Category Archives: Improving the World One Thought at a Time

Trying to Make Myself Better While Trying to Make You Better

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Trying to Make Myself Better While Trying to Make You Better

I know I have a lot of followers and other bloggers on here who suffer from something. Whether we deal with anxiety, eating disorders, depression, or any other mental “problem”, we know what it feels like to be too much in our own heads, too much controlled by them at times.

I have never in my life been so aware and outspoken about anxiety as I have been recently. I still don’t go screaming my problems from the rooftops, but I definitely have had my fair share of moments where my mouth just runs and words come out that wouldn’t have a few years ago. I am starting to realize even more that we are much more the same than we believe. I may not have anxiety as bad as some, others may have it better off than me, but I know everyone has had the basic feeling of anxiety at some point in their lives.

What I didn’t realize (until yesterday) was that I know more people than I think who suffer from depression and thoughts of suicide. I know that’s not something everyone wants to talk about don’t get me wrong, but I just never realized how close to home it would hit for me.

Over the past few years as a teacher, I have watched many kids who feel so depressed because of their performance in school, something going on with their family, etc. It has always broken my heart piece by piece to watch these students struggle with very little assistance given to them. Let’s face it; while I care, there’s only so much that I can do from a professional standpoint. Even worse, I don’t have the technical training to be able to truly give them advice that I would feel comfortable using. I know our brains are a complicated thing, and I’d hate for anything I said to make a negative difference to a kid who is already struggling.

One year I even had someone who was so depressed, they started dropping suicidal hints left and right. Based on the student’s personality, others thought they were joking. I took it seriously from the start just because mental issues hit so close to home for me. Thank God I did. While I cannot take full credit by any means, my awareness and notification to the proper people may have helped that kid in the long run. Yet every day I felt so fearful that I would never see that child again, that they would do something one evening or weekend that would cause me to lose them from my professional life forever. And that would have killed me.

So recently my sister-in-law started posting about how she wanted to do this Out of the Darkness Walk towards the end of October. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosts these walks all over the country to help raise money for their cause. They work on research, advertisement, and raising awareness for those mental issues that lead many people to thoughts of suicide. Their goal is to decrease the suicide rate by 20% by the year 2025.

While I’ve never done anything like this before, I decided I was going to walk with her. The organization gives you the option of simply walking to raise awareness or to walk because you are trying to earn some funds for their cause. While I don’t have a lot of money to spare, I do plan to donate something of my own. Yet, I thought it would be such a waste to try not to raise any money at all.

Which is how I ended up spending quite a bit of time last night sharing information about my cause to my friends via Facebook. I asked that even if they could not donate themselves, that they share with their friends who may be able to. It was through these Facebook chats that I found out that there are even more people close to me who suffer so severely with depression. I did my fair share of feeling depressed and saddened last night. There was a moment where I almost cried. And I did a lot of praying, praying that those who really need this help find some way to get it before it is too late. I also prayed that anyone suffering from this issue never goes so far as to act out their thoughts.

Almost instantly (at least within less than an hour), this cause has become SO important to me that I am having trouble putting all of this into words. So for that reason, I’m just going to shut up now.

What I am going to do is to say that I am just one small, individual, meaningless person in this whole big world. In the long run, the best thing I do to make a positive difference is teach. But I feel like that’s not enough. So I’m going to do this walk, even if no one else walks with us. I’m going to do this walk whether my one single presence at this event makes a difference or not. I am going to walk even if I show up that day with only my meager donation in my hand and no one else’s. I am going to walk because this is important to me. I am going to walk for my kids and my friends and my family. Because I care.

If you are so inclined, feel free to read more about why I walk at my AFSP webpage here. There is a donation button and the option to share my page as well. Again, I know not everyone can give, but anyone who shares or donates even a few dollars will become even more near and dear to my heart!

Hopefully one day we will be able to kill that suicide rate!

With Love,

~B

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Favorite Scriptures, Quotes, Images…

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Favorite Scriptures, Quotes, Images…

Kind of a weird post tonight. First I’m typing on my Kindle so this will be short. Second, I’m not writing anything about my life or journey really. All I’ll say is sometimes I feel like we all need guidance or help with some area of our lives and don’t always get an immediate answer (that’s where I am right now). So I figured I would try to see how many people actually read this jumble that I write. 

If you do, and you have a scripture or book passage or quote that brings you guidance or comfort, I encourage you to share it in a comment here. Not only am I hoping to get some good things for my own personal benefit, but I’m hoping to share them on my blog as well. Maybe if one of them really hits me, it’ll even become a topic in a later post!

FYI, my favorite is the serenity prayer, though it’s not seeming very applicable to my situation at the moment. 

Let me know your favorites, even if they aren’t religious!

~B

Thanks Target!

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I’m borrowing the video below from Reddit. I just happened to come across it today and thought it fit pretty well with the story I feel like telling from a social media post I saw this morning.

Don’t Shut the door, WCGW? from r/Whatcouldgowrong

If you’re an educator, you may have heard that Target is promoting 15% off for all school supply purchases for educators. I feel like this is a yearly thing and occurs in many different stores all over the country. Heck, some of the stores offer teacher discounts year-round. True, maybe some stores are promoting these discounts because they appreciate all the hard work teachers do. However, many of them could be instituting these policies because they hope teachers will buy more product from them to actually supplement their classrooms and help not only the teacher but the local kids as well! Even more of these stores are doing it to entice teachers to simply enter the store and spend more than what we normally would without a “sale” coming our way. Who can pass up a sale anyway?

