Monthly Archives: December 2017

What Is Your Purpose?

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.” 
-Gautamma Buddha

I’ve been doing a great deal of reading lately on how having a purpose in life and how this contributes to our happiness, and in turn, to our longevity.  Having a profession where you actually feel as though you are making a contribution to society as a whole is a clear example of having a purpose. This can be well defined through just about any profession. If you are committed to what you do and have a passion for it, this will ultimately contribute to your happiness.

As teachers we know what our purpose is, and since we have chosen teaching as a profession, gone through years of schooling and have made a conscious decision that instead of enjoying early financial gain as you might see in other professions, we would instead be rewarded with nurturing the intellectual growth of our students.

I think that it would be safe to say that we all enter education because we have the desire to impart our knowledge and love of our subject matter to the kids in the communities where we teach. To not only see the intellectual growth in the year that we may have them, but also as they make their way through our colleagues classes as well. The point is that they will see our passion and maybe, just maybe, they will take with them when they leave a life long love for learning.

On the island of Okinawa, Japan, they refer to this as “ikigai”, or a reason for getting up in the morning. This reason, or purpose is what keeps us centered.

But what happens when external, or for that matter, internal factors enter into the equation and stifle the sense of purpose that we have? What happens when a profession such as teaching becomes “just another job”? I don’t know many teachers who have chosen the profession for the paycheck, and the ever present myth of having all of the time off is well, still a myth.

Where am I going with this? Recent events have shown me that although we may have a very clear sense of purpose, from time to time our resolve is tested and when a situation may set up roadblocks that cloud our purpose, or to question it, then it is up to no one but ourselves to balance things out and keep moving on a forward and productive path. Most times it isn’t our love for teaching, or our passion for what we do that comes into question, instead it is those other factors that prove to contribute to our downfall and for us to lose our focus.

So what do we need to do to regain or maintain the balance? The external factors in our life are sometimes easier to correct than those that are internal. Often times internally we do not have any say in decisions that are made that “mess with our mojo.” But we still have to keep moving.

I have some thoughts. One thing that has proven to be incredibly helpful to me is to have other things that you are equally as  passionate about and that you can share with others. If you are reading this, then you are well versed on my love for hiking and in turn, my blogging about it. You might also know about my love of building things, not so professionally, but a love none the less. These two things truly keep me grounded so I am not consumed with the daily drama associated with work.

Second, having a core group of colleagues that you can depend on is vital. Now I don’t necessarily mean people that we can just blindly bitch to one another about what we don’t like, but people who will listen and offer constructive advice and support as we meander through our daily work lives. Think about it-We sometimes spend more time interacting with our colleagues every day than we do our husbands, wives and significant others.

Teachers have a unique sense of community that in my humble opinion, can’t be matched by many other professions. We are not driven by money or other material factors, but instead the passing off to others a love of teaching and our specific subject areas. Think about the teachers that you loved the most. Why did you love them? What did they do in the classroom to convey their love for what they do?

Don’t get to a point where you don’t know why you get up in the morning.

 

 

More Serenity…

“Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.”
-Paramahansa Yogananda

For me, this is one of the easier Weekly Photo Challenges. Hiking in itself provides me with a high degree of serenity that can not be matched by any other activity. This is one of my favorite moments caught recently at sunset. The possibilities, not only in this post but the previous two serenity posts, are endless. The paths provided by each, both figuratively and literally, open doors for every person if you let them.

1127004

Serene

Whatever Happened To The Rules?

“Win or lose, do it fairly.”

-Knute Rockne

Last night my daughters hockey team played a team of thugs from West Hartford, CT. Pretty much from the outset of the game, they played dirty, all with the blessing of their coach. Although her team was losing badly, they kept playing hard, but fair. And even with this commanding lead, the team continued to deliver cheap shot after cheap shot to our young ladies, even breaking the nose of one of our players.

Earlier in the game, my daughter had been checked into the glass. She wasn’t really injured, but certainly could have been. As the game proceeded. she took several more hits, all without penalties on the opposing players. It was clear to me and the other parents in attendance that they game was getting out of hand. In the third period, my daughter took this cross check to the back of the neck and she went face first directly into the ice (see picture below). Finally a major penalty was assessed to the other team!

122248

Now I am under no illusion that hockey is a totally safe sport. But it is most safe when you play by the established rules and you have referees who enforce those rules. The reason I am writing this entry is because our players did not stoop to the level that this team started on. They went into the game with a high degree of integrity and sportsmanship that never wavered. Not even when the score was 6-0 and they were basically getting mugged left and right, our young ladies retained their composure and played hockey.

Were they frustrated? You bet. Were they pissed off? No doubt. Were they wondering why the referees weren’t calling obvious penalties? Of course. With all of that, they kept playing good, clean, hard hockey. These days, that is all I can ask for. They could have just as easily started employing the same cheap tactics that had been used against them the entire game, but they didn’t.  Even though they lost the game, saw the other coach ejected and took a beating, they ended up winning the game because they were the ones who walked off of the ice with their integrity intact. Not so much for the other team.

The First Hike Of December!!!!!

“While I relish our warm months, winter forms our character and brings out our best.”
-Tom Allen

The first hike of December!!!! As you probably can imagine, it was pretty cold when I started my hike this morning. Not frigidly cold (as it certainly could have been), but cold enough to where I couldn’t just where shorts and a t-shirt (my favorite hiking attire). At 22 degrees, this was one of the coldest mornings that I have hiked this year. With no wind blowing, although it was chilly, it made the hiking easy.

122017

A frosty way to start the day!

122016

122012

122003

2017 Mileage:

12/2/17-6.4-349.32

The Calm Before The Storm…

I usually get to school around 6:30 am every day. At this time it is pretty much guaranteed that I am the only person walking the second floor where I have been situated now for almost 11 years. Within an hour, this same hallway will be swarming with teen angst. A diverse cross section of humanity waiting for the day to begin, waiting to see what the day will deliver. Sitting next to their lockers, they talk about their day, their classes, their friends and the weekend. As crazy as it sounds, the energy that the kids give off is infectious. That is why working in a high school is the best job you could ask for.

WP_20171201_006

Truly the calm before the storm.

WP_20171201_003

The walk into the building.