“The mind that is open to a new idea never returns to its original size.”
~ Albert Einstein
Ahhh the summer! Such a wonderful time of year isn’t it? Summer is a time where the days are warmer, and a great time to rest, relax and reconnect with friends is on the agenda. Many people head out on family vacations to get away from it all and enjoy some much needed family bonding time. My family has an upcoming vacation getaway planned soon and I am greatly looking forward to it. As I anticipate this vacation, I cannot help but recall a past summer vacation adventure that clearly did not go as planned. A vacation to of all places Disney World in Orlando, the “happiest place on earth,” became a source of great stress and sadness at least for a while. I guess I should back up a bit and tell you the details of how this crazy adventure started and eventually played out.
O.K. here’s the scoop!
We had decided to take our two kids on an all inclusive vacation to Disney World in Orlando. Our packed agenda included hopper passes to check out all the parks, a room at a Disney resort, reservations at Cinderella's castle for dinner and the new Disney dining plan. To say we were very excited was clearly an understatement! Things were going great at first. Despite the intense August heat, we remained positive and motivated because we were at Disney World after all! The trip took a terrible turn for the worst on our third day there when we decided to visit Disney’s MGM Studios. We decided to separate our little group. Little did I know in hindsight how much I would regret that decision. My husband was going to take my son to a high speed car show and I could not wait to take my little princess Shannon, to The Little Mermaid ride. No sooner did we separate and the unthinkable happened! In my delight to find Ariel and Sebastian, I did not pay close attention to where I was walking. Fixating on the map in hand I quickly walked down what I thought was a ramp but it was instead a flight of stairs. Immediately my ankles buckled and I collapsed on the burning hot asphalt in a tangled, injured heap. A literal “hot mess,” I didn’t know what to do. My eight year old daughter was mortified and stared at me helpless in a panic. As my ankles were turning purple I struggled to get to my feet. Not an easy task I assure you! Paramedics were called and it was determined that I had not broken my ankles thankfully, but instead had soft tissue damage. I was given a complimentary wheelchair and strong advice to stay off my feet. How do you do that on a Disney vacation? Devastated, I could not believe I had done this to my family and I could not see how this vacation could ever be enjoyable from this point on. Quickly I realized however that I was at a serious crossroads. How I handled this situation would speak volumes to my family either way. I could complain and feel sorry for myself and make an already bad situation worse, or I could wipe my tears, take a deep breath and make the best of this unwanted scenario. I chose to do the latter. I refused to let my silly injury ruin the vacation that my kids had anticipated for months.
It is funny how things can take a turn for the better when you change your attitude. What is perceived as a stumbling block (no pun intended) can be a stepping stone if you allow yourself to look at a situation from a different angle. Aleve pain reliever became my new best friend and a wheelchair was provided for me at every park. At that time wheelchair parties went first on all rides so my injury actually gave us a fast pass for every attraction which made the intense heat and long lines almost unnoticeable. My daughter would ride on my lap when she got tired and in no time I was up and moving at Ariel’s Grotto Dance Party dancing it up despite my pain with Mickey and Goofy. I was determined to do whatever it took to have a good vacation eventhough an injury took place. Looking back now we did have a nice time despite the fact that it was a very different vacation then we had originally planned and this vacation now has been the source of many family chuckles.
Life is like that sometimes. We have a vision of how some aspect of our lives will play out and then suddenly something happens that was not part of the plan and we are left really rattled. Our feet come out from under us and we are left unsure of what to do next. We cannot control what happens to us but we can control our attitude. Sometimes we need to work at reframing a situation and embracing the new reality of things despite our obvious disappointment. If we are able to do that and be flexible with what life throws us, this can really make a powerful difference in our lives. Do we see the glass half empty or half full? Perspective is everything!
I think this quote from Chuck Swindoll says it all so well. He says “The longer I live the more I realize the impact of attitude in life. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” How true this is. I remember when my kids were little chatting with a mom of a toddler and asking her how the potty training was going? She quickly responded “ I have no desire to even begin that ordeal!” She had already decided it would be an “ordeal” so I am sure that is what she ended up experiencing. Research shows that we “see what we are prepared to see.” If our outlook is negative, everything is seen through that lens. On the contrary though if our attitudes are positive we have a better chance at overcoming adversity because we see struggles as merely a bump in the road rather than the end of it!
