Tag Archives: faith

Reflections Jan 27, 2021

The girls are settling down. The house is becoming quiet. My headphones are playing some of my favorite songs as I build a writing playlist on Spotify. Earlier I wrote a poem for my personal challenge to write a poem in 100 different forms. It was poem 81, a haibun titled, “A Father’s Gift.

But the writing muse is still burning. I am not sure where this post will end up, but it should be good (it will be musical).

I am tired. I am tired on so many levels, from the perpetual cycle of hate expressed in our culture, to the perceived apathy of living from people around me. I could link to any number of news articles to reveal how much pure negativity there is in this world, but I am tired of viewing those stories. If I took a random picture anytime during the day, it would show people staring at their phones. As if the height of living is text messages and photos saturated with filters.

In some ways, life is pretty simple. It is who we are and what we do with our time. A simple concept, yet filled with possibilities. Maybe it is because I am just months away from my 50th birthday, but time is a constant force in my thinking. I swear I can hear the grains of sand when all is quiet. I still have goals and aspirations I want to accomplish… the time to complete those is running out.

Again, maybe it is because I’ve been living for 50 years but I know that love works. I do believe that we have the choice on who we are. We are in control of how we treat people. What I don’t understand is how we keep thinking hate and pain make this world a better place. What saddens me the most is how deep this has gone. How many kids aren’t loved by their parents. How mean we can be to someone sitting next to us. How easy it is to tweet venom.

I have faith, though. Love is more powerful. Love is strength. I know I can’t change the world, but I can build my world, my home, my life with the foundation of Love. That is a start.

And then there is the pursuit of dreams… if I could figure this part out… Would I like to make a living from writing? Yes, I would. Will I? I don’t know. Money is not the main goal of my writing aspiration, respect or recognition is. To know that when someone says my name, they consider me a writer, a poet. I understand that most of that falls on my shoulders. How I present myself to the world. I know I am a good poet. My words do make an impact for readers. Yet, I feel like the world views me as someone who has a nice hobby. And I don’t know how to change that…

A final note as I wrap up this informal and somewhat musical blog. Even in these troubling times, this life is wonderful. There is pain, troubles for us to overcome. That is what makes the next day better than today. Tell your friends and family that you love them. Have a good cup of coffee and turn up that jam and dance.

Because when it is all said and done, today is the only day you have. It’s worth living for.

2 Comments

Filed under Family, Life

Let’s be Honest

It is January 22, 2019. Even though almost all the schools around us are closed, we didn’t get a snow day. (It is cold, but the roads are clear and the snow just hasn’t started falling). I have tons of grading to do, some are late assignments because students won’t hand in their work. I just introduced a poetry unit for four sections. This is how I feel today.

This post isn’t exactly about my day though. This post is about the work it takes to stay focused on your goals. Especially when you know negativity is coming your way.

Let’s be honest, it is difficult to stay the course. It takes more than will power. It takes more than hard work. It takes courage. It takes faith. And sometimes it takes a wall to protect yourself.

OK, let’s go back to my day.

Poetry

I am going to guess that many of you reading that word had a negative response… just like my students. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am a poet. So, the next couple of weeks are going to be fun for me, to a degree. I will have to fight through the negative reaction almost all of my students will have. But, I think I can use this example to discuss how to withstand those moments in life when you face negative pushback as you reach for your goals.

The first aspect is to have faith. I know that when the poetry unit is over, most of my students will at least appreciate poetry. Even though, right now, they complain, I know what the outcome will be. (In fact even by the end of the period a few students said they enjoyed watching a performance of some of the poems).

Have faith in the end result.

Now the honest part is that sometimes we don’t succeed. We don’t achieve a specific goal. But that doesn’t mean you lose faith. Faith gives you a focus and builds strength to continue to strive toward your goals. That strength feeds your courage. It is going to take courage to face the hurdles while pursuing your dreams. And the toughest hurdle is negativity from the outside world.

That negativity takes on many different forms. Each negative hurdle has to be conquered in different ways. But you have to have the courage to do what it takes to overcome the negativity. Let’s be honest, sometimes we get knocked to the ground by difficult situations. It takes courage to get back up. And faith to get us moving in the right direction.

My final aspect for today is protecting yourself. And the best way to protect yourself is with Love. There are two parts to this idea.

