Friday Two Cents: Positive Thoughts For The New Year

‘I do expect a lot from myself, but it’s also a balance of being… positive and also pushing yourself.’ Venus Williams

With the beginning of the New Year many people make resolutions to improve themselves in some way.  Many plan to get physically fit, eat better or others to do something they have always wanted to do.  I for one have never made any resolutions because I know I will not follow through on these empty wishes.  I know that true change takes discipline, determination and most important time. Several years ago I came to a realization that I needed to lose weight and have a healthier lifestyle.  I took discipline, determination and time to make them a reality and to be honest I am still working on them. 

Many people forget their resolutions by the time Super Bowl arrives.  That is usually the first weekend of February for those of you who are not into football. If you are one of those people I have found something that just might help you make some long-term changes in your life that is more effective than a spur of the moment resolution.  These tips come from Dr. Joan Borysenko – author of Inner Peace for Busy People: 52 Simple Strategies for Transforming Your Life. 
Take a few hours to envision your life.  A good way to do this is to imagine yourself at 90 looking back at your life and taking stock.  Then ask yourself these questions:
  • What matters most to me?
  • What did I learn in my life?
  • How do I want to be remembered?
  • Are there things I wish I’d done but never got around to?
From these write down your answers in 6 major groups relating to; family, friends, faith, finances, fitness and work. One example in the area of fitness, when you are 90 you won’t care that you have strong leg muscles but you will care that you can walk to couple of blocks down the street to the store. 
They say use a real notebook instead of typing these down in a computer.  This way you can look back at the answers and keep tabs for the year.  Also for most people when you write things down they become more real.  Think about it.  When someone tells you a phone number you retain it more if you write it down. 
Then one final tip is to find ways to use your talents to help others.  If you are a good storyteller, read to children at the hospital.  Make a positive influence in someone’s life. One of the best ways to increase your health and happiness is to make a positive difference in the world.   Sometimes it starts with your way of thinking.  

Which type of person are you?

As Willie Nelson once said …

‘Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.’ Willie Nelson


Friday Two Cents: Words To Live By


This past week has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride of emotions for me. At the beginning of the week I was with someone who made me feel down and upset yet by the end I was with some people who lifted me up and inspired me.

Firstly I was with someone whom I have known for years and they have made no secret that they do not like teachers. They on a number of occasions have belittled teaching and teachers in general. Saying things along the lines that teachers don’t deserve the two months off or that they are spoiled and they are teaching the wrong way. If they were Premier they mentioned that they would attack the teachers by taking away pay, benefits and force them into doing things their way, things that was acceptable back 70 – 100 years ago.
At times I have fired back. Once they said they could teach a class and I responded saying, “I would love to put you in a Kindergarten class and see how far you get. I guarantee you wouldn’t last an hour let alone a year.” Yet for the most part I usually let them say what they want and it generally just rolls off me, but for some reason this time I could not. Not because I questioned teaching but the fact they will never change their minds no matter what I say or when ever I prove my point. I am seriously considering ending the relationship of many years, which put me in a gloomy mood.
With this cloud over my head I went about my business, which happened that I am attending an additional qualification course (AQ) for Teacher-Librarian (TL). A TL is more than just a librarian; they are a resource teacher who can assist the classroom teacher in how they implement the curriculum. I have supplied as a TL on a number of occasions and found it a rewarding experience.
Upon starting the course I met other teachers with the same passion for teaching and a desire to help others. This alone began to lift my spirits, however we were given the tremendous opportunity to go to an educator’s conference on the second day. This conference was called MakerEdTO. It is a conference of educators that come together to try to bring new ideas to the students by learning through making things. Yes they do the lessons and research before they build things but they encourage the students to get their hands dirty, take chances and make mistakes all the while they are learning.

A working mechanical arm I made from cardboard.

The conference was about teachers getting their hands dirty and playing so they can understand and bring back to the classroom what they have learned. I for one attended a workshop where I was able to learn to use a program called Scratch where the students can learn code. Another workshop was about building things out of cardboard. I was able to create a working mechanical arm that actually picked up an empty water battle.
The conference was good but the most important and inspiring thing was that there were over 200 teachers there to learn and get inspired for their students. At the beginning of their summer break these people went somewhere to learn to essentially help their students learn.
This positive atmosphere is what I need to remember and keep in my life. Not those people who have nothing but negativity. Yet I have to remember one good thing about all those negative people out there. You know, the ones who grumble and insult others because they are jealous or only happy when they are putting down others or mad at the world for something or another. I’ll look at them and remember this wisdom quote …


‘I am grateful for all those difficult people in my life, they have shown me exactly who I do not want to be.’



Words to live by.


Friday Two Cents: It Is Within Me


This past week has been a busy one to say the least. It started with 100 days in school celebrations and activities with the students, then Pancake Tuesday, Valentines Day on Wednesday and then finally the Lunar Parade on Thursday with the Dragon I created. (Below are links to pages to see how I made the dragon.)  Oh yes added on top of everything else the report cards had to be handed out to the parents, parent teacher interviews and then filing of the reports.

Art Inspiration: Dragon’s Head Reconstruction, Stage 1

Art Inspiration: Dragon’s Head Reconstruction, Stage 2

Art Inspiration: Dragon’s Head Reconstruction, Stage 3

Yes this was a busy week if I do say so myself, yet through all this excitement I had prepared a little respite from the hustle and bustle of the activities. On Friday I went to Niagara Falls for an overnight trip to see Wayne Brady live. Wayne Brady is a fantastic entertainer whom you may have seen on “Who’s Line is it anyway” or “Lets Make a Deal”. The show was amazing and my stay at the Falls was quit relaxing.

I went alone and many people made a big deal about this. They could not understand that I needed some alone time away from everything. Just some time to clear my head and maybe do some art, have some fun and enjoy some entertainment. I guess they do not understand that I am happy when I do these things, either with someone or alone. Just as Marcus Aurelius once said …


‘Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.’ Marcus Aurelius


Many people say they are happy but are not open to the idea that others may have a different way of being happy. I know I am happy because it is within me.

Friday Two Cents: Continuing To Be Positive



Have you ever had the feeling that whatever you do, it just does not seem to go the right way? I had that feeling every day this week. No matter what I did for someone or interacted with somebody, they were not happy within the encounter.

I don’t know why I felt this way. Maybe its how I read their body language within our encounters. I have been working with students and people for many, many years and I think that I have improved in my reading of people’s body language. Something in their eyes or how they stood or even in the tone of their voice made me feel this way.  They seemed tired or just plain fed up.   

Research shows that hugging can heal sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress

Perhaps it’s just my imagination but I cannot shake this feeling. Yet with every encounter, I have been trying to maintain a positive attitude. I have been saying to the students that having a positive attitude is essential in everything you do. Therefore, in the light of trying to practice what I preach I am putting my best foot forward to continue to be positive. I even gave hugs to people to try to lift both my spirits and theirs.
Maybe it is the time of year. It is June, the warm weather is upon us and the end of the school year is fast approaching. Both the students and the teachers are looking forward to the summer break. I know I for one am looking forward to some down time and perhaps indulge in some personal pursuits.
Is that all that this is about? People feeling burnt out and needing a break? Maybe this is it. People are reaching the end of their ropes and are just waiting for the break. If that is the case then having a positive attitude seems to be more imperative. With four weeks left to the end of the school year being positive could mean the difference between enjoying the last few weeks with the students or just going through the motions. One day at a time.
I prefer to enjoy even moment with people. For you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Ailish Sinclair

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