I usually think in terms of being better, but this summer I also want to think about how I will build strength for the school year ahead--physical and mental strength.
As I think of this, I recognize that positive routines lead to apt mental and physical strength. Routines of daily research, reading, writing, conversation, and good teaching builds mental capacity while positive activity, sleep, and good nutrition builds physical strength.
I want the same for my students--time to read, write, solve problems, research, think, and converse as well as the time for and access to healthy food, play/physical activity, clean water, comfortable clothes, and a welcoming learning environment.
Truthfully when it comes to what is best for our mental and physical strength, it's not that complex of an equation. We all profit from welcoming, peaceful, and comfortable homes and work places, healthy food, positive physical activity, and opportunities to develop who we are in ways that matter.
What may hold us back from this positive equation is unhealthy foods/drinks, little opportunity, access, or engagement with positive activities, and roadblocks perceived or real to opportunity.
To be stronger, we have to identify the positives in our lives as well as the negatives, then work on our own and with others to elevate the positives and rid our lives of the negatives.
For me this mainly lies in the way I use time. Fortunately I have access at this point in my life to the positives, but I don't always use my time well. As for others in my life, I can help them by helping them access the positives and by making the negatives unavailable or less available.
For students this means setting up a welcoming and comfortable learning environment, fostering a healthy routine of nutritious food/drinks, positive activity, and accessible, engaging opportunities to develop in holistic ways that include academic, physical, social, and emotional growth, and supporting positive choices that help students continue their path to strong minds and strong bodies.
We can all move towards betterment by working to make ourselves more physically and mentally strong. When we dissect this aim, we find that it's not all that complicated, yet the challenge lies in the discipline we need to get there.