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In the last few years, a reflective approach to the New Year has risen, ditching resolutions because very few people really keep up with them all year. If you make it through January in following your resolutions, you are doing pretty good.
So what is the substitution? A word. A single word you focus on all year. Last year I chose “joy.” I thought about my choice for about a week and my mind kept coming back to joy. So throughout the year I made a point of finding songs, Bible verses, and quotes that focused on joy.
I find I like a word for the year better than resolutions. There are books written on the subject, but it really doesn’t have to be that complicated. God gave me my word for 2019, “trust,” as I was drifting off to sleep one night last week. I remembered it the next morning and will count that as affirmation of my choice. In my heart and head, it feels right.
Your word is very personal to you, and the direction you go with that word is personal. Just like a good motorcycle ride, enjoy the trip, exploring new roads, and don’t worry about the destination.
This year I plan on doing a little writing about my word—thoughts as they come to me and things I have learned. I doubt I will post much about my word as I do consider it a personal journey. On the other hand, I have a blogger friend, Wendy, who explores many subjects but whose blog, Ramblings and Musings, focuses on gratitude. I have appreciated her posts as she discovers gratitude in the big and little things in her life. Again, your word and your response to it can take a variety of pathways.
So, here is my invitation to you. Join me today in finding a word to explore in your life in 2019. Take your time in deciding on a word. If you haven’t decided on it by January 1, 2019, it’s okay. No one is going to be checking up on you, and it is not yet another item for your daily to-do list—although a few post-its around the house might be helpful at first. If you choose a word and want to share it here, I’d love to hear about it. Wishing you a very Happy New Year!
What does it look like in January at 7,785 feet in the mountains near the town of Pátzcuaro in the state of Michóacan, Mexico? It is not as cold as the same altitude in northern New Mexico in the U.S.: the lows where we live in Mexico are currently about the same as the highs in northern NM (the 40’s F). This is the dry season of the year, so we have to water the grass and other plants. But it is beautiful. I took a side trip into a neighbor’s yard, always looking for even a little flat land for walking. I mentally call it my secret garden because it is tucked away behind tall grasses. So, join me as I enter my borrowed secret garden and take a peek at the beautiful plants growing there.
January can be an exciting time for teachers. We all know the rush that comes at the first of the school year as you and your students start with a clean slate. There are so many possibilities for great things. Jumping into the new calendar year can be almost the same—except you don’t have to set up your classroom! Some of you are finishing up the first semester and others are already in the second semester. Everyone has a chance to rethink what you want to accomplish this semester and how you want to get there.
In the spirit of optimism, here are my wishes for all teachers in the new year:
1. I wish you opportunities for creativity each and every day.
Our job is to teach students how to think logically and to unleash their creativity. You, as a teacher, will have to think “outside the box” to make that happen. Creativity on the part of teachers and students is a huge factor in satisfaction with the educational process.
2. I wish for you the respect that you as a professional educator deserve.
Respect can be shown in so many ways. It is the administrator freeing teachers to do what they think is best for their students in their classroom. Respect is supporting teacher decisions regarding discipline, curriculum, and use of time. Respect is encouragement through positive interactions: the principal who pops in and leaves a thumbs up, specific note of praise rather than a “gotcha.”
3. I wish an abundance of patience in your encounters with students, parents, colleagues, and administrators and wisdom to know when to hold your tongue and when to stand up for what is right.
Unfortunately, speaking out about professional issues depends so much on the character of the administrator and the tone set by the district. There can be repercussions so choose your battles wisely and try to find ways to do what is best for kids when directives are oppositional to good educational practices.
May God bless you with a year that fulfills the hopes and promises of new beginnings for you and your students!