books in the lives of children. And for that reason, I decided early on in my career to write and tell stories that brought light to the beauty of the history, culture and sacredness of children and families.
The morning was fun and brought out the child in me as I used my drum, flutes, movement and sounds to share the story of Coyote, How He Gets His Name. It’s a story where the Coyote doesn’t like being a Coyote because he doesn’t see himself in books, history or movies, and "nobody wants to be Coyote." Unfortunately, so many of our children (and adults) struggle with appreciating and loving themselves, their family, or their culture, which can lead to health, mental health and other life-long issues. In the end, the Coyote learns that he is sacred, special and a blessing just as he is.
So I asked the children to repeat to themselves, “I am special and a blessing, just the way I am.” Then I had them tell a classmate, “You are special and a blessing, just the way you are.” When they did that, the room lit up with their smiles and feelings of pride. Seeing them bless themselves and others brought so much joy to my heart and reaffirmed what we need in the world: the practice of acknowledging, affirming and blessing one another. So as you go about your day, bring light into your life and that of others by reminding yourself that You are special and a blessing, just the way you are. And then share the message with someone else.