Situations can look so bleak. We cannot imagine going on day after day with certain burdens or scenarios we are experiencing. I know I have been there. I encourage you to take one day at a time and try to see the positive in the little stressors that come your way. Yes they are unwanted, troublesome and very inconvenient but they could be sent your way to teach you something too. God is an ever present help in trouble. He is near to the broken hearted and He wants to work all things for our good. I cannot tell you how many times God has used the heartbreaks and disappointments in my life as a tool to encourage and connect with other discouraged people. I love the words of this song sung by the Katina Boyz. It says “If it would never rain, if it would never snow, If I never felt pain, then I would never know what God can do!” God sees your situation and He cares deeply. He will see you through but in the meantime try seeing something positive eventhough it may seem very difficult. It will certainly help to make challenging situations better and it will open your heart to what God is trying to teach you even through the trials and disappointments of life. Trust me if I can see the bright side of being in a wheelchair at Disney World, you can see something positive in your stressful scenario too if you are willing to try!
Isaiah 40: 30-31 ~ Even youths grow tired and weary, and young man stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Little Lesson Learned: Reframing a negative situation with a positive outlook will do us a world of good and will open our hearts to learning new valuable lessons.
Copyright: Littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014
“Don’t let the tall weeds cast a shadow on the beautiful flowers in your garden.”
- Steve Maraboli, Life, The Truth, and Being Free
The other day I went out to take on one of my most dreaded summer tasks: weeding. This is an activity I have always disliked as it is dirty, time consuming and very hard on my back. Do you feel sorry for me yet? Looking at the size of the overgrown weeds, I could not help but scold myself for not getting out there sooner. It is truly incredible how fast and resilient those nasty weeds are. I honestly had weeded not long ago, but still to my dismay there was this vast green forest of unwanted foliage staring me in the face demanding my immediate attention. As I was feeling very sorry for myself, I started to think of life applications around weeds and weeding, and realized as much as I would think otherwise, we can actually learn a lot from these pesky plants!
In our lives we need to do regular weeding. We need to take moral inventory of what should and should not be there and act responsibly to address these “weeds” to put us on the best road possible in our lives. Here are some thoughts to ponder:
Weed of Wisdom #1:
Weeds grow where we don’t want them to and stifle the true beauty trying to emerge. How many times have you seen beautiful flowers struggling and unwanted weeds thriving? What is wrong with this picture? Weeds like negative things in our lives can take deep root where we are trying to grow in healthy aspects. For instance, where we are trying to be more physically fit the weed of unhealthy food choices and inactivity can keep us stuck. We need to look at what is holding us back from thriving in certain areas and make major changes. Sometimes this is a difficult and painful process but very necessary. When I was doing substance abuse counseling a client of mine who was an alcoholic and who had many problems from his drinking was sharing his new goals with me. Proudly he declared that he had decided to become only a “social drinker” and would strictly limit himself to one or two beers each time he met with friends. He did not like when I told him that with his severe alcohol problem, this was not a viable option for him. The thought of him weeding out alcohol entirely was so scary that he thought this would be a good and comfortable compromise. To say I burst his bubble would be an understatement. He was clearly unhappy with me, however alcohol was indeed a huge weed in his life choking any chance for a healthy life he had. Unfortunately he just wasn’t ready to recognize it yet.
Weed of Wisdom #2: Weeds have deep roots and we need to get to the bottom of them and uproot them as soon as possible. It is not enough to just cut off the tops and hope no one will notice. We can all be guilty of this at times. We try to do the least intrusive methods. An example might be if you are trying to cover up a smoking problem, you spray perfume all around you. This will not cover it. You are truly fooling yourself. I had to literally wrestle with some real weeds in my actual backyard garden. I tell you, they were not coming out without a fight. The weeds were huge and were becoming very noticeable. It is like that in life with our problem areas and struggles as well. A subtle small habit or activity can seem quite innocent at first, yet before we know it, that issue has a stronghold in our lives. What could have been easily treated, has now become a much more difficult issue to address.
Weed of Wisdom #3: Many weeds are quite beautiful, but don’t be deceived as they are still harmful. I have received many dandelion bouquets over the years from my students and children. As they think they are giving me a wonderful bouquet of flowers each time, I have never had the heart to tell them differently. I cannot tell you how many times I have found a Styrofoam cup and water and put them on my desk recognizing the love that came behind them. Pretty “weeds” in our lives can be difficult for us to see as well. They may be things that we perceive as harmless or they may even be healthy activities, yet our lives may be way off balance. For example exercising is wonderful but if you are spending hours at the gym and minutes with your family, something is terribly wrong. Likewise, if you invest much time and energy into keeping a clean house, yet will not respect those who live in it, take a hard look at the situation. Changes are necessary.
