Saturday, January 16, 2021

The Phone Call

This week, I received a call from a four-year-old, asking me to come to her house to give her a pencil and paper for her homework, since she didn't have any.

This week, I received a call from a four-year-old, asking me to come to her house to give her a pencil and paper for her homework, since she didn't have any.

Crazy? Yes, a little bit. It definitely caught me off-guard. This call came from the daughter of one of my refugee friends while here mom was at work (don't worry, grandma was there watching the kids). Pre-COVID, I would take these kids to the library every week for a little homework help/reading/enrichment. It's been 10 months since that happened, which feels like nearly forever! I've definitely kept in touch with the families, but since this particular family lives 45 minutes away, I have only seen them once since the pandemic started. This brief phone call made me think about several things:
  • This is the reality of some of our kids. They don't have pencils or paper at home unless we give it to them, and even then, sometimes it runs out or gets lost. I know this...but it hits my heart differently coming from a friend's daughter. We can't forget about these kids.
  • Internet safety needs to start young! I'm glad that I am a safe person, but I didn't love the idea of this preschooler initiating video chats on her mom's phone while mom was at work. I added this to my list of things to chat about when her mom wasn't working.
  • Kids are resourceful. As much as I was wary about her using the phone, I was also impressed that she found a way to advocate for herself and express her needs.
  • What we do matters. I don't know how this little girl remembered me and figured that she could call to ask for help, and while it could have been random luck, I truly believe that she associated me with going to the library for school stuff (for months, she even thought my name was "Library") and knew that she could call for help. Don't doubt that those little moments really do make a difference!
And finally...can't we end this pandemic and get kids back in school again? I know that day will come, but I can't help but feel impatient when I think about the learning environment of this kiddo compared to what I see in preschool classrooms around the district. Here's to hoping that day comes soon!

Sunday, January 3, 2021

#oneword2020 Reflection & #oneword2021

It's that time of year again where I reflect on my #oneword for the previous year and look ahead to a new year with a fresh word!

#oneword2020: VALUE

Last year, the #oneword I chose was value. I wanted to find value in my work, value the contributions of others, and live out of my values. Some years, the word I choose seems to be serendipitous, and show up in my life over and over again, and other years, I don't think much about it beyond January. 2020 was pretty much the latter. Along came a pandemic in March, and I didn't find or make the time to reflect and focus on what I had intended for the year.

That being said, I do think that I saw the word value play out in many different ways. The pandemic had a fantastic way of bring out what we really value in life and highlight what is important. I did find more value in my work as the year went on, and I was able to see more how I was/am contributing to my district. I won't say that I always did a great job of valuing the contributions of others, but I learned some good lessons in that regard and am continuing to work on recognizing how different ways of doing things can actually make us stronger. And, through the ups and downs, I continued to cling to my faith and the values that make me who I am. Maybe this word did work out in the end, after all!

#oneword2020: ATTENTIVE

This brings me to my #oneword2021: attentive.

I feel a little selfish writing this, but first and foremost, I aspire to be attentive to my own feelings and needs. One of my best coping mechanisms when I am feeling down is keeping busy. Obviously, that has been much harder as of late, and the blessing in disguise is that it has forced me to pay better attention to how I am feeling in the moment. Even as the world (presumably) picks back up again, I want to continue to be attentive to my own heart and needs as a form of self-care!

Beyond being attentive inwardly, I want to be attentive to what is going on around me as well. Is it just me, or is it really hard to engage and pay attention when everything is on a screen? I've seen it with students, and I've also seen it in myself! It takes so much self-discipline to be attentive in the moment, especially when you are sitting on the couch at home. I aspire to be present, give my attention to whatever is at hand, and not always feel the pressure to multitask a hundred different ways.

Finally, I want to be attentive to the world around me. There is a lot going on in society, and while no one can be an expert on everything, I want to make sure I am continuing to learn and grow. We are all here on this earth and in our specific circles of influence for a reason, and I want to find the right moments to use my voice to help others.

Attentive. I considered several other words that were similar, but I settled on this one because it really starts with me and what I am thinking about on the inside. If I can be attentive to my internal needs and the external world around me, I think that it will set me up for a pretty good 2021!