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Perspective is Amazing

I was on facebook this morning and someone shared a link to an article about teachers becoming digital panhandlers because we have campaigns on sites like DonorsChoose or gofundme to get supplies for our classrooms.  The person who shared the link was offended by the article title.  He found it to be incredibly demeaning to his wife who is a teacher and to teachers as a whole.  That was his perspective.

I read the article, and my perspective is entirely different.  Yes, he did call teachers digital panhandlers, but the article was not offensive or derogatory.  Instead it laid the facts out very clearly, and drew attention to the lack of school funding.  If schools were adequately funded, teachers wouldn’t need to resort to this “digital panhandling” to fund their classrooms.

The gentleman and I went back and forth essentially agreeing to disagree, but it really got me thinking about perspective.  It’s amazing how people see things differently, and we would all do well to remember that our view isn’t the only view.

Another woman commented that she donates her stipend checks right back to the school.  Stipends are checks people get for doing extra things like coaching.  I commented to her that I thought that was great, but I had to use mine to live on.  She immediately thought I was attacking her and thinking that she was independently wealthy, and she quickly disabused me of that notion.  Again perspective, I was honestly complimenting her for being able to do that, but from her perspective, I was attacking or judging her.  I think most of you know that’s not my style.  I was just impressed that she could do that, and sharing my own donorschoose campaign for people to see.

How we see things is influenced by our past experiences.  How other people see things is influenced by their past experiences, and we would all do well to remember that.


Inner Strength

Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out.
– Katherine Dunham

What exactly is inner strength, and why do we need it? Inner strength is what allows us to deal with the difficulties that life can throw at us. It’s what inner strengthhelps us to find life detours when we hit road blocks in the journey to our goals. I think it’s something we’re born with, but it’s also something we can develop, over time.

There are people that seem to cruise through life under a lucky star.  It seems as if they are living charmed lives. Things happen easily for them, and everything they touch turns to metaphorical gold.  Honestly, that’s great and I love seeing people for whom live is easy peasy.  But the thing is, you never know when those challenges in life are going to happen, and for people who live that charmed life, a challenge can send them into a tail spin because they’ve never had to deal with them before.  They don’t have the inner strength they need to face the challenges head on and to conquer them.

But you can develop a stronger sense of inner strength, and that’s a good thing. Take time to get to know who you are.  Surround yourself with positive, forward thinking people.  There is nothing more draining than spending time with negative people.  Take care of yourself both physically and mentally and you’ll find those reserves of inner strength growing deeper and stronger, and you’ll be able to handle the road blocks that life throws at you.

You Don’t Need It

A truly strong person does not need the approval of others any more than a lion needs the approval of sheep. ?Vernon Howard

you don't need itToday, one of my students was talking about having to do something she wasn’t too excited about doing because her friend wanted her too.  She was afraid if she didn’t, she’d lose the friendship and acceptance of her “friend.”  The first thing I said to her was “You don’t need it.”  The people who matter will accept you for who you are, not who they want you to be.

Of course, for your typical teenage girl, or teenage boy for that matter, the acceptance of friends is very important.  Even as adults, we want the acceptance of our family, co-workers and peers.  But we’re smart enough to realize that in the end, the only acceptance that matters is yours.  You need to accept yourself – all of you, not just your strengths, but your weaknesses.  They all combine to create the amazing person that is you.

The approval of others is a nice thing to have. I’m not going to lie, it really is. But when it comes at a cost, if you have to betray your conscience.  That approval?  You dont’t need it.  What you need is to honor yourself.  The people that matter to you, they’ll accept who you are and support you as you grow.  They won’t try to mold you into who they want you to be.  Be strong, be true to you.



Celebrate Yourself

I celebrate myself, and sing myself. – Walt Whitman

So today was the first day of school. I have a new position at my school, which means I have a whole new group of kiddos to get to know. And I noticed celebrate yourselfsomething today. I spent so much time building them up, and making jokes about myself to get them to laugh that I forgot to build myself up. Don’t do that. How can you celebrate anybody else if you don’t celebrate yourself? The short answer is you can’t!

