Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Author/Educator/SCBWI R.A. Alison Green Myers shares the Importance of Words + Free Skype Visit and Gifts



Peace, Goodwill, and Children’s Books by Alison Green Myers






Goodwill seems to pop up in December— literally on a Holiday Cards (like ours above) or in the actions of those moved by the spirit this time of year. I carry goodwill with me all year long. Maybe it’s the “goodwill” tattoo on my left wrist that reminds me, or more so, that I’m moved by the notion and its possibilities for our world.

Goodwill: 
1a : a kindly feeling of support : compassionate interest or concern 
2a : cheerful consent 
b : willing effort


I love the notion. Don’t you? 
Kindness. 
Support. 
Compassion. 
Willing effort. 
It does take effort, doesn’t it? Each night I ask myself if I lived “goodwill” that day. Some days are better than others, but hopefully my daily actions showed kindness and support, hopefully my words showed compassion and concern. And if not, I vow to try again the next day.
While the word has always meant much to me (so much in fact that I named my son Will) the nightly question wasn’t something I came to on my own. Dwight Smith the founder of the non-profit program My Special Word influenced me. He asks himself a similar question nightly.
My Special Word began as a personal crusade fifteen years ago; Dwight Smith then developed the idea into an empowering program for children and teens. Through the My Special Word program, children learn about Mr. Smith’s journey, and his reliance on a power word (“special word”) to help guide his decisions at home and in his flourishing business. 
On starting the program, Dwight said, “I had to ask myself, ‘what can I do to make a difference in the life of a child’? I can share my story. I can give them a tool that worked for me. The power of my word SOLD, what it teaches me. What it reminds me. I can share that with kids and get them thinking about a word that would make a difference in their life. Once they have that word, they own it. They are accountable to it. They can use it to make positive choices and changes.”
Last year Dwight approached me to write books that would accompany his program. Along with Dwight’s team at My Special Word including Courtnee Carrigan and Renee Smith, we created a book team with illustrator Beth Bogert and graphic designer Greta Schmidt. The result: a series of books that spread the positive power of words. The books launched a conversation in schools and organizations across the country. 

Kids are encouraged to select a special word that makes them feel empowered. In addition, they offer reasoning behind the self-selected word. Whenever we visit a school I find myself engaged with kids talking about who they are, what they wish to become, and the journey that they are on getting to that place. They ask about my word too (and sometimes even notice the tattoo.)
As I was meeting with a fifth grader during a school visit this fall, he told me he wanted to change his word. He explained that when he heard about the program, he just picked a word to satisfy the assignment. His actions weren’t malicious. His word was love. 
He explained, “It was a good enough word but now that I am really thinking about it [the program], the word doesn’t fit me.” 
Words change. 
People change. 
Understanding changes, especially in education. After he finished the writing project he shared with me the new word that he wanted to “live by.” His explanation read, “My word is transform. I love science. I like to watch something change into something else. I like how in art some paint can transform into a picture. I feel that way about me too. Like how one day you are small and then you turn older, or how you are not good at a sport and then one day you are the best on the team. I think that is a word to live by because I want to keep changing and getting better.” The writing went on to describe other passions in his life and how the word “transform” meshed with them all. 
His writing, like so many others, showed a deep understanding of the program. Even young children that I work with share a profound connection to the word that belongs to them. I had one child share his word as “MY”. He said, “The ‘m’ stands for me and the ‘y’ for you.” He went on to talk about how important each person is that you meet. 


Kids are really freaking awesome.  
2017 was full of goodwill thanks in large part to the children that I have had the chance to meet because of My Special Word. It has been a privilege to carry out Dwight Smith’s mission in our 2017 book releases and I look forward to what 2018 has in store. 
I hope that 2018 has goodwill in store for all of you. And a special thank you to Clara for having me on today to talk about the My Special Word program.
XO,
Alison

P.S. Dwight and I would love to give away a free Skype visit to a classroom or organization. We will throw in a copy of the picture book and a class set of bookmarks and bracelets too. Please comment below and our fabulous host will use Random.org to select a winner. (Winner will be announced in one week. If you are new to the blog, please include your email address.)


Alison Green Myers wanted to join the circus.
She wanted to train tigers.
She wanted to jump through fire.
She wanted to stand on a wire, suspended high above a cheering crowd.
She probably spent too much time at her local library, especially inside the pages of If I Ran The Circus. Alison never made it to the circus (though she did travel on a carnival for many years) but her early trips to the library fed her in other ways. She spent the first half of her career teaching reading and writing, and now finds herself working in the majestic circus of children’s book publishing as program coordinator for the Highlights Foundation and reader for a small press. Alison writes about the wilds of life, mostly humans, but other scary beasts too. She is a regional advisor for SCBWI and a fellow of the National Writing Project. Carrie Howland of Empire Literary represents her novels and picture books. 

