It’s the 28th of December, and I’m starting to think about school. Not much yet, but it’s creeping back into my consciousness. Lessons, assessments, ranking, grading, professional development, all the while wondering, is this the right thing for my students? But, I digress, this it’s a post about that…….
As I reflect on what 2018 was (crazy AF as the kids say), there are things that popped into my head in terms of what we need more of. I wrote a couple down and the others I’ve tried to keep fresh in my forgetful brain, so we’ll see where this goes.
The world needs more:
- Love letters: I came across this website, The World Needs More Love Letters, during the beginning part of December and LOVED it. Handwritten letters are a thing of the past, yet, I’ve sent out 8 thank you notes to students and co-workers for thinking of me. My wife’s got 10 sent out. So why not letters of encouragement too? What stops us from simply getting a piece of paper, a pencil, and pouring out a little encouragement for someone in need. I’ve sign up to get requests, and I challenge you to find a way to write someone every month!
- Honesty: I’ve written about Kara before, a former student who’s packed more into 29 (almost 30) years than I could ever imagine. Her latest blog, The 3 things I wish I would have said, much of which talks about she’s dealt with life. Being honest, with those around you, with one’s self, with our students and parents, there’s a lack of honesty floating around. I could go into a political rant at this point, but in the end, honesty starts with us, starts small, and starts when no one is looking.
- Laughter: I saw something on Facebook (so it must be true, right??) about how each minute of laughter boosts your immune system for 24 hours. Well, in doing a little research, the actual science of laughter is “iffy at best.” However, this is data to support that laughter can lower blood pressure, increase blood flow, burn calories, lower sugar levels, and just help your over all mood. What kind of a world would it be if we could laugh at our mistakes, not look to pass them off or worse, internalize them?
- Cooperation: I watch my sixth graders struggle with this, the ability to cooperate with one another, work with those people we don’t want to work with. Unfortunately, this is modeled at all levels of adult behavior, and modeled in a horrible way. From our government shut down to local school boards, adults don’t cooperate, the stomp their foot, take their ball, and go home. If this is what our students see, how do we expect them to perform otherwise? By holding them to that standard. Holding them to the “you don’t need to be friends, but you do need to get along while you are in this project”, and not always bailing them out.
- Strength: I’m not talking about “I’m going to pump you up” strength, no, strong minds. I read something recently called “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.” What struck me about this list was that they are all obtainable by each and every one of us. We talk in class about giving away our power, about not mopping around if we fail, and that we will ALL fail. What if we used these things to our advantage? What if we started talking about grit and perseverance in 1st grade, heck, as toddlers?? How would our students come to us if they knew that’s the expectation of them from day one?
- Presence: Being in the moment, being focused on our loved ones, our reading, our studies, whatever or whomever is there right then. They deserve our presence in that moment. That’s why in our Leader in Me lessons, we are starting to talk about mindfulness, about how we need to be able to clear our minds of the garbage that goes on around us, that happens on social media, and just breath, finding that calm to give our presence.
Am I being unreasonable? Probably. Do I practice these myself? I wish I could say I did all, but I do not. But, I’m getting better. And this upcoming year, I will continue to grow in all of these because it’s the right thing to do for my wife, my now grown children, my students, and my co-workers.
What about you? What do you see the world needing more of? Leave a comment and share with us. And if not in the comments, I challenge you (look at me being all pushy!) to write about it, and link back.
It starts small and it starts with each of us. Imagine if 100 of us could start down this path, and bring five friends/co-workers along, and they bring five. What starts small, suddenly becomes a tidal wave of kindness, common sense, and love.
Be that change in your family, your classroom, your relationship.
What do you have to lose? 😉