Seek Ye First

Jun 13, 2021

Quite often the inspiration for my blog hits on Sunday mornings when I sit down to write. However this week the seed was planted early and continued to take root and grow. I was reminded how much our behaviors are influenced by our surroundings and habitual attitudes.

My wife and I spent a great three days at Niagara Falls this week. The landscape was amazing, the history was inspiring, and people from all over were friendly and good-natured. You could feel the collective positive energy the falls brought out in everyone.

Don’t get me wrong; there were obstacles, mostly resulting from the pandemic. The Canadian side of the falls was closed, most businesses shut their doors at 2:00 pm, and shuttles weren’t running during the work week. Happily, people didn’t focus on these things. Everyone seemed to want to have a good time. And so they did.

I’m a firm believer that what we seek, we find. When we look for the good, we usually see it, embrace it, and inadvertently spread it. Sadly, the opposite is true, as well. When we view something through a negative lens, we only see the flaws.

Strong evidence of this is rampant in politics – and has been for several administrations now. When was the last time any of us have assumed positive intent or acknowledged the good of opposing candidates? Sorry. I digressed – but needed to make the point.

Our perceptions cloud and create our realities – so I challenge you, personally and professionally, to look for good, look for the positive, and create the “glass-is-half-full” reality you hope will result. One way to do this is by compartmentalizing social media, rather than being consumed by it. Unfortunately, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can be breeding grounds for negative thought loops. So, step away and break the cycle.

Teachers, summer is a great time to create changes you want to stick once you return to work. So surround yourself with encouraging people now in an effort to develop positive thought and behavioral habits before school starts. As I’ve said before, attitudes and behaviors are contagious – so seek out the good, find it, and highlight it in a way that encourages it to spread.

Have a great week.

Beyond Poor Choices

I know I’m stating the obvious, but changing behavior can be difficult.  Want to start off on the right foot when faced with this challenge?  A critical first step in dealing with inappropriate behaviors is determining which are the result of poor...

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...