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You can be grateful for lessons, even the hard ones

Life can be tough.  Nobody ever said it was easy.  There are many trials and tribulations that we all face from time to time but we are always stronger for coming through them.  Everyone around you has had them or is currently going through them.  If not, they will be.  When times get tough that is when we grow.

Ella Fitzgerald once sang “into each life a little rain must fall”.  While we cannot control how much rain falls in our lives, we can choose to put up an umbrella or put on rain coat.  Others choose to just let the rain fall.  Regardless, we have a choice in how we respond in difficult times.  We can either shutdown and let ourselves be hardened by it, or we can choose to learn by it and grow from the experience.

As we grow from experiences, we develop a set of beliefs that we rely upon each day, it is the foundation in which we build our daily lives.  When it “rains” in our lives, it is very unexpected.  An unexpected rainstorm can be catastrophic.  Only well built foundations will survive a tremendous downpour.  Foundations that are already rocky will need support.

As a leader, we experience rain in our lives as well.  Just like our teachers and our students.  We must make sure that our foundations are built tough as there will come a time that one of the staff or students will have rain in their lives and it will disrupt their very being.  It will be our job to stand in the gap and help support them in their time of need.

I often think about this question.  More now than I have in the past.  Ever since my Father-in-Law past in November 2017, this question really does come to mind in many different aspects. What’s one hard lesson you are grateful life taught you in the past year?  For me as a leader, 2017 and most of 2018 was not easy due to his passing.  He passed in the middle of the school year but was diagnosed right before the first day of school.  So we were living this right from what we all wanted to be a great school year.

Having to navigate this rainstorm was not easy.  As I reflect back on it and all that I and my family has learned over this time, I am grateful for the lessons that this storm has brought into mine and my families life.  Our foundation is stronger for having come through that storm.

As you go forward, I would encourage you to look at the others around you and see where you can help them through their storm.

Journal Prompts for 2019

Journaling has become one of my outlets as of lately.  I am hoping that I can keep it up as we head off into 2019.  I am the worst at keeping my blog up to date but for 2019 I am setting a goal to make one post each week and more if I can.  If I can get 52 posts in the year that will be the most that I have ever done.  Eventually I would like to get something up and online each day.

In scrolling through Twitter today I saw a post that took me to a blog that I do not read or have ever heard of.  The title of the post was 19 Daily Journal Prompts that Will Change the Way You Begin 2019. I have included the link so you can read the entire post.  It was a good read.

I am posting these 19 prompts to remind me of ideas to write about.

#1: What’s one hard lesson you’re grateful life taught you in the past year?
#2: What’s something you’ve moved on from that once meant the world to you?  And, what’s something you love today that you never even knew you needed in your life?
#3: What’s one unchangeable reality you’re still holding on to and resisting?  What can you do right now to ease your mind into the acceptance of this reality?
#4: Who would you be, and what else would you see about your present life situation, if you removed the thought that’s been worrying you?
#5: How has your daily environment been affecting you recently?
#6: What’s one small example of how you have “customized” your life for the better?
#7: What have your actions over the past year been saying about how you prioritize your personal growth?  What kind of silent progress would you like to make in your life by the end of 2019?
#8: What’s one distraction that has been getting the best of you lately?  Why?
#9: What truly DOES matter to you most right now?
#10: What’s one small risk you believe is worth taking in 2019?  What’s the first step?
#11: What’s something big you’ve accomplished in the past that once seemed impossible?
#12: Why are you ready to level-up in 2019?  Why are you ready to make positive changes?  Why is the journey in front of you worth the extra effort?
#13: How can you give yourself a little extra time and space to make the right decisions on a daily basis?
#14: What’s one thing you would do differently if you knew no one would judge you?
#15: What’s one good, recent example of someone with a negative attitude completely misjudging you?  How did you handle it, and what did you learn?
#16: Who was the last person who was unexpectedly kind to you?  What can you easily do to be a little kinder than usual today, and beyond?
#17: What makes your significant other (or someone else you love) truly beautiful on the inside?  What make YOU truly beautiful on the inside?
#18: What’s something true about yourself that you need to embrace more openly and lovingly in the year ahead?
#19: What does “a new beginning” mean to you right now?

