With everything that is going on in the world right now, I almost forgot about an important business milestone. April 24th is the third anniversary, or bookaversary, of the release of my first guided journal, What’s Your Super Power? The past three years have gone by quickly, and at the same time it seems like forever ago that I started talking about writing What’s Your Super Power? as a way to help kids become more confident.
Since releasing What’s Your Super Power?, I have released 5 additional guided journals as part of what I now call the My Super Powers! series. I also developed a social emotional learning program for elementary schools based on the guided journals. This curriculum teaches children the principles of confidence, compassion, gratitude, and service.
Over the past three years the question asked of me most often is, “how did you come up with the idea?”
The Christmas Card
The seeds of what is now a social emotional learning program were planted over 2 decades ago when one fall day I was out searching for the perfect Christmas card. After going to many stores, big and small, on the south side and the north side of Chicago, I was unable to find the card that not only reflected the color of my skin, but that also reflected my personality. Ultimately, I decided to illustrate my own Christmas card, and from there I started a stationery and gift business featuring illustrations of kids with a variety of skin tones, hair colors, and hair styles, who were engaged in a range of activities.
It was not until years later that I was able to articulate why it had been so important to me that I find the right Christmas card. Had I found that card in Marshall Fields, Barnes and Noble, or in any of the mom and pop shops I visited, I would have felt special and included—empowered.
After I got married and had a son, I continued to run my design business as a side gig. My son was bullied from upper elementary to the last day of high school. Sadly, more often than not the teachers and staff put the onus on him to take action to “fit in” and prevent the bullying instead of recognizing, acknowledging, or addressing the systemic problem that allowed non-violent bullying behavior to be tolerated.
Fast forward to about 6 or 7 years ago. As part of my line of gifts, I created a “Girl Power!” hard cover, blank journal. It featured a girl superhero along with several empowering words such as confident, brave, honest, and strong. The journal was a hit. I designed a similar journal featuring a boy superhero. Parent after parent shared with me how much their son or daughter lacked confidence or was bullied. Some parents also mentioned that while they felt that their child needed the message on the cover and they believed, like I do, in the therapeutic power of journaling, a blank journal would be intimidating to their child.
In early 2017, I had one of those seemingly scripted moments like you might see in a movie, when one morning I sat straight up in my bed because I came up with a solution. The solution was to create a guided journal that featured superhero imagery and prompts designed to help kids pinpoint what makes them special- their super powers!
My mission- 20 years ago and today- remains the same: to empower kids. What’s Your Super Power?, my other 5 guided journals, and my social emotional learning program are all designed to help kids believe in themselves and respect differences.
I believe that when children understand that they are unique, special people and tap into their greatness, a world of possibilities opens up to them. They perform better in the classroom, feel more at ease in social situations, and are empowered to pursue their dreams. They are full of gratitude, are compassionate, and have serving hearts. I believe that children who understand their greatness are more confident children and blossom into confident adults.
I am filled with gratitude for my family, my friends, my customers, my collaborators, and all my supporters who helped me tremendously to get from the idea for What’s Your Super Power? to the point where elementary schools are using my books and implementing my program. Thank you for believing in this mission and for believing in me.
Celebrate with me!
I invite you to celebrate with me by posting pictures of your child holding one of the guided journals, a hardcover journal, a spiral, a mug, or the Gratitude Challenge. Post your pictures on Facebook or Instagram along with #CELEBRATEYOURSUPERPOWER. For each picture posted you will have a chance to win your choice of any 3 of the guided journals for yourself and any 3 for a friend. Pictures must be posted by April 30, 2020. The winner will be announced in a FB live on my page, on Friday, May 1, 2020.
Stacey Montgomery, Founder
Stacey M Design and Stacey Montgomery Publishing