motivation, Personal Success

C’est La Vie

Student Council member: “We didn’t get out Student Council t-shirts in time for Club Picture Day?”

Me: “No, they haven’t arrived.”

StuCo member: “Wow. That’s a problem. That’s a real issue.”

Me: “No, it’s not. We’ll get them when we get them. We will take our pictures wearing what we’re wearing and smile. It is what it is.”

At first blush, this sounds like a negative and cold response. But diving deeper, you can see that “It is what it is” is actually a great way to deflect negativity. Why stew about something that we cannot help? Why feel bad and see “no t-shirts” as a problem? There is no solution except to accept it, happily.

This doesn’t apply to areas where there might be a solution of course. I am a proponent of seeking creative solutions to any and all problems. But in cases where there is nothing to be done, why fret?

 

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Drawing #4 – “A Few Look Like Otters”

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Health, money, Personal Success

Time is Money

 

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Photo by Ales Krivec

 

My biggest inefficient use of time: preparing food for the family.

I grocery shop, of course, but I rarely think past the next meal or two. Consequently, I stress out a bit 5x/week, deciding what to cook for dinner and what to pack for lunch. We get  Blue Apron delivered 2x/week (skipping weeks where the recipes are not to our family’s liking), but then we’re either out and about and I buy the kids dinner (can’t be helped – they go to symphony practice straight from school and don’t get home until 8 or 9pm.) Or I am too tired and fussy and we eat something which I cook in a groggy state. Sometimes, it tastes halfway decent.

This Sunday, I am going to plan the entire week ahead of time, prepare it, and freeze it.

This will free up time during the weekdays (our busiest days!) and lessen stress.

I’ve had this idea in the back of my mind for a long time, but I’ve always countered it with I don’t want to cook all day Sunday.  However, I’m using those hours (Monday – Friday) when I’m at my most fatigued.

I am going to use recipes from this book:

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But I’m not sharing the title with my family. Knowing it’s healthy, they’ll decide they don’t like the meals before they even eat!

motivation, Personal Success, relationships

No Such Thing as a Problem

 

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Photo by Rob Schreckhise

 

Your car gets towed, you have $21 in your checking account and your spouse left you.

Kick drama to the curb. This is life. No such thing as a problem.

Just handle it: Surrender the car to the towing facility. Or borrow money to get it out. You have minimal funds. Do you need to get a second job? Start a yard sale? Your spouse is leaving. Take care of your own finances, shelter, and food (the basics). And wish him well.

If you see each “difficulty” as a problem, then you will have a life full of problems. If you see each event as an opportunity to practice creative problem-solving (even though it’s not a problem), then you will be more creative than you ever imagined!

 

motivation, poetry

High School is Short-Lived

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B is for Barbs

In high school, our mascot was “the barbs”

– that’s short for barbed wire – which was invented in DeKalb, IL.

barb = sharp, bristly, obviously unpleasant…

causing inflamation and swelling. High school was constant stress over

grades, posturing and “success,” whatever that was.

My home life was more of the same, pure misery.

I felt invisible all the time. Nobody saw who I was, they saw who they wanted to see.

(Mostly, they were disappointed by what they saw!)

But I survived. I’ve actually thrived.

And you will, too. Hang in there. High school is temporary.

barbed

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health, Personal Success, relationships

Principles

 

One of our vocabulary words in my fifth grade class this week was principle: “a personal or specific basis of conduct or management.” Basically, I told my students, principles are your personal beliefs and values and they dictate how you act.

My sister in Silicon Valley emailed a news article to me. Santa Clara officials have “declared the teen suicide problem an urgent health care problem” due to the episodes of suicide clusters in that area. High school students (many from affluent homes of highly educated parents) are committing suicide in staggering numbers. They jump in front of trains, they jump off overpasses and buildings and they hang themselves. A Yale psychologist who has studied this phenomenon says that, “on average, rich offspring experience serious levels of depression and anxiety at twice the national rates.”

Why are children who seem to have so much promise taking their lives?

The experts have identified two factors: overwhelming pressure to succeed AND a broken or non-existent bond within their families. These youth are showing signs of mental illness and their parents are in denial. The principles, then, of these parents are simply high achievement, excellent education and then successful careers for their offspring. Absent is the principle of unconditional love and acceptance.

At this moment, our country is experiencing high tension: racial violence and racist rhetoric not seen since the civil rights movement is now a reality. The principles in our current federal administration seem to be tax cuts for the wealthy, protect the KKK and bully people into submission. Again, absent is the principle of unconditional love and freedom. Absent is the principle of peace and equal rights (for women, LGBTQ, immigrants, etc.)

With such principles, only disaster can result.

It is up to each of us to do our own part to right this wrong.

  • Vote hate out.
  • Join the NAACP.
  • Join NPR.
  • Subscribe to the NY Times.
  • Volunteer at a community organization that serves people in need.

Any other ideas? Feel free to add!

 

 

 

Personal Success

Transgress Stress

 

 

I went to the mall last weekend and looked at these products. They were not discounted, so I didn’t buy them.

Today, one of my 5th grade students presented me with them! Funny how that happens!  In big letters, they say “Stress Relief.” As we near the end of the school year, stress relief is key. He is so thoughtful!

I wrote an email to his mother to thank her. She emailed me back:

“As for the gift, that was all “M.”* He used his money and it was his idea this year.”

He used his money! He’s in 5th grade and earns money by working for a hockey organization.  What an amazing kid.

Teaching kids like him gives me so much hope and optimism for the future.  Our kids are hard-working, thoughtful, intelligent, and just good to the core. They make me feel like everything is going to be OK.

I’m grateful to be a teacher and work with amazing kids each day.