Isn’t it strange how two people can see the same situation in two completely different ways? It speaks to the power of thoughts over circumstances. We have, if we so choose, the power to find the treasure or the trouble in anything. I was talking to a group of teachers a few weeks ago about the things I miss most about teaching kindergarten. One of the things I truly loved was such a simple thing, tying a child’s shoe. When I bent down to tie a shoe, I got to look a student in the eye and take a small moment to show love and kindness. The teacher next door would complain about the inconvenience of untied shoes. She was a great advocate for Velcro. Not me, even when my students were able to manage their own shoestrings, I would still sometimes bend down to help. As a principal, I rarely passed up an opportunity to stop and chat eye to eye for a minute with a young student while tying a shoe.
When Missy and I speak to groups of educators, we often talk about the power of framing. We ask participants to frame common situations in different ways. For example, what do you say to yourself when you are required to attend another staff development session? Maybe you respond like this… I never learn anything form these trainings- such a waste of my time! You certainly would not be alone in that response. But take the same situation and frame it differently… I will come away from this session with one new idea that will impact my students. That idea may come from the trainer or a table mate, but I am sure to find a gem if I am open to it! What do you say to yourself when you are asked to mentor a new colleague? One response might be…I don’t have time for that. I can barely keep up with my own responsibilities! But what if you framed that same situation in a different way… I became an educator to make an impact, and this is just another way to impact others. Besides, mentoring this young teacher will give me the opportunity to reflect on my own practice.
As you move through your day, notice the moments when you feel frustrated or powerless. Is there another way to frame the situation? Monitor the way you talk about things, out loud and inside your head. The words you say and the way you think about things directly impact your well-being. And your well-being has a big impact on your students and colleagues. Sometimes the inconveniences are just opportunities in disguise. After all, a loose shoestring can be a burden or a chance to show love and kindness.