I know that I am super late this party, but to be honest, I have spent so much of my life on a school schedule, August is my New Year’s. I spend my summer break in reflection about my life as an educator, as well as the other roles I play. In January I tried to get on board with #oneword. I read other people’s amazing blogs, tweets and posts. I made a list of potential words, but I just couldn’t do it. Now I ready – #oneword GRACE!
As a middle school teacher, my students need grace. They are full of hormones and don’t know who or what they really want to be. They are challenging themselves, their parents, school leadership and the world. They fluctuate in a snap for reasons that neither I nor they can define. These are all things that I actually LOVE about middle school students. But, these things can still be exhausting and hurtful to our learning environment. In the most frustrating of moments, I need to extend grace. I want to focus on the WHY of the behavior, so I can navigate them to better options.
While I tend to be forgiving with my students, after all – they are just kids. I’m sometimes not so forgiving with the other adults in my work, social and home life. “How can adults act that way??” is a fairly constant refrain in my mind any time I watch the news or peruse social media. Our current culture seems to jump on any misstep. (Repeat after me: Everyone is allowed a bad day. Everyone is allowed a different opinion.) Although I will never be accepting of hateful words or actions, in all other situations, I must presume the best intentions. I need to model grace to others if I want them to value my views.
I’m a reflective person, in other words, I tend to beat myself up. I wake up in the middle of the night, playing situations over and over in my head, criticizing what I did or said. How did it affect others? What do they think of me? Why on earth did I do that?? I want to be a great educator, wife, mother, daughter and friend. I want to regularly cook healthy meals and keep my house clean. I want to live out my faith before others. I want to exercise, well maybe not want to, but do it anyway. If I am faltering in any of these things, which is ALL THE TIME, then I’m failing at life. So I need to extend and accept grace with myself.
Asking for GRACE:
I’m gonna screw-up! So I need to get comfortable admitting my mistakes and asking for grace. I need grace from my students, when I inevitably lose my cool over something stupid. I need grace when my fabulous lesson plan falls flat. I need grace when I get so busy that don’t see the needs of others. I need grace from my friends, family and co-workers when I’m negative, lazy or unaware.
Hence, my #oneword for the 2018-19 school year is GRACE.
In a slightly personalized version of Ephesians 4:29: Let no unwholesome word proceed from my mouth, but only that which is good for building up, according to the need of the moment, that it may give GRACE to those who hear.