I realized today that I talk a great game about being your own best friend and talking to yourself in a supportive way. I talk a good game, but I don’t LIVE that good game. Honestly, that’s pretty stupid of me, and if you’re doing it to yourself, it’s stupid of you, too.  No matter who you are,  you are amazing and you have something special to offer the world.  We all do.  So celebrate that, and celebrate yourself.

I know it’s pretty easy to think that you’re nothing special, or that you are totally average, or that you don’t have any amazing skills or gifts. But guess what?  You’re you, and that’s amazing.  You are the only you there is.  Even if you’re an identical twin, you are still unique in some special way.  So do me a favor, spend some time thinking about how special you are.  If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, make a list.  The very fist thing on that list should read “I’m me!”  You are you, and you are amazing.  It’s time to celebrate that – celebrate yourself.

I’m Starting Now

Start from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got. – Jim Rohn

It’s funny, I just got done texting with someone who is moving forward from something in her life. We’re both teacher and she said that with the start I'm starting nowof the school year it just made sense.  Our first day with kids is tomorrow, and with that, I can say that I’m starting now.  Like my friend, I’m putting some things behind me, making some changes and moving forward.  So many people thing that January first is the time for changes. Well, guess what, you can start any time you want and as I said, I’m starting right now.

I saw a meme not too long ago that said something like set goals, stay quiet about them, smash the shit out of them, clap for your damn self, repeat.  I love this particular meme (well I love most memes) because it’s perfect.  Set your goals and keep quiet about them. They are your goals, you don’t need to share them with anybody, just be prepared to crush them – celebrate and do it again, and again and again!  There is no prescribed time table for when you should do this. You don’t have to wait until January first, or next week or next month.  I’m starting now!

My plan is to smash the shit out of my goals.  I may have setbacks, I may have delays, but the only way I’ll fail is if I don’t start, so I’m starting now.  I’d like to say and so should you, but you need to smash your goals on your time. I’m starting now, how about you?

Just Get Out of Your Own Way

Real obstacles don’t take you in circles. They can be overcome. Invented ones are like a maze. – Barbara Sher

Do you have any idea how difficult we make things for ourselves?  Seriously, life would be so much easier if you could just get out of your own way! just get out of your own wayThere are enough roadblocks and obstacles that get in our way, we shouldn’t be throwing up any of our own.  What I like about this quote is that it points out that those obstacles that we put in our own way are far more difficult to navigate than the ones real life gives us.

I personally do this ALL. THE. TIME.  Today is a prime example of that.  I decided to take two classes this fall – stupid, but doable.  I really just need to manage my time.  So today, when I had a day off, how much work did I get done.  Yeah that would be a big fat zero.  I had a million reasons and a million excuses as to why I couldn’t hit the books today, but they were just that, excuses.  I need someone standing in front of me saying will you just get out of your own way and do the stupid work!

I think sometimes we do this to ourselves because we afraid of what may happen.  We may succeed, or we may fail, but both those things are different than what we’re doing right now.  The status quo, or the known is so much safer and easier to deal with than the unknown.  But you need to ask yourself, do you want to stick with the status quo (cue High School Musical ear worm now!) or do you want to push yourself to be all that you possibly can be?  The choice is yours to make, but in order to do it just get out of your own way and do it!

Be True to You

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
~ Dr. Seuss

Well, I love Dr. Seuss, and this quote rocks, and the good Doctor isn’t wrong.  First and foremost, you have to be true to you.  In this life, you are going be true to youto run into people who are completely and totally on your team.  You are also going to run into people who are actively working against you, and those who are ambivalent. You’re smart, you’ll be able to see the difference.  The people who are on your team – well they’re going to support you, and that’s great.  But people are funny.  We tend to do back flips and cartwheels to get the people that aren’t on our team, on our side.  Well guess what, they don’t matter.  Be true to you.

I want to add too that while you have to be true to you, and that those people don’t matter, that doesn’t give you carte blanche to run your mouth and say whatever is on your mind at any given time.  While you need to be true to you, you also need to exercise good judgement.  I speak from experience on this one.  I spoke up one time, spoke my mind and I angered someone that was kind of important.  It’s made the past year kind of a struggle for me.  I don’t regret speaking my mind, but I wish I had exercised better judgement and done it in a different way.  But in the end, to me it’s worth it because I was true to me, and the people that I angered, don’t really matter.

