________ Forever

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Earlier in 2020, I had planned to celebrate the release of a book featuring a chapter I wrote. I even shared a sneak peek HERE and took some pictures with a little “help” from a fuzzy friend:

Then . . .

a lot of things happened this year.

A LOT of things that made any celebration feel trite or tone deaf.

In a tough year, things got worse with the death of Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman.

However, even in tragedy, hope can shine in celebrating a “super heroic” life.

Many have shared powerful stories of Mr. Boseman’s impact and example. Words to describe him are “tender,” “hard working,” “artist,” “quick-witted,” and “deeply introspective.” You can read more in this essay from The Daily Beast–“Chadwick Boseman Became a Superhero While Battling Cancer“–among many other tributes.

All of us – teachers, learners, and more – can learn from this life of extraordinary accomplishments.

Another essay on CNN shares lessons from the actor: “What Chadwick Boseman taught us about humanity–and how we can honor his legacy.” Here is a summary of the example we can follow:

  • Perseverance.
  • Humility.
  • Passion.
  • Love.

I would argue these traits are especially important for teachers to model for our students, colleagues, and community.

In my book chapter, I examine traits displayed by the character Black Panther in a powerful three-issue comic book series by Jason Aaron and Jefte Palo.

In this story, King T’Challa leads his fellow Wakandans in defending their nation from invading alien Skrulls. (Sentences like the previous one are all thanks to comic books.)

My chapter describes four “21st Century Skills” the Black Panther demonstrates that all of us can aspire to develop and demonstrate on a daily basis:

  • Critical Thinking.
  • Collaboration.
  • Communication.
  • Creativity.

These “skills” are timeless traits to internalize and apply, much like those listed previously.

In a season when times are uncertain–and none of us ever know the exact number of our days–there is still hope for the future.

Perhaps this peace comes from focusing on those ideals that last forever.