When the novelty of the new school year wears off, it’s a good time to begin collecting happiest moments. I became a collector this summer at Ollie’s, my favorite frozen custard shop. I planned to order a side of salted pecans to use on future ice cream sundaes, but I was feeling extra hungry so I asked the server to “make it a double.” I was thrilled when, after paying, he handed me a container of pecans four times the usual size. Was it Ollie himself serving me? My eyes widened. “Wow! Thank you,” I said. I walked to the car thinking this is today’s “happiest-so-far-moment”.
Since then, I have been on the lookout for happy moments such as the expression on my daughter’s face when she meets a challenge, a phone call from an old friend, a walk with my husband or the chance to lend a hand to someone in need.
There is so much bad news in the world today that we need to be intentional about focusing on the good. Too many kids (and adults) wait for big occasions to be happy. Teaching students to seek out and celebrate happy moments helps them stay focused on positive events that are happening all around them, and it keeps us looking for them, too.
Be on the lookout. When you see something that makes you smile, proclaim it as today’s “happiest-so-far-moment”.
My favorite denim shorts are 16 years old. They are full of holes, but I cannot part with them. They’re just too comfortable. They’re a symbol of the freedom summer brings. They represent carefree summer days spent walking on the beach, riding my bike, or driving across town for vanilla custard covered in pecans and caramel.
As school begins again, summer’s sweetness starts to slip away. Days spent in the sand and pedaling down winding trails become a memory. Learning curriculum and writing lesson plans are the new norm. Yet it’s crucial to integrate summer things (or at least one of them) into the new routine to create a sustainable balance.
My summer thing is taking a walk. I need to end the day by putting on my shorts and walking around town. And not just for the exercise. The walk is time to clear my head and put things in perspective. It’s my time for me.
As teachers we often leave doing things for ourselves off of our to-do lists. We think doing more things for our students will make us better teachers, when in reality, neglecting ourselves makes us less effective.
How about you? As you begin the new school year, what’s one thing you can keep for you on your to-do list? Name it and claim it as your “summer thing” that’s too comfortable and too valuable to let go. Write it on your daily to-do list in bold letters. Your list isn’t complete without it.