#26 become more tolerant

27 Feb

This world is extremely diverse: Republicans, Democrats, Tea Partiers, Independents, White, African-American, Hispanic, Asian, gay, straight, pro-choice, pro-life- I could go on and on. Over the years, and through my experiences (particularly within the past three years), I have become a more tolerant person. I am more aware of when people say things that aren’t necessarily politically correct and it does make me uncomfortable. I don’t think this is because they are racist or judgmental neccessarily, but rather they just don’t know any other way. If someone is raised a certain way and has certain beliefs, without certain experiences, their mindset is less likely to change.

I think an important aspect of humanity is to tolerate others. Not everyone will always be the same as you and believe what you believe- and that’s for the best. How boring would this world be if everyone thought and acted the same?! Yes, you are not always going to agree with someone, but it is so imperative that you attempt to understand their thoughts and actions. I appreciat my Teach for America experience and I am grateful for the people with whom I have interacted: fellow TFAers, my collegaues, and most importantly- my students.

Tolerance does not mean agreement; it simply means understanding and a mutual respect for another person. 🙂 Try it. With how the world is today, we sure could use more tolerance…in EVERY aspect. Check out more @ www.tolerance.org  There are some great articles on here that can be teachable moments and help to open your mind.

Today’s quote comes from a philosopher whom I enjoy:

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche


Choose to be great

17 Feb

This weekend was one of the best weekends of my life. I traveled to Washington, D.C. (for the first time!) for Teach for America’s 20th Anniversary Summit. For those of you unfamiliar with TFA, it’s goal is to end educational inequity and close the achievement gap. It was so powerful: I was able to connect with so many of my friends, both in LVV and those who are in other cities; I was re-energized and re-inspired after hearing the work of all the amazing alums who spoke; and my eyes were opened to other careers that I may want to pursue.

20 years. 1 day. by shay

This is the sign that greeted us as we entered the convention center. The people you see in the picture are just a few of the 11,000 (yes 11,000) TFA alums and current corps members. 🙂 To the sides were tons of boths of schools (both public and charter), graduate schools, and companies that were available for networking. I got ton of pens, post-its, and water bottles..in addition to making connections!

I am going to post some of the video clips that I found most inspirational that day- and there were so many amazing people who spoke. I am just going to post the three that are most profound…Enjoy! 🙂

http://vimeo.com/19908808 This is a clip of two TFA alums who are now Senators reflecting on their role in changing outdated policies so that our students can get the best education: Bill Ferguson and Michael Johnston

This is the closing reflection by Jeremy Beard: “Choose to be great so our children can be free.” http://vimeo.com/19909263

And the last clip is of one of the coolest things I have ever witnessed: John Legend (huge supporter of TFA) perfoming with KIPP DC orchestra. KIPP is one of the high-performing charter schools that are across the country. http://vimeo.com/19909406 

“One day all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.”

#331 ask someone to tell you their purpose in life

3 Feb

It seems like the eternal question that may never be answered… Why am I here? Just the other day in fact I was watching an episode of Greek and two of the characters had to answer that question for an assignment in their philosophy class. I’ve bought books about the subject: The Purpose-Driven Life & The Alchemist. I’ve never finished both…but while I am thinking about it, I may try to restart the former tonight. Whatever our purpose here has something to do with love, compassion, peace, truth, meaning, courage…maybe!

I personally have no idea what my purpose is…I think it has something to do with helping people. If I could just help people all over the world for the rest of my life, I would love it. I’m sure my actual purpose is not as broad as that endeavor though. 🙂

What is your purpose? Is that a question you have ever considered? I am interested in hearing your thoughts…leave a comment or reach me another way if you know how!

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.”

  ~Erma Bombeck


“To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.”

 ~Emily Dickinson

#93 put into practice three-seven habits for success

2 Feb

Aye! Today was a crazy day at my work my friends. The kiddos were all out of sorts today. It’s always something. Since it was a slightful stressful day at work, I am pulling todays get happy tidbit from the “Put your career on a happy track” chapter. We’ve all heard of the 7 habits of highly effective people, which I will list a little bit further down. It is suggested that we establish three new habits and then expand to seven. The following habits are listed in the book:

  • learn to manage your time and not waste it
  • be curious and have a desire to always be learning
  • practice self-discipline because your motivation and work ethic depend on it
  • always follow through and complete what you start
  • be of service to others
  • do the right thing, show your integrity
  • keep your word

And the 7 habits of highly effective people per Stephen Covey?:

  • be proactive
  • begin with the end in mind
  • put first things first
  • think win/win
  • seek first to understand, then be understood
  • synergize
  • sharpen the saw

Here are my habits (as of 6:28 pm February 3rd, 2011)

  • get work done when it needs to be done (no procrastination)
  • be purposeful with my words and actions
  • be nicer than necessary
  • focus on small positives and not the big negatives of situations

Make your list and post it somewhere (I’m about to write mine in my many journals and planners!)

