What Kodi Lee Taught Me As an Educator, a Mom, and a Human

I’m an America’s Got Talent fan. After the kids are in bed, we check out the latest episode of our summer “guilty” pleasure on Hulu. There are so many, (and sometimes not…I mean honestly guys, who encouraged you to come to the audition?) talented people around us. We laugh, we gawk, we are stunned, but for the first time ever, I cried.

The story of Kodi Lee and his performance is by far the most authentic piece I have seen so far this season. This is a 22 year old blind, autistic gentleman who plays the piano and sings. And it’s not just any singing, it is remarkable. I can’t pull that off in the shower, let alone on a stage in front of strangers. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check it out, here it is.

Source: YouTube

*sniff, sniff….[blows nose]. Like I said, I cried.

I cried, not because he’s a phenomenal singer, like Ed Sheeran or John Legend but it was his courage and his mother that got me. I learned 3 lessons from Kodi in 3 different aspects of my life:

As a Mother

Seeing Tina Lee, Kodi’s mother, stand there beside him, support him, and reassure him of his gift just showed how far a mother’s love can and should go. She has been his #1 support since birth. We see this amazing singer/pianist…she sees the day to day struggle and was determined to allow him to shine. She believed in him. She saw the gift hidden behind the autism and blindness and she encouraged it instead of stifling it out of fear or uncertainty.

I want to be able to stand by my child no matter what choice or decision they make. I want to be their #1 fan in everything they do. I want them to know that even if the world turns their back, I will still be there cheering in their corner just like Tina Lee.

source: nbc.com

As an Educator

So often as educators we are blessed with so many different types of students. They all come on a different level based on their background and the journeys they have been on as they matriculated through their academic years. The smart ones stand out, the loud ones are unforgettable, and the average ones just float on by.

Kodi taught me that no matter the difficulty a child may bring, to always look for the positive. What is that child’s strength? They all have one. Some more prominent than others but it’s still there. As educators, we have to be like miners and cultivate the lives of our students until we find the gem inside. And when we find it, allow it To shine so the world can see.

As a Human

Walking past Kodi on the street, I would never know he was capable of performing on a level such as this. Many times, society tells us to look at those who are different than us as if they aren’t able to achieve at the same level.

Kodi taught me to stop looking at the outside and look inward. There are so many amazing, talented, and educated people of all colors and abilities. We are missing out by simply sticking to what we ‘know’. If we were to just look up and speak to the mom in the waiting room with us or the man in front of us in line, we would find a world filled with wonders, just like Kodi, waiting to be seen.

I hope Kodi has taught you something new to apply to your life. If he wins AGT, that would be amazing but I think Kodi has already won more than anything AGT could offer.

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