But what I really think is interesting is that somehow, someone in this world turned Target’s 15% off discount for teachers into something similar to the link above that I posted from Reddit. How you may ask? Simply because people are trying to get work done and do some good (Target giving 15% for teachers who, whether we like it or not often buy their own supplies for at least part of their school year) and someone else ruins it for everyone.

That person in this situation just happens to be the owner of the Facebook Page called “Teaching in Progress”. I’ve done a bit of snooping on this page just to give you a quick rundown. This page is devoted to teachers sharing posts and quotes and ideas for other educators to use in their own classrooms and lives. Like many of the teacher pages that I follow, this one describes the life of a teacher during summer, gives project ideas to help kids learn their ABCs with fun games, and works to educate others about the reality of the school systems today.

So what’s the big deal? The difference between this teacher’s media page and the ones that I choose to follow comes in the form of one post from yesterday afternoon. It was posted in response to the Target 15% off discount deal. Just so you can enjoy the pleasure of whatever feeling their post might invoke in you, here it is:https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fteachinginprogress%2Fposts%2F1720784981303006&width=500

As you can see, there are many comments and responses to this post. And, as with all of my own personal blog posts, I would like to reiterate that my opinion is only that, an opinion. I am in no way saying that I am right or wrong about my feelings here. But just hear me out, let me tell you my feelings here.

This post is full of it!

That’s basically it. I feel like this is one of the worse things I have ever seen another teacher post on social media. Granted, any human can do much worse than this, but hear me out. I have some very valid reasons for believing this post should not even be in existence.

  1. It’s rude- Target was not forced to give anyone discounts, so anyone who gets one should be grateful. Target’s #1 mission is to earn money for their owners and employees while also servicing their communities by allowing people to buy food and supplies they need to support their families. It has never bragged about being a cheap alternative to other stores, for being a charity location, or for being a homeless shelter or wish giving service like Make a Wish. So for anyone to complain about something offered to them for no apparent reason is rude and sad.
  2. If you don’t want it, don’t use it- I do not often buy school supplies for my classroom. In fact, most of my school supply purchases are for my own personal use (either at home or at the office). Yet just because I may not need any more pencils or sticky notes at the moment, doesn’t mean that I am going to go out and complain about a discount that was offered to me. If I don’t wish to buy supplies, I’m just going to… well, not buy them!
  3. This is the opposite of what we should be teaching our children- I’m slightly scared that someone so outspoken could post something like this on social media. I’m not naive enough to think it doesn’t happen every day, but I often feel like this is what is wrong with the world. Sure, share your opinions and ideas; others love to see your creativity and come up with new ideas alongside of you. But do you not realize that you have a position of authority in this world? In your town? Do you not see that children look up to you as their teacher? Is it apparent to you that, even if you don’t friend your students on your Facebook page, they can still see your posts if thousands of people are sharing them? I feel like this is just teaching our younger generations that it is okay to bitch and complain about every single thing that is handed to you in life whether you really deserve it or not. Maybe this is what is wrong with so much of the world today. Not this post specifically, but the idea that we can be so outspokenly unhappy and rude about things that are offered to us just because they aren’t 100% what we want.
  4. The reality- Does anyone really think that Target has enough pull to change the entire financial budget of the state and federal governments? Because that’s basically what it would take to make it so that every school in the country has access to all supplies without the need for teachers or parents to contribute to anything the students need during a school year. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to make this a reality, but going back to the facts… Target will NOT be the one to make these changes happen. Sorry Target, I love you, but you aren’t quite that powerful!

In the end, I guess I’m writing just because I am so frustrated by everyone who seems so ungrateful for things these days. While this Target post may be a pretty simplified example, there are many ways I have seen this attitude and ungratefulness in the world.

So my advice to you, or my wish for what you would do having read this post? Go out and do something good for someone else. Instead of complaining because how heavy a door is to hold, make sure you hold it open for yourself and the person behind you. Instead of being mad that your food from a restaurant costs so much, make sure to tip the waiter/waitress a bit extra today.

In the end, doing good, treating others well, and being grateful for what we do have will make the world a better place. Don’t forget to stand up for change, but be sure to do it in a mature and polite manner. Otherwise, people are so much more likely to lash out at you and not actually hear your reasons for supporting your cause.

~B

The Sneaker Catastrophe

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My sister brought her dog over to my house yesterday so that I could puppy sit. That left me in the house with three tiny black dogs who are all willing to cause plenty of trouble in their own way.

There’s Duncan: the one who doesn’t like loud noises, refuses to enter the kitchen, loves being outside, and does not go where you ask him if he doesn’t want to.

Then there’s Jasper: I think he’s the cool, chilled out one, though he is also mine. He’s the oldest of the group and acts like the father. He’ll put them in their place if need be.

Finally there’s Zoey: She’s my dog and my fiance’s (though mostly his) and just turned 3 months last Thursday. She likes to chew on everything, eat everything, and has recently learned to dig holes. Though her potty training continues to improve, she sometimes has a “set back” day where she acts like she should just be left outside the entire time so I can stop cleaning up accidents every ten minutes.

