“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention,
sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many
alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”
Ahhh report cards! Yes it is that time again! I have been very busy writing
them and ensuring that everything is ready and carefully prepared to go home
tomorrow. Yes they do take a long time to prepare, but they truly are so helpful
for teachers, students and their families to provide an accurate picture of each
child’s strengths, struggles and next steps for improvement. As always not only
do they have letter grades in the various subject areas, but also ratings on six
important learning skills which include the following categories: responsibility, organization, independent work, collaboration, initiative and self regulation. Students get either E for excellent, G for good, S for satisfactory or N for needs improvement on these criteria. As I have been spending much time and careful attention to each student in my class and how he
or she ranks in each of these criteria, I can’t help but wonder what kind of ranking would I get if someone else was assessing me or if I was doing a self assessment? If I was put under the microscope, how would I rank not in just the area of a teacher, but as a mother, a wife, a friend, or a person in general? Hmm, a sobering thought. I certainly would not get all E’s for excellent let me tell you as I have some “good,” “satisfactory” and “needs improvement” aspects of my life for sure, but I am working on it!
Excellence is a process not a destination. The Bible says whatever we are called upon to do, we are to do it with all our might and strength. There is no room for mediocrity in life and this can be very difficult at times. We get tired, over extended, stressed out and unmotivated. Life happens and we are human and we struggle. This is the human condition and we have all been there. Prior to teaching, my profession was the job of a clinical social worker. I led
many 12 Step groups with the goal of assisting clients to name what had power over them and take the necessary steps with God’s help to overcome it. Step One states: We admitted we were powerless, and that our lives have become unmanageable. This step is so important because often we deny ourselves into thinking everything is okay, when it clearly is not. To take a true look at ourselves in the mirror and see where we need to change is difficult if not
painful for many. I love the expression “Please be patient! God is not finished with me yet!” It speaks to the truth that none of us have arrived, but are constantly learning and growing in life.
Recently I took a serious look at my physical health and fitness. My eating habits were very poor, and physical exercise was extremely inconsistent if it happened at all. I had gained weight, had low energy, was tired all the time and just needed to make major lifestyle changes. I discovered a workout program on DVDs and a support group online through Beachbody Fitness that is helping me to make major changes in my life and I am so grateful. I have lost weight, have more energy and am eating much more healthier than before. I have an online fitness coach who hears and cares about my daily struggles and an accountability group that I check in with daily to share my highs, lows and progress. This has been a
huge part of my success. Being accountable to others regarding the goals you have established is huge as you have other people to answer to other than yourself. Originally I had not had much success with working out at home with fitness videos, but taking a honest evaluation about all the positives of this workout method, I decided to give it a try. I love the freedom, privacy and flexibility it offers. My family members also love to join in and that makes it that much more meaningful!
I heard a recent quote that stated “What is one thing you would do today if you knew you could not fail?” Making changes is scary. We don’t know where to begin and sometimes the task is so huge it seems like profound change will take forever. It all starts with one step. We must first examine our lives, see where we need to change and begin with the positive steps to succeed. We need to see the true picture. I remember early in my teaching career preparing to have a difficult conversation with a grade two student about his math mark. He was
receiving an “R” and for those who are not familiar with that mark it is equivalent to an “F” from when we went to school. I chose my words carefully and explained although he had been trying so hard, right now he was still really having trouble in math and I am very sorry to tell you that you are getting an “R,” on your report card. He seemed quite unconcerned about this and I was surprised so I asked if he understood what that meant? He said he understood
that he was doing very well. When I asked why he thought that, he very sweetly replied, “Well I got an R, and doesn’t it go all the way to Z?” So cute! I did explain it to him and I do know that to this day that kid has really come a long way in the “math” department, but it took him fully realizing the crisis he was in to make that change.
I love the show The Biggest Loser. I love watching these people changing their lives week after week and winning the victory over obesity. I cry when I hear their stories and rejoice when I witness their triumphs. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for them because they have so much weight to lose. The task seems so daunting and they don’t know where to begin, but as they say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step! We must believe in
ourselves first. Even if we have tried to lose weight, work on bad habits, break addictions, or heal relationships before and have failed, we all must keep trying! You are worth it! You deserve a more joyful, fulfilling life so fight for that and don‘t accept anything less!
Positive changes take time, hard work and energy, but in the end are so rewarding. A report card is just a snapshot in time. It is not how that child or person forever will be. It is merely a reflection of how that person is at that particular time. Never believe the lies that people say such as this is “just how I am,” or “I can’t change!” These comments are absolute lies that will only get you on the road to nowhere fast. I am proud of the changes I am making with my health and fitness. I have other areas I am working on as well like improving my organizational skills and taking more initiative to try things out of my comfort
zone. As mentioned we are all a work in progress. It is not how we start, but
how we finish and I promise you that when you commit to taking care of yourself
and working on the areas of your life that need changes, you will feel empowered, happier and more inspired! What would your report card say? Only you can answer that! I believe in you and so does God! He too will assist you on your life changing journey. I know you can make positive change happen if you believe in yourself too. I think that Christopher Robin said it best to his old pal Winnie the Pooh who was struggling. He said “ You must always remember… You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think! " Make it happen! You can change that report card and in the end you will be so glad you did!
Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Little Lesson Learned: Little steps add up to big changes, so don’t minimize
the efforts you make.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014
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