Friday, March 2, 2018

Finding Joy

I'm attempting to write everyday in March. Today is 2/31.

Lately, I've been in a bit of a funk. Sometimes it seems that the negativity of the world is wearing me down. When that happens, I look for the joy. In the past few weeks I've been jotting down moments where my students exemplified everything I love about middle school students. I'm sharing those snippets of middle school awesomeness and just general happy memories here maybe to brighten your day as they did mine. Sometimes what we hear reported is the worst of human nature. I'm fortunate to see the best of it on a daily basis.

During the ALA Youth Media Awards announcements...

  • Lauren standing and cheering when The Hate You Give won its first award.
  • Alyssa asking me how the books would get their stickers on them.
  • Kassidy lamenting when Long Way Down won its first award, "Will my name ever get to the top of the waiting list? I want to read that." (Side note, she is now doing just that.)
  • Huge applause during the Printz for Long Way Down (along with a cry of, "It didn't win?"), The Hate You Give, and Vincent & Theo (with a cry of "YES!")
  • When I explain to Taylor, a trombone player, that Trombone Shorty is based on a real person she grins and says, "Yep, I know all about him."
Book Love
  • Tera dances at her table telling a classmate about Red Queen and how much she loves it.
  • My fourth hour gasps as I shared the below message that Lynda Mullay Hunt posted on Facebook.

  • The crowd that gathered around my window when I posted the March Book Madness brackets with shouts of, "Hey Mrs. S - are we voting in this like we did in 5th grade?" And the cheers of "YES" when I say we will be.
By Tuesday of this week, even though I had been on a mission to find my joy, I was a bit discouraged. I believe that I am an optimist at heart. I look for the good in others. I try really hard to be a good person, though I know I often come up short. Tuesday was my birthday. I began the day in a bit of a funk. I felt sad that I couldn't depend on a few people I had thought I could. That I had apparently offended some folks and they chose to talk to others about it instead of just asking me. I worried about a world where the truth doesn't always win the day. And then, I rallied. I received birthday greetings from friends old and new. My husband sent me flowers. My students sang to me. And I received messages from students - current and former - like this one:

I had this student five years ago. She completely made my day. Then I headed over to Facebook and read this article (HERE). Tears of laughter streaming down my face. 

I went to bed on Tuesday rejuvenated. I can't please everyone. I can't even make everyone in my town, or the country, see other perspectives. I can't control what others say, how they act. But I can control myself. I can continue to live in a way that my actions match my words. That I treat others the way that I would want to be treated. And my student reminded me that the kids are watching. In that simple message, that took her only seconds to send, she restored my faith in humanity and I found my joy once again.

Wishing you all a joy filled weekend. Happy Friday!