Tuesday, November 11, 2014

React Positively

What "lesson" do I want students to learn?  This was a hard one.  There are many things I want them to know - lessons that took me years to learn - but which is the most important?  I had lots of ideas, but they all had a downside:

Try new things!  Hmmm.  Might lead to risky behaviors.
Show confidence, even when you don't feel it!  Could lead to cockiness.
Don't be afraid!  Sometimes fear is a good thing...

You see my problem.  There are many things we want students to learn so that they can be happy, productive people who set goals and work hard to attain them.  The more I thought about life's most important lessons, the more I realized they are all tied to this:

When something unexpected happens, react positively.

It is easy when confronted with an obstacle to view it as "the worst problem ever."  Change is scary and presents us with the unknown.  If we think back to changes we have faced, we realize that they are rarely as traumatic as we imagined they would be.

This is a hard thing to remember.  Many times during this school year alone, I have been confronted with the unexpected.  I wanted to go up to my classroom or sit in my car and cry.  I came pretty close to doing that very thing just this afternoon following a faculty meeting.  "This is the worst news ever!," I thought.  But then I remembered this:  I really don't know if this news is bad or good.  It seems bad now, but I really don't have all the information I need to decide if this is the worst thing ever or not.  I need to react positively.

And I need to encourage others - students especially - to keep this in mind when they face change.  Is it new? Yes!  Is is scary? Probably.  Will I survive it?  Most certainly.  When we embrace this mindset, we are open to opportunity, rather than paralyzed by fear.

When something unexpected happens, react positively.

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