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. “

~Albert Einstein

#39 list ten physical attributes you desire in a mate

31 Jan

So this is the first strategy under chapter 3 “attract and build happy relationships.” As tomorrow is already February- lets celebrate the month of love (hahaha). That wonderful holiday Valentines Day is upon us soon. As one of my students shouted out in class today, “oohhh I better get my girl something soon!” Yes Ricky, you better. Later on in class, one of my girls asked me if I had a boyfriend and when I said no, she told me I was lying (I’m not). So anyway, I chose this as today’s way to get happy because it will probably be funny + it reminds me of my youth when I made very, very, very specific requirements as to how my future boyfriends would be.  Also, the author notes that “law of attraction experts say that when you know exactly what you want, it is easier to attract it.” I just find it rather humorous that there are actual law of attraction experts 🙂

As I am thinking in my head, it’s hard to come up with 10 physical attributes, so I am just going to list 10 overall attributes. I don’t think I have a type per se…and any of the boys whom I have ever reallly reallly liked (can be counted on one hand, with not all fingers used)  are pretty different: both in looks, personalities, and actions. So anyway, here goes! 🙂

1. in some sort of good shape: skinny or muscular is best. Please just don’t have gross veins that pop out because you are too muscley ( is that a word?). Just have nice muscular arms I can hold onto.

2. contagious smile

3. caring attitude: you care  about me, yourself, and others (whether you know them or not)

4. manners: you best be holding the door open for me and blessing me if I sneeze.

5. understanding: sometimes I am a little irrational while driving or cooking.

6. smart: just know what’s going on in the world and have an opinion on it

7. driven: have some goals, whether attainable now or in the future, and have a plan to get there thanks.

8. trustworthy: pleaseeee do not lie to me about anything and hold no secrets back. be upfront from the get-go. I will be accepting more than likely…believe me.

9. happy: not like obnoxious happy, but just have a happy, content outlook on life. no negativeness.   🙂

10. height: sorry dudes, you gotta be at least 5’6”. Any shorter? No go…I can’t do it.

I don’t think I’m unreasonable in my desired attributes. However, while it was fun to make this, I think any list above ten gets a bit dramatic and you could be missing out on someone for some silly reason (no matter what wearing Ed Hardy will always be a legit reason not to date someone in my book though!). I also think that people can change (for better or worse) so as long as that is known, I think it is okay to veer a little from your list. Just remember though friends, love is blind….and some people just don’t change, no matter how much you want them to. Congrats if you already have a wonderful lover…and to all the singles in the world…good luck and God bless! 🙂

“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

#217 dance around your kitchen every morning as you make coffee

30 Jan

January was the month in which time escaped me! I have not blogged for quite sometime. I went back to work with the mindset of becoming a better teacher (and person) so I put a lot of time into plans that did not always succeed. My computer picked up a virus (eek!) so I was without a computer for a few days + $130 in the hole. I celebrated my 25th birthday, traveled to Denver, and finally bought a pair of Sperry’s (boatshoes!).

After quite a productive morning at Panera with my pals Shay and Cece, I have ventured home to organize, clean, and begin blogging again! I randomly opened my happy book and was pleasently surprised with the idea on the page: dancing around the kitchen!

I like this because of how versatile (and fun) it is. Waking up between 5 and 530 is not always the funnest thing for me to do… blasting music + dancing will be great motivation to wake me up! If you don’t drink coffee? do a little dance in the shower (be careful not to slip) or around your apartment. One of my best friends Erin and I would do a Friday dance when we would get to work last year. We would do a dance in the parking lot- not to any music, just to the chant of “It’s Friday, it’s Friday”- for about a minute. It was really fun. When I used to work at American Eagle, my friend Steckel and I made up a dance that we would do around the registers when we were bored. This dance later carried over to college, which my friends loved to make fun of me for!

Here’s my recommended dance soundtrack (of course dancing to no music or to your own singing is perfectly acceptable too):

1. “over” Drake  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lTB1pIg1y0

2. “turn my swag on” soulja boy  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yRme0C2pmI

3. “kids” mgmt http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fe4EK4HSPkI

4. “OMG” or “yeah” usher http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RnPB76mjxI or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiXbRBS5Z58

5. any 80’s  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btPJPFnesV4  (this one is dedicated to my SLF girls…we made up a dance to this one night many years ago)

Those are just some suggestions. Who cares what you dance to and who cares what your dancing looks like? I am well aware I am not the world’s greatest dancer, but I just dance like a fool and it makes it more fun. 🙂 

“Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

-Roald Dahl

#22 recite a prayer or make up your own

1 Jan

Happy 2011! 🙂

It has been observed that religious people tend to have healthier lives. This of course means you will probably be happier because you are healthy. Even if  you are not religious, you can still say a little prayer. “Watch over me” ; “Lead me” or “Thank you” are all little examples. When I was younger, I used to pray

“now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, and in the morn if I don’t wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” 

everynight before I went to bed. My ex-boyfriend used to pray the Our Father and  Hail Mary in Spanish before he went to sleep. I don’t necessarily recite a prayer before I go to bed, but I do pray before I fall asleep. I pray for general things and specific things, general people and specific people. However, I do think I am going to add a little Hail Mary in there from now on.

If you don’t know of any prayers? Simple, google prayers! Google has the answers to everything, including sample prayers. I think the important thing is that since its your prayer, pray it whenever you want or feel like it. Pray when you wake up, in the car, at work, before bed, before eating, once a day, once a week, whatever. I think as long as you do it you will see results. Maybe not the results you want, but the results that in the end are the best for you.

A common prayer seen at various support groups is the Serenity prayer. Simple and easy to memorize, with powerful words when you really consider them. I’ll post it below…until tomorrow!

“God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.”

And the extended version….

“God, grant us the…
Serenity to accept things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference
Patience for the things that take time
Appreciation for all that we have, and
Tolerance for those with different struggles
Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the
Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.”