Weed of Wisdom #4: Weeding is an ongoing process. As mentioned, you do not weed once and think your job is done. Regularly we need to check in on our progress in our areas targeted for growth to ensure we are on track. Old habits can creep back slowly like troublesome weeds and before we notice it they are a force to be reckoned with once again.
Weed of Wisdom #5: Stay with the flowers. Don’t surround yourself with those who are continuing in the behaviours you are trying to avoid. If you are trying to become less critical, don’t hang out with critical people, or if you are attempting to overcome an addiction, don’t associate with people who are actively involved with what you are trying to avoid. For instance if you are trying to stop drinking, don’t hang out in bars, or if you are trying to eat healthier, don’t frequent the junk food aisles of the grocery store. Some people or settings may need to weeded out of your life permanently to become truly successful. People who are winning the victory over weeds and avoid relapsing recognize their individual triggers and make a conscious effort to change their routines so they can make better and lasting progress in their recoveries.
Making changes can be very difficult. The weeds you want to address may have been a part of your life for many months or even years. They may even seem comfortable and familiar to you. You may have the desire, but do not know how or where to begin. The good news is you are not alone! Many people want and need to make changes. God’s words says “He gives us beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy for mourning.” In other words God specializes in giving us beautiful flowers in our lives instead of ugly weeds. You are worth it and you deserve to bloom in all the beauty that was intended for your life. Also our God is a ever present help in trouble and He will help you to resist temptations if you ask Him for help. Maybe you could also benefit from professional help. Please be open to this option too if your situation warrants it. Such options could include addictions counselors, pastoral care workers, marriage and family therapists and self help groups such as AA or NA. This help can really assist you on your journey of positive change. Your journey of positive change begins with the first step. Don’t be afraid to step out in faith. A whole new life awaits you! Get out your gardening gloves and off you go! Happy weeding!
Right there with you,
Hebrews 12: 1-2 Therefore since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Little Lesson Learned: Weeding is a necessary and healthy process so we can truly grow into the healthy, uninhibited people we were meant to be.
Copyright: Littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014
“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” ~ Zig Ziglar
It is no secret that Disney’s movie Frozen has become a worldwide phenomenon. I cannot lie. I loved the movie. In fact I even went to see it twice at the theater, which is something I only do for movies I really, really love. Above all the great songs on the soundtrack, the song Let It Go has truly taken the world by storm. Unfortunately though, it has actually been overplayed so much that many people are feeling the collective notion of “enough already!” There are so many versions of it now that people are literally thinking let it go for the Let It Go song! Teaching second grade, you can imagine the scope of the popularity of this song, especially amongst the girls. It was often heard being sung by kids during seatwork, and recess and was also on the list of talent show acts in the talent show we had recently. Thinking creatively, I thought of a way to really use this song to my advantage. At times especially towards the end of the year, students seem to develop what I call the “too much togetherness” syndrome. They are so ready for summer vacation and sometimes the unkind, critical words come out towards each other. Kids like adults struggle sometimes even after an apology has been uttered to release the power of the hurtful words. Students would sometimes feel the need to rehash issues that “have already been dealt with” so we developed a little routine using the Let It Go song. When someone would tattle or keep coming back to something minor already addressed, we would often sing together when appropriate the line “let it go” to him or her! It became a lighthearted way to make everyone smile, break the tension and to encourage them to move forward and not sweat the small stuff. This is often easier said than done in real life though as many adults can attest!
There are many kinds of people in this world. Truth be told we most likely will meet many incredible people on our life journeys. There are people who inspire us and people who we are just naturally drawn to. There are people who when we are with them the time just flies. Yes we will encounter many different and sometimes very interesting personalities along the way, yet some of the hardest to deal with are those who are critical towards us. I am not talking of constructive criticism which may initially hurt, but ultimately helps us in the end. I am speaking rather of those who make unkind, unwanted comments that leave us feeling their sting long after they have been spoken. Through the years I have felt these are the comments that are often locked away in the memory banks, yet I have to wonder why? What is the value of revisiting them over and over when there is so much more positive things to reflect on?
