The holidays are officially over and a new year has begun. As is the case for many of us, this is the time of year to reflect and establish goals in order to continue our path of growth.
I have noticed that many educators have identified one word as the foundation of their efforts for the upcoming year. So, I am of course jumping on the proverbial band wagon and letting you know that my word is JOY.
Those of you that know me well, may not be surprised by this. As I look back on older posts ( yes, dropped the ball on my blog writing!) I have written about the topic often. What may surprise you however, is the real reason I am choosing Joy for 2018 is because joyful people are strong people. In the words of Mother Teresa – Joy is Strength. And if you work in education, you absolutely and unequivocally need to be joyful . We juggle components of the ever-changing landscape of education and that in of itself can be quite a mountain to climb. However, the real challenge lies in witnessing what some of our students experience. We have students who have gone through more hardships at the age of 5 than I have in my entire lifetime. There is abuse- both physical and verbal, drugs, foster care, incarceration of parents, divorce, bed bugs, and the list goes on.
If you purposefully choose joy day after day and it truly lives in your heart, it is untouched by circumstance. It’s root is gratefulness and it’s measure is strength. This is what I am striving for. Some of the most joyful and strong people I know have conquered cancer, escaped toxic relationships, endured and survived physical abuse and homelessness. These hardships did not steal their joy. I am not saying it didn’t knock them down, but it certainly didn’t keep them down.
This past week I watched as one of our students proudly sang on stage in a beautiful dress bought by her social worker the night before after being removed from her home. This child, who has endured much was joyful. I want to model that for others. There is always light in the darkness.
We owe it to ourselves and our students to be filled with joy and strength.
My question to you is, what will you choose?