Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Perspective of Kindness

Note: As the school year winds down, teachers are extremely busy and completely submerged in school activities. I apologize in advance for the amount of school related posts that may be headed your way in the next week. It's a hazard of the job!

Every year, we (the 5th grade team) try to have a guest speaker come and talk to our kids about kindness. The speaker is a local photographer and I honestly don't know if I've ever seen a happier person in my life. His whole talk is centered around kindness and how when you plant your own seeds of kindness, you get what you give. I've heard him speak 4 times now, and every time I can't help but take even more away from his message. One story he tells the kids is about a time when he was doing some speaking at a high school. The kids were about to leave his session and head to a class where they did not enjoy the teacher. When he asked them why they didn't enjoy the class, they told him that the man was horrible and mean and all those other adjectives that I'm sure all of us have used to talk about our "favorite" teachers through the years. He told the kids that they should all go to their class, sit down, and just smile at the teacher when he walked in. So, they did just that. The teacher walked in, looked around, and immediately demanded to know what was going on. (Anyone who has been with teenagers will jump to horrible conclusions about what they are up to.) They all said nothing and continued to smile. Eventually, the teacher began to laugh, the kids began to laugh, and when class was over, the kids went and found the photographer and told them they had the best class of their high school career with that teacher. Later in the day, the teacher sought him out, and thanked him for his part in the scheme because it made the class enjoyable.

I'm so glad to hear this story once again with only 5 days left in the school year. By this point in the year, the kids are done and the teachers are done. Patience "ropes" so to speak, are frayed and hanging by a single thread ready to snap at a moments notice, and kids have learned by now exactly how to push every teacher's buttons to snap that strand quickly and effectively. But with a simple smile, everyone can enjoy the last few days together, and everyone will hopefully remember to smile once school rolls around in August.

Another point he makes is about perspective. He asks the kids if they like Mondays, which of course, is met with a resounding no. He tells them he loves Mondays, which leaves them all shocked. He goes on to explain that he doesn't work on Mondays, but he really doesn't like Saturdays, because those are his busiest work days. It's all about perspective. This is so important to remember. A lot of times, we forget about the perspective of the kids. I know I'm guilty of it, and we probably all are at some time. My reality is that I have a nice home, with all the amenities of modern living. I have clothes on my back and food on my table. I have a husband who loves me and a son who lights up my life. I have a job with people I love and I have hobbies that I enjoy in my spare time. My perspective is that I can't wait for summer vacation to begin so I can spend an unlimited amount of time with my family.

But I have to take time to think about the kids' perspective. There are kids who live in houses that I wouldn't even qualify as a house. There are kids who don't have hot water for showers and who have clothes that don't fit and are always dirty. There are kids who have been "camping" for the last week, and I honestly don't think its for a family vacation. There are kids whose only meal is the breakfast and lunch they eat at school. There are kids who have no mother, father, grandparent, or any other adult that loves them. They don't know what it's like to light up someone's life, like my son does. There are kids who practically live in a dysfunctional war zone. Their perspective is that next Friday marks the last meal they might eat for 2 months. Next Friday might be the last time they shower until fall because they do it at school. Next Friday might be the last time any adult says anything positive to them. Next Friday might be the last time they see someone care for them. Next Friday means that for 2 months they are always in the middle of fights, or drugs, or goodness even knows what. And that changes my perspective for sure. The only thing I think I can take from that is that everyone should count every blessing that is handed to you. Be thankful for every little thing in life, even when things seem all wrong. Because the only person that can change your perspective is you. This, along with planting your own seeds of kindness, can only bring you happiness and bliss.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Something tells me this could be a problem....

(If you are offended by the dust that is streaked with the fingerprints of an almost 3 year old, then I'd be happy to let you come clean my house! But just for record, until I saw this picture, I didn't realize it was dusty...)

Monday, May 10, 2010

I'm confused

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly declare my support for the theory that instead of global warming, we are actually heading into an ice age. Here is it May 10th, and the high was 55. Little did I know that the 55 was at 6 a.m. By noon, the weather station at school (a WeatherBug station is on our building) was proclaiming 44 degrees with a windchill of 38. It rained all day long, and not just drizzle. It was raining hard enough for me to hear it in my classroom, which is on the first floor of a two story building. That's impressive rain power. The wind was gusting no less than 800 mph and while walking to the car after school, my umbrella did what I've referred to as "the Mary Poppins" since I was a child. (In case you aren't familiar, "the Mary Poppins" is when an umbrella turns itself inside out. It's what happened to the mean nannies, right before the wind blew in Mary.) I wore a sweater to work today (which I had to get out of summer storage, no less), and was cold even with my heater cranked up. I've been sitting under a fleece blanket for the last hour and I'm still cold. I just broke down and turned on our "fireplace" in the living room. I am not at all ready for the 90 degree summer days, but I'd pretty much gotten it in my head that I was through with winter until next year. I don't adapt well to unexpected change, so this just really isn't going to work for me. Oh well...guess I'll just go make me a cup of hot tea. Iced tea just doesn't have quite the same effect today.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Something's different...

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! My wonderful husband and son gave me a new version of Photoshop Elements for Mother's Day, and I've been playing with it most of the afternoon. I made the blog header. I was pretty proud. I've also made a background. Unfortunately, I've been trying to get it show up for about an hour and I'm losing my patience with it. (Great, there goes the benefits of that 30 minutes of Wii Fit yoga...) So, you are stuck with an incredibly boring white background until I can make it work. Which might be never. Who knows?

I also played around and made two different images with my new program.

Here is the original picture.

Then I used the tutorial on Pioneer Woman to practice some edits.

I was proud of myself. :)

I loved this original picture, but I wanted to play with my new toy some more!

I'm not sure what I'm more proud of...the coloring change, or the fact that I edited out that bug.

(I bet you're trying to figure out what bug I'm talking about. Keep's there!)

I've had a great day playing with my new software. Hopefully, I'll figure out this background thing so you won't be looking at boring white forever!