I am grateful that tomorrow I get to host a celebration for donors that purchased tables and chairs for my classroom. When my sponsors asked me what I would like for my classroom, I decided I should take the opportunity to ask for what I really wanted. The worst thing that could have happened is that they would have said no. The best thing that could have happened did. The classroom sponsor asked another donor to pitch in and help them with the purchase. It took nearly the whole year, but we got our furniture and it looks great! So tomorrow, my students are going to throw a party for the donors as a way to express their gratitude. I’m so glad I asked!
Several things happened today that made me think about how unconscious we humans can be. Just of couple of these follow.
An acquaintance of mine made a decision that very likely cost her career, at the very least. Students at my son’s school don’t “get him” because he is a little quirky, so they moan and groan when they have to sit by him. He asked me, “Why do all the kids at my school hate me?” Sad. Kids learn how to treat others somewhere… seemingly from unconscious people.
I’ve had a lot on my plate lately. Okay, if I tell the truth, I ALWAYS have a lot on my plate.
When live becomes unmanageable, as it periodically does, I have a strategy for dealing with it and for getting things back under control. I simply don’t try to accomplish more than I realistically can in the amount of time given. I do challenge myself, yet I set goals that are attainable. For example, my kitchen table had become a mountain of paper over the last couple of weeks. Rather than try to clean it up all at once, or procrastinate and do nothing, I’ve found a happy medium. I do things bit-by-bit. I take enough time to clear a space in which to work, and then I divide my task into doable segments. Tonight I separated all the papers on my table into groups (work, filing, personal, my son’s school papers, etc.). I placed work papers in a box lid near my briefcase. My personal papers went into a binder I use for papers that are relevant at the present moment. I created another box for papers to carry upstairs so I could file them. When I got the papers into manageable piles and threw away papers that were no longer needed, I cleaned the table surface, changed placemats, and put some fresh cut flowers into a vase on the table. Now I have cleared the space enough that I can think. I commit to working on my paper pile daily for 15 minutes or more. By committing to a doable daily task, I am reducing the stress that comes with trying to tackle too much at once, and I am sure the job will get done… bit by bit.
What a precious gift! People who are struggling forget that none of us are getting out alive. Life is terminal. Enjoy it while you can
Having had a rough day at school yesterday, I decided to revisit my expectations for my students today. We spend a lot of time dealing with this the first couple of weeks of school and again after the winter break. I did not think it would be necessary just after spring break, but I was wrong. So I was very explicit about what I expected of my students and what the consequences for violating those expectations would be. I did not have to raise my voice or do anything more than state what behaviors would not be tolerated, what consequences would come with infractions, and what would happen if students did not comply with the consequence. It was a very pleasant day. Students do well with predictable boundaries.
In my own life, I am the student and teacher. I set boundaries and goals. I make action plans and agreements. Sometimes I impose consequences (positive and negative) for my behavior, though natural consequences are usually enough. To help me, I enlist accountability partners and goal groups. These people support me in keeping my word to myself. At the end of the day, I feel good because I have clear expectations for myself, I follow them, or suffer a consequence if I do not. (Adults do well with predictable boundaries too.)
I have an agreement to abstain from alcohol beginning tonight at 7:00 PM. Generally I can take or leave an alcoholic beverage, but the human mind is a funny thing. Last night I enjoyed some gluten free beer, thinking I should do it since I couldn’t drink for a week. Some weeks I don’t drink alcohol at all, so this isn’t normally a big deal. But our program hates rules. Even those who are generally compliant secretly desire to break rules. I only say this because many people have confessed it to me. So here it is, 13 minutes before my agreement begins and I am drinking my second hard cider since I arrived home from work. I am watching the clock to be sure I finish it before my agreement begins. I am also having a chuckle at my passive-aggressive rebellion.
To make the whole thing even more comical, I went to a local grocery that doesn’t carry all the hip new gluten free products, so I looked to see what was available. I happened upon a hard cider that I am enjoying quite a lot. I’m not particularly happy about the 210 calories it is costing per bottle, or the 30 grams of carbs, but the crisp apple taste is wonderful. As I finish this post and cider, I am reminded of how funny we humans are when we try to push right up to the edge of the rules.
(… just finished my cider with 5 minutes to spare.)
Someone close to me had a falling out with a family member. After some time apart, the two were able to restore the relationship. One of them learned to “let go” of the outcome, and the other had “grown up” and now realized he didn’t know everything necessary to have made the judgements he had made. This was a happy ending to an ugly situation.
The even happier outcome came today. A situation arose, not between the two, but among some other family members. It promised to be a difficult situation. The one who had learned to “let go” was transparent with all parties, including the one who had “grown up.” He was fearful of the consequences, yet felt it was the right thing to do. When the two were later able to talk alone, the one who had “grown up” demonstrated just how far he had come. He respectfully said it was a matter they did not need to discuss and so they continued on with a friendly conversation (that, in the past, would have turned into an insulting, blaming argument). Being able to let go of an outcome allowed a man to take a necessary stand, while a grown up son accepted that he was not entitled to anything and did not need to be involved in a discussion regarding something in which he really had no say. The best part is that they were able to quickly let go of the conversation and move forward in a relationship that they had already worked so hard to heal.
Tonight I went to a prayer gathering and celebration of the life of our pastor who died one year ago today. He was only 58 and seemed to be vibrantly healthy. He simply did not wake up one morning.
He spoke a lot about pushing through your fears. I guess that’s why I kept going to his church when I don’t believe a lot of his religious teachings. His spiritual and practical teachings were very well aligned with my beliefs.
His messages were honest, open, and applicable to everyday life. He usually ended his messages with an enthusiastic “Go get ’em!” He inspired me. I sure miss him.
I can’t remember whether I mentioned that I have to go gluten free due to Hashimoto’s disease. So I have been figuring out what is okay to eat and what isn’t. Sticking to fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meats seems easy enough. What is more difficult is remembering to check anything that is packaged for any signs of possible gluten. I called a company today to ask them if one of their products is gluten free and they could not tell me. If they don’t even know, I’m not taking a chance.
Well, this promises to be an adventure! I am encouraged by all the people in the internet that are sharing what they’ve learned the hard way, so others of us don’t have to. Maybe I can give some help to someone else along their path to living gluten free. (Gotta figure it out myself first!)
Singing in church this morning was a pinnacle moment. I am noticing that I am much more confident when I am on stage. I sang louder than I usually do and I enjoyed myself more.