My day didn’t start out too well since I accidentally fell asleep shortly after my alarm went off. I was woken up by my sister banging on my door to drop off Dunc. And as soon as the dogs saw each other, it was terror all around. Even my “innocent” Jasper wasn’t enough to fend off the feuding that Zoey was trying to start between herself and Duncan.

Then, when I decided it would be great to go outside and just let the dogs run off all of their energy, it starts raining. And it rains pretty much the rest of the day. Of course this doesn’t stop Duncan from being outside; in fact, I think he might have enjoyed it more than sunshine!

Anyway, the dogs were basically terrors all day yesterday, including one of Zoey’s “set back” days, her new ability to almost jump onto our kitchen table and spill water all over my books, and Duncan’s insistence that he stay outside and get soaked before coming back in. Plus there was Jasper, who didn’t do anything majorly wrong. Yet, he wasn’t his normal fatherly figure in the house; he was happy just to trip me up when I was trying to go somewhere or to try to sleep on me when I’m trying to wrestle the other two off of each other. And so my day went…

Until it sort of stopped raining and I decided it would be good to get some of my (extreme) frustration out by taking a jog/dog walk down the road. Zoey is still too young to go too far from home yet because she doesn’t have all of her shots, but I leashed up the two boys and set out. I was excited because I had just downloaded a new app called “Map My Fitness” and wanted to try it out. Plus I ran much farther than usual, and ended up walking well past a mile in under 20 minutes. Unfortunately when I hit the 1.15 mile mark (or around about), my sneaker decided to break.

Before all of you track stars out there start to tell me, I will admit a few things: 1) I know, I should have been using actual running sneakers; 2) yes, they were really old too and I should have thought about that; 3) It’s probably much smarter to go running when someone you know could come and pick you up in an emergency; and finally, 4) I understand the implications of going running when it’s still sprinkling outside but I needed that exercise!

So yeah… here I am in my SUPER old Adidas sneakers that are, unfortunately, not intended for running. I’ve got Jasper on my left and Duncan on my right because they keep tangling me up if I let them on the same side as each other. Jasper doesn’t seem to care to run, Duncan doesn’t think I’m going fast enough. And yet I enjoyed myself! The road was a little slick, but not slippery enough for me to fall. Plus, like I said, I did some pretty good distance for being an out of shape asthmatic!

*Evil music enter here*

Then my shoe broke! The front half of the sole came off. At first I didn’t notice, but it shortly ended up curling and folding under itself so that I was walking on some pretty unbalanced and unsteady surface. Please keep in mind that I was over a mile from home.

On a normal day, I would have taken my shoes off and put my tough feet to the test. I would have turned around immediately and gone as quickly as possible home. But this was not any ordinary day. This day Duncan was with me; this day it was still spritzing and the roads were all wet and worm-covered. Also on this day, I had just decided to get into jogging down the road again after a pretty bad spill where I messed up my knee.

I think it took me almost 45 minutes to trudge my way back home with my broken shoe stuck to my left foot for my poor foot’s sake. Also with both dogs still trying to pull me home a fast as they could (or, in Jasper’s case, alternating between really fast and really stinking slow).

The reason I am even writing this is because it was hilarious now that I look back on it. It’s just my luck that 20 minutes in, I get a text from T saying he will be home late. So I had no ride either. In fact, every little piece of the day yesterday seemed to be one of those “just my luck” situations. I even had a thought at one point that I would rather have been at work changing people’s lives for the better than here at home dealing with dilemma after dilemma. (For the record, if you don’t already know, I’m quite the hermit sometimes. Under normal circumstances I would NEVER say I wanted to go back to work, even if I do enjoy my job most days.)

So the only thing that I can think is that there was some kind of moral here, some lesson to be learned. Was it that I should never ask for another puppy again? Or maybe just that I needed to take a break for a day and try not to do so many chores and take on so many responsibilities at once. Maybe it’s even that I shouldn’t be so worried about working out, though I know it’s healthy and necessary if I don’t want to end up looking like a tootsie roll.

In any case, God had some kind of plan for me. Or maybe it was karma… Either way, I leave you with this. Always wear good shoes when going far away from home with no way to get back. Never take those in your life for granted, because sometimes they aren’t going to be around to rescue you. And finally, even though we may not know where our lives are taking us next, just keep getting until you find out where you land. It may be a long process, there may be aches and pains and even some rain in your path; however; in the end, you will get right back home to wherever it is you belong.

~B

I am ashamed…. (and I wish my coworkers would know)

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This is me. This is my story.

When I was in first grade, teachers and my parents started to notice a change in me; I didn’t want to be anywhere but home, and I hated school for all it was. I was the weird kid that no one really understood and yet I was the one who had a ton of friends. There were instances that year where I would feel so sick to my stomach that I would request to go to the nurse. Sooner or later everyone decided I was faking it because I wanted to go home. But you know what? I wasn’t faking.

When I was in second grade, I had to make all new friends. Very few of the kids in my first grade class were in my same second grade class. But that was okay; I knew how to adapt and I knew how to be friendly. Those, I guess, are two traits that I’ve always had going for me. At least until I started to feel homesick. Then it was right back to people not believing that I felt sick to my stomach all the time. And still… I wasn’t faking.