Be true to you.  It isn’t always easy, but in the end, it’s always worth it!

Are You Happy?

Happy people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything. ~ Sam Cawthorn

I talk to people all the time who tell me how great their lives are, and how wonderful everything is.  On the surface the seem to have everything, but I are you happy?look at them and I want to ask “Are you happy?”  Because even though they have big houses, super new cars, go on trips and say their lives are fantastic, they don’t really seem all that happy.  They tend to be consumed with getting more of what they already have.  A bigger house, a newer car, and more stuff to put in the new house.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love a bigger house, and a newer car, but I’m pretty darn happy that I have a place to live and a decent car to drive.  A couple of years ago, I had to scramble to get the car that I have now.  I had a plan.  I was in the market for a new car, and my plan was to test drive a bunch of them and take my time and find the exact car that I wanted.  Well life got in the way, and as I said I had to scramble to get the car that I have now.  It’s not what I wanted, but guess what.  I’m still happy because I was able to get a car, it runs well, and it gets me where I want to go.

Are you happy?  I am.  I am because I choose to be.  I look at what I have, and the life that I am living, and I celebrate that.  Yes, I am working to make things different, and that’s okay.  Those are goals and dreams, and those are good.  But while I’m reaching for my dreams and working toward my goals, I’m loving the life that I have right now.  Are you happy?  I am.


Sometimes You Just Need to Unplug

The only limits in our life are those we impose on ourselves. – Bob Proctor

I bet you’re wondering what this quote has to do with unplugging – well hang in there and maybe it’ll all make sense.  Today, my adult kids and I threw some sandwiches together, jumped in the car and drove up to the White Mountains.  We found a swimming hole I had heard about that was under a covered bridge, and we spent our day hanging out and playing in the water.

unplugNow I am a kind of shy person.  Read that as I don’t talk to people I don’t know ever.  Well first thing this morning a man offered to take a picture of my and the kids which was awesome because there are very few pictures of us together.  Then after swimming for a bit, I got out and started chatting with a very nice lady from Connecticut about this that and the other.  Later, some people came down to the river and began dredging for gold – I kid you not – they were looking for gold which was pretty cool.  But I had no clue what was going on, until a very nice man who was sitting not to far from me explained the whole process.  You know why this happened?  We had NO cell service at all. It was awesome.  Sometimes you just need to unplug from everything.  When you do, it gives you a chance to blow past the limits you may have put on yourself.  Mine is talking to people.  But today, I did, but if my phone was working, I probably would have been staring at it while I was drying off.  Yes I used to take some pictures, but that was about it.

I’d like to say that you shouldn’t put limits on yourself.  Of course you shouldn’t, but we all do.  But give yourself a chance.  Today was about me unplugging literally from my phone to unplug figuratively from a limit I imposed on myself.  Try it, and see how it goes, because sometimes you just need to unplug


Stillwater River Bridge – Bath NH

Random Acts of Kindness

The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.
– William Wordsworth

I have this one magazine that I read pretty faithfully, and every week they have section called circle of kindness.  It relates stories about the various random acts of kindness people do for one another. I’m not going to lie, it’s one of my favorite sections.  It always gives me the warm fuzzies.

random acts of kindnessThe quote today talks about random acts of kindness, but I disagree with one part of it.  They may be unremembered by the person who does it, but a random act of kindness is always remembered by the recipient.  Think about it, don’t you remember when someone is particularly kind to you?  I do.  I know at least for me, when somebody does something unexpected, it touches me.  It makes me feel as if I matter, and that someone cares about me.

Practicing random acts of kindness is a wonderful way to live life.  They don’t have to be huge things, or cost money.  Holding the door for someone, or helping somebody carry their groceries can go a long way toward brightening a day.  Yes it’s great to be able to pay for your coffee and the coffee of the person behind you, but even a smile or shoveling your neighbor’s walk after a huge snow storm can make someone’s day.

It doesn’t have to cost you anything, but it can brighten both your day and the day of the recipient.  The concept of pay it forward and random acts of kindness are nothing new, but they are concepts that should never be forgotten.

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