All It Takes Is A Defining Moment

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For Desmond Tutu meeting Trevor Huddleston determined the path of his life. In my own life there are many defining moments that led me to who I am today. Teachers, coaches , community members and a School Counsellor had an impact.

In grade 12 (1976) my School Counsellor Mrs. Brown gave me $100.00 towards my post secondary education. My family could not afford to pay my way. I was the first in my family to go to University so it was certainly a big deal. I did not realize at the time just how much money that was or even how incredible it was that she did that. What a gift and an impact she had on the trajectory of my life. A lacrosse scholarship and a bursary ( both recommended by community members) paid for all four years of my Bachelor of Child Study degree. How fortunate was I ?

I never underestimate the power of a small (albeit grand) gesture in forming who we are and what we choose to do in our lives. I intentionally make sure each day I work with students I keep that in mind. I intentionally pay it forward on as many occasions as I can.

All it takes is a defining moment and you might be the one that makes that happen and if someone makes that happen for you tell them.

Gratitude

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As we enter this thanksgiving weekend , I long for the big dinners I have celebrated with my longtime friends and kids for over thirty years.

However, I am grateful for what I do have my health, my life, the best friends ever and two amazing healthy adult children. My husband who continues to be such a good human being makes this pandemic easier for all those around him. My mom who lives far away, but still has a positive attitude given all her health concerns. A 91 year old mother in law who is healthy and full of vitality and positivity.

I am grateful for two brothers who have sacrificed so much for my mom. I am grateful I can help when I am needed in my community. This pandemic has hurt so many and if I can reach out and help, I am more than happy to do so. I am grateful to have a purpose and so much more.

So from my heart to yours, I wish you the best thanksgiving possible.

People Not Programs Change Children

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We all know that relationships matter, but sometimes we still need reminders. We keep searching for the perfect programs to help kids. In my opinion , time would be better spent being the person who makes a difference in a child’s life and helping increase the quality and number of people who can make a positive impact.

There are so many children who need our help for a multitude of reasons. Find ways to support, nurture, interact, listen to, respect, give hope to, and connect kids with people and resources that can help them.

Be that adult who attends to the emotional health of the children as well as your own. Model your humanity and compassion daily. Provide a safe haven where you and those you work with enjoy going to school each day, no matter the stresses of the world. Be present each day to the best of your ability and forgive yourself and others if things don’t go as planned. It’s more than OK to not feel at your best each day considering the circumstances, just do the best you can for the kids and reach out for support if and when you need it.

It is especially challenging being an educator right now like no other time I have experienced in my past forty years in education. I know what you do matters and I want to thank you for all that you do. Click here for a little gift. I hope in some small way this brightens your day.

People not programs change children. You have an abnormally large heart , I am sure that’s why you became an educator in the first place, so continue to be one of those people who makes a difference in the life of a child while taking good care of yourself.

A Gift For Teachers

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Teachers deserve so much more than this for all they do day in and day out. This is my little treat for them as we enter World Teachers’ Day on Monday. It’s my small way to say thanks for who you are and what you do. Click here for a little gift.

Focus On The Good

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It’s so easy during this time to focus on all the bad, however I choose not to. I skip by all the negative news. Oh yes, I do peek at it every now and then, but I don’t stay focussed on it.

If we look for the good we are bound to find it. I love when I hear good news of a wedding or a new baby or that someone’s operation turned out better than they thought. Often times I focus on the small things that I am grateful for. I can walk, see, hear, love, develop friendships, read, dance, sing, and breathe without much effort. There are so many things I can do that others are not able to and I do not take that for granted.

I can focus on the good in every young person I encounter. They have so much potential so much good left to be discovered.

Don’t get me wrong I am no pollyanna, I do sometimes get stuck on the negative, but I never live there long as I know how unhelpful it is. So just for today I chose to focus on the good.

A Little Appreciation

There are a lot of people at work in schools right now doing some pretty amazing things. They are tired, overworked, feeling a multitude of emotions and often underappreciated for what they do. If you are a principal, supervisor, superintendent or someone who has a team working with you, take time to appreciate them. My challenge to you is to carve out 5 minutes to ask them how they are and tell them how much you appreciate them and what they are doing during this time. It matters. A little appreciation goes a long way.

You Make The World A Better Place

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In this world we encounter a few people who change how we feel about life. Around 30 years ago you entered my life. I was not looking for a new friend, but oh how the loss would have been mine if I did not open my heart to new friendships. A lesson that has sustained me to this day.

Today is your birthday and I want to celebrate you and all that you are.

Fun and spontaneous Remember the time we were Thelma and Louise (without the driving off the cliff part) ? We bought new hats, scarves and dresses took off in your moms convertible and laughed and created memories to our hearts delight.

Intelligent Remember the times we have chatted about life’s problems and concerns and while often we agree, sometimes we don’t and those can be great conversations with you.