Third and fourth grade passed in a blur, but I remember that fourth grade Math teacher. I actually think I learned a huge life lesson from him as I look back on his class today. But then, then all I saw was someone who was out to make my life horrible. He gave me my first (and my last) B on a report card. Everyone thought I was a perfectionist. And guess what? I may have been, but I was more than that.

In sixth grade, peers started to think we were old enough to date. I was part of this popular clique who thought it was a great idea to hang out with “boyfriends” and talk about our “love lives.” Oh how naïve children can be! By the end of that year, a boy had “broken my heart” so badly that I had even more problems than I had in any previous grade. I would be up all night crying my eyes out, begging not to have to go to school. Any time there was a test, I would get so nervous that my hands would turn clammy and my stomach would knot. Everyone still thought I was being a perfectionist. Truth? That wasn’t even the half of it.

By the end of that year I had started to see a therapist. She helped me work through my emotions and finally let everyone know that I was not some unhealthy, weak child. No, I was suffering from anxiety disorder. Talk about a shocker there. And yet: It’s not like there was a cure.

By seventh grade, my friends decided it would be cool to play sports. I did too, at least that first year. But as my grades rose above the others’, they started to look at me like I had five heads. Their solution was to cheat off of my tests and talk crap behind my back. Why? Because they thought it was the cool thing to do I guess…

In eighth grade, I still dealt with the drama, but even more than that was the teacher/field hockey coach who screamed in my face that I ran “slower than her grandmother, who was 90!” Needless to say, that sport dropped out of my playlist. It’s not like I had asthma or anything…

Also in eighth grade was the flight of the friendships. I literally had to make all new friends as my old ones thought it was cool to treat me like I was a leper just because they were jealous of my grades. The teachers’ solution? Just ignore that anything is wrong.

By my first day of ninth grade my anxiety was so bad that I knew things weren’t going to work out in my favor. On that first day, three main things occurred.

  • The PE teacher called me out for trying to “skip out of” gym class activities. Why? I had broken my finger playing softball that summer and it was still in a cast. But apparently playing volleyball was still expected.
  • The English teacher asked if we had any questions about our summer reading. I had a question about whether we were allowed to combine our own notes from the stories with those from spark notes. Her answer? I had better not be planning on cheating my way through her class because she could see right through me and I had another thing coming if I thought she was stupid enough to believe that I was innocent. The truth? Someone else mentioned spark notes to me and I just wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing by not including those notes in my essay.
  • The school might not have been big, but that didn’t stop me from being late to the bus that afternoon. The bus driver’s reaction? I better learn to carry all five hundred pounds of my textbooks with me if I intended to ride her bus this year…

I had a complete anxiety attack the minute I got home. Things were never really looking my way, but that day had been beyond ridiculous. If the kids could gang up on me, and now the teachers too? I had zero hope of ever surviving my life in high school.

My parents’ solution was to speak to the counselors, have me tested out of grades and courses so that I could avoid those teachers who had bullied me into submission. The guidance counselor had a lovely reply; stay in your courses or leave. We won’t switch your courses and we won’t allow you to prove that you’re smart enough to skip a course.

My solution? Leave school and do it my own way.

Three years later I was in the top ten of a graduating class of seniors where I was technically only supposed to be a junior. A few months later? Instead of spending all of my hard earned money on a private institution where I had received almost full scholarships, I applied to an online school where I could work and pay my own tuition.

The result? I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in teaching like I had always dreamed but never thought possible. Less than a year later, I had a full-time teaching job and even a year after that, I had graduated with an MA in Physics education.

If you think I’m stupid, you have something else coming. But even more important than that, if you think that I don’t care about my students, you’ve lost your mind. If you think I don’t feel their pain when the boys give them cat calls in the hallway, think again. If you think I don’t know what it is to be embarrassed by a superior, a leader, a teacher, an administrator, you’re wrong.

What ashames me most now is that I’m part of a system that I never really believed in. I’m part of a school where these things are actually happening to students every day. No, our kids are not perfect. They are far from it. But the reality is, that’s how they are supposed to be. They’re kids. Yes, they want to learn. Yes, they want to be leaders (at least most of them). But many of them just don’t know how. And if any of them are anything like me, they just don’t have the confidence in themselves to call out their peers and deal with the repercussions.

That’s why we are supposed to be there; to support them, to guide them, and to gently correct them along the way. But what I have been hearing lately pains me. For not just one, but for many of my kids, they feel as though they have been yelled at over issues that are trivial compared to other things. Some feel as though they have been sexually bullied by peers who are even younger than themselves. I’ve heard from the little ones that language has suddenly become an issue, and even more than that, I’ve learned that those who used to trust us barely trust us anymore.

While I don’t know what all has changed and I don’t understand why we are all struggling to adjust, I just want it to be made clear that this school is struggling. The students are struggling because the teachers are struggling. And that is only true because they are trying to juggle the administration’s changing and the changing of some of the most important parts and people in their lives. And truthfully, it’s not administration’s fault by any means, but when everyone looks to them to be the leaders and things don’t work out… where would most kids want to point the blame? No, not just at administration or the teaching staff; our kids point it at themselves too. That alone should show you that we have kids who are unique and one-of-a-kind where I work. That should show you the good that is in them.

