Tag Archive | choice

Educate Your Children For The First Day Of School

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The start of the school year always puts a smile on my face.  Even as a former teacher for many years, the excitement in a brand new year filled with possibility and positivity brings joy to me in so many ways.

We have a clean slate today is what I used to tell my students on the first day of school.  I taught teenagers who had their own set of challenges and beliefs from past years and judgments from teachers who may or may not have understood them.  They brought their own baggage to my classroom consisting of how they were treated, what their beliefs were about their knowledge and potential and added to it all was the expectation that this year would be the same as in the past.

I obliterated all of that on the first day of class with one small sentence.

You have an A in this class as of right now and your job is to keep it. 

It was a  message that I adopted from a movie with Michelle Pfeiffer years ago called Dangerous Minds.  In the movie, she was an ex-Marine turned teacher who struggled to connect with her students in an inner city school.  Granted it was a movie, but the theme of choice in keeping the A grade worked for her and worked wonders for me as well, even though I was not teaching in an inner city.

That simple sentence and mindset worked its magic for us all!  It gave the freedom of choice to every student’s mind as to whether they wanted to keep the A gift or not.  It gave them responsibility to keep the A which is harder than to earn an A I think.  It gave them peace to know they began with an A, but the responsibility was theirs to maintain the efforts to keep the gift.

Even when the gossip was that X student was troubled or Y student was lazy or Z student was rambunctious in class, I reminded them that I did not listen, nor did I pay attention to idle stories of their past performance in school.  What was important to me (and important for them to understand) was that from this day forward, it mattered what we did together in this classroom.  I gave them my word that I would support them by what they showed me in my class.  I only focused on what they personally showed me here.  I also told them that I would stand up for them if needed in the future.

I gave and received respect and I explained that we were a family in the classroom.  We were united in learning here and respect was key as were communication, kindness and effort.

What I found was that my students rose to my expectations and exceeded them.  I had a few rowdy students whose reputations preceded them that first year of my speech.  I wasn’t sure how it would go, but they surprised me, themselves, the other students and their parents and administration by excelling in my class.  Their potential had been locked away by their past reputations and when they chose to have a clean slate, their grades, lives and reputations changed dramatically for the better!

True to my word, when one of them got in trouble outside of my classroom, I went to the principal about this particular student.  I stood up for him, showing his grades and the fact that he did his homework consistently for me (and I gave homework every night)!  He was misbehaving in other classes and not doing his work, but for me, for some reason, he worked!  When I told him what I had done, he beamed and thus began a transformation as I told him that if he could do this for me, and for himself, I expected he could do it in his other classes.  His response was that the other teachers weren’t me.  I suggested he not do it for them, but for himself.

I can happily report that he chose to change his attitude and his efforts and by the following year, his clean slate mentality was greatly improved.  He came back to see me years later to tell me how I had changed his life and he was grateful.  I hugged him and told him that it wasn’t me, it was he who chose to do it.  I simply walked the path with him as he transformed his life and began to live to his potential.

I miss teaching and making a difference in my students’ lives and feeling the difference that they made in mine.  We all have that potential and I love it when we choose to live it!

Shine On!

xo

Thanks to the daily prompt for inspiring me today!

 

 

The More You Know…

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“The more a man knows, the more he forgives.”
~ Empress Catherine the Great

We all have a story in our heads about our lives.  Past hurts, triumphs and emotions mesh into our psyche, nestling in like the hibernating squirrels in the trees in Winter.  The challenge is to push forward out of our own minds to see what’s out there beyond our vision and to see relationships as they truly are and not how we perceive them.  It is momentous to look beyond our own limits and to actually see the world around us, to acknowledge faults and goodness, to take stock of our lives and the path which we are treading.  At any moment we can choose to change course, turn around, veer to the left or right or simply walk into the woods.  That is the beauty of free will that we have been given in this life.  There is nothing in stone that says we need to stay cemented on the path we have chosen.  It is only our reluctance to see beyond the walls we have erected, the stories we have embellished and the situation that we encounter.  To expand our vision, we must reach out of the box which we have allowed to imprison our minds and to look around at all which spherically encompasses us.  To be sure, this is not a linear life we’ve been given.

It is not an easy choice for some and I understand.  To see beyond ourselves is an emotional and sometimes tumultuous task for it causes us to look honestly at our faults and goodness ~ to accept and to forgive ourselves and others.  But once we open our eyes to truth, we can move on and see the world in a different light.  That is the beauty of knowledge and forgiveness.

Eyes, heart, mind and soul opened allows healing when we are hurting.  To stay blind to our lives is only to perpetuate the grief, the hurts and the sadness.  To embrace all that we have endured, to take ownership of our lives is to start on the path of healing.  But it takes a willingness to listen with an open heart and not a stony one.  It takes softening, caring and wanting to change the path we are on and not be simply a traveler without voice.

This is your life.  This is my life.  Together we can immerse ourselves in a loving embrace or we can take separate paths to happiness.  It is a choice made together or apart.  But each has their own choice, their own reality and their own willingness to not quit.  I choose to see life in a spherical way ~ listening, learning, thinking, feeling and forgiving.  It is a choice I make daily, sometimes I find I need to make that choice many times a day.  But I do it because it is worth it to me to be present every moment of every day that I am here.

Life is about changing, growing and releasing what doesn’t serve us.  Go forward on your path with love in your heart, forgiveness in your mind and blessings on your soul.

Shine On!

xo

Happiness is…

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Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp,

but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. -Nathaniel Hawthorne

Do you chase happiness?  Be honest, do you?  Or do you just do what you want in order to make your own happiness?  I loved this quote because quite honestly, I think the happiest people are those who do what they want, when they want, for the sheer happiness that it gives them.

It’s like work ~ when you love what you do ~ it’s easier to do because the time passes by so quickly because you are involved and enjoying the moment.  Can you say that about your job?  What about your life?  It’s your choice you know.  This is your life ~ your moment ~ your now ~ nobody else’s.

So let’s try today to just be in the moment.

Let happiness surround you.

Revel in the warmth of the sunshine or in the cool, healing raindrops.

Look up at the sky, check out the clouds, admire the stars and the moon.   

Take a deep breath.

You are here.

You are blessed.

You are loved.

Be grateful.

Shine On!

xo