Amazing Kids

Amazing Kids

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Living Up To Your Reputation

Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.
William Shakespeare (Found on brainyquotes)

Reputation. We all have one. Sometimes it is well-deserved and sometimes it's because of how we're perceived. And sometimes it's just because everything is relative.

I think I'm viewed in my building as a "go-to" person when someone is looking for a book recommendation. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me for a recommendation or a book loan just this school year! Students from last year have asked me, teachers from other grades, and parents, too. And they're asking for all ages; from early reading to high school and even adults! 

Here's the weird thing. I don't see myself as an individual who knows enough about what's out there to have "earned" this reputation. I could name many folks who definitely are "that person", but it's not me. As a matter of fact, I know there are so many exceptional books of which I am totally unaware that sometimes it completely overwhelms me. Puts me almost in a panic mode.

On the other hand, I DO have to say that in the last couple of years my reading had increased exponentially. I thoroughly enjoy reading these wonderful stories and passing them on to my kiddos and to cohorts. And pretty much to anyone who will listen. I know especially about new titles somehow, which I love!

With this growth in reading, I often wonder what it would be like if I had started avidly reading at a much earlier point in my life. What would my life be like now? How would my two daughters view reading differently?

So I asked myself this question: "If I could have a "do-over" in order to have truly earned and actually live up to the reputation that somehow came my way (in my building, anyway), what are some things things that would have happen?" Here are some of the answers:

  • My parents would read to me daily, and I would read to my daughters daily. So much could be said about this. However, suffice it to say that often times people TALK about reading to their kids but don't actually READ to their kids. 
  • I would value reading as being a worthy end to itself. When values are higher for being productive than for reading, a person's life is going to move in accordingly unless (or until) something jars things aright. Unfortunately, I still struggle with this. Fortunately, the struggle is much easier now than even a year ago.
  • I would use what I read to spur me to write. I have found a kind of joy or therapy or something in writing; that has sprung from reading. Often the lyrical prose made by an author have lit something in me much the same as wonderfully performed music.
  • There would be more contact with authors and publishers. Somehow books and authors and publishers had this non-personal or academic persona. It finally hit me that books are written by people and published by people. Since I'm a "people," that should shift my perspective. Yeah, sometimes I wonder how I could miss the obvious.
  • My daughters would be exposed to more great books. No explanation needed, I suppose.
  • My house would be even messier. That would be okay. 
  • People who work at the library would know me by name. That would be cool. They'd probably break into song, like in "Cheers."
  • I would be a better person. My daughters would be better people, too. We're not awful or anything, but since this reading bug has taken hold, my empathy meter has risen considerably.
We obviously can't go back and have "do-overs." We can, however, keep striving to reach our best selves. We are never too old to stretch ourselves, to learn, and to grow. Hopefully, one day I will actually feel like a person worthy of being perceived as a great source for any kind of book recommendations. For now, though, I'll enjoy the journey and keep reading!

What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Is there something you'd have a "do-over" on if you could? 

@benjamingilpin latest post:

@carmel_mcdonald post on homework!

Wasn't sure I was an Ashton Kutcher fan until this! I love what he has to say about "sexy."

Kid Snippets is the best! Especially with Josh Groban!!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

You Did What?

On Wednesday of this week I got up late and had a hard time getting ready for school. You know, one of those mornings when you're feeling a bit ADHD, doing things out of order, not finding "anything" to wear, and remembering things you should have done the night before.

I finally pulled into the school parking lot and guessed at where "my" spot was (under the frozen tundra), dragged my school bag into the building and hustled to my classroom, still untidy from the day before. At that point I reminded myself that today was an "early release" day, which means my kids get out an hour early so teachers can meet and collaborate. I was looking forward to the colllaboration time and working very hard at keeping my self-talk positive.

The day flew by, as Wednesdays typically do. About an hour before dismissal, one of my sweet girls walked over and asked, "Mrs. Gibbs, do you have your shirt on inside-out? Your seams are on the outside."

Without missing a beat, I confidently replied, "Oh, no, it's meant to look like this! Isn't it cool?"

As my student walked away, satisfied that she has the most hip teacher in the universe, I snuck a peek down. The pleats were on the inside, the buttons for the cuffs were on the inside, and the tag was definitely on the outside. Yeah, pretty smooth move on my part, right? My student was totally right and I had completely lied to her.

It was one of those moments I wanted to laugh out loud. Yep, there I was, all educated, stylish and together. Right! I can't tell you how many times since that moment on Wednesday I've relived our encounter and enjoyed another laugh (which, I might add, I need quite a bit these days, given our weather).

Now, normally, I would keep this kind of information to myself. After all, I think some people see me as being fairly put together and on top of things. I like to look my best and it boosts my outlook on life when I do. However, I was so humored by the downright silliness of the whole thing I had to share it or I would burst. I shared it with my kindergarten teacher friend when we went to reading buddies. Then I shared it with my principal and then my fellow fourth grade teacher and friend.

It was wonderful to laugh together at this unbelievably silly thing. It brightened my whole day. It helped me remember that life needs to have lightness and silliness, joy and transparency in our flaws. Life should not be all seriousness. We need to laugh - sometimes at ourselves.

Since we have, according to the groundhog, several weeks of cold winter weather ahead of us, I want to strive for looking for those moments every day that will keep me a bit more light-hearted. Maybe I'll make it a #nerdlution to find at least one thing in each day that makes me laugh - or at least chuckle - and pass it on. I'm thinking it will be a great strategy for making it through these next several weeks.

Have you found humor in your week? Are you able to laugh at yourself? Please share! You'll help us all have a brighter day!