But until something changes, until someone up top starts screaming from the rafters, nothing is going to change. We’re stuck in a tornado where we cannot climb out. And my only feelings on the issue are not that I am struggling or that I have no communication with the other teachers anymore. It’s more that I’m scared; scared for the kids who have anxiety like me, scared for those who need to focus on their work and not all of this drama. I’m scared for the students who now believe they’ve done something wrong when all they’ve done is try to hide in the shadows so they don’t become a laughingstock to their peers.

My kids give me hope. My kids give me happiness. To know that none of them at work are suffering the way I did; that fact used to propel me through my job each and every day. But now… now I fear that some of them are feeling the stresses and anxieties that I used to feel (and am feeling right now too). I fear that I’m doing nothing to protect them from what should never have to happen to anyone else but me. It’s my duty to say something, my duty to let everyone be heard. I might not be able to change anything, but I sure can lend an ear. And, if anyone important is reading this… I just ask that you take the time to self-reflect some too. We’ve asked the kids to do it. Now let it be our turn. Just to make sure that we aren’t the field hockey coaches or English teachers of my past. Because if I can stop just one child from feeling the way that I felt growing up, then I’ve changed the world.

The Simplest Ways to Make the Best of Emotions

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Anyone who has read any of my posts before knows at least one of two things: 1- I teach and 2- I am very emotional. So I decided that, when I could come up with no better topic to discuss today, using a content generator was the best idea! The one I came across (Content Ideas Generator by Portent) requires that you type in a keyword or phrase so that it can randomize a blog post title for you. So, why not emotion? Hence today’s post.


So what are the simplest ways to make the best of emotions? Most of us don’t know how to deal with our emotions or the emotions of others. Where we succeed in our careers, in socialization, or in sports and hobbies, many of us do not excel in reading or understanding emotions. So here are some of the simplest ways I have found to make the most of emotions.

  • Don’t be scared to be honest. The worst, biggest emotional messes are those that involve lies of one sort or another. Just ignore these altogether.
  • Learn to write. You don’t need to share your writing; heck, you don’t even have to be good at writing. Just be able to write so that you can keep a journal or share your thoughts. While I’m sure this tactic does not work for everyone, I find that it is very easy for myself (and for some others I know) to sort out our thoughts through the written word. If this doesn’t work for you, try being social about your emotions to someone that you know you can trust. Whatever you do, especially when you’re angry or sad, release that feeling in some healthy form of communication to yourself or someone else. 
  • Connect with someone else. We all have these unique emotions and perspectives on things that occur in our lives. Spend some time searching for a friend or family member who has similar beliefs and emotional reactions to your’s. Then, regardless of the situation, you know that you can randomly state any crazy or unique emotion that you are feeling without being judged or treated differently because of your thoughts.
  • Read books and complete activities that channel your emotions. Are you extremely creative? Try some form of art as a new hobby! Are you considered old-fashioned in your beliefs? Read old westerns or historical documentaries, biographies, or novels! Are you easily enraged? Channel your anger through some form of hard cardio workout; learn to run, bike, mountain climb, or do some form of activity where your adrenaline is racing and you work off some energy at the same time! Regardless of the emotions, you can always find at least one way to channel them in a positive direction.
  • Never apologize or try to hide negativity. It’s human nature to be negativity. I am negative a lot! And unfortunately, I don’t always follow this rule; sometimes I am negative and feel the need to apologize for it afterward. But being true to yourself and honest to others (see above) also includes having the pretty and ugly parts of your emotions available on your sleeve. Be sure to show them so that you don’t surprise or offend people down the road as you work to build relationships with them.
  • Determine the type of emotional person that you are. You may be one of the following. Distinguishing which category or categories you fall under will help you to be in tune with your emotional side while also staying in control of those wandering emotions that you get when stressed or tired. 
    1. The sleeved one- This is the person who wears their emotion on their sleeve. They lose more friends than not because they are unafraid to share their emotions. Additionally, they may have a difficult time controlling their emotions. There is always a good time to share emotions and a certain approach to take when discussing your personal self; the sleeved ones do not always understand when/what these times and approaches are.
    2. The rock- Rocks, as we know, have zero emotion. These people, for whatever reason, feel no emotion whatsoever. No, these are not the people who hide their emotions well; these people truly feel no pain or hurt when it comes to the emotional side of themselves. If you are a rock, you probably think this entire post is stupid…
    3. The chameleon- You are the confusing one, the one who always likes to have control of your emotions and deal with them in your own way. Most chameleons choose to camouflage themselves into their surroundings, hiding their emotions from others and are unwilling to agree or disagree with any one particular opinion or action. At the same time, these people do have emotions, some of them very strong. By not sharing opinions and beliefs, these people feel that they are protecting themselves from the rest of the world. These people may have been easily hurt or emotionally bullied in their past. 
    4. The seesaw- If you are a seesaw, you are similar to a chameleon; indecisive and easily influence by others. The difference between you and a chameleon is that you are not trying to hide your emotions. You enjoy giving opinions, sharing your beliefs, and feeling things. The only problem is that you are not often in control of your feelings. When one minute you are happy and carefree, the next minute you are sad or angry. As your seesaw tips back and forth, you find that your emotions feel more like baggage that you must carry across an unending roller coaster ride. 
    5. The wall- If you are the wall, you are a mix between a rock and a chameleon. You are so confusing that no one really knows what your emotional state is. Maybe there are times when you do not even know (making you even more closely related to a seesaw). Regardless, you put up a strong front. There are times when you are not in control of your emotions and times when you feel that it is okay to come out of your natural form and show your true feelings. But, in the majority of your life, you find that keeping a distance from your emotions is the only way to live. Many people who are walls are this way because they are in some form of superior position. While they are not actually superior human beings, they may be the heads of companies or the head of a household. Often times father figures are well suited as candidates for this category. If they show their emotions, they feel that they are placing more burden on the people who they love and feel that they are supposed to protect. 
  • Make it a game! Get some of your closest friends and family together and play a game to learn more about their emotions. There are board games and other contests out there which will challenge others to share their emotions and be more open with others. Some will try to ignite anger, angst, stress, or sadness in you as you play. Try starting with one of these games if you don’t know the other person well and are simply trying to learn about them. But if you all want to learn more about each other’s emotional sides so that you can be a better support system to one another, try sitting down together and following these simple steps:
    1. Make sure every person has a small notebook or blank sheet of paper. Everyone must also have a pencil/pen to write with.
    2. Using a timer, give the entire group 5-10 minutes to formulate questions that spark a discussion about emotion, are controversial, or require a person to place themselves into a theoretical situation to make a decision involving emotions. 
    3. Once the lists are done, have everyone cut their questions apart and fold them in half. All of the individual questions should then be placed in a box, hat, etc. 
    4. One at a time, players should take turns pulling questions out of a hat and asking them verbally to the group. In round robin fashion (or in some other pre-designated way), the group should take turns answering the given question as truthfully and in as much detail as possible. (One way to start this off to make it fair is for the person choosing the question to answer first.)
    5. Play can continue for as long as the group wishes. If you don’t finish all of the questions in one sitting? Save them and ask some more later! 

