Staying Positive

I remember as a young girl that I’d wake up every morning thinking of at least one thing I looked forward to that day. As I grew up, of course, those look-forward-to moments became more sophisticated. Well, maybe. It might be who I’d play with after school, a special subject we were studying, 4H sewing with Mom or Grandma Lubbinge, not having Latin that day (sorry Mr. Van Vugt, I learned a ton I still use today but Latin was hard!), cheerleading practice, a date with Alan, a family outing, watching our sons in their activities, … You get it.

I also remember being in our childhood, upstairs bedroom listening to the radio. The speaker warned against ‘telling the same story’ over and again. By the story, she meant a complaint or negative aspect of ones life. She explained that the same old story is something no one wants to hear yet again and does nothing to solve an issue.

As a remedial reading teacher, my colleagues and I were dealing with challenging learners. I concluded that I would teach and expect miracles each and every day. However, if they did not happen, I would not beat myself up.

A wise aide at MFB reminded me one day after listening to a conversation with yet another roommate that I didn’t need to retell the accident story. She subtly explained that describing something was reliving it in a way. I didn’t need to tell that story unless it was to show the good that came from it. THAT would be helpful.

Looking back, I fully realize that looking forward to ‘something each day’ didn’t make the test go away, the mundane studying less important, the inevitable girl-conflicts any less seemingly intense, the problem children angels, errant teachers or administrators any easier to deal with, or angry parent meetings any less wisdom-needing. Each of the challenging parts of the day was still as necessary when preparing or dealing with. In fact, as an administrator, most days I prayed for the Wisdom of Solomon because the stakes of not listening carefully or blurting out a solution came with such high stakes for students, staff, and parents. However, dwelling on them and allowing them to color my day was neither productive, healthy, or pleasant for those about whom I cared – or for myself.

Trust me, I realize days aren’t perfect. Trust me. A year ago I dreaded the morning routine each day I woke up. But, once I had stretched, exercised, washed up, gotten dressed, and transferred to my chair, I thought, “Well that’s not so bad. Now I can enjoy the day.” I used to roll into the bathroom to cath and start crying because it all seemed so overwhelming. I can now face the day, even getting up and in my chair about an hour earlier than I did this past winter. I don’t cry rolling into the bathroom any more.

I’m far from the first person to think these things or decide to stay positive. My former Supt., Dr. Ryan, wore an attitude lapel pin each day. One day I finally asked him about it. He smiled broadly, pulled a pin out of his pocket, and said, “Glad you asked, Collene. I believe one thing you have control of in your life is your attitude. Here’s a pin for you to remind you of that as well.” I still have that pin and have given some away myself.

In my first administrative job, I wrote out the following text that meant a lot to me. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think of such things.” (Philippians 4:8, NIV) I always kept that in my center desk drawer as a reminder. I realize now that it follows with, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (vs. 9) Those of you who know me well know also that I have worked and pray for peace.

Try something; start each morning this week while still in bed or in the shower thinking of one thing you’re looking forward to. I predict you’ll have a great day and even notice additional blessings.

Shalom, Collene

(Peace, but from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect, and full.)

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. April
    May 19, 2015 @ 15:05:27

    Collene,
    I really, really needed this today. Continued prayers for you and your family.
    Love and Hugs,
    April Hershey

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  2. Sue Ursprung
    May 19, 2015 @ 17:48:52

    Collene,
    I arrived home from work a few minutes ago, stressed over multiple aspects of the day. I turned to your blog and read “staying positive”. Thanks for the reminder. As always, sending all good wishes to you!
    Sue

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  3. Elly
    May 19, 2015 @ 20:55:23

    What a beautiful reminder to focus on what is important, truly important.

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  4. Lori
    May 19, 2015 @ 23:53:20

    Great reminders here Collene! Thank you! I hope to share these thoughts with my daughter! I especially like not retelling the bad stories which is like going thru it all over again! Wisdom! One of my favorite verses and i must check my thinking too! It also says where the mind goes, the man follows! I love the word Shalom too! It is complete! My bible also notes, nothing missing, nothing broken! What i wish for you as well! Keep up the learning and sharing!! Blessings!

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  5. Trish
    May 20, 2015 @ 11:32:54

    You have a beautiful way with words, Collene. Thanks for a much needed reminder.

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  6. Cheryl Becker
    May 27, 2015 @ 12:12:51

    Ouch…that fits me quite well! I can very easy slip into negative thoughts, 0-60 in a flash! I needed this reminder as well to always find the positive! Life hands us all things we would rather not experience…but to be able find that one positive thing…is not always easy! #pressingon

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