Good morning to my 20 readers (yes, my mom talked a few of her geriatric friends into signing up via email), long time no write.

I’ve read a lot about how joy is being lost in today’s world. As we come into the holiday season, joy is going to be crammed down our throats. If you aren’t joyful during Christmas, whatever could be wrong with YOU?


As I’ve reflected on this school year, there’s been joy lost. While this class doesn’t have the behaviors I’ve seen in past classes, they themselves aren’t joyful. Teachers around me aren’t as joyful as in the past. I know in my own teaching, I don’t feel the joy for what I’m doing as in past years. Even basketball, a usual bright spot in my school year, just isn’t.


There was an article that made the rounds recently about teachers reaching a “tipping point” because of low morale. I see that in our school right now. Teachers are burning out or simply burnt out by a society that does not value what we do or who is willing to throw us under the bus when something goes wrong (the Facebook warriors in our district have taken after our teachers in two different instances this year, and when things came back to show they warriors were wrong, there were no apologies, public or otherwise offered up – this does great things for morale).

So, today, instead of painting a dreary picture, I’ll share 5 things that have brought me joy this week!

  1. Basketball: While I’m not getting the same joy from coaching that I have in the past, I still love it. Last night, after practice I was challenged to a “1v1” by one of my former boy students. That game did not give me joy because WOW I’m out of shape. However, the playing, the coaching, the teaching, all of it keeps me young! This is the first year since 1996 that I’ve had a new group of girls, that I’ve not had in class or coached before. It’s been challenging, but refreshing to build, from the ground up, the relationships needed for them to trust me. Now, this team has needed a bunch of tough love because they have huge attitude and trust issues with each other, but we are growing. The best thing, last night, one of them made the comment about how they are “doing so much better than last year”. That made my night because I’m been losing what little hair I have left! 🙂
  2. My wife: On a daily basis, she brings me joy. We’ve started this new “diet” and while I’m not always a fan of what is put in front of me (she could run her own restaurant because of her talent as a cook), cooking brings her joy. That’s always a pleasure to watch and what do you know, I’ve lost two pounds this week! 🙂
  3. Daughters: My daughters are coming home this weekend, and that brings me joy. I’ve written about them before, so I won’t go into much detail, but they both seem happy and that’s something I always worry about with them. They will find their way, but I want them to be happy where they are. Right now, it’s obvious that, even though each has their own college issues going on, they are happy.
  4. Iowa Football: This may oddly specific, but this is a source of joy right now. If you are familiar with Iowa football, you’ll know it’s a love/hate relationship because you love them, but at the same time, they are so frustrating with the way they play from week to week. This past weekend, we had fantastic tickets to watch them beat the University of Minnesota. The joy on their faces, on the faces of fans around us just made my heart happy to be on in 70,000 people watch that day!
  5. Writing: I’ve not sat down and written in weeks. Why? I’ve just not made the time to do it. I’ve fallen away from jotting note because I’ve lost my notebook, I’ve not sat down the computer to do this because I’ve been too “busy” when in fact I’ve been not making it a priority. Today, I got to school, turned on my favorite Afro-Cuban jazz group, and just let things come out. This is what writing should be and it’s given me the joy to make it through the day.

I’ll need it because we play a team tonight who beat my girls last year by 40 points.


So, what are you going to find joy in a spot where there just doesn’t seem to be any? I’d love to hear from you!

In any case, happy Friday and please, make some smile today!