I think that’s about all I have for now. If you aren’t comfortable discussing emotions or acknowledging your own, just spend some time exploring them through every day acts that you already complete. Monitor how it makes you feel to complete different activities or talk to certain people.

You will find that the more you understand about yourself and your emotions, the happier you can be. This, in the end, is the best way to use your emotions for positive results.

~Me

Cabin Fever?

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Cabin Fever?

Today, my first day back to work for what appears to be a full week, was a disaster! Anything that appeared to be able to go wrong basically went wrong in some way. (Okay, for those of you who don’t know me personally, I admit to some exaggeration. But for those of you who know about my day, you will realize that some of the things that occurred hit me really hard and… hence the exaggeration.)

One thing that bugs me the most is that coworkers still treat me as though I am a child, one of their students. I got it at first; this is my first year teaching and I still have a LOT to learn. But now that we’re almost done with this year, I think I have proven myself in enough ways to ensure that I am clearly defined as a teacher, not a student. And yet today, it happened again. 

That might seem silly, but today was also the first day when a student told me, to my face, that I am an awful teacher. Sure, it was because they weren’t getting exactly what they wanted, but it still hurt to hear the words. I teach for a reason. I teach because I want to make a difference in children’s lives. I don’t do this job for the money or the pride; I do it because I care about them. So to hear this kid, even if it was just one kid, say that I ruined something for them and that I am the worst teacher they ever have… well, it’s a slap in the face! It was some weird, dramatic wake-up call that seems to be playing out in front of my eyes via a slow-motion camera. I cannot stop replaying the entire scene over and over again, not because I want to but because I cannot grasp the concept that I wasn’t dreaming. Someone actually told me that I am a horrible person. Maybe out of spite, but they thought it and said it anyway. 

This was not all that was wrong with my day, but it was the biggest slap in the face that I have received in a long time. I guess I had perfected myself this little bubble of peace, where coworkers liked me, my students appreciated my time and effort, my family loved me, and I was motivated to finish college. Now that bubble is popped and I feel lost.

For those teachers out there, I would love to know how you stayed motivated. I’ve heard all of these stories about people burning out in their first year, but that doesn’t describe my situation at all. I’m not burn out; this situation almost makes me more determined than ever. But I also want to retract my trust and understanding of my kids to ensure that people have less to say about me for the positive or the negative. That way I figure I can fly under the radar and do my job without being emotionally attached or liable to an emotional attack! 

I wonder what would happen if I open my Bible right now… It’s sitting right beside my bed and I could easily flick on my lamp to read a passage or two. But here’s the funny thing: as much as I rely on my belief in a higher power to keep up my faith and hope and get me through my days, I’m not sure if I opened that book I’d understand anything that I read out of it. I never have really understood the Bible, except for the simpler parts (such as the Christmas story, the way God made the Earth, the animals, etc., and the Easter story). All of the other bits inside of that text normally need to be explained to me by someone else. 

Which may be the reason that I am not as religious as I could be. I simply don’t have the time or the motivation to sit down after a long day’s work and try to listen to someone explain this ridiculously complicated text. Sad, but true.

