I recently was asked by a colleague, "How do you do it all?" I honestly don't even remember how I answered because, I was in shock. In my head I was thinking...WHAT?! Do you have any idea the length of my "to do" list, how messy my house is, or that I haven't begun my Christmas shopping yet?
The truth is...
I have an enormous bag of unmatched socks in my laundry room.
There is a list of ideas I want to try in my class, but haven't yet.
My Christmas tree is not up.
I probably won't get Christmas cards out....again.
My inbox is not at zero.
We eat out too much, because I don't want to cook after being in my class kitchen all day.
Do I need to go on? I definitely am not near finished. The fact is, I don't do it all. My life is not a perfect snow globe sprinkling magic all of the time. There is a lot that I don't get accomplished and many areas of my life that I wish I was more balanced in. I struggle with that. I am a highly sensitive, intuitive person that cares deeply about all the people in my life. I not only want to be an amazing educator, but also a great mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and colleague. I don't want to let the people that I love down. I WANT to do it all and can begin feeling "less than" and inadequate in my various roles if I allow it.
I think sometimes in this world of social media we see all of this amazing stuff that our PLN, friends, and family are doing and think, "Wow! They have it all together! Look at all that magic sprinkling in their snow globe. Why can't I get it all together?" That perception can put us in a negative spiral if we let it.
So how do I shake that feeling of inadequacy?
I surround myself with people who accept me for who I am, flaws and all.
I stop comparing myself to others.
I make a list of all the things that I AM accomplishing.
I reflect on all that I'm grateful for.
I give myself grace.
So to all that think "I do it all". I don't. I have a beautiful life that I am so incredibly grateful for, but my snow globe is definitely not always sprinkling magic.
It's the time of year that I like to reflect; and think about my goals and all that has transpired throughout the course of a year. It was this time in 2016 when I made a commitment to blog writing. I had been chatting with one of my EDUtribes on Voxer and began to share how I wanted to start blog writing, but was struggling. My focus had been on the wrong things. I was so caught up with being eloquent, articulate, and profound that I was missing the point. Too much time was spent worrying about what other people would think, when my main focus should be reflecting on the things I was experiencing and learning in my educational journey.
As I shared my struggle, my friend Brent Catlett, encouraged me with some advice he had just been given. He said, "look at blog writing as documenting versus trying to create this fabulous thing that you're worried about getting shared." I really appreciated his perspective and decided to take a leap; I set a goal to blog once every two weeks in the upcoming year. It was a reach, but I was inspired and ready to give it a shot.
As I began to blog, I shared my posts with my Voxer group first and then would build up the courage to share with the world. It was scary, but so rewarding when I did. I found that the more I wrote, the more it began to flow and even became something that I craved. I couldn't wait for time to be alone and put my thoughts into words on a page. It became therapeutic and no longer felt lik goal, but a release; an avenue for reflecting on my teaching, experiences, and my student's learning. I started realizing that writing wasn't about putting the perfect words on a page, but about sharing my heart and my passion for education. I began to love it. There were months that I wrote up to 6 posts, and one that I had zero. There were some weeks when the writing flowed, and others that it didn't. There are some days that I feel confident in my writing, and others when I feel less so and share my post with a friend before releasing into the world. It's all part of the journey. However, when I counted my posts up tonight I realized that from the day I made my commitment I have written 43 including this one! That's a post every 8 1/2 days on average! I not only met my goal, I crushed it!
As I scroll through my posts of 2017, I am teary. What an amazing year! I've had the most incredible experiences, met the most amazing people, and learned so much about myself. I have become a better teacher and leader by reflecting deeply on my practice and taking on new challenges. As I've shared my heart through my writing, I have become courageous. I had no idea how much it would feed my soul or that I would grow to love it so much that it would become a passion. In fact, it has allowed me to pursue dreams that I never would have imagined to be possible.
