Remember to focus on the victories in the midst of challenges. We get to choose how we program our mind. Will you program it for failure or success?
What you condemn you continue. Focus on where you want to go rather than what you want to get away from.” ― Alan Cohen
Challenges are inevitable. How we respond to them can save lives.
Our puppy almost died. Ten days felt like an eternity as my husband and I provided around-the-clock intensive care to our precious black puppy who no longer wiggled with joy.
It all started on a Tuesday morning at 7:00 AM. I stepped out of the back door on my way to school only to find our little, solid black puppy stiff legged, shivering, and hump-backed. What in the world? Immediately, I knew something was wrong. I phoned my husband.
Later in the day, my husband took our puppy, Noble, to the vet clinic. The prognosis: He ate something toxic. He has a tummy ache. They prescribed medicine, rest, and special food. They also admitted that they were a bit stumped by Noble's symptoms. They reassured us that he'd improve with the medicine.
At about 1:30 AM, his symptoms progressed and he digressed. He could no longer stand. He lied in my husband's lap like a limp overcooked noodle. We had given him his medicine, but he continued to spiral downhill. His breathing became labored, and he began to yelp in pain. At that moment, my husband scooped him up in his arms and carried him to the car. He drove our pitiful puppy to the emergency vet clinic.
That one decision saved his life. If my husband hadn't have gone at that moment, Noble would have died.
I can't help but think about how important our job is as an educator. Just one decision can impact our students' lives forever. Just one decision can save our students' lives. Our students come to us with so many extraneous circumstances. We get to choose to really lean in and listen. We get to choose to find out their true needs and meet them. That is why it is so important to rid our minds of toxic thoughts that rob our focus.
Noble was immediately hooked up to IV's filled with antibiotics. Ironically, the veterinarian that saved his life was Dr. Nobles. After two days at the vet clinic, and thousands of dollars later, (We always vowed we wouldn't spend that much money on a pet and then... we did.) we got to bring home our limp puppy. He was diagnosed with tetanus which is extremely rare. His entire nervous system was kaput. How did Dr. Nobles figure it out? She had experienced the symptoms with other dogs in a different state. It was her first case where we live.
Again, this got me thinking about our impact and importance as an educator. When we don't have the answers to help our students we've got to seek out others with more experience to help us meet the needs of all students. It can save their lives.
When we returned home with our precious prized puppy, intensive care began. He required assistance to eat, drink, and stand to pee. He lied limp for days as we held him up to do basic life sustaining activities. We were exhausted!
Isn't it like that in education? We do whatever it takes to help our students. We spend sleepless nights problem solving ways to reach a challenging student or help a family in need or get special services for a student that desperately needs them, and the list goes on... Educators care exponentially. Educators get exhausted.
Ten days later, Noble stood up, wagged his tail and licked us! Hallelujah! All those sleepless nights paid off. Our family had not only invested dollars, we had invested our time and our lives for our puppy. We took turns caring for him in shifts relieving each other of intensive duties. We had laser focus: we only cared for our puppy. The housework and yard work had to wait. We were victorious and thankful. Noble improved two weeks faster than predicted. We were given a miracle.
Isn't it crazy how quickly we forget the miracle, the victory? This morning, Noble was limping and I was upset and concerned that he couldn't walk correctly. I felt anxious. My mind flooded with toxic thoughts.
I had to pause. I intentionally took the time to detox my mind. Instead of being unhappy with his progress, I focused on how far he'd come. He was walking and eating independently when just two weeks ago he nearly died. I had to stop thinking the worst and start being grateful for growth.
As an educator, I need to pause when I get dissatisfied with my students' progress. (Which can happen frequently.) I've got to remember where they've come from. I've got to focus on the victories in the midst of the challenges. Focusing on their progress doesn't negate the direction they need to go or the goals that we've set for them, but it does help us to enjoy them, enjoy the journey, and be mindful that we have much to celebrate on the journey.
So just like the journey with our puppy, I choose to look at that growth and progress my students have made. It will detox my mind while exhibiting positive vibes and behavior toward my students. They'll continue to improve quicker with my positive attitude opposed to obsessing about what they still can't do.
For our students' sake and all the people in our lives, lets be STRONG and take control of our thoughts. Let's work to evaluate the root of our angst and exhaustion. Let's take care of ourselves and harness our toxic thoughts. The following are five ways to begin.
5 Steps to Detox Your Mind
“The more you choose to focus on the positive, the more positive will come into focus. The choice is yours.” -Charles F. Glassman
Remember progress over perfection.
Focus on the triumphs not the trials
Set goals and be intentional about working toward them. Take baby steps, one day at a time.
Get outside. Take a walk. Soak up the sun.
Remove negative triggers.
“When you want something to move out of your life, don't focus on it. Give attention to what you want.” -Hina Hashmi
“Today focus on the qualities you like about yourself, focus on the good friends and family members you have around you. Feed today with gratefulness. What you focus on, I believe, will remain constant in your life.” - Micheline Jean Louis
Have a great day!
You make a difference.