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Archive for April, 2016

You can disagree with someone and not call them names.

You can disagree with someone, not understand their position at all, and not call them names.

You can be screaming in your head at the position of another person in an argument, voice your disagreement respectfully, and still not call them names.

You can disagree with someone politically and still be their friend.

You can disagree with someone politically and still love them.

You can feel yourself getting angry during a disagreement, online or in person, and walk away to calm down because you don’t think as clearly when you’re upset.

You can wait to type a response to an inflammatory remark until you calm down or choose to ignore it because that relationship is important to you.

You can make your stand and let your opinion be known without looking like a jerk.

You can ask the other person why they feel the way they do to try and understand their position. It doesn’t mean that you need to change your mind; it’s to gain a better understanding of where the other person is coming from. Sometimes it’s a crap reason, other times will surprise you. Listen and learn.

Check your facts before spouting them. Don’t get riled up before you do your research. It just makes you look silly. We’ve all done it.

Don’t hurt other people on purpose.

Love one another, whether you’re liberal, conservative, religious, non-religious, a religion different from yours, gay, straight, Wal-Mart shopper, farmers market shopper, recycler or hoarder.

Self righteousness doesn’t look good on anyone.

Change the world for the better today.

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Last week, I got an email from the parent of a student who I had taught for two years, fourth and fifth grade. This child had been a delight, her family was supportive and amazing, and I will always have fond memories of them. If all of my students and families had been like them, I probably would have stayed in teaching.  I won’t show you the contents of the email, it’s private, but the gist of it was to show me how well this student was doing now and to thank me for being her teacher.  The thanks were profuse and overwhelming and beautiful.

I teared up. Immediately. I couldn’t speak for a few minutes, but I showed Marty Man and then quietly went on with what else I was doing. I went back later and reread it, but I was uncomfortable with those beautiful words. It took me, shamefully, a whole week to even think of something worthy to write back to them because I had to make myself sit down and do it. It wasn’t because I was too busy or I didn’t want to correspond with them, but because I have a really hard time accepting compliments and praise.

But then I thought about it some more. When I first read the email, I smiled and I felt honored and blessed to have received it, and that’s how I think they wanted me to feel. When you write somebody a wonderful, sincere, letter, you don’t expect them to get upset. You write it because you care about that person in some way and you want them to know that they mean something to you. You want them to be happy. If I wrote a letter to someone who meant a great deal to me, I would want them to feel happy when they read it and, like I said, part of me did feel happy before the self-loathing demons decided to rear their ugly heads. I was able to push past them and go back to that first happy feeling. (Accepting a nice compliment shouldn’t be this hard, should it? Anxiety and depression are very tiring sometimes.) After a struggle, I decided to accept what they had to say, cried a few happy tears, and printed out the email to keep forever in the fire-proof box with a grateful heart.

Aaaaand, that let me to thinking about other things. When was the last time you reached out to tell someone what they meant to you? A teacher, a friend, a relative, a neighbor? Someone who has no idea that they helped you in some way, someone who you regard highly? Tell them. Yep, that’s my challenge to you this weekend. Go out and tell somebody how they made your day, or your year, or your life. There are people who have gone out of their way for you at some point and you appreciated it. (If you didn’t appreciate it, shame on you!) Call them, text them, send them an email, send up a smoke signal, but tell them that in some small, or not so small way, they helped you along and you want to thank them. The world needs more positivity and love. Heck, we’re dealing with the crudest, most crass, vilest political candidates that I can remember (one in particular), there are terror threats everywhere, and the comment sections of the internet are filled with scary people, so don’t be like that. Telling someone what they mean to you is a nice thing to do and could just make their day. Who knows? They could turn it around and pass it on to someone else and so on. Will we change the world? Probably not, but we can make it a more pleasant place to be.

Do I truly accept every nice thing that that parent said about me? Well, maybe not. I do what I do the best way that I can, but I’m at the process point now where I can feel content that they think of me in that way. It’s a nice feeling. Now go pass it on to somebody else. Tell me about it in the comments section. I love to hear from you!

A presto…

 

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