First, love what you do. Sounds simple, but I see too many people, too many students, pursue goals that they don’t love. Love feeds into faith. What you love defines who you are to a degree. If you are pursuing goals that align with what you love, you build faith in the end result. Which then gives you courage to fight for it.  What we fight for keeps fuels our love for that goal and life. Yes, it is all connected.

The second part of Love is a little different. Surround yourself with people who love and care for you. Life is a team sport. For whatever reason, this world is filled with people who would rather see you fail than succeed. People who love you want to see you shine. Their protection is an important part of achieving your goals. Bring them in to your life.

Faith

Courage

Love

And of course,

Poetry.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Life

A Little Faith

This idea has been fostering in my head and heart for a while. And I am not sure if I have a clear path to develop it for you, but I will try. Like so many times before, different situations have presented themselves over the last couple of months and I will try to connect those dots to expand on the idea of FAITH.

 

I am not going to talk about a religious based faith, but the faith we have in people. Some readers might use the word TRUST but I will go to a deeper level.

 

In our relationships trust is the noun, faith is the verb.

 

On that note, let me share the life events briefly, and then I will connect them all together:

A workshop on equality in the classroom

Dr. Phil

Being a dad

Job Transition

An interesting mix, I know. There have been other smaller moments, but these four have presented serious examples for me considering the idea of Faith.

Workshop

A big moment in the workshop was the section for evaluation of our assumptions. We were presented with an arrangement of situations / questions like, “I assume a good student has a good reason to miss class, while a bad student does not.” Another example, “I treat all Christians the same.” The base goal of the workshop was to challenge our assumptions so that we create a classroom that allows all our students to feel welcomed in. This generated some hard discussions on how we handled situations. And not just for the classroom. People let us down. Students let us down. But do they let us down because we already expect them to? I’ll come back to this…

Dr. Phil and Fatherhood

Just so you know, yes, I watch Dr. Phil. Part of the reason is because he comes up with some direct statements / questions that hit straight to the issue. I will not go in depth about the episode but concentrate on a single question Dr. Phil asked. The episode was about parents who did not like the man their daughter married. Dr. Phil asked the parents, “So, you don’t have faith in how you raised your daughter?”

I have discussed this idea before in an earlier post (Trust Your Foundation), but the emphasis on the idea of faith in Dr. Phil’s question resonated this time. In my own parenting life I am at that junction that I have to have faith in my kids. Both of my boys are now teenagers. They are spending more time with friends, becoming involved in activities, and simply becoming men. Do I have faith in my parenting?

Job Transition

This last example has two components. Yes, at the time of posting this I will not have a job in education for the next school year, but that is a different issue. During one of my interviews I was asked what I expect behavior wise from my students, this was before the workshop (but I love how life will highlight a theme for us). I simply answered that I expect them to be people. I expanded on the idea that we are all works in progress but that I do my best to respect them as individuals and trust they will do their best. I acknowledge that sometimes students let us down, but you keep working toward being the best you can possibly be. Simple put, I try to have faith in my students. I’ll come back to this…

The second component of this example is the feelings I’ve been experiencing through this time of my life. It is normal to wonder what you did wrong or what you said that could change an interview in your favor. You start to think about past jobs and interviews just to compare and contrast the situations. Which brings me to the point of sharing this, I know how empowering it is when someone has faith in you. The late Mr. Monter had faith in me and he expressed that from the interview on. I contacted Mr. Monter on the last day that the English position at Centura was open. He could have said that the position was filled or that they had already finished inteviews, but he didn’t. He asked if I could have my application to him that day. I said yes and got an interview the next week. I thought the interview went well but was not holding my breath because I understood the situation. As I drove home I told myself that Mr. Monter had already decided on a candidate. I was right, but Mr. Monter called me on my way home to offer me the job. He was going to offer the position to someone else he told me. But he said something told him that I was the right person. Through the years working with Mr. Monter he expressed that same level of faith in me and my colleagues. That made us want to be the best teachers we could.

The Connection

In our relationships trust is the noun, but faith is the verb. When someone expresses their faith in us we rise to the occasion. Yes, I have let people down. Yes, people, students, have let me down. And it hurts when that happens, so we stop doing it. But when we stop having faith in people we start to assume, we start to build relationships on easy to fill boxes. We are all works in progress, but that progress is dependent on someone having a little faith in us. Thank you to everyone who has had faith in me.

6 Comments

Filed under Education, Family, Life