Wordpower Lesson #2: Small People, Big Hearts

Yesterday, I posted about the first lesson I learned on Wordpower 2016: that it’s hard to present to students when you’re crying.

Today, I offer a second lesson: that the size of a student’s heart is generally larger than the size of the student.


Photo credit: Shaula Corr

Photo credit: Shaula Corr

One of the younger students who I spoke with during the Wordpower tour pulled me aside after my presentation. She told me that although writing and schoolwork in general come easily to her, that is not the case for a friend of hers. Above all else, “S” is concerned that her friend “doesn’t believe in herself” and “if you don’t believe in yourself, you really have nothing and that’s very sad.”

Wow. Just – wow. “S” is ten years old and has the world by the tail–yet is focused on her friend’s situation. And (gulp) was looking to me for advice.

I took a few deep breaths then said something like this: that believing in yourself is enormously important and that it’s incredibly sweet that she’s worried about her friend. But that I want her to remember that S’s friend actually has one of the most valuable things in the world: a friend who cares about her.

Gail de Vos and me: ready to present and, as always, to learn from our students.

Gail de Vos and me: ready to present and, as always, to learn from our kind-hearted students.

When I later had a moment to reflect, I realized that I need to take this young woman’s advice to heart, especially on those days when writing is hard and believing in yourself is even harder.

“Believe in yourself, Karen.”

Yep, the very reminder we all need from time to time–and it spun out of a conversation with a child half my size.

*heart grows three sizes*


Many thanks again to Cenovus Energy for sponsoring Wordpower 2016 and to the Young Alberta Book Society for organizing the tour. 

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