Today the Student Leadership Academy of Chattanooga is active in six elementary schools across Hamilton County. Originally created in 2013 to equip students with necessary skills to expand vision through a growth mindset and overcome the obstacles of poverty, the framework has taken on many forms as it has grown and developed.

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When you see students out in the community wearing their Student Leadership T-shirt, you will notice confidence and pride. These kids take their role very seriously and work to be a role model not only in their school but community. …

My sister is currently working as the marketing director of a missions company and a few days ago she posted an incredible picture with a very transparent caption. In short, it said, “… It looks like I am on top of the world, but the truth is when my head hits the pillow at night — I miss home.” She described scrolling through her news feed, prior to accepting her current position, feeling jealous of the amazing adventures being portrayed in insta-form. I so deeply relate.

My son will be one this week and since becoming a mom I have thought at least 5 times a day, ‘Why didn’t any of my awesome mom friends realistically prepare me for this?’ and/or ‘Why don’t mom’s talk about how hard this is?’ But I too have been deterred by the culture of comparison that social media creates. I talk myself out of being transparent, of reaching out to my community in fear that I’m alone in this, in fear that they will simply judge me. You see, I received a promotion professionally this year (nine weeks after my son was born). I put my faith in God and felt like I was being obedient by taking the new position. My son started daycare just under 5 months old and my new career journey began. Not only was I still juggling the life-altering responsibility of becoming a new mother, I also began embracing each unpredictable day in a new building with new people in a new role with new responsibilities. They load was heavy and I quickly found that I couldn’t do anything else well if I wanted to be successful with my family and career. My beloved time at the gym turned into occasional Saturday morning workouts. Time with my friends became a fleeting thought. My husband and I enjoyed an exhausted hour or two together after getting the baby to bed and the food prepped for the next day, unless I had enough energy left to complete a quick workout video before bed. My social life was found in an app- scrolling through pictures of my stay-at-home girlfriends and their gorgeous kids out exploring the city and soaking up the sunshine. …

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The night before school starts feels a lot like the feeling I get when the ten second countdown starts at CrossFit. I have read the strenuous WOD (workout of the day) and warmed up appropriately. Once the timer goes off my body sets into motion, working to complete the challenge set before me. And before you know it — it’s over. But the ten second countdown gives me butterflies. I suddenly feel like I should escape while I can, run to the bathroom, pretend to faint. The butterflies are screaming what I'm silently questioning— Am I truly capable of this? Deep down I know the workout will push me to a new limit. It will require strength and perseverance I’m not sure I possess. And honestly, some days I don’t. The time cap hits and I'm not finished, I have to take weights off the bar mid WOD, or I have to pause to barf or wipe the blinding sweat out of my eyes. But most days — I do finish. It comes at a price. There are moments that are excruciating, humbling, and painful for days. …

Using creativity to meet our human need for freedom in the classroom

William Glasser in his “control theory” detailed five human needs. These are similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy but with an interesting twist.

1. Survival: Also known as safety explains basic needs: food, water, shelter, etc.

2. Love & Belonging: As a tribal species it is very important to be accepted by our peers.

3. Power & Recognition: Focuses on our ability to achieve our goals

4. Freedom: The ability to do what we want, to have choice, to seek fair play.

5. Fun: When all else is satisfied, we just ‘want to have fun’

While attending an Arts conference in Nashville, I was deeply intrigued when studying creative processes. Douglas Beam, music teacher in New Delhi, India made the profound connection that, “Creativity meets our human need for freedom.” The classroom can be a difficult place for this need, freedom. I don’t know about your class, but if I give a millimeter they take a 5k! …


Lindsey Hagan

Believer, wife to @ross_hagan, boy-mom, school leader, co-founder of the Student Leadership Academy of Chattanooga

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