Thank you, dear friends, for stopping by to celebrate “goodwill” with us. Please leave a comment for Alison and the dynamic way she is sharing goodwill in classrooms across the country. What are you waiting for? A free Skype visit with your classroom, or a child or grandchild’s classroom, a friend's? Comment now! 

Peace. Love. Joy. GOODWILL to all.  ~Clara

29 comments:

  1. This is such a fabulous concept. Love it, love it, love it. I would like to bring this program both to the school where I teach and to the church I attend. It would work beautifully in both venues.

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    1. Love your enthusiastic response, K.L. Your name is entered for a chance to win this extra special gift from Alison!

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    2. I attend Kelly's church and I too love, love love this. See my comment below.

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  2. Alison is a dynamic personality, and I know that will resonate with children. My Special Word sounds like a great program for all ages.

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    1. It is a great program, Kathy! Thank you for joining the season of GOODWILL. Your name is included for the drawing.

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    1. It is wonderful, Rosemary! Thanks for leaving a comment. Your name will be included in the drawing.

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  4. Wow! I have been in the dark about My Special Word but what a terrific message to spread across the country. I love how empowering this is. And I'm in awe of the examples of "love" becoming "transform" and "MY" standing for me and you. Yes, kids are awesome and obviously Alison and Dwight are too.

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    1. It is a terrific message, Joyce, and one that is needed in our schools. Thanks so much for your comment. Your name will be included in the drawing.

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  5. No need to enter me, but I will share this on FB. Thanks for the story about "transform." What a great WORD~!!

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    1. Thanks for spreading the word, Carol! Much appreciated!

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  6. Wow! That's my word for you, Alison! What a fantastic program! Your examples of how kids respond to this idea are wonderful. It's a beautiful thing that you are doing. And you know what? I'm now inspired to figure out what my own word is. Must share this widely. What a fabulous way to start the new year. Thank you! Happy Holidays!

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    1. Jilanne, I had the same reaction as you when I read Alison’s post. It inspired me to aspire to be a better person. So, like you, I’m searching for my word to begin the New Year. Thanks so much for spreading the word. Your name will be included for the drawing. Peace and Goodwill!

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  7. This is such a neat idea! You not only inspired me to think about my own special word, but I also just bought the book so I can share this with my children and help them discover the word that empowers and inspires them. I’d love to share it with the kids at my school as well. Thanks so much for sharing this idea with us and for the fantastic post!

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    1. Thank you so much, Becky, for sharing the post on Twitter and for being inspired to use it with your children. Peace and Goodwill.Your name is entered for a chance to win the SKYPE visit.

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  8. Understanding the power of words is so importaint!Your program effectively shares that message in such a matter of fact way. "What's your word" os

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  9. The concept is so clear and easy to use! Transfering the messge of the power in words is not only a great lesson but, imperative for our youth to learn! Such empowerment! Would love to have you SKYPE at our church!

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    1. Dear Patty, Thank you so much for your comments and enthusiasm for Alison’s wonderful, empowering program. Your name is entered for a chance to win the SKYPE visit.

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  10. Thank you for all of the kind comments!! ❤️

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    1. Thank you, Alison, for your good heart and generous spirit. <3

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  11. A very inspiring blog post . Congrats, Alison. Very worthwhile concept.

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  12. Great post about a great program. What a nice way to end the year!

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    1. Thank you, Tina! I agree; it is a nice way to end the year! Your name is entered for the drawing. Peace and Goodwill!

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  13. Nisha Gupta- Homestead SchoolDecember 13, 2017 at 1:25 PM

    What a wonderful concept- to have the kids really spend time with themselves to come up with their guiding word. And I think it would be incredible for the kids to do this activity again and again, to look at their word, and see if their word has changed, or gotten more refined, specific, etc. I love it!

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    1. I love your idea, Nisha, of repeating activity with kids as they grow and change. Thank you for the thoughtful comment. You name is entered for the drawing. Peace and Goodwill.

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  14. Love this activity and the example it sets. You can never have too much "Good Will" I have used similar ideas with my upper Elementary class. Can't wait to extend it and incorporate more details like beaded bracelets.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Melissa W Cahn

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    1. Thank you, Melissa, for your thoughtful comment on Alison’s wonderful post. I agree that we can never have too much “Good Will”.

      Your name is entered for the drawing of the Skype visit with Alison and Dwight.

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  15. Excellent, wonderful... such an inspiration...
    gramswisewords.blogspot.com

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