Be Mindful

Mar 22, 2020

“Have these people lost their minds?” It’s a question I’ve asked myself on several occasions this week. Novelty escalates behavior – and with our norms being tossed out the window, everyone seems to be scrambling to find stable ground. But sometimes a hint of calm can surface in a sea of crazy.
 
Yesterday it was cold and rainy – which I normally love – but given the weather, the cable went out in our area by noon. (Really? Covid 19 and no internet?) I decided to make red beans and rice, a Cajun staple. But alas, we had no beans or ham hock. My wife went to three stores only to find one lonely pack of dried beans and pig’s feet – the latter of which she could not bring herself to purchasing. Imagine the flack I took when she got home and found a ham hock hidden in the bottom of our freezer.
 
Getting to the point – around 6 pm our family sat at the table and had a great dinner together. No distractions. No outside world. No electronics. No craziness. Just quiet. Discussion. Laughter. It was only for about thirty minutes, but it gave me hope – and peace of mind.
 
We teach our kids the concept of mindfulness. Well folks, no time like the present to practice what we preach. With chaos comes opportunity. So, as we navigate through these uncharted waters, we should work to redefine our norms in a way that grounds us – because, as adults, our responses and reactions to this pandemic are teaching our children a great deal.
 
My sister posted a version of the Circle of Concern / Circle of Influence from Stephen Covey’s body of work in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People on Facebook yesterday. It reminded me, once again, of the power of our thoughts in influencing behaviors. Lord knows, there are tons of things in your life you are concerned about right now, but can’t do anything about – the pandemic, the economy, the behavior of others, etc. So, focus instead on the aspects of your world you can control – your attitude, your emotional state, your interactions with others, etc. By doing so you will be in a better position to be mindful of yourself and others, which I feel certain will positively impact your path moving forward. And that’s a great start.

Generalizing to Extremes

As I lay awake last night staring at the ceiling, it was clear to me that my original idea for this week’s post would have to wait.  Given the incident that occurred at yesterday’s presidential rally, I believe there is a bigger issue to address. I’ve been...

The Concerning Colorful Spectrum of Language

Though actions may speak louder than words, we best not underestimate how language modeling shapes the behavior of the children we are collectively raising.  I guess it’s a hazard of my profession, but I regularly see and hear the world through the eyes and ears of...

Teacher Dads

Dads, today I celebrate you as teachers.  In fact, I believe it is one of your most important roles.  Fathers are always teaching, continually by example, and most of the time without even knowing they are doing so.  In this regard, I have seen some masterful work.  I...

Predictable Routines Needed

“The only person who likes change is a wet baby.” This quote from Mark Twain seems appropriate given the changes occurring in homes as another school year ends. Parents, we’re lucky. Our kids have had nine months of consistency thanks to the hard work of teachers. We...

One Chapter at a Time

Relieved. Happy. Discouraged.  Exhausted. These were some of the adjectives teachers mentioned when asked how they were feeling about the school year ending.  Although the responses varied, all teachers agreed - they were ready to have some closure with their...

Surrogate Teacher Moms

“Do you have any kids?” I once asked a teacher friend. “Absolutely,” she said. “I have a classroom full of them.” I laughed and walked away, but that thought stuck with me. Let’s face it - some of the best mothers in our lives weren’t our mothers, in the biological...

Get Physical

I’ve done a great deal of yard work over the past few weeks and have been reminded of an important behavior strategy. It’s one I don’t talk about nearly enough, given its effectiveness. Of course, with most people’s busy schedule it’s also hard to come by. The...

Look for the Foundation

Did you know that behaviors have a build-up effect over time?  Most teachers do.  And although there is an ebb and flow pattern to the behaviors of students, we see them all at the tail end of the school year – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Fortunately, we have...

Coming Together

So I’ve been thinking about this post all week.  Though the original inspiration hit me in the middle of the eclipse last Monday, it was driven home again yesterday.  (Being a spiritual man, I believe sometimes God circles back around and gives me reminders – to make...

Positive Collective Memories

As we move into the final months of the school year, now is a great time for educators to celebrate successes.  However, the problem with trying to do so is that we don’t always see the results of our labor right away.  Oftentimes our efforts are laying a foundation...