That also reminds me that, at Church on Sunday, my grandma almost got hit by a piece of the ceiling which was falling down under the weight of the snow. Thankfully I wasn’t there to witness the scene or I would have been a mess. Needless to say, how much faith can we put in God if even our place of worship is (quite literally) crumbling around our feet? And then I think, well at least she didn’t actually get hit. Maybe God couldn’t stop the ceiling from falling but he could stop anyone from being hurt…

I find it funny how I often see two sides to every story. Less so when I’m directly involved in the story of course, but I definitely have this idea of putting myself in someone else’s shoes. Even now, as I sit and think about these things, I see two aspects to every story. For my student- it is apparent that they are still an adolescent who has not learned the true meaning of a “good” person. To them it seems that a good person is one who bends the rules and does what they must to make the child’s life easier. May be a sad perspective, but it cannot be said in any way that kids have the best outlook on life…Then there’s the ceiling incident; God may have acted in a negative way or he may have acted in a small, yet positive way. 

And the worst part about these situations is that I have no idea which “side” is “right”. Doesn’t it depend on who you are and what you observe? Doesn’t truth really become a relative concept, as time or space, based upon the location and motion of the observer? 

Then I think back on the ways I have acted today and the things that I have said or done… I wonder how people perceive my actions; do I look as immature and crazy as my student (thus explaining why my coworkers treat me the way they do), or am I perceived as a mature and intelligent individual? I believe my friend sees me as mature and intelligent, as do my parents. Then again, since I asked my friend some crazy, ludicrous, completely random question this afternoon, I’d be surprised if they didn’t change their view of me in order to protect himself and save his life from the affects of my insanity. 

I am getting tired now and starting to ramble. I guess the moral of this story is simply this: We all make mistakes and we all see things differently. Only by seeing things from another’s perspective or simply being able to recognize that there are different perspectives can we ever begin to truly know another person completely. 

Maybe one day it will be possible for me to understand all of the workings of someone else’s mind. Maybe…

~Me

31 Things I Admire About You

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31 Things I Admire About You

I’m pretty sure everyone has probably seen my most recently-added quote already. If not, go check it out! But if you have, I just have to say that someone actually said this about ME! Who knew such kind words were even possible while being equally as accurate and embarrassing to me. Looks like I am still learning how to get comfortable in my own skin.

For this post, I realized that there are millions of things that I admire about people who are or have been in my life. And so, to go along with that most recent quote, I have decided to make a list of 100 things I admire about people (or a single person… I haven’t decided yet). One way or the other, here goes nothing!

  1. I admire your eyes… I like the color of your eyes.
  2. I admire your smile- it’s super goofy and yet completely adorable. I admire the fact that it can make anyone’s day brighter just at the sight of it.
  3. I admire your heart. You have such a big heart. So big I doubt that I even realize the full extent of it yet. I admire the way it touches people’s lives in the simplest and yet most meaningful ways.
  4. I admire your comic relief. Somehow, someway, no matter what is going on, you know how to make people laugh and feel relaxed. 
  5. I admire your independence. You easily take care of yourself as well as the others around you. How you do it is beyond me, but it doesn’t go unnoticed.
  6. I admire your maturity; I can’t stand most people your age. And before you ask, maybe I do make a stereotype out of that group, but you break the mold for sure.
  7. I admire your individuality. From being able to use both hands for different tasks (never heard of this before!) to not fitting into that mold I discussed earlier, you set yourself apart from others in positive, noticeable ways.
  8. I admire the way you know who I am without even asking. You can tell when I’m happy, mad, sad, or any other emotion on the roller coaster that s my life.
  9. I admire the way you care about someone without even realizing that you do it. You don’t realize how loving and kind you are, but the rest of us can see it. 
  10. I admire the fact that you are a gentleman. From asking if a lady is okay to making sure a space is clean for her, you take care of her and show her that she’s something special even if she’s not.
  11. I like how random you are. You come up with the craziest, most insane conversation topics sometimes, but I love answering your silly questions and knowing that you are wondering about my opinion on all sorts of topics.
  12. I admire the fact that you are smart but you are not audible or boastful about it. I like the way that you can answer a question at random but don’t always need to know the correct answer to everything in order to be happy.
  13. I admire the way you care for  others who are important to me. Without even knowing them or having met them, you ask about them and make sure they are all okay. 
  14. I admire the way you dress. Silly as that sounds, you always look nice. It’s nice to know that you put some effort into your hygiene and looking nice just to see me or for no apparent reason at all.
  15. I admire the way want to know everything about me, from the simplest to the most complicated. It makes me feel important and makes me wish I cared about everyone as much as you care for me.
  16. I admire the way you make me feel safe even when there’s nothing around that I need protecting from. I like how natural it feels for me to be relaxed and comfortable around you. With my anxiety, that’s rare for sure.
  17. I admire your goals in life. You might not have everything figured out for your future, but you know what your short term goals are and how those achievements will help you in the future.
  18. I admire that you haven’t needed someone in your life to be happy. While it may seem like you missed out, I promise you didn’t. You learned way more about yourself than most older people ever end up knowing.
  19. I admire your patience and how you are willing to deal with just about anything until you get annoyed. 
  20. I admire you. The way you look, the way you speak, the way you act, and the way you treat me. From your head to your toes. You make people happy, you set a great example for others, and you (whether for good or bad) remind me so much of myself. I suddenly feel like I’m not so alone.
  21. I admire how appreciative you are of the things that I can do. You don’t focus on my limitations or how you miss out on things because I cannot give them to you. Instead you focus on what I can give and how that makes you feel better. 
  22. I admire your honesty. Even if people don’t always want to hear what you have to say, you give them the truth so that they completely understand your opinion and the facts.
  23. I admire your quiet side. It’s rare that I talk more than anyone else, and being able to talk more than you gives me a new perspective on how a relationship with someone can be. Normally I’m the shy, withdrawn one. Not with you.
  24. I admire your goofy faces, because every goofy face has a new memory hiding behind it.
  25. I admire your nose. Yes, your nose. Not because it is currently creeping me out, but because it is unique in its own way and is part of you. I might be crazy, but I admire this unique part of you. 
  26. I admire the way that you check to make sure we are on the same page about everything. Before we go to a movie or out to dinner, you make sure that we both agree on where we are going, what we are seeing, etc. (This also applies to the more important things that we discuss which don’t need to be placed on my blog for the world to see.) 
  27. I admire your willingness to know my family. Anyone who meets them should expect to become insane, but you welcome it with open arms because they mean a lot to me.
  28. I admire the way that you don’t get embarrassed easily. I guess this goes along with being open and honest as I discussed before, but this one is different too. You can tell me anything or say anything and you won’t be ashamed of any flaw or error that you have or have ever made.
  29. I admire the way you worry without letting me realize it often. Every now and then I will realize that you are worried about me, but more often than not, you worry about me quietly until you realize I need you. Then you step in and help.
  30. I admire the fact that you can give amazing advice. You understand things about my emotions that I don’t even understand and you use this knowledge to help me make hard decisions.
  31. I admire that you have pet peeves that I exhibit all the time but you still accept me and overlook the frustration they make you feel just so I don’t feel so bad about breaking them in the first place. 

