The Mirror Holder

November 12, 2017

I’ve heard people say,

“Thank you, Tara. You have no idea how much that helped me. You made me better.”

Me: “Honestly, I didn’t do much. I just held the mirror facing you and told you what I saw. You had it in you all the while.”

I can’t tell you how much I’ve shared that very line or one similar. In fact, I often refer to myself as the mirror holder. It’s just what I do.

Honestly, I don’t think there are many people or things that truly transform us or “make” us better. But rather, they highlight what’s already within and help us see our talents, our strengths, and our situations in another way.

They are mirror holders.

Our Kids Need Mirror Holders

Of late, I’ve spent quite a bit of time holding the mirror up for my little (big) guy. He’s such an incredible young man. I can’t even begin to imagine how his influence will impact the lives of those who get the privilege to know him. Yet, teens (and adults) often need us to hold the mirror up and tell them what we see. 

Teen/Adult/Little Child: (looks in mirror) I see a blemish. It’s ugly. It’s worthless.

Mirror Holder: It may appear to be a blemish, but you have what it takes. It’s right there.

It’s courage.

It’s a huge piece of your story.

It’s bravery.

It’s power.

It’s your talent, your gift. 

You’re flying!

You’re flying not only with that blemish but because of it.

You’re invaluable. There are none quite like you, and that’s what makes you so very special.

My Current Reality

In my new role as a district administrator, I am privileged to hold the mirror up for many adults around me and overtly express what I see. Educators are such servant leaders, and they need to be reminded of their awesomeness; I enjoy being their mirror holder, no doubt.

However, the downfall is I’m so removed from the kids. I miss them. I’m now in a place where I have the opportunity to help make decisions that impact an exponential amount of students. Of that, I’m grateful. However, I miss holding the mirror up for kids and telling them what I see. It was one of my most favorite parts about teaching–helping them see their REAL beauty within. It’s like my superpower–x-ray vision straight to the heart. Ok, that’s wild and not exactly true. But, it was what I had hoped my teachers would see in me. I always wanted the adults (and kids in my life) not to judge but rather point out how I had some things working in my favor or how my circumstances were undoubtedly a part of my story.

The mirror holder’s responsibility is to encourage, motivate, and point out the talents and strengths of those around them. 

They Need to Know They Are Flying 

This is straight up REAL talk.

My heart is crushed. It literally aches. I take the “all kids are our kids” seriously, and this news hit me like a ton of bricks. 

This past week, we lost a student–a hopeful senior. Beautiful. Talented. Promising future.

Somewhere, somehow…

(no words)

It melts me to the core.

I wish so much she would have seen what those around her saw.

She was flying.




*lump in throat* 

Be the Mirror Holder

Don’t hesitate to hold the mirror up. Don’t wait. Do it today. Face it toward those around you. Let them look at their reflection while you tell them what you see.

Spread hope.

Point out their unique strengths.

Encourage others.

A little goes a long way.

What if mirror holders surrounded our students? And, at every turn, they would be reminded of their awesomeness? 

Fellow educators, this is a REAL urgent need in our world today.

Be a mirror holder.


Everyone is having a tough time.  

It’s true. We are all human.

And, sometimes it’s hard to see past the blemish. During those times, we need a mirror holder to show us what’s within.

I feel certain I wouldn’t be where I am today without the mirror holders in my life.

Be the mirror holder. 

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  • Reply Dawn Wohling December 10, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Once again Tara your words have spoken right to my heart!! I think it it ohhhhh soooo important that we are the mirror holders for one another, especially we educators. We are so very hard on ourselves and feel less than more often than not! If we can support and love one another and be the mirror holders each and every one of us so desperately needs we can most definitely make our schools AND our world a better place!! Thank you for your inspirational thoughts and words……you totally ROCK!! 🙂

    • Reply Tara M Martin December 16, 2017 at 8:12 am

      Awww…what a nice surprise this morning, Dawn. Thank you for reading and sharing your reflections. #Honored

  • Reply John Hartmann November 18, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    This is so sad to hear (the loss of the student) but also so inspiring (being a mirror holder). While working with church youth so many years ago, it always floored me to see them have no inkling of their true value/worth (or worse yet to see someone rob them of those with a word or a look). But it was equally uplifting to see friends and other members of the group come by their side and help the see the truth again. I didn’t know it until I read your post, but I want my students to be mirror holders for one another… now to go find a package deal on 24 handheld mirrors and sharpies… Thank you for your honest and inspiring posts.

    • Reply Tara M Martin November 18, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      Oh, John. I love the visual of 24 handheld mirrors and all of your students being mirror holders. This comment melts me. Please take pictures and share.

  • Reply Tamara Letter November 15, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Tara, your words are so true! Each of us has the power to shine the light on someone else’s inspiration, someone else’s strength, someone else’s purpose in this world. Oh, if we could only reflect the beauty we see in those who cross our paths! Everyone needs an encourager, a cheerleader, a reflective soul who reminds us that we have value in what we do and share. Thank you, Tara, for being my mirror when I need it the most. REAL talk, indeed!

    • Reply Tara M Martin November 16, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      Thank you, Tamara. Your sweet words certainly found a lodging place in my heart. I appreciate you.

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