My Leap List

Monday, February 20, 2012

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Peanuts

     I love this title!  It pretty much sums up my life, and the fact that it was a birthday gift from my brother makes it even more perfect.  This book of wisdom pairs up a lesson on the left with an example cartoon from Peanuts on the right.
     One lesson is "How to Eat Ice Cream" and shows Snoopy and Woodstock eating ice cream together on top of Snoopy's dog house.  Snoopy says, "I always have the vanilla on the bottom and the chocolate on the top."  When Woodstock answers, Snoopy replies, "You like to have the vanilla on top and the chocolate on the bottom?  That's interesting.  It takes all kinds to make a world."  What a wonderful world it would be if we could all see that we like different kinds of ice cream, but it takes all kinds to make a world.         

Sunday, February 19, 2012

43 Revolutions

    This week marked my forty-third revolution of the sun.  Each revolution spirals me back a little older and wiser.  Life is always a surprise around here.  I never know what will be ahead, but it is always a grand adventure.  I am even learning to feel comfortable in my own skin and loving the imperfect me.
     To celebrate, I completed forty-three acts of kindness for all my fellow traveler's on this revolution.  So many wonderful friends took up the challenge and spread loving acts of kindness into the universe for the best birthday ever.  They made cookies for another family, befriended someone sitting alone at lunch, accepted undeserved criticism with grace, paid for a young girl unable to afford to go to a music summer camp and a student who couldn't afford to take a class needed to graduate on time.  They provided food for boys at a wrestling meet, took co-workers out to lunch, volunteered time to help register new students, were more genuine with their students, and switched schedules with a co-worker so she could go back to school.
     The following list is an act of kindness for each of my revolutions, but as my daughter says, if it is tl:dr (too long; didn't read), then the epiphany is: Be nice to each other!

  1. Used my free period to make school easier for some kids in study skills.
  2. Counseled kids about their grades for another team of teachers.
  3. Built a website for three teachers.
  4. Made blankets for children with cancer at the local children's hospital.
  5. Volunteered to do two assignments for my team when everyone was having a rough week.
  6. Provided treats to make a difficult meeting a little bit better for everyone.
  7. Listened to a friend's problems even though I was really sick and wanted to go to bed.
  8. Gave treats to kids for having all of their assignments turned in for a month.
  9. Presented to a roomful of principals as a favor for my principal.
  10. Taught two classes for free.
  11. Presented to English teachers in the district.
  12. Donated money to a student so she can be a student ambassador this summer.
  13. Let another teacher use my room after a student was sick in his room.
  14. Helped a friend when she was really sick.
  15. Agreed to take a new position at work because it will help more kids.
  16. Sent a kind e-mail to smooth hurt feelings. 
  17. Helped people see in a new way.
  18. Created a lesson for three teachers.
  19. Gave up several class periods to help students with projects for other classes.
  20. Let a cute future teacher interview me for her assignment for 2 hours on a Friday night.
  21. Planned fun activities for intervention time at school.
  22. Taught a six-week class because no one else could take it.
  23. Did something for a friend that he forgot to do himself.
  24. Listened to a woman going through a hard time, even though we aren't friends.
  25. Registered future students for three hours.   
  26. Stayed up late talking about philosophy to a girl on her own revolutions.
  27. Helped students struggling with an assignment for another class.
  28. Organized a folder with a new teacher for his evaluation this week.
  29. Met with new teachers to help them with their needs.
  30. Spent lunch time listening to a student going through a hard time.
  31. Helped two new teachers with students. 
  32. Signed up as a mentor for student writers.
  33. Created a project that helped my students take pride in their thinking.
  34. Stayed for an extra hour after school for three days to help students with homework for another class.
  35. Listened to every person present their vision boards, even though everyone else left when they were done with their own presentations.
  36. Let a friend use some of my ideas to help her with another presentation.
  37. Recorded the chapter of the textbook for struggling readers and their teachers.
  38. Gave templates and suggestions to help some teachers with an upcoming lesson.
  39. Proofread a friend's paper for him.
  40. Gave someone another chance.
  41. Made a sick girl smile and feel a little less alone.
  42. Inspired others to do acts of kindness the past few weeks.
  43. Let someone vent at me for days, even when none of it was my fault.  
Thanks to Robin Bomar for the inspirational idea!      

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Birthday Bonanza of Kindness

For my birthday, I decided to follow Robin Bomar's example and do 43 acts of kindness in the three weeks before my birthday.  Then I challenged all my Facebook friends and family to do acts of kindness for others sharing the planet and post their results on my Facebook page.  Here are the results of our kindness.

My Acts of Kindness  
  1. Teaching another teacher's class for her during my free period.
  2. Counseling another team's students on grades during my free period.
  3. Helping another teacher put assignments on the website.
  4. Making blankets for the kids with cancer at the children's hospital.  
  5. Doing the assignment for my team when everyone was having a hard week.
  6. Buying treats to make a difficult meeting a little better.
  7. Listening to my friends' problems even when I was really sick 
  8. Planning fun activities for students that had their grades updated
  9. Meeting with all of the elementary principals to explain a new reading program for my principal
  10. Teaching two classes for free and then paying to attend the event
  11. Presenting to all of the English teachers in the district for a friend 
  12. Paying $20 I can't afford for a student so she can be a student ambassador this summer
  13. Offering my classroom to another teacher when a student got sick in his room
  14. Helping my pregnant friend when she didn't feel well
  15. Taking a new position at work because it will help more students
  16. Writing my words and managing to write what others needed to hear
  17. Creating a lesson for the history teachers and making all the copies they needed
  18. Helping my students do a project for another class even though it took several days away from mine
  19. Spending 2 hours being interviewed by a future teacher about how to be a good teacher
  20. Planning a fun activity with food and books for intervention activities
  21. I agreed to teach a class I didn't want to teach because they needed help
  22. I did something for a friend when he forgot to do it himself
  23. I listened to another teacher who was going through a hard time.  Her husband left her and she is raising 17 kids
  24. Spending 3 hours registering new students on a night I had tons of homework
  25. Doing the team assignment even though I was busy because they had a busier week
Other People's Acts of Kindness
  1. Making cookies for a family
  2. Sitting by someone at lunch that struggles with social skills
  3. Accepting criticism with grace, even though it was undeserved
  4. Paying for a child to attend a summer music camp
  5. Providing lunch for all of the kids who didn't get lunch at a wrestling meet 
  6. Paying for a student to take an online class so they didn't have to postpone graduation
  7. Volunteering time to help students register
  8. Taking co-workers to lunch and paying for it
  9. Being genuine with students

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Time for Letting Go

     I am not naive enough to believe that there are still happily-ever-afters and riding off into the sunsets, but I do believe in love.  Still.  After all the heartbreaks and betrayals and loss.  It is who I am.  I am an eternal optimist.  I believe in the best in people.  I believe in a world that will come to its senses before its destruction.  I believe in people choosing to love one another through everything.  I trust in a world that rejoices in the dawn of a new day.  Just because it didn't happen for me doesn't make it less true.  Without that, life is meaningless.  What hope do I have for my children?  How can I fight so hard every day for a world that has nothing to fight for?  It is no wonder depression surrounds you and suffocates the ones who try to get close to you.  This is your reality and years spent with me have done nothing to change your world for you.  No amount of love or time or prayer changes this for you.  I can't live there.  I won't survive this view with you.  It is time for me to see what I want instead of what I do not want in my life.  A subtle change that would have made all of the difference had I been strong enough before.  A time for letting go.