 

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Sometimes a little bit of snow makes things a whole lot better

A few days ago we got a small dusting of snow on the ground.  Not like what we had two years ago (see slider below).  That is something that I would never like to repeat again.

There is just something about the fresh snow fall, even when it is only a dusting.  It is calm and peaceful.  Why is this?  How does this different phase of water cause a change in us as humans?  Is it the color of snow?

I love the peacefulness that it brings even when it comes in small doses.  I grew up in an area where it did not snow every year, so moving out to Eastern Oregon was a blessing in that we were going to get more snow than what we had living on the coast.  Now nobody told us that the first winter living out here would be a 100 year winter and that even the people in their late 80s never saw a winter like that, but we endured.  The next year, just the extreme opposite.

Back to the snow.  It is filled with peace and a calming sense.  Teachers are like a fresh blanket of snow.  They create that peacefulness and calming sense that students get each day.  For many students, this is the only place that they get this. They don't get this at home with their parents due to survival.  Parents want to create that atmosphere for their children, but many need to work two even three jobs in order to give their kids a roof over their heads.

Teachers on the other hand can give this sense of security for students each day.  Bring them peace and a calming sense to their daily lives.

What will you do with your time?

We have all been faced with mortality at some point in our lives, whether that be a relative, close friend, or
somebody you went to high school with, regardless we have all experience this in our lives.

"The future depends on what you do today." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Losing somebody is never easy.  Everyone is different and they process the loss so differently. There is no perfect way to handle the grief.  If there was, somebody would be making billions just to help others cope with loss.

I am always encouraged by this quote from Gandhi, “The future depends on what you do today.”  This is so very true.  What you do specifically today impacts everything.  Even the small things.

I remember specifically a couple of years ago I was leaving out of the house to head to work.  As I got to my truck I realized I forgot my wallet inside.  I went back in and grabbed it and headed out. 

About a mile down the road from us is a pretty busy highway that connects the towns to the south of us.  I need to cross this highway each day to get to work.  Just as I was starting to approach the light on the highway where I needed to cross, I was noticing that there were a number of people standing in the highway and cars parked with hazard lights on.  

When I got to the light, there was a man in the middle of the road directing traffic.  I rolled down my window to see if there was anything I could do.  The man informed me that the paramedics were on their way.  I asked him how long and he said that he called them as soon as he witnessed the accident which was about 2 minutes previous to me arriving.  I rolled my window up and moved on to work.  

I tell you this story as 2 minutes was the time frame that it had taken me to go back inside and get my wallet that I had forgotten.  If I had remembered my wallet, chances are I could have been right there as the accident had happened or worse, been involved in the accident.  What if I had not gone back in and got my wallet?  Would that have been a tragic change in my life or my families?

Every person is given an expiration date.  Nobody knows when theirs is, but it is our job to live our lives to the fullest each moment we are given as each of them are blessings.  The same goes for in the classrooms.  We are only given so much time with our students.  Each moment is a blessing and we must utilize each of those moments to impact the future.

As 2018 comes to a close I would encourage you to look for ways to do something impactful on the future, and that starts with what you do today.  

Time left for 2018
What will you do with the remainder of this time?

Day
Hour
Minute
Second

Be a learner more than a knower

How often do we sit back in our heads as somebody is talking and say to ourselves “I know more about this topic than this guy!”  I have to admit, I have done that.  It is especially true when it is about a topic that I am very passionate about.

It is true that you may have a more in-depth knowledge about a topic but are you the world renowned expert that has no more capacity in your brain for such topic?  I am willing to bet that even though you have a great deal of expertise in the subject area, there is always room to learn something new.

Many leaders make the mistake of believing that since they are now at the top that they no longer need to lead.  They will go through the motions and find excuses to not be professional development while teachers and other support staff are there learning.  People notice this and do not think for a second that they are not thinking “Who does he think he is that he does not need to learn like we do!”

Leaders need to be life long learner just as much as teachers.  Everyday we must fill ourselves with something new that we can pass on to the people we lead. The belief that you’re an expert closes your mind. What will you learn today to pass on?