“We Are The Change That We Seek.” Barack Obama

“We Are The Change That We Seek.” Barack Obama

I remember a car conversation from many years ago. One of my boys was just five and experiencing some difficulties on the playground. After he lamented about how horribly he was being treated by some of his friends, I said this:

Buddy, this is going to be a little hard to hear, and it is something that many adults don’t even know. But, I know a secret to living a happy life. Do you think you are old enough to hear this secret?

He wanted in on the secret. Little did he know that this secret, although accurate and important, is something that people choose to deny, fight against, and even start wars over.

Okay, I think you are ready. Here it is. 

The only person you can control is YOU. 

This means that even if those boys are being very mean and what they are doing is wrong, you cannot change them. You can only change you.

So, if you’d like the situation to get better, what do you think you could do to help it?

He went on to share some ideas of things that he could do to change the boys. Maybe he could be very nice to them, and then they would change. Maybe he could tell a teacher. Maybe he could use kind words to ask the boys to stop what they were doing.

You could do those things, and maybe they would work. The important part of this message is that you cannot change others. Only they can decide to do that. You can only change yourself.

This is so hard to understand because there may be times when you are doing absolutely the right thing and someone else is doing absolutely the wrong thing, yet if you want the situation to change, you have to be the one to change. That doesn’t seem fair at all, but it is the way life works. If you wait for the world to change for you, you may wait forever.

Some people never understand this and spend their entire lives pretty unhappy as they wait for others to change.

If you’d like things to get better right away, how could you make a change that you have control over? What could you do?

He decided he could walk away, find other people to play with, and try not to get upset when his friends were not being kind. He knew that he could turn to an adult at school if things got bad, but the challenges he was facing were ones he would face for the rest of his life. I wanted him to get some practice resolving issues on his own, beginning at this young age.

I will never claim to be a parenting guru. I have had my share of parenting ups and downs, and I will continue to have them. This is one lesson, though, that is important for all children to have, and it is a lesson that is often missing from conversations with children.

Children deserve the opportunity to learn that there is so much within their control–their own actions, their own thinking, and through those two things they can control much of how they feel. Waiting for others to change is a battle they will not win, and they deserve to know that too.

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.    -Barack Obama

Who Deserves to Know?

Who Deserves to Know?

“That teacher has always been difficult to work with. Everybody knows that.”

Ever heard something like this said about a colleague?

Ever wonder if anyone has told the teacher he is difficult to work with, and why?

Who deserves to know more than anyone else?

#Champion4Teachers in 50 Words or Less: Part One

Embrace the bittersweet tears. They mean we love and are loved.

Embrace the bittersweet tears. They mean we love and are loved.

Last week I walked into an early morning meeting to see a teacher with eyes full of tears. I know we are all tired these last days of school and we have a lot on our plates, so I listened to hear what was wrong and to see what I could do to help.

But…the tears weren’t about what was wrong. They were about what was right. The teacher was talking about the night before, when she was writing comments on students’ report cards. She was brought to tears thinking about how much her students have grown. Because she is so proud of them and loves them so much. Even the students who were challenges. Especially the students who were challenges.

Over and over the past few weeks I have heard our teachers celebrate student growth, in their interpersonal skills and academic skills. As we make plans for the next school year, teachers’ biggest concern is that students are loved by next year’s teacher just as much as they love them.

In this last week, we are going to cherish every hug, enjoy the precious moments we have left as a classroom family, and dream about all the possibilities of next year. Our jobs are not easy, they are not simple, but they are so rewarding.

Embrace the bittersweet tears. They mean we love and are loved.

Life at best is bittersweet.

-Jack Kirby

Image source HERE

Lense of Gratitude 

Lense of Gratitude 

We don’t have to serve students and parents…we get to.

A lense of gratitude does not mean we deny that sometimes teaching is hard. Rather, it means we embrace the challenges.

A lense of gratitude does not mean we are thankful for all parts of our work, rather it means we accept that there is always bad with the good. We know there is far more good in our work with children than bad. 

When we filter all that comes our way through a lense of gratitude…

When we are thankful for what we get to do each day…

Whether the sun is shining or it is raining…

anything is possible

Even loving our jobs so much that when that last bell rings, not only are there tears in our eyes, there are tears in our students’ eyes too.

A grateful heart is a happy heart, and our kids deserve it.

Image credit HERE

Living Rich Doesn’t Cost a Penny

Living Rich Doesn’t Cost a Penny

I was a Facebook-resistor for years.  I like living my life to be the best me I can be, not comparing myself to others. So, I stayed focused on the 4D real-life going on around me.

I assumed that people would post amazing stuff going on in their lives and leave out all of the bad stuff, which would make their lives look perfect. My life will never be perfect, and I didn’t want to compare myself to that false image of their lives. 

But, my imperfect life is a rich life. Not rich in monetary terms. Rich in the emotional sense. 

I get to experience deep joy and heart-warming moments. Belly laughs are a part of my daily workout routine. I try to live in a state of gratitude. 

I also experience gut-wrenching sadness, disappointment, stress, self-doubt, even sometimes self-loathing. I cry at the weirdest times.

But, that is how life is. To be able to know the joyful highs of life, one also must know moments of deep down lows.

My son was really sad the other day when he was saying goodbye to people he loves because he didn’t know when he would see them again. In those moments, I attempt to teach him to be grateful for the sadness. To let it wash over him, to really experience the moment. To appreciate that it means he loves and he is loved. Because the high of love comes with the low of sadness. And not only is it okay, it is necessary to live a rich life.

My kids whine. I run short of patience. My husband is grumpy when he wakes up. My dog has his own agenda 99% of the time. My life is imperfect. Just like yours. Yet, I wake up everyday grateful for this rich life full of highs and lows. I smile because it makes me feel good and it helps others. And my superficial side thinks a smile looks much better on me than a frown.

So, Facebook, I have ended my resistance and I am happy I joined you. I appreciate seeing posts from people I love and admire. I am often inspired by them. 

But, Facebook, you did prove me right. I see many sugar-coated posts or negative ones that blame others. The most inspiring posts to me are the ones that say, “You are not alone. I am not perfect either. Just trying to enjoy my ride on crazy train too.”  

I wonder, will our next generation understand what living a truly rich life means?

A rich life is a deep life, confronting the spectrum of emotions with a grateful heart. Happiness comes with moments of sadness…to experience the highs life has to offer, you must know the lows. 

Tell Her

Tell Her

“If at first you don’t succeed, try doing it the way your mother told you to.”

-Unknown

Two of the things I miss the most about my mom are at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum.

I miss laughing with her. Especially those days when everything seemed funny. That kind of laugh that leaves you feeling relaxed and stress-free.

I miss the way she would call me out on my crap. I would be mad at first. Not in the, “she doesn’t really love me,” kind of way. I never questioned how she felt about me. I was mad in the, “poop, she’s right,” kind of way.

Mother’s Day is a great time to reflect on what you love the most about your mom.

Then tell her.

Mother's Day

Feature Image Credit HERE