My wife and son, Elliot, are in the picture to the right. Elliot has been to the doctor's office twice this past week and honestly, I felt angry about him needing to go to the doctor again. I want him healthy. I want him to be off antibiotics. Moreover, I want all children to be well. After draining my frustrations on Amanda, she encouraged me to find the good in the hard times. She said, "Don't let your circumstances rob your joy." She helped me find the silver lining during this chapter of our lives. Elliot has a doctor who knows him well, nurses who understand him, friends and family who will do anything to help us when he needs help. We both have professions were we the have authority to take care of others. (Amanda is a nurse and I serve as a dean of students.)
Amanda's statement echoed in my head for hours. After our conversation I wondered, how many times have I allowed my circumstances to rob my joy? How many times have we, educators, been in the trenches and were swallowed up by our circumstances so much that we forgot the good things happening in our lives? I understand that finding joy can be more difficult at different times in our lives and I am not saying we should not voice our frustrations, but what I am saying is this...we need to be mindful of not letting circumstances dictate our joy or the joy of others. We are given an opportunity that many will never experience. I encourage you to use this break to find what brings you joy, hold it tight, and find a way to remember it when times get tough. It is far too easy to find ourselves in the fields of negativity. So, let's model for our students and colleagues how to find the joy in life.
Once I heard a elementary student proclaim, "we can always find one good thing in everything". The fact that a 2nd grader was able to profoundly share this speaks volumes into the power of being a child. Maybe we should spend time finding our inner child, cherishing that joy, and remembering it when our circumstances push us to our limits.