Friday, January 24, 2014

A More Positive Outlook

The winter months in Michigan tend to bring not only snow and cold, but also stress and sometimes depression.  I personally found myself falling into a rut that left me with a “bad attitude”. 
            It is easy to fall victim to negativity in this society. Turning on the news or opening a social media site will give you many topics to become upset about.  Most of these issues are things that are completely out of our control, but it seems to make us feel better to get our emotions off our chest and hear that other people have the same feelings.
After realizing certain events had made me a victim of negativity, I realized I needed to make a change. As the New Year approached, I decided against setting the traditional New Year’s Resolutions: lose weight, exercise, save more money, etc.  I realized the one thing that would make this year better for me, and all those around me, is to be more positive.  I know… Easier said than done.
            But, then my husband shared a book with me called The Energy Bus, by Jon Gordon. He did a book study on The Energy Bus with his colleagues, and I saw the positive impact it had on him.  This book became the first step in my quest to become a more positive person. 
            The book provides the perfect analogy to help the reader understand they are the driver of their own bus. The type of energy you bring to your bus will determine the ride you have through life. The passengers you allow on your bus determine the attitudes you have along the ride and the productivity you will achieve in your quest to accomplish your goals.  
            I decided it was time to take over my own bus and drive those around me in a more positive direction. In what is likely to be the most challenging semester of my professional career, I decided that facing it with a negative attitude will not only make things more difficult for me, but will also have a negative impact on my family, friends, and students. 
            To become more positive, I started focusing on the things that make me happy. Family and friends, of course, but I needed something more specific to focus on. One thing I look forward to every day is the time I get to spend with my kids and husband after school. We set aside at least 15-30 minutes every night after dinner to doing an activity together, whether it is a seasonal craft, baking something together, or going for a walk. People often ask how I have time for all of these crafts and activities, but after reflecting on it, I realize that I don’t just do this for my kids, I also do it for myself. The time I share with them is more about keeping them occupied with new activities, it is time for me to escape from the daily stresses of life and just become a kid again with them, not worrying about hurrying from one thing to the next. This year, as I work to become more positive, I will continue to focus on these family activities to drive me through the day.
            I also realize the more positive I am in my classroom, the more positive my students will be.  Instead of constantly worrying about test scores and changing legislation, I am going to focus on making learning more enjoyable for them. There will always be laws and changes to complain about, but instead of letting those drive my attitude daily, I want to be driven by the light bulbs that go off when students understand a concept.
            I have so many positive things to focus on, both personally and professionally. I have realized that I am “too blessed to be stressed”. As we go through these long, cold, winter months, instead of becoming a victim to negative energy, I encourage you to try to find something positive to drive you through.