barackI was reading Roger Ebert’s blog over the weekend, and he posted about elevation. His post was about crying at the movies; Ebert says he never cries over a sad ending or moment, but rather in moments of extreme goodness. I feel very much the same way. My eyes well up when I am just so moved by the ability of people to be good. It happens when I watch movies, it happens with my students all the time, it even happens when I watch some commercials.

He mentioned an article from Slate back in December, written by Emily Joffe and called “Obama in Your Heart.” There is a movement in psychology to study the things that go right with our psyches, rather than what goes wrong. This is “positive psychology,” and more specifically this article talks about how Barack Obama stimulates the emotion of elevation in people. It’s a fascinating article that I would recommend reading, same with Ebert’s blog post.

But all I can say about today’s Inauguration is that I felt elevated. Seeing my kids today, their excitement at such a young age, watching their faces as this new president took office–it was something I will always remember. I teach in an urban district, and many of my students have struggles academically and personally that I have never had to face. And today I wish I could describe the pride they felt. How many of them came to me and said they could be president too someday, just like Barack Obama. This experience has sparked in them the kind of belief in their ability to overcome obstacles that I don’t think has been seen since the Civil Rights Movement generations. Such hope. Yes, elevation is the word for it.

As a librarian, it was also very cool to talk to my students about why we’re not drowning in books about Barack Obama yet (we don’t have any right now, but some are on the way).  I read Barack by Jonah Winter to several classes (I bought it personally for today), because even though it was published before the election it’s a great story of hope and a life’s journey. I talked to them about how they are so on the edge of history that there are no books written yet talking about what happened today. That there aren’t even that many talking about the election yet. There are some, absolutely. But more are coming, and I told my kids that in the next few years they’ll start to see libraries filling up with books about this moment in history, and they’ll be able to look back and remember exactly where they were when it happened. That rocked their worlds, and that’s what I will remember when I remember today.