Being Present

A fellow public educator tweeted a great little nugget of wisdom tonight. He stated, “School climate isn’t built through better policies- it’s built through better relationships.”

It’s so very true- in school and in life.  How many times have we botched a situation simply because we didn’t take time to build a relationship first? How many policies are written without first taking time to get to know first hand and gotten in the trenches with the situation? Our public schools are in dire need of people who care about those building those relationships. Our society is in desperate need for those relationships instead of the knee-jerk reactions we often see put into action.

I love teaching. I really do. Even if I wasn’t in a traditional school setting my career would still involve teaching in some way. Connecting with others fuels my soul in a way nothing else can. Even with all of the struggles, headaches and heartache that happen on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis I really do love teaching.

What I don’t love are rules, policies, and testing procedures that are neither best practice nor are they appropriate. What does someone in business know about teaching kids? Why do lawmakers assume we don’t know what we are doing because we are “just teachers”? Why then do I need to have continuing education in order to keep teaching? It’s like me telling a doctor I know how to do a procedure better simply because I’ve previously been to a doctor and follow a YouTube channel.  It’s the same logic. No different than the FBI trying to keep cheating out of athlete recruitment, the USDA controlling grain prices because farmers make too much money, and women are made to feel less than when they advocate for themselves.

The list of injustices in our daily news is astounding. I’m not trying to push my personal political views on anyone; I am, however, trying to get kids to learn to advocate for themselves. In order to do that effectively they have to trust that others hear them. They have to believe I’m not feeding them a line of bull by convincing them to stand up for themselves and their rights as citizens in our communities. We need to stop discounting their voices just because they’re young. If more people would take the time to get to really know our kids I think we’d find that kids haven’t really changed all that much over the years. What’s changed is our ability to connect and be present with them.

So the challenge I present to you is this: how can you be present and build a relationship in an important area of your life? What can you do that will make a difference for others and yourself?

Falling Asleep With A Dream

Yesterday was a particularly tough day. I was not able to adapt and adjust my day well at all and it ended with a skipped workout, cookies for supper, and a text from my son who was dealing with a disappointing situation. I sat at my computer looking at all of the challenges stacked up for the next few days, trying to think of things to help my son, all while asking how on earth will it all get done and done well???

Turns out it doesn’t matter to anyone other than me if the standards are referenced in my lesson plans. It’s me who knows if some minute detail was left out of my presentation. There will always be something not quite right, or another thing to tweak for next time. And guess what? It’s ALL OK.

Is it any surprise to anyone that I tend to be a perfectionist? It’s one of the most frustrating personality traits for me to deal with. It keeps me from really letting down my guard and really enjoying things in the moment. I’ve been studying the Enneagram recently and WOW! It’s opened my mind to some different ways to deal with and respond to life. If you haven’t, I’d recommend the Podcast and book The Road Back to You, as well as finding an Enneagram quiz to help find your Enneagram number. Its really fascinating!

Once I realized my presentation was fine as it was, that I needed sleep more than more details, and that nothing I thought I could have done differently would change the outcome of the day, I finally felt some peace. No the day wasn’t perfect. No things didn’t happen the way I would have liked. My boys told me how much they loved me. My students were excited to see me. I slept more than 5 hours. I realized the bigger picture- the dreams I have for the future and how steps I’m taking now help that all come to fruition.

So keep those pie in the sky dreams going. Not all of the plans have to be done now. Just know that I’m the meantime there’s a bigger purpose for you than the minutiae you’re stressing over.