We are enough.

Today I launched Episode 4 of #advicetomyHSself, spotlighing my colleague, Kindra Pinnace. After showing it to the students, they commented on Kindra’s powerful message of acceptance of self, “I am enough.”

Later, we read some comedy writing from Tina Fey, a funny segment from her book, Bossypants, called “Dear Internet” where she writes back to a post that asks her when she’s going to do something about that “hideous scar across her cheek.” Between Kindra’s message of self acceptance and Tina Fey’s hilarious rebuttal to a internet troll, the kids began opening up about things that have been said to them that were hurtful and made them question themselves. From too much arm hair to a crooked nose, to scars, and eyesight issues, I watched them trust each other with their insecurities. All year I tell the kids that things have to be kumbaya in my room. Today they understood that. Students who never want to talk in class told the whole room about their physical imperfections and how others have hurt them by poking fun. They could feel the cone of safety in our classroom and took a risk by telling their truths.

I told them I have the impression that their generation is more accepting of difference than mine. They agreed, but with a few caveats. We accept things outside of the norm, but only if they are the perfect example of that exception, they said. If you’re curvy, you better be perfectly curvy, well dressed, and beautiful too. You can’t be a sloppy or uncommitted version of something different. On self acceptance, they said no way. We might look like we have it all together, but we don’t. We are still incredibly hard on ourselves. I concluded, aloud, that maybe things really aren’t that different between my generation and theirs, after all.

Thank you, Kindra (and Tina Fey), for helping with this project and opening up a wonderful classroom discussion about acceptance.
@Kelley_Kaminsky on Twitter

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