CHOICES. We make them constantly. Coffee or tea? Pants or shorts? Oatmeal or cereal? Expressway or local roads? Soup or salad? I think we are bombarded with so many choices every second that we don't even recognize that some other things ARE a choice at all.
As a teacher, I talk a lot about choices on a daily basis:
Was it a good choice to push your classmate?
What might a better choice have been?
Because you chose not to do your homework at home, you can choose to make it up with me at recess or after school. It’s your choice.
Was it a good idea to choose to listen to your neighbor during the math lesson instead of me?
We constantly remind kids, “YOU are in charge of YOU.” We attempt to train them to make positive choices and to take responsibility for their actions. But we don’t always follow that advice.
When I’m frustrated about school, it’s tempting to play the Blame Game. My job would be easier if…
…their parents cared.
…if the kids had better manners.
…if I had more help in my classroom.
…if I made more money.
…if my principal supported me more.
BLAH BLAH BLAH.
At a fantastic workshop I had the privilege to attend this summer, the presenter talked about the idea that, just as we need our kids to own their actions, thoughts, words, and feelings, we need to take responsibilities for ourselves too. She told us to constantly remind ourselves,
I am in charge of ME.
NO MORE EXCUSES.
No more making excuses for ourselves or blaming our problems on exterior factors. It’s time to take control, accept the hand we’ve been dealt, and play it the best we can. I forget sometimes that I while I can't choose to have more support in my classroom, I can choose how I react to the situation I have. This speaker said we need to choose to STOP being frustrated in the classroom, choose to STOP getting angry when kids don't follow directions, and choose to love our kids and do our best every day. Even our feelings and emotions are really choices. Yes, things do happen TO us--but it's how we choose to respond to them that counts.
Because my lives in and out of the classroom have VERY blurry boundaries, today I’m thinking about this idea in terms of my running. And injury. And the fact that running and injury are two words that always seem to be in the same breath for me. Yes, I have a new injury.
And I’m not sure that my half-marathon goal in 1 month is going to happen. Or, even if I end up being able to run it, I'm not sure that it is a good idea. I will go into detail another time...but for now I’ve decided to take control and play the hand I’ve been dealt. I took yesterday to complain and wallow and cry. Today I’m turning over a new leaf. I am CHOOSING to make peace with this situation and CHOOSING to make safe choices for my body.
I am choosing not to blame my body for injuries, and instead to listen to it and give it the rest and TLC it needs right now.
I am choosing not to be angry, because that won’t heal my body.
I am choosing not to be stupid and run through pain, because that will only leave me with worse problems.
I am choosing to evaluate my running and training.
I am choosing to be at peace with the idea that this is just ONE RACE, and accepting that if my body can’t handle it right now, there will be others in the future. It’s not worth hurting my body.
Most of all, I’m choosing to be happy.
^In the end, it’s this choice that matters most. I don’t have to like my situation, but I am choosing NOT to wallow in self-pity and regret and “it’s the end of the world”-style drama. I’m choosing to stay positive.
What important *choices* have you made lately?
How do you choose to stay positive when things are rough?