RIP, Juan Pablo

Jul 17, 2016

To everything there is a season. Following in the great footsteps of Freddie the Leaf and the Velveteen Rabbit, Juan Pablo the Chameleon has moved on to a lusher rainforest in the sky. I attribute his passing to the natural cycle of life through which we all pass. Alas, I will remember him fondly.

Truth be told, in reality, Juan Pablo wasn’t the friendliest of pets. He could be downright nasty when he was hungry. He also had personal space issues and really detested it when humans invaded his territory. [He didn’t seem appreciative at all when the cleaning service (me) arrived to hose down his home on a regular basis.] Juan Pablo was also very set in his ways. He generally slept in the same place every night, accepted food in the same manner, and at times, reminded me of a cat – snubbing onlookers and opting not to acknowledge their presence.

Juan Pablo had issues, but then again, so do I. Set in my ways…nasty when hungry… like pet, like owner. When I think about Juan Pablo, I know I’ll remember the good, bad and ugly. I’m hoping he will do the same, as it is our differences that make us special. Sometimes when we are in the middle of things we can’t see or appreciate the unique or special qualities in others. Time and distance gives us perspective.

Juan Pablo earned a special place in my heart and in our garden, buried under our water fountain that serves as a gathering place for hummingbirds, squirrels and other greenbelt critters. Now I can’t help but smile every time I look at that fountain. Rest in peace, Juan Pablo.

JP

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...