Saturday, December 31, 2011

'Tis the Season?!

Giving is one of the most important things we do.....and as educators, we know the spirit of giving without seeing immediate results is ongoing.  So how can we impact others during other times of the year, not just during the holidays?  How can we spread the word and encourage others to 'pay it forward' as we try to do daily?  At a recent holiday party, I was lucky enough to be in a discussion with two very intelligent ladies.  One is a grandmother and the other an educator as well as a mother.  We talked about Random Acts of Kindness and how we want our kids and grandkids to be a part of doing things for others.  A list of suggestions was then shared and from there......

We will see what 2012 brings!  My daughter is so excited as we read through the list of suggestions.  She likes the thought of a family renting a movie and finding microwave popcorn taped to the machine.  And what will that librarian say when our books are returned with a surprise $1 bill inside?  I am even more excited about our future works than I was on Christmas morning!  Our plan is to do at least one random act of kindness each week--that makes 52 in the upcoming year.  Doable?  You bet! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What are you making? What are you giving?

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Each Christmas season, our school nurse takes on the burdens of others and sends out letters to needy families, inquiring if they need help with gifts.  Many of our school staff members choose to participate in helping others as well as our local churches and community members.  It always amazes me how people 'step up' and want so much to make sure that all kids have a merry holiday season.

This year, I sought out one student that I knew would need an outfit for the upcoming winter concert.  So, along with another teacher, we found a typical outfit that we would purchase for our own kids.  The shoes, tights, even the little hair bows and shoes that make an outfit complete.  We gave it to her teacher and at the end of the school day, the student happened to stop by the office on the way out the door.  If I hadn't been in the doorway, I'm not sure I would have experienced such a wonderful opportunity.

"Mrs Nelson," she sternly directed towards me, "Did you let Santa Claus into the building this morning?!"  I looked at her with wide eyes and assured her that I had not seen anyone in the building.  She went on, "Well he brought me a special outfit for the concert and it is so pretty!"  I told her I could not wait to see her all dressed up for the concert and encouraged her to go home and try it on for her mom to see.  She had a HUGE smile on her face and bounded down the steps, on a mission to get home.

Wow.  How cool is that?  Sometimes we give and do not get to see the reaction.  Other times we give and get a negative reaction.  How can we help our students and kids understand that giving is one of the most important things we do as humans?  How can we help students understand that as adults sometimes our way of giving is in the form of discipline or structure?  And most importantly, what kind of life are you making?