Sunday, January 27, 2019

Lessons That Keep on Giving: Spread the Good News

There are life lessons that you learn that you fall back on continuously. Some of those most meaningful lessons in my life include the following:

  • Mom's words: Enjoy the stage you're in because you won't be there again. I love the way Mom's words make me think about what's most important about the stage I'm in and how I can use those reflections to maximize my experience of life. 
  • Dad's words: A little for today and a little for tomorrow. Dad has always fostered efforts to do good work today and to plan for tomorrow too. I like this parallel perspective when it comes to living life well.
  • When you're tired or angry at loved ones, take a vacation from them. This was a lesson learned after some struggle, and times when good friendships and relationships were fractured. Rather than fracture those relationships, to simply take a break gives good perspective and often saves a good relationship.
  • MLK Lesson: Don't stay silent about things that matter. I hold that lesson dear. If I believe my words can make a positive difference, I speak up. I don't stay silent in the face of oppression. 
  • Live as if it is your last day. This is age-old advice that is very valuable--we never know where our lives will take us and it's best to live each day as well as you can.
  • Let those you love know you love them. Don't wait to tell or show those you love that you love them--keep the love alive.
  • Don't put off to tomorrow what you can do today. This advice has really helped me to maximize what I can do when I can do it. For example I completed a task that is due in the spring a few weeks ago because I felt like it. I'm so glad that task is done and I did it when I had great energy for it. As much as possible it's good to match good energy and timing with tasks that need to get done now and into the future.
  • Be careful about the company you keep and the actions you invest in: When you allow yourself to spend lots of time with negative people or actions, it brings you down. Our current political situation demonstrates that clearly. If you surround yourself with good people and good action, you'll develop in ways that matter too. 
  • Spread the good news. Years ago when I worked in an architectural firm who hired a consultant to elevate the firm's camaraderie and effect. The consultant's advice was that when you see something good, tell two people. In other words, spread the good news. I try to do that.
Just this week, a student teacher who worked with me a few years back sent me a nice note to let me know that a little poster I made for her has continued to be good advice and that she has the poster hanging in her classroom. That simple email note meant so much to me--it really invigorated me. It's amazing to experience what a few good words can do for your day. That's why spreading the good news is so important, but this only works when the words are truly positive and authentic. False good words have the opposite effect.

As I move into the new week, I'm going to think about how I can work with all the good advice above at my back. I'll do that in the following ways:
  • I'll let students know just how much I appreciate their perseverance and will to work together and learn a lot. They're making great progress and I am so inspired and delighted by their efforts.
  • I'll share students' good work via progress report comments and checkmarks too as I complete progress reports which are due on February 7th.
  • I'll do some deep think about the intersection of SEL and science as I prep for deeper and better science teaching in the days ahead.
  • I'll xerox lots of papers to prepare for the upcoming fraction unit. 
  • I'll write my weekly family note to my closest family members--a note that reminds them about how grateful I am for them.
  • I'll focus on the positive potential out there, positive potential at home, in school, and in our greater communities. On social media threads I'll focus on elevating the good rather than focusing on the negative--what good is out there: good leaders, good ideas, good acts.
  • I'll reserve judgement and put some space between me and any negativity that occurs, giving me time to think about why that happened and respond positively. 
It's important that we focus on the lifelong lessons that help us to be the best we can be and live the best possible lives. Onward.