I don’t think there is a person on the planet who wants to be taken for granted. Everyone wants to be appreciated for who they are and what they have done, and yet it happens daily to someone that they feel like somebody is not really appreciating them. That is a sad state of affairs for anyone.
Here are a few thoughts to deal with the dilemma:
- If you are feeling under-appreciated, let it be known. Don’t expect the other person to know how you feel if you don’t express it. Be specific if there are areas that the other person can improve upon.
- Check your own attitude. Are you having a pity party and taking it out on someone because you are feeling needy or just having a bad day?
- Ask yourself, “Am I guilty of the thing that I am accusing them of?” If you don’t show appreciation to someone, perhaps you are getting what you give. Just a thought. I am not saying that is right, I am just giving some insight to human nature.
- Learn the secret of self-esteem: People have a hard time feeling good about themselves if they are not appreciated. A word of encouragement, a thank you, and a sincere compliment go a long way.
I think too often people look at the glass half empty and forget to give thanks for all that they have been given. Gratitude is something that we need to cultivate early in life; that is why it is so important to show gratitude to kids and teach them to do the same. What we learn in childhood tends to be carried into adulthood. It is a sad thing to see an adult acting like a child with no self-discipline and no appreciation for what they have.
Gratitude is shown in many ways: verbally, acts of kindness, and being there for someone when they are in need. I am grateful for many things. God has blessed me in countless ways and I truly appreciate all that He has entrusted to me. My wife, my family, my job, my health, my spiritual gifts, and God’s provision for me are things that I am truly grateful for. I may not always show it or express it, but I am working on that to be more visible to others.
We choose to encourage or discourage others by what we say.
What good does it do to sharpen a knife if you are never going to use it? Well, you might argue that at least you will be prepared if you need it, or you could argue why waste the time for something you may never use? Both are legitimate arguments.
When it comes to sharpening yourself, I like to err on the side of being prepared. This applies to work, to relationships, and to our spiritual lives. If we never sharpen our blade we tend to become dull over time and less effective. Think about this in the world of teaching. If you are in the rut of a routine because you did not take time to prepare a great lesson, then why should you expect the students to excel?
I know that some kids will rise above the level of teaching but they are not the norm. Most kids want to know what they are doing and why they are doing it. They ultimately need to know what’s in it for them!
As we come to the close of a year which has been a strain on everyone (putting it mildly), my encouragement to you is to sharpen your blade. Do something outside of your comfort zone and resist the temptation to just fill time in the class. When teaching you have to expect the unexpected. Fire drills, observations by Principals or Corporate Coaches, illness of your co-teacher, days when you are just stressed out, tired, or not feeling well yourself, kids who have a melt-down in your class, technology issues, etc. The list is lengthy and can throw you for a loop if you are not prepared for the unexpected.
When you face something unexpected in the day, BREATHE! It is easy to get stressed out over things that in retrospect are just hiccups! Don’t let the stress of teaching overwhelm you! If you see one of your co-workers struggling, encourage them. Give them a hand if you can and take some of the burden off of their shoulders. It is a lot easier to get through a crisis if you know you have someone walking beside you and helping you, doesn’t it?
If you work in a dysfunctional team, then it is up to YOU to be the light in the darkness. It is up to YOU to be the encourager. YOU be the helper THEY need. It is amazing to see how small acts of kindness can melt hearts of stone. It may not happen overnight, but if you do the right thing consistently, good things will happen at some point. You reap what you sow.
This applies to other fields of work as well as to our relationships. We need each other, and we need to be people who show love instead of hatred, encouragement instead of resentment, mercy instead of judgment, and sow seeds of peace instead of discord. That would make the world a better place for all of us, don’t you think?
One of Superman’s powers is laser vision. While I think that is pretty cool, I really think that we all need laser vision, but in a different sense. We need a laser focus in our vision.
“We were planned by God on purpose and for a purpose.” Jeff Little
When we find our purpose, we have to figure out what do we do with that information. How do we walk out what we were called to be in life? That is a tall order and the quest that leaves many people wondering what they are going to be when they grow up even after they have already grown up.
I don’t mean to make this sound simplistic. This is a serious question that every person on the planet has to come to grips with and figure out. Laser focus is a key to finding your purpose and walking it out. Lack of focus can be the reason jobs are lost, marriages go on the rocks, projects go awry, and even wars are started. Focus is one of the keys to success in our lives, but we have to focus on the right things. If we focus on the negatives of life, how can we expect anything positive?
