Resolutions & Reflections: A Cautionary Tale

After decades of detoured New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve decided to spend much more time reflecting upon the lot that I have been given in life. I’ve found that resolutions, rigid goals, and haughty expectations left me in a cruddy place. So, I want to simply take a moment and reflect on the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me in the last calendar year, and then perhaps some gentle “grows” that I can mindfully apply to become the best me I can be.

Bow Tie Guy & Wife

So...last year. You see smiles but what I see is growth. I see pain and healing. I see overcoming. 2019 was a pivotal year in my life where I probably learned the most about myself, my loved ones, and the world around me. I entered the year shell-shocked, hurt, sucker-punched, confused, and simply lost in regards to my newly assumed role outside of the classroom. With so many possibilities and opportunities, I found myself trying to create a world that I could operate in - and have peace of mind, a sense of affect, and still feel like I was doing “Kingdom Work.” Reflecting upon last year (2019) makes me realize that life, just like teaching, is a marathon. In the classroom and in life, one has to always begin with the “end” in mind - which always seems to be the most difficult of tasks. I spent a vast amount of my “time currency,” something I had regrettably bankrupted myself of in the ten years I spent in the classroom as a teacher, doing everything in my power to better understand myself.

For one to be best utilized in this world means that one is an expert in one’s strengths and shortcomings - diligently shining bright where it comes naturally, and exploring areas of growth that may handicap one’s ability and will. I am so very blessed with family, a heart that can love and apparently be loved, and a soul that wants nothing but the best for all. The blessing of time that I had acquired eliminated any regret or desire to be back in a classroom during that time. I felt and still feel that one can’t pour from an empty cup, and that I needed to be still in a season where it should be permitted. Remember, life’s a busy race, but a marathon in the end.

Does it ALWAYS have to hurt to grow? It’s something I have always wondered...Change is unavoidable. In my classroom, I always held ATTITUDE in a wayyy higher esteem than APTITUDE. Attitude always seems to have the most potential to make change. I think that each day molds, manipulates, and manifests a person’s character sometimes for the better, sometimes the worst. Let’s just take it one day at a time. For each moment is all that we have been guaranteed. That’s why I feel that life is about 10% action and 90% reaction. I don’t know exactly what 2020 holds for me, but I know that as long as my spirit is good, my intent is warm, and my heart is full - it is poised to be a good one, leaving me better than I found it, without a defined resolution to check off.

If you are like me and resolutions leave you feeling overwhelmed, spend some time reflecting on what you want out of life-in and out of the classroom. Try to make one small change. Try one new thing. Invest in yourself as you pour out yourself every day for your students. DO NOT let yourself get worn down. You'll end up like I was, and trust me, you don't want to go there. Do whatever you have to do to make 2020 a year of growth, one step at a time. If you are in need of encouragement, ideas, a compliment, some professional advice, please reach out to someone-even us! If there's no teacher in your building that you feel like you can confide in/trust/get advice from, email me! Seriously, I know what it is like to feel alone on the island and it is no fun. I am happy to be in this little internet space and I'm wide open for lifting up other teachers and helping you be the best educator that you can be. -James