I am grateful to everyone who has encouraged me in my writing journey this past year. Each kind word gave me courage to share another piece of my heart with you all. When I look towards 2018 I am so excited about the dreams that lie ahead; so many opportunities to share my heart and my passion and continue writing my story. Tonight as I was watching the voice Jennifer Hudson summed up my final thoughts perfectly, "No one can take away your dreams or your talent. Do it because you love it. Not because of the attention, praise or accolades, but because you love it." Share your Story.
Special shout outs:
My Miami Device Tribe: Brent Catlett, Rodney Turner, Craig Badura, Jenny Ash, Michael Matera, Mike Jaber, Richard Wells for all of your encouragement and friendship.
Dave and Shelley Burgess for believing in me. I am incredibly humbled and honored to write for you and be welcomed into the DBC family.
You’ve heard the saying, "laughter is the the medicine.” I must say I completely agree. I can immediately think of the people in my life that are "contagious laughers". They find the funny in most any situation and their laughter is so contagious that soon all those around them are laughing too.
My mom is one my favorite contagious laughers, finding humor in so many of life’s situations that it just feels good to be around her. She is the best person to watch a comedy with because her laugh is so genuine and boisterous that before I know it she has the whole room rolling. There are certain movies, (ie. The Three Amigos) that I can only watch with her, because without her they are simply not as as funny.
Contagious laughers are easy to spot. As I was waiting for my order to be called at a local fast food restaurant recently, I observed an employee interacting with customers while sweeping the floor. As he skillfully swept while conversing with the customers, I noticed he continued to smile and laugh in almost every interaction. It was fascinating to observe the energy of the space fill with positivity as he circulated the room. Tables that were sitting stoically began to smile and laugh when he came near. Their whole demeanor changed when this joyful gentleman took the time to say hello, engage in conversation, and bring laughter to an otherwise lackluster dining experience.
One of my favorite childhood movies is Mary Poppins. Bert, played by Dick Van Dyke, is a "contagious laugher". In the movie he works as a kite salesman, chimney sweep, one-man band, and sidewalk chalk artist and finds joy in each one. A scene that demonstrates this beautifully is, “I love to laugh”. While running errands with the children, Mary Poppins learns that something has happened to Uncle Albert. Upon reaching his house, she finds that Bert has already arrived to help. Uncle Albert suffers from a serious condition that is triggered by laughing which causes him to float to the ceiling in uncontrollable laughter. As the children arrive, Bert says to them, “Whatever you do, keep a straight face. Last time it took us 3 days to get him down.” Of course, the more they all tried to keep a straight face the more they laughed and before long had all joined Uncle Albert on the ceiling in laughter and song:
“We love to laugh
loud and long and clear
We love to laugh
so everybody can hear
The more you laugh
the more you fill with glee
And the more the glee
the more we’re a merrier we.”
-Julie Andrews & Dick Van Dyke
Mary Poppins Soundtrack
Don't those lyrics ring true, though?! Laughter, like smiling, is contagious. When we are around laughter, it’s difficult not to join in. Someone begins to giggle and before long, others are too. There is even scientific research to back it up! In the February 2017 article by Forbes magazine, “Six Science-Based Reasons Why Laughter Is the Best Medicine”, it refers to laughter as a “potent drug with the contagious power of a virus that conveys a slew of benefits for the mind of body.” .Among the benefits listed:
Laughter is a potent endorphin releaser.
Laughter contagiously forms social bonds.
Laughter fosters brain connectivity.
Laughter is central to relationships.
Laughter has an effect similar to antidepressants.
Laughter protects your heart.
Wow! Those are some pretty powerful benefits! I want to be more like Bert and Uncle Albert, fostering a classroom so full of joy from contagious laughter and learning that I can’t get my students down from the ceiling. I want to create learning opportunities that foster laughter...
because.... laughter truly is the best medicine.
Culinary teacher & Discovery School Lead in Southern Oregon, passionate about finding innovative ways to make learning magical for students. Love to gamify!