Focus on what is true, pure, and just. When God gives you a vision for your life, walk it out in faith and without fear. Focus not just on the goal, but also on the journey. There is joy in the journey if you learn to count your blessings and have an attitude of gratitude. You can expect roadblocks and detours along the way. That is just the way life goes, but those delays can be blessings in disguise. Allow God to lead, sustain, protect, and encourage you as you find your way one step at a time. Trust His timing and His direction. In this year of confusion, we could all use more focus on God’s will for our lives. Don’t let the negativity of this world blur your vision.
How would you like to change your life radically for the better? How would you like to get unstuck from obstacles or opportunities that have been holding you back from living the life you have always dreamed of having? It sounds too good to be true, but it is pretty simple. It is called The 1% Rule. This is a book written by Tommy Baker. There are a lot of great nuggets in this book, but I will boil it down to a few key points.
People get stuck in many areas of their life. It could be work, health, diet, finances, relationships, or their spiritual growth. The key here is that the 1% rule applies to every aspect of your life. The reason we get stuck in neutral and don’t move forward is that we don’t know how to shift gears. Once you learn this, it will change your life in every area that you apply it to. The key is progress. As long as you are making some progress (no matter how small it is) every day, you can stay motivated to achieve success.
Sometimes we look at the obstacles or opportunities that we are facing and we just get overwhelmed with the enormity of it all. We want to do something, but we don’t know how, so you know what most people do? Nothing! They get stuck waiting for “the right moment.” Guess what? The right moment does not exist! You have to create it! The right moment is waiting on YOU to do something positive. That idea alone is worth the price of admission.
But get this: If you make 1% progress every day for a year, how much progress will you have made at the end of a year? You would think there are 365 days in the year, so you would have made 365% progress, and that would be a lot for anyone, but you would be wrong. If you just make 1% progress every day for a year because of the power of compounding over time, you will have made a 3,700% positive change in your life! Let that sink in for a moment.
What challenges or opportunities are waiting for you? Can you make just a 1% effort in that area every day for a year? I don’t know about you, but this is a life changing concept for me. We now have the vehicle to get us where we are going, and we have been taught how to shift gears. So….where do YOU want to go now?
P.S. Has anyone ever told you how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Inch by inch it’s a cinch. Now I get it!
Everyone knows how a GPS works. It calculates where you are and helps you get to where you are going. When you make a mistake….no problem. “Re-calculating” assures you that you will still get to your destination. It simply re-routes you from your current location. Is it perfect? No….but neither is teaching.
We imperfect teachers teach imperfect kids who live in an imperfect world. We hit a lot of obstructions on the road to success. We deal with kids who have been abused, abandoned, and neglected. Some come to school without being fed or even properly dressed. Some have learning disabilities and many just need to know that somebody cares about them. Couple all of that with the personal challenges that every teacher has and you can see that the journey is one that can be frustrating and tiring for everyone involved.
The teaching GPS mentality gives us the flexibility to deal with all the craziness that comes our way every day and not lose our focus or our mind. A sense of humor is part of the programming as well as reminding yourself that “This too shall pass.” If you can learn not to sweat the small stuff, it makes the journey a lot more fun. Anticipate roadblocks, potholes, crazy drivers, and delays. That is just the way life goes. Sometimes the road is smooth and sometimes it seems like it is all under construction.
Administrative support is critical to the ultimate success or failure of the academic journey. A school system will rise or fall depending on the leadership. If teachers and staff are valued, listened to, supported, and encouraged, they will have a great chance of reaching their goals. If they treat the staff as objects to be used for their own success, there will be a great deal of dysfunction, backbiting, problems, and griping. High teacher turnover and burnout will be evident where the staff is not truly appreciated and supported.
Failure is not fatal unless you give up. It just means you have not succeeded yet. Allow yourself and your students to learn from failures and from the journey itself. Encourage one another and learn from everyone you meet and everything you do. Life is a marvelous teacher if we are willing to observe and learn from it. Own your mistakes, but don’t let them define who you are or limit where you are going.
One of the best parts of the teaching GPS mentality is having a peer portal. This allows the sharing of ideas with your peers. The things that work and don’t work may easily be incorporated if everyone will share their best practices. Just knowing you are not alone is a great comfort when you are going though a rough spot in the road. Peers can teach you shortcuts and detours that may very well be the difference between success and failure for you and your students. I know that teaching can be draining, frustrating, and you may want to quit every other day. If you are called to teach, don’t quit, commit. Commit to the journey, the kids, to your peers, and of course…to yourself. Future generations are being impacted by what we do one day at a time…one child at a time.
Investing in children is the best type of Social Security there is.