Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Refocus on the Positive

After a stretch of time where I have felt less than my best, I'm especially thankful for second grade teacher Susan Nash.  Susan gave me a pep talk that I needed, and I'm grateful for her caring mentality.

We've all been there, we hear so many comments, suggestions and opinions on a continual basis. The majority of comments are usually positive ones, but we also hear the negative nellies. Human nature is that one negative will outweigh nine positive comments...I wish it wasn't this way.  So after a pep talk and some fresh air, I have "re"-focused on the positives.  

This "re"-focus reminded me of a random encounter from earlier this year.  I was in town and bumped into a former student.  This actually happens pretty often...but this time it was different, I didn't immediately recognize her, but she recognized me.  As I approached her she said, "Mr. Gilpin?" I said, "Is that Sam?"  She got the biggest grin on her face!  We chatted for a moment and then she said, "I gotta tell you that you changed my life in 5th grade."  She then shared her painful memories. Sam talked about how she was teased.  Sam had low self-esteem and believed she was ugly throughout elementary school.  She then said, "Do you remember what you said to me?"  At that very moment I didn't remember.  Sam said, "Mr. Gilpin, I was in tears and I felt ugly.  No one liked me.  You met with me and told me I was a beautiful girl and that some day I was going to be a model!"  (Side note: Sam's dream in 5th grade was to be either a singer or model when she grew up.)

Sam then told me that she never forgot those words and that she just received an offer from a modeling company.  She starts in June of '14!  The smile on Sam's face was all I needed.  Sam told me thank you for believing in her and for always caring.

I told Sam I was proud of her!  Sam didn't know this but she picked me up.  Just like Susan picked me up. These are the moments that we need to focus on. The naysayers won't ever go away, but we can choose who we listen to.

Sam is a true success story.  She got beaten down by naysayers and negative nellies.  Sam "re"-focused on the positive and it pushed her to go after her dream.  Each day we can make a difference.    

Will you choose to be the positive voice people hear?    


Monday, December 2nd:  Tech Meeting 1:1 at 1pm
Tuesday, December 3rd:  Crisis Response Meeting at 1:15pm
Wednesday, December 4th:  K-2 Assembly at 8:45
Wednesday, December 4th: EdTech PD at Bean Elementary 3:30-4:30 (Video Story Problems)

Articles Worth Reading:

You Got Students Blogging Now How To Get Comments +Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp

How To Help Your Students Embrace Failure Through Game-Based Learning +TeachThought @TeachThought

Praise or Reflective Questioning? +Joan Young @flourishingkids

5 Rules To Simplify Your Life @ajjuliani

Common Core Math Word Clouds shared by +Sue Haney @susankhaney

The Week of Two Drew's +Suzanne Gibbs @Suz_Gibbs

Power of the Lurker shared by +Dan Spencer @runfardvs

Why Do You Blog? A Student's Perspective +Eric Sheninger @NMHS_Principal

A Thankful Heart at School +Jennifer Hogan @Jennifer_Hogan

10 Ways To Get Books For Your Classroom #nerdybookclub @GigiMcAreads

Teachers: 5 Reasons Why I Think YOU Should Join Twitter @daydreamreader

10 Biggest EdTech Trends (with infographic) @JeffRahman

Top 10 iPad Tips For Teachers @edudemic

50 Happiness Quotes To Change The Way You Think +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel

Videos Worth Watching:

Check this out! Thanks for the share Sue. (4 min)

I grew up watching the Fresh Prince! This is a classic performance...gets really good after the first 2 minutes. (6 min)

Priceless video! A Father's Joy in his son's report card.  I wish all parents and adults got this excited about student successes. (2 min)

Brotherly Love! (11 min)


  1. Thanks for the reminders, Ben, for us to focus on the positive influences and moments in our lives. I agree, it's easy at times to let that one negative remark outshine the positive ones. It takes being "mindful of the moments" - recognizing the small things that are big impacts on our outlook. Thank you for sharing your heart!

    1. Thank you for commenting Jennifer. I truly believe it goes in spurts or phases. Some times it's easy to brush off the negative nellies...other times they stick in your head like a bad headache.

      I appreciate your outlook and positive attitude. I enjoyed your latest post and thought it fit with the theme perfectly. Thanks for sharing and reading.

  2. Funny - and sad - that those "basement" people can have so much power when we need to let the "balcony" people be the ones we allow to have the greatest influence in our minds and hearts. Be encouraged, Ben! You are living your life in a powerfully positive way!

    1. Appreciate the comment Suzanne. Some weeks life just feels challenging...other weeks it feels easy. I think we've all been there. I just have to focus on the champions and not the negative nellies.

      I'm grateful for your positive outlook and willingness to share.