~Me

It’s Cold (but my heart is warm)!

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Today has been a much better day than yesterday was. I guess there are these things in life that make you realize just how important certain things in life truly are. 

As if being all overly emotional and disgusting around my friend wasn’t bad enough, I got home to find my mom crying on the living room couch. Her best friend died. So you know what happened? I sat. And I cried with her. Not just because my mom was sad but because I was sad too. I didn’t know the lady as well as my mom did, but I knew her enough to know that she meant a lot to my mom and she was a great person. I’ll never forget all the things that she did to liven up my childhood. She even helped to construct a local playground that kids are absolutely fascinated with. Let’s face it, I just wish I were still little enough to go there and play! 

But back to the topic at hand… today I decided my mom needed something extra special to make her happy. So I decided that I would make her a list of all the ways that she has influenced people from all walks of life and all ages. First, I asked my sister what Mom did to most influence her. Then I wrote down my own ideas. When I got to work, I asked students to do a self-assessment of my teaching abilities and to list one positive way that I had influenced them and one negative way (or criticism) that they had of my experience with them. 

I’d love to say my heart was in the right place. Unfortunately, my kids are still too young to realize how useful the truth and seriousness would have been on these evaluations; not just for my mom’s gift but for my knowledge as well. Instead of taking it seriously though, I got completely random answers that were sweet and to the point, but not detailed enough to make a list seem special enough for my mom. 

So for now I’ve ditched the idea. What do you do for a mom who has everything anyway? I mean, we don’t have EVERYTHING. We don’t live some rich, fancy life. But we do have each other, and just that realization changes our entire outlook on the rest of the world. Her friend might have passed away, but guess what? My mom woke up this morning feeling much less sad and much more proud to be a part of our family. 

If my mom is out there reading this (which I guarantee she is not), then I hope she knows how much she is loved. I hope she realizes how much of an influence she has been to me… to a lot of people. Without even trying it. Every heart that I touch has been touched because of her. Every characteristic that I possess has been carefully created and molded by my parents. She doesn’t think she’s as smart as me or as talented in many areas, but there is one thing I cannot do that my mom can: Love someone so unconditionally that the love influences every part of their lives whether they realize it or not. 

To my momma- I love you. 


Oh, and just so everyone is clear: My friend stuck by my side and today was an even better day because of what I felt and how I acted yesterday. Maybe, even though I’ve never read the Bible entirely and maybe, even though I don’t have all of the scriptures and sins, etc. memorized… maybe God and Christianity do have some really good points. Not that I was ever entirely doubting. But the more I live, the more I learn. To the point that I might actually be able to explain some facet of my religion to someone else someday! Not to try to convert them or anything, but to share my opinion in an educated, fair, and graceful manner. 

Anyway, back to my point: Maybe God does truly watch over me at every second of every day. I don’t like some of the things that I go through because of negative influences and tragic events. But maybe God actually helps walk me through those events so I can find the rainbows on the other side of the tunnel. Maybe by the time I’m old and gray, I will have learned lessons that only I can begin to fathom at this point. Regardless of whether I am right or someone of another religious belief is right; at least I have this to lean on now. At least I have this hope, this faith, and this firm belief that I am loved no matter where I am at. And maybe in that way, my parents and my sister are pieces of God and Heaven themselves. The Lord knows I couldn’t have found any better ones than the ones he chose for me.