As I get older I get a little more
sappy reflective. I think that parenting does that to you. Surrounded by children for my entire career, I felt like I got where they were coming from. Now, having raised three kids, two who are still teens, I don’t think I ever really did. I no longer simply see the way they act in public and in a crowd of friends, I see the way they process the world a little more clearly. I see the way they respond to a day where they feel their teachers were not on their a-game. I’ve also seen my kids come home lit up with the energy they received from a teacher who was on fire and was able to design their class to spread that fire to their students. As you know, teachers have impact. Nothing new with this revelation, so where am I going with this?
Be gracious. Graciousness is the one constant that can help us deal with the ups and downs in our lives. Gracious in the secular sense means kind, polite or courteous. Gracious in the Christian sense means a little more. It means to be merciful, compassionate and caring. I’m referring to both meanings when I ask you to be gracious but, obviously, leaning more towards the Christian meaning.
One of the things we want from our kids is to be good citizens, respectful to all. If we want that in our kids, we need to model it constantly. When we are in a bit of a funk, that’s fine. Life happens on it’s own terms. Sometimes, things are rough. But here’s the thing, as teachers, we don’t have the luxury of being dour and negative, not to our students at least. We need to model grace, even in the tough times. Stealing the words from a good friend, civility costs nothing. She’s right civility does not cost us and the real gem . . . being gracious actually pays off!
Being gracious and kind changes our mood. That’s right, fake the positivity and there is a really good chance you’ll actually change your mood. And, as if by magic, when you are gracious in your life, it spreads! When you are compassionate to a child who is down, they in turn learn to be compassionate. Teachers, after parents, have the greatest single impact in cultivating the mindset of children. Powerful stuff!
So, I ask you, be gracious in your day. Students need you – you matter.
Keep on learning.