Friday, January 10, 2014

The Path of Change

This week as the temperatures approached -25 I sat on my cozy couch and read my Runner's World magazine.  I would define myself as a diehard runner, but even I have been reduced to the treadmill in this extreme cold.  The article that peeked my interest was the Newbie Chronicles by Marc Parent. In this article titled, "Change for Good", Marc says, "January is a month filled with ghosts of failures past. January is for dreamers.  February is for doers." 

As I finished reading this article I wondered.  I wondered why people give up.  I wondered why change is so difficult for some.  I wondered why people make excuses.

Then my thoughts shifted to the people that change, but not necessarily for the better.  When you change for the worse others notice it, but the person changing typically doesn't.

Years ago I had a great friend.  We talked often, we spent time together at the holidays and we constantly encouraged each other.  I'll never forget all those morning chats.  It was an uplifting way to start the day.  We would talk sports, kids, religion...nothing was out-of-bounds.  Our friendship was one of mutual appreciation and admiration.

Then the move occurred.

For the first 6-8 months we stayed in contact and things seemed to be similar.  When we were both back in town we made a point to get together and it just seemed like old times.  But the longer we were apart the farther we drifted as friends.  Then last year we made a point to get together.  We took the kids to an ice rink and we skated and chatted for a couple hours.  In that time I saw glimpses of my old friend, but I also saw a changed person.  He was talking about being "wronged" and "falling-outs" that happened.  He was clearly playing the victim.  He wasn't taking responsibility.  Everything was a deflection and an excuse.  His attitude had turned very selfish.

This really saddened me.  I always viewed him as the utmost positive person.  I knew that someday he would be leading Youth Clinics and speaking to area youth children about a healthy lifestyle.  This was inevitable...but something changed.

As our conversation continued I listened and I tried to interject, but I didn't feel as comfortable as I once did around him.  I felt a distance that I didn't truly understand.  Right in front of me I was witnessing a change...a change for the worse.  But I don't think he saw it or felt it.

We've all heard the excuses, oh you know...not enough time, lack of resources, no support and even the one that makes my spine shiver...I've been doing it this way for as long as I can remember, isn't this good enough?  These are the typical barriers to growth and positive change. But my friend confronted me with a new one.  He was the victim.  If you've ever talked with someone that plays the victim you fully understand the challenges this presents.  I attempted to be ruthful, but I knew I didn't completely understand his circumstance.  In the end we hugged and we told each other that we had to do this more often, but sadly we haven't.  I write this because I think I could have done more...I think I still can do more.  Marc Parent's article talked about a change for good.  Maybe the way I need to look at it is, "It is never too late to make a positive change in someone's life."

Marc is correct, January is for dreamers.  I dream that we can all look inside ourselves and see the truth. What is it that is holding us back?  How can I grow?  How can I be a positive influence to those around me?  Most people enter a new year with dreams of weight loss, to quit smoking, to become better organized.  All of those things are good, I look at the new year and I dream of Changing for Good.

I'm going to pick up the phone and try my best to reconnect with my old friend.  I'm going to listen, support and then I'm going to be honest.  That's what friends do.  Friends listen, support and have the integrity to be honest.

This Week's Big Question: Are you a dreamer or a doer?

Next Week At A Glance:

Sunday, January 12th:  Happy Bday to Julie Oliver
Monday, January 13th:  1:1 Tech Leadership meeting at 1pm
Monday, January 13th:  6pm Spelling Bee at CAC
Tuesday, January 14th:  Panther Pride Luncheon
Tuesday, January 14th:  PTO Meeting 7pm
Wednesday, January 15th:  Assembly at 8:45
Wednesday, January 15th:  2:55 TAT for invited teachers
Thursday, January 16th: 1:15 Crisis Response Meeting
Thursday, January 16th:  AM Lockdown drill
Friday, January 17th: Staff Meeting 8am in Mrs. Struck's classroom

Articles Worth Reading:

It's not enough to be a connected educator anymore +Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp

When we let our students plan our lessons +Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp

10 +1 steps for meaningful student blogging +Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp

Today I met a new friend. Thanks Google Glass! +Drew Minock @TechMinock

The handwritten note...going old school in 2014 +Amber Teamann @8Amber8

Does Boredom Always Have To Be A Bad Thing? +Justin Tarte @justintarte

Check Yourself! +Tom Whitford @twhitford

5 Great Math Resources For The New Year +Erin Klein @KleinErin

I would love to teach but...  shared by Sara Delor (Many reasons point to this "Change")

The Joy of Teaching: You Never Run Out of Kids +Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher

10 Ways To Encourage Student Participation +Charity Preston @theOCBlog

Not About The Gadgets - Why EVERY teacher should have to integrate Tech into their classroom +Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp

15 Miles never felt so... by @ShutUpRun

10 Gifts You Deserve To Give Yourself +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel

Videos Worth Watching:

Inspiring Ad for the upcoming Olympics (2 min)

Snow Day Video Story Problem by @dreambition  (1 min)

Little Kids. Big Questions. Honesty (6 min)

1 comment:

  1. Tough position...want to be there to listen but it turns into something else. Has happened to me as well...not fun. Stay warm, my friend!