Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Most Precious Gift

I've spent the last few days focusing on the present...the here and how.  There’s a reason so many students (and quite a few adults) are easily confused by this word.  Language and vocabulary nerds (otherwise known as teachers) call this a “multiple meaning word.”  When you see the word “present,” does it mean a gift given to someone...a beautifully wrapped package with a special surprise or trinket for one’s birthday or Christmas?  Or does the word “present” refer to a verb tense that means something is happening right now?  
I've decided that it’s the same time…all at once.
This great revelation came to the other night as I sat on the sofa with my giant.  We were watching "Longmire," a television show that he loves and I promised to watch.  (The good news is that it’s a great show, and one of my many missions for the summer is to catch up on the seasons on Netflix so we can watch the new season together this fall.)  As we watched, I noticed that he had his phone in his hand for most of the episode, and I kept picking up my iPad.  He was playing a game where his mission was to shoot tanks driving through the streets of Los Angeles, and my mission was to crush candy, feed cows and chickens, tell Mr. Burns to dump money on his gold mountain, and smash gems before Maleficent cast a spell on me. I was playing multiple games while he only played one...but that just further goes to prove my point.  Here we were watching a show that could easily hold our attention, and yet we couldn't put our devices down.  How sad is that?!  The good news is that we both agreed that the night was one of those "real life" evenings we both long for...when you are so comfortable with the one you are with that you can relax and be yourself without trying to feel like you have to entertain anyone.
I spent the rest of that night and my coffee time the next day thinking about being present in the moment and how it really is a gift to be present in the moment.  To let your mind focus solely on just one task or topic.  To NOT multi-task all the time.  To focus on the small details of the moment.  The little things.  The important things.  How often have I let my mind wander too far from the task at hand?  (Ugh...that answer is frightening...I don’t want to think about that anymore.)  How much better would my work (and play) be when I focus on the task at hand and let my thoughts drift off to where I need to be next or how much money I can spend on shoes this month or what I might be having for dinner or what kind of house my giant and I might choose to make our first home together.  While all of these thoughts are important (especially the money for shoes), none of them are more important than what I’ve been called to do in any particular moment.

So here it first commitment to making a better me...
Be present.  
Give myself the gift of time and dedication to the time at hand.  Allow my brain to focus on the truly great gift that is the here and now.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Lean on Me...January Facilitator Reflection

With their little bodies buzzing with excitement, our students filed into the cafeteria this morning for January's Mighty Mariner Assembly.  Parents sat eagerly at the back of the room waiting for their child's name to be called for whatever award would be handed their way.  I took my usual post...edge of the stage letting songs from the "Mariner Assemblies" playlist stream from my phone.  Feeling the need to change things up, I recently added "Lean on Me"  (the Club Nouveau version)...

Lean on me
When you're not strong,
And I'll be your friend.
I'll help you carry on.
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on.

This has been a month of leaning on one another...of helping someone else carry on because, chances are, they have helped you to carry on.  And if you are a lucky one that has been strong, your turn is coming soon.  You are going to need someone to lean on. 

Some of us lean because we are struggling with our students. 
Some of us lean because we are struggling with our team.
Some of us lean because we are struggling with our classroom resources.
Some of us lean because we are afraid of PARCC.
Some of us lean because we are afraid of ITBS...especially that horrible vocabulary section.
Some of us lean because we have students who didn't meet their winter growth goal.
Some of us lean because our students need winter clothes.
Some of us lean because our students are hungry.
Some of us lean because our students need to feel loved and appreciated and valued for the beautiful people they are.
Some of us lean because we are struggling outside of school.
Some of us lean because we have stood straight for too long...and it's our turn to lean.

Whatever the reason (or reasons) we all need someone to lean on from time to time.  I am no different.  To those who have let me lean...thank you. 

I leaned on you
When I wasn't strong.
And you were my friend.
You helped me carry on.
If the time comes along
I'll be right there

For you to lean on.