As part of my focus for the new year (I am refusing to say resolutions since I always break those), I would like to increase my attention to the many good things that happen, which are frequently overlooked by me. To help me, I am joining Ruth Ayres' Celebrate This Week.
Do you ever wonder if children who grow up in homes that find ways to express joy, and gratitude, and optimism become adults who are much more positive in their overall outlook, or if we our more prone to having a certain nature that leans in one direction or the other regardless of our families? Sometimes, I wonder if it is a chicken or an egg dilemma. Are children predisposed one way or the other but depending on their surroundings able to change?
Despite coming from the same parents, I do believe that siblings can and do have very unique personalities right from birth. Some may favor one parent or the other, as well. However, I suspect that nature vs. nurture applies to this area as well. Children raised in an environment that values gratitude and expressing joy will create those habits even if they may have a bit more contrary personality. I am envious of those who both lean more towards a sunny disposition and grew up in homes that modeled what it means to surround yourself with thankfulness.
In looking back over my week, I recognize that there were a few incidents that can really overshadow how I perceive the week. If I use those situations as my lens in which to reflect, I would say the week was terrible. I am thankful for a lens to identify the positive.
Here is what I am thankful for this week...
Community - I am a big believer in community. Over twenty years ago, I read Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Life Together. It was probably one of several factors that influenced my commitment to creating and building community. Throughout my life, I have sought to live and work in community. Sometimes it is easier to foster than at other times. I am thankful for the community of friends that I am surrounded by. They are quality people who make my life better because they are in it. The time this past week spent either sharing a meal, or going to a movie, or lending a hand, or chatting is truly what inspires me. Community, also, provides me with a sense of belonging to something greater than just me.
Doing What Gives Me Energy - When I think back over the week, there are definitely moments or times when there is no need to fake excitement or enthusiasm. This week, I had an opportunity to present to a group of student teachers and to talk about how to help children develop a love of reading. It is in that moment, when I am both teaching and sharing my love of literacy that my personal energy reserve is being filled up despite whatever energy output is happening. I am and will always be a teacher. Sometimes that sense of calling and purpose gets muddled in lots of other things, but when I am teaching something that I love, and I can tell that the class has dialed in, the high is like nothing else.
Hitting the Submit Button on my NCTE '14 proposal - Last week, and the first half of this week seemed to be filled with writing and re-writing my proposal for NCTE '14. Fortunately, I had help from Cynthia Alaniz. We spent hours on the phone and also on our google doc chat hashing out what we would submit. Regardless of whether the proposal is accepted or not, I am thankful for collaboration opportunities such as this.
What are you thankful for this week?