I think the struggle lies in the fact that when hurt is attached to these comments it is very hard to “let it go.” We feel bitter and if we are not careful deep resentment can set in towards the offender. The interesting thing I find is sometimes these people are just sarcastic and probably did not mean to be offensive. Perhaps they were just having a little fun as well but we took it wrong. Who knows? Every case is different. Sometimes they might even actually be shocked that we were hurt. Years ago I was involved in a committee for Drug Awareness Week as I was employed as a substance abuse counselor. We decided to line up musical acts for a little variety show with groups who could have positive repertoires of songs to encourage and validate the choice of sober living and true contentment. Our budget was limited so we hoped to get volunteer performers. For many years I have performed as a professional vocalist as a soloist or group member all around my hometown and surrounding area. Like Wonder Woman I thought I could really save the day here! In my head I was already making a wonderful song list and was very excited to lend a hand to this worthwhile cause in what I deemed a very practical way. Proudly I stated that I would be happy to perform for free and get a nice set of songs ready on this theme as I was an experienced singer. Immediately a very vocal committee member who thankfully (I think?) had never heard me sing said quickly
“ Oh heavens no! It certainly has NOT come down to that!” Humiliated, I got very quiet at the meeting and left feeling extremely hurt. I have often thought of that experience and have tried to use it as an example of someone speaking in haste without thinking. Whether she was familiar with me as a singer or not though, the response was clearly uncalled for, yet it would be to my greater gain to not dwell on it.
Critical words linger. They often feed into our insecurities. We can receive dozens of compliments, yet one critical comment can bring us to our knees. Words are powerful this is true, but we have a choice in what level of power we allow them to have. I admire people who use critical words to motivate them to prove someone wrong. They have been told that they will not amount to much and they use that as a stepping stone for greatness. Maybe you have been criticized all your life. Maybe you are desperate for validation. If you are one of those people I am truly sorry as you have not had anyone properly come alongside you and breathe words of life and hope into you. The Bible says in Romans 15:13 “ I pray that God, the source of hope will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” I so want this for you. It is hard to forgive those that have criticized us. I find prayer really helps. You may wonder what to pray for? Here are some suggestions.
- Pray that God will help you to forgive and move forward. Replaying hurtful comments is very unproductive and it only hurts you in the long run.
- Pray for those who have hurt you. Pray that they will have a realization of what their words are doing and how it is affecting you and probably others.
- Pray for an opportunity to have a honest conversation with the offender if necessary and how to go about doing that.
- Pray that God will help you to not pick up offenses but let things go more often.
-Pray that you will become so secure in who you are as a person and in Christ that as the Bible says “no weapon formed against you shall prosper” including hurtful words.
Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” was truly mistaken. Words do hurt but we can move beyond them. Don’t let them define you or rob your joy. Life is just too precious to not be enjoyed! So my friend if there is a hurt you are holding onto through someone’s cruel and critical words, just learn to let it go. It is a process but it is a much better option than holding on to it, trust me!
P.S. I can’t resist including among the million of renditions of Let It Go out there, one of my favourites by Anthem Lights. Enjoy!
Learning to let it go too,
Ephesians 4: 31- 32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.
Little Lesson Learned: Learning to let go of hurtful words is so liberating! Won’t you give it a try?
Copyright: Littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014
“As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that. You have to know who you are - what others say is irrelevant.”
- Nic Sheff
The other night my teenage son came along with me to do errands. As an eighteen year old, I am sure it was the thrill of his life to run errands with his dear old mom, but to add insult to injury on the list of things to pick up with the bottled water and toilet paper was yes wait for it people … a new bathing suit for me! Ugh! Just thinking about this upcoming purchase was causing me great stress and believe me it had nothing to do with my son coming along. I debated about postponing the bathing suit ordeal, yet I knew that my son is pretty cool about that sort of thing so I went for it. I am a blessed woman because not only did he not object, but he even gave his opinion on suits. I would say I have a son who is an excellent sport and off to a great start of being a compassionate and patient husband one day!
Well ladies, I am sure I am not alone in my feelings here. It is not a fun experience to try on bathing suits at my age I can tell you. After two kids, three abdominal surgeries and being in my mid forties, what often looks huge on the rack, seems to magically shrink in the change room. I find myself almost every time behind closed doors mortified trying to squish my body into what seems like the swimsuit from hell. Then to make matters worse, I have the pleasure of viewing myself from every angle with the full body mirrors. Now that’s really lots of fun! I always feel like the judges from American Idol with each one. You know the standard line “Ah, it’s a NO from me!” Funny though by some divine miracle I did end up finding not one but two suits that looked decent on me, so I did what any self respecting woman of my age would do! I bought them both because at my age you just never know when you will find another suit that looks good on you again!
