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

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Friday Two Cents: Do What You Love


 

‘If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.’ Marc Anthony

This week I was finishing off my course and during that the final assignment I did something that made me begin my summer vacation.

Many of you know that I love to draw, paint or anything to do with art. For my final assignment I had to create a “sketchnote” for the assignment. If you don’t know, a “sketchnote” are rich visual notes that combine hand drawn notes, drawings, and typography. During my drawing of the notes I felt relaxed and content that I was doing what I am meant to do. It has been a very long time since I was able to just draw and create so I kept drawing and it was wonderful.

So all I want to pass on is “Do what you Love.” Because when you do, it is like you’re in heaven.

 

 

‘If you do what you love, it is the best way to relax.’ Christian Louboutin

 

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.

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Friday Two Cents: Continuing To Be Positive


twoCentsOldNew

 

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.

Friday Two Cents: Happiness Is A Habit


twoCentsOldNew

‘If you want to be happy, be.’ Leo Tolstoy

 

If many of you do not know I run a softball house league for an afterschool program.   The program is not just teaching the students the basics of the game but also to help foster leadership, teamwork and sportsmanship skills in the students. I take these extra learning goals to heart and I truly believe that these are life long skills that everyone must nurture and cultivate.

Many may think, what good is it to develop these skills in a baseball setting. Yet these skills are transferable to life objectives.

             

  1. Leadership – is an obvious skill for people as they continue their journey through life. Everyone at one point or another takes on a leadership role either in school, the workplace or in their family. Being able to lead others and respect those that you lead is a valuable ability for anyone.
  2. Teamwork – does not stop with school but continues in the workforce. Unless you plan to work alone and not interact with anyone else, you must learn to work with others in a respectful and cooperative manner.
  3. Sportsmanship – the aspiration that sports or an activity is enjoyed for its own sake with fairness, ethics and respect for all participants. Every activity from sports and board games, to friendly competition in the work force, fairness, ethics and respect for all participants can mean the difference in getting a promotion or employment.

 

A positive attitude.

For the students it is only the beginning of their journey, yet many of you know that it is a life long learning experience with many bumps along the road. To that effect I noticed many students saying that they are going to lose and would not even try. I then talked to them about another aspect that is part of all three sections, a positive attitude. Studies have shown that being positive has up to 80% of an effect on the final result. In other words if you think you are going to lose or fail, your already have.
When the students were being negative about their game, I then thought about how many adults do the same thing about their jobs, tasks, others or life in general. I then read a few studies about how having a positive attitude, or being happy can help to reduce stress and increase creativity. I found five things I would like to share with you on what you can do every day to reduce stress and have a positive attitude towards life.

  1. Enjoy at least 20 minutes of silence a day. Quiet time reduces stress and allows the brain to be in an optimal state of creativity. Meditation maybe in order.
  2. Give 5 hugs a day. Research shows that hugging can heal sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress.
  3. Read a book. Studies say that reading for 6 minutes a day can reduce stress by 68%.
  4. Laugh more often. Humour strengthens your immune system, boosts energy, diminishes pain, and protects from stress.
  5. Move your body. Staying active helps you feel better and clears your mind of negative thoughts.
I would imagine Elbert Hubbard was right, ‘Happiness is a habit, cultivate it.’ I plan to cultivate my happiness more starting today. Lets do it together.

 

Ailish Sinclair

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