Coming in January the school district will be welcoming an energetic social-emotional/motivational speaker named Joe Beckman. Joe is the author of the newly released book, Just Look Up.

In Joe’s book, he highlights the current pitfall of society which is the disconnection of people. Joe asserts this is because of the current pandemic, and an addiction to our cell phones. This lack of real human connection is taking a toll. According to the National Institutes of Health, between 2007 and 2012, anxiety disorders in children and teens went up 20 percent. Now, nearly one in three of all adolescents will experience an anxiety or mental health disorder.

Author and professor Brene Brown wrote, “Love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.

Joe goes on to elaborate that when we look up, we see where our kindness and compassion can be used to make an impact on someone else. Really making a connection with someone, having a conversation about what interests them, smiling at them, listening to their story, is a vital part of helping those around us who are struggling to feel seen and understood. Even if it doesn’t heal the pain of what they are going through, it’s the only way to know if they need help in the first place.

There’s an African proverb that says, “To go fast, go alone. To go far, go together.” We were not meant to navigate this world alone; we were meant to navigate it together. Taking time to intentionally unplug allows us to be present and connect deeply with the most important element: the people around us.

When we look up, we see where our kindness and compassion can be used to make an impact on someone else. Make a Positive Difference in someone’s day by simply Just Looking Up. My desire for everyone this upcoming holiday season is to take time to disconnect and reconnect with those around you and in the community. We all have the power to make a difference in someone’s life with our simple gestures of a smile and a conversation.

I wish you and yours the best this holiday season. If you need anything or have any questions/comments feel free to reach out to me.

Phone: (319) 436-5685 or email:

Take care,


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