Generous I have watched you be generous to others in so many ways you never get acknowledged for. You have given me so many beautiful and thoughtful gifts over the years. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

Accomplished I have loved celebrating and watching you do what you do best.

Courageous You have encountered many challenges in your life and have overcome them with grace and determination.

Champion You are a champion for so many and especially care about those with severe challenges.

Dependable I can count on you to be there anytime I need a friend.

Sensational The many times we spent together with our children laughing and doing silly things. Oh what fun. You are an outstanding auntie to my kids. They love you.

Effervescent I love spending time with you. It is never dull. Our trips together together to Vegas, Palm Springs and Mexico or wherever we are in the world are always full of joy. Even when we just vegetate together it is fun.

Beautiful heart and mind. You are beautiful inside and out.

You are optimistic, unwavering, determined, vibrant, accepting, kind and so much more. I cannot imagine my life without you in it. We have created so many memories that make me smile every time I think of them. We have laughed (too many times to count) and cried together. We have weathered many storms, trials and tribulations and come out on the other side knowing that we are and will always be here for each other.

I appreciate all that you are and all that you do. I value YOU. You enrich my life and make it better because you are in it. I love you my friend and look forward to all that life brings us as we journey through it.

You make the world a better place.

Just For Today Spinner

I like to use spinners with students and they like them too especially the little guys. Here is an example of a Just For Today spinner. You can make one too they are easy to do at wheeldecide.com.

You can also check out some of my other spinners:

Affirmations wheel

Friendship wheel

Gratitude wheel

Hope wheel

Positive sayings wheel

What can I do today? wheel

if you’d like to try another wheel maker click on how to create spinning wheels.

It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

Living through a pandemic is different for each of us. Your feelings are neither right nor wrong. They just are. It’s ok to talk about and share your feelings. Acknowledging your feelings is essential to your well being. Below are a few feelings that you may be able to relate to. It’s not all doom or gloom.

How you may be feeling:

  • Adaptable You feel that you can roll with whatever happens.
  • Anxious, afraid, or feeling a bit of panic that this fall may cause an increase in infections. Or that someone you care about may now be put in harm’s way when they weren’t before. 
  • Angry or feeling frustrated that some people may not be following the pandemic health rules. Or that the measures in place aren’t enough. Or that you have to look after so many people, your children, your parents, your siblings, others and you may have to work too. Where is the time for you? 
  • Brave You know that you have what it takes to deal with a crisis.
  • Courageous doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid, but that you have the capacity to see clearly and self soothe. It takes courage to be with things the way they are. You feel courage.
  • Conflicted You want to socialize more, but feel that you should still stay at home.
  • Confident that you have the coping skills to assist you during this time.
  • Distrustful of how the government is handling all the guidelines and rules or how things are being portrayed in the media.
  • Determined to live in the present and move forward towards your goals.
  • Grief for a multitude of reasons.
  • Grateful for so many small things.
  • Happy you are surrounded by positive people either virtually or face to face.
  • Hopeful  You acknowledge that the virus is serious, but you will get through this pandemic in the best way possible.
  • Loved by your family. So happy you have them to support you.
  • Powerless like you don’t have any control or say in anything that’s happening.
  • Protective of your routine you do not want to deal with any more change or uncertainty.
  • Positive You get up every day and make the best of your life in a pandemic.
  • Reluctant to rearrange events like celebrations, get-togethers, parties that couldn’t happen during the pandemic
  • Realistic You know that this pandemic isn’t easy, but feel self-assured you have what it takes to get through it.
  • Uneasy about some of your relationships that have changed during the pandemic.
  • Useful You feel like you have been able to contribute in a positive way during this pandemic.
  • Stigmatized or that others may avoid you You may have already had coronavirus, or others think what you do makes you more likely to spread the virus. 
  • Secure and safe You know people are around you that support and help you.
  • Stressed about a lot of things like …
  • Under pressure to return to school/work when you can’t, or when you feel it’s not safe to.
  • Unsupported You may be asked to go back to school/work without having access to things like personal protective equipment (PPE), or feelings of safety and security.
  • Understood You have people who listen to your concerns.
  • Valued Most people respect how you are dealing with the pandemic.

What other feelings are you feeling ? Acknowledge them and share with a trusted confidant. You can also check out some strategies to help here.

Your feelings are important. Each child, teen and adult will react differently based on numerous factors. My hope is that no matter what happens you have the supports and coping skills to overcome whatever challenges come your way, it starts with acknowledging your true feelings. 

Life is not all doom and gloom in a pandemic.

Time Out To Play

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Playing is what we should all do more often. It gives me great pleasure to see my daughter play scrabble with her grandmother who is medically fragile in so many ways. This is a precious time as one never knows what is around the corner.

For today, I get to enjoy seeing them interact in such a positive way creating memories that we can all look back on with much pleasure. She is extremely good with both her grandmothers. Showing love and patience and helping them out as much as possible. It gives me great hope for how she will be with me one day .

So play away , play with friends, family and those that may need it most. Just take time out to play in whatever way works for you.