There is so much pressure all around us for women to look good. We fuss over our hair, our weight, our skin and our wardrobe just to name a few. I remember even when I was in my early 20’s about to be married, I put great pressure on myself in this area. Weighing about 125 lbs and in great physical shape, I faithfully drank Slimfast shakes to hopefully shed a few unwanted pounds before the “big day.” In hindsight I see how unnecessary that was for me at that life stage, but at the time I could not see it. In university I participated in a psychology study that has left a lasting impact on me to this day. If we helped a grad student with his or her thesis work, we got bonus marks so I was all for that. When I arrived for the assignment, the grad student was flustered and clearly unprepared for me. She apologetically asked me to take a seat and encouraged me to look at some fashion magazines while she got ready. In a few minutes she announced that she was ready. She asked me if I felt that I had any body image, self esteem issues or weight issues. I answered “no,” as I clearly did not really feel I had any of those. She then had me stand in front of a screen and I am not sure how she did it but just like those crazy fun house mirrors, she morphed my image to look as flat as a pancake. It was very humorous, as I looked like a paper doll. She then instructed that as she had obviously made me very paper thin, she would gradually morph my image to what I really looked like. I was instructed to tell her to stop when she reached the “real me,“ in my opinion, which I did. Next she did the opposite. She started with a very obese version of myself that was very difficult to witness and kept making me smaller. Too bad that did not exist in real life! I was instructed to tell her to stop when I thought she reached what I would feel would be my "ideal" weight. It was to be the me on the screen where I would feel beautiful and satisfied, and so I did. That was it and then we sat down to talk. What she proceeded to tell me next has impacted me ever since. First of all she said the magazine viewing was not to fill time, but a planned part of the experiment. It was to fill my head with what society deemed as beautiful. Next she said that what I perceived as the “real me” was about 30-40 lbs over my real weight and my “ideal” me would be very anorexic if that was actually me. I was shocked because for someone who did not think I had body image issues, this was a very eye opening experience. Often I have shared this encounter to enlighten people with the fact that even when we think we are not affected by the world’s view of beauty we often are.
Even young girls feel this pressure to look a certain way. I teach eight year old students. I remember doing a lesson on new year’s resolutions. We discussed many options for them to consider of what would be a good new year's goal for someone their age and I can assure you that weight loss was not one of them. When each was asked to share individually what goal he or she had selected as the most important, one little girl said her goal was to lose weight. It broke my heart that at that age that was the most important new year’s resolution she could come up with. I jumped in and explained as children are always growing and changing, it would be a better option to say as a goal, “I would like to become more physically fit.” She was content with that, and it made we feel better as eight years old is just too young to be fixated on a weight issue.
The Bible says that “man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.” We can be so hard on ourselves as women and people in general. It is not wrong to want to look nice, but when too much emphasis is put in this area, great problems can result. Focusing on our inner qualities is just as important yet we often fail to realize this. Inner beauty is in God’s opinion what He truly values. God looks at us through a loving father’s eyes. He does not see a flawed, mediocre person, who is unworthy of love and acceptance as he or she is. Instead He sees a unique and amazing person that He created with a calling and purpose. He looks down and says “That’s my kid!” I love what author Max Lucado says. He says “ If God had a refrigerator your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet your picture would be in it… Face it friend He’s crazy about you!” Every one of us is so unique and special. We need to stop looking at the world’s measure and standard of beauty and look at what God says about us. He cares so deeply for each one of us and longs to have a relationship with each one of us. He desires a friendship with us to love on us and reveal His unique will for each of us. See yourself the way you were meant to be seen, as the truly special and beautiful person you are. Don’t look at the photoshopped versions of perfection because you as all of us will always fall short. Focus on who you are, not on who you are not. We all have room for improvement, yet we all have amazing qualities too! Next time you look in the mirror, let it truly sink in that you are incredible and that the world has become a much brighter place simply because you are you are in it! Self improvement strategies are wonderful, but let’s not lose sight of who we really are!
Here’ s to the beautiful person you are no matter what you are wearing! Please enjoy these two videos about who we are in Christ as women and men. They are very powerful. Don’t just listen, but hear who you really are!
Psalms 18:19 NCV - Because he delights in me, he saved me.
Little Lesson Learned: See yourself the way God does. You’re perfect through His eyes of love!
