I’m huddled up at my desk attempting to warm up after about 30 minutes of cleaning off the cars. My son and I have two hour delays this morning, but my husband had to leave early to catch the bus.
So it’s still “early” on my time schedule – I would be just waking up normally in about 10 two-hour-delay-adjusted minutes. I’m taking advantage of those few minutes to write here, enjoy my coffee and breakfast.
I keep thinking about the idea of warming up.
Warming up from the cold.
Warming up to become spring.
Warming up to new ideas.
Warming up to prepare ourselves for exercising our bodies or brains.
The first two are about waiting right now, but the last two are about attitude.
I took a break from the routine with my students last week when I heard a multitude of grumbling. It is That Time of Year. I don’t know that it’s entirely the weather that does this, but I do know that this isn’t specific to my students in my school district. A kind of black cloud overshadows them and everything is negative and nothing is right in the world.
I couldn’t just stand by and not say anything at all.
The short version below is what I posted to Facebook about what I said to them:
There are a lot of great chances to learn and grow around you – from pretty much everyone you meet. But when you approach the world around you as “boring” and “stupid” because it hasn’t catered to your interests, you miss out on fantastic opportunities because you’ve tuned them out. And, worse than that, you may actually dull someone’s enthusiasm to the point that they just are no longer interested themselves. This, I told them, is really just sucking the joy out of others’ lives.
You don’t have to agree with everyone. You might not find everything you’re exposed to interesting. But, please, sure as anything, don’t be responsible for killing someone’s love of learning.
I reminded them to put something positive and constructive into the world – to find solutions to problems, not to complain; to encourage and build up rather than to crush the desire to learn and do better; to put good into the world instead of suck the joy right out of it.
I’m not sure if any of my words hit the mark, but remember that so much of what we get out of life is what we bring to it.
May we all be blessed with the appropriate attitudes as we go into our days.
While I was outside cleaning off the cars with nothing but the tinkling sound of falling broken ice hitting the ground to break up my thoughts, my brain went back to a conversation I’d had with my son in the car recently.
“Hey, Mom! Did you know that [insert Pokemon name] is able to do [insert fantastical Pokemon skill] when it evolves into [insert evolved Pokemon’s name]?!”
I was trying to drive in ickier weather than expected after musical practice to a restaurant for a fundraiser for a student’s family. I was tired and hungry and my brain was racing with a thousand things that needed to get done that night while Jason was gone for a meeting, not to get home until after both my and B’s bedtimes.
“What?” I asked, “I can’t hear you.”
He repeated what he had to say with equal enthusiasm just a little bit louder, but none of it made any sense to me and I couldn’t focus enough to even pick out anything more than it being about Pokemon.
“B, can you seriously just pause on the Pokemon conversation right now? I have to really pay attention to my driving right now.”
He looked disappointed as I glanced in my rearview mirror, but he nodded.
I was just as distracted when we got home though.
And I gave him the speech that I wasn’t really interested in Pokemon as much as he was, but that I was glad that he liked it.
Hearing that replay in my mind after the speech I gave my kids last week felt a little bit…wrong.
This seems to be the week for pointing out my shortcomings.
I may have jabbed at the ice on the car just a little harder with that in my mind.
I get lost in the details and forget to appreciate the enthusiasm of another human being sometimes — when my son’s going on and on about Pokemon or Minecraft or Tesla; when my dad is rattling on about some complicated math or philosophy book he’s reading; when my husband is attempting to explain the latest challenge that has been dropped in his lap; when my mother is catching me up on the lives of a multitude of people I don’t know.
I can appreciate the enthusiasm of my students for a thousand different things, but by the time I come home, I don’t know that I give the same appreciation to my family.
I’m. Just. As. Guilty.
It’s good some days that Mother Nature forces us to be alone in the quiet with our thoughts.
It’s good some days that I’m strongly encouraged to write my thinking down.
It’s good to know that even though it may take many more days before it warms up outside, I always have the chance to warm up inside to prepare my attitude for the day to come, for the ideas I’ll encounter, for blessings I have.