Copyright: Littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
- Mother Teresa
Well our eighteen year old son Tyler graduated from high school last week and I am still in shock! The time goes by so quickly! I feel like I blinked and there he was walking across the stage in his cap and gown. He left the next morning for a father - son trip with my husband and some friends of his to Chicago. It was an incredible time of fun, fellowship and “testosterone filled” male bonding. While they were off on their exciting adventure, it left my daughter Shannon and I home for a fun girl’s weekend. I cannot tell a lie and no offense to my husband and son, but it was absolutely wonderful. School had just wrapped up and Shannon and I slept in, went out for lunch, and dinner, went bowling, went to the mall, took in a chick flick movie (for the second time) and spent some time just chilling and gabbing in the hot tub. A great time for just the two of us to reconnect, laugh, and relax. The end of the school year gets so busy, that it seemed some quality time was truly long overdue. I am blessed to have two wonderful kids who have both grown up into two amazing human beings in spite of my ups and downs as their mom along the way! I am extremely proud of them both and I do really enjoy their company.
What I do really treasure as mentioned is that exceptional occasion where I can spend time with each alone. This is where I can truly focus on only that child and have more meaningful interactions. This is where the most meaningful dialogue takes place. My husband and I both try to make a conscious effort to spend time with each individually to strengthen our relationships. I remember especially when they were little how nice this would be. To have two little ones to take everywhere could get very complicated, but it was amazing how much easier and enjoyable it seemed to just have one with me some days. I feel very blessed that my kids feel they can talk to me about what is on their hearts and they will let me know when they need to talk. My husband and I find it funny that it is often at midnight that they feel the need to bare their souls, but as a parent you have to take it when it comes. Apparently I was the same way according to my dad. My parents would have been asleep for hours, and I would just barge in and start babbling on about something important, trivial or exciting in my life. No matter what, they would always listen. God bless them because in hindsight, I think I did this often not being very considerate of them!
It is so great to have these times though as it opens opportunities to let our loved ones know how much they mean to us. Those closest to us need to hear it. It is not enough to assume they know, but we need to tell them! It is like that with great friends too. I have some amazing friends in the teaching profession. Sadly several of them retired this June. Although I am so excited for them entering this new chapter of their lives, I will miss them so much. Not seeing their friendly and enthusiastic personalities in the hallways in September will be very difficult for sure. I knew the last day would be very emotional for me. It always is anyways, but even more so this year with my friends leaving. Trying to keep it together, was not easy I assure you. I must admit as the day went on, I was struggling. I had prepared a little musical number for the retirees with my class, yet did not know if I could pull it off emotionally. Later I came to realize though that tears or no tears, the show must go on and we were doing it. Well as expected I was an emotional wreck throughout the song, but I explained to the kids that it was because these teachers meant so much to me. I explained that when people are special to you, it may make you cry as you will really miss them. Several kids were crying too, but it was a powerful tribute to these teachers who everyone adored. Those friends came and told me later how much that meant to them. I am so glad I did it, as I knew this was my last chance to honour them in this small, but touching way. I said what I needed to say through a song and a little speech and I have no regrets. Interestingly right after my class presented, the next class came in and we all joined in with a spontaneous dance and sing along of the “Happy” song so that definitely lightened up the mood a bit.
I am sure there are many special people in your life, whether friends or family. I encourage you to let people know how you appreciate and love them. Lately there have been so many tragedies it seems. There are so many stories of people gone too soon often very unexpectedly. It is very heart breaking. We do not want to live with regret. Send a text, write a letter, fire off an email, or make a phone call. The person may seem a bit surprised, yet will be touched by your kindness.
My students are the best for that. They are so honest and sincere. They tell me they love me and that I am a great teacher often. I never take it for granted and it never gets old. I remember one particular day was rather difficult for me and a student came in and said right away “I just wanted to let you know how much I love school and I am so happy you are my teacher.” Those simple words made a very powerful difference for me that day! They model for me the power of showing appreciation spontaneously and in many ways I strive to be more like them.
Starting conversations of this nature can seem awkward at times, especially if you haven’t done it lately. Pray for wisdom on what to say and God will direct your conversation. You will feel great because you let someone know how much he or she is appreciated and believe me the person on the receiving end will feel like a million bucks! Don’t delay! Say what you need to say!
Proverbs 16:24: Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Little Lessons Learned: Life is too short. Take the opportunity to show the people closest to you how much they mean to you!
Copyright: Littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014