Monthly Archives: January 2015

Drills of Purpose

Photo Jan 16, 10 25 45 AM

Working in a public school system, safety drills are simply part of the job.  As a child, I clearly remember the shrieking blast of the fire alarm blaring through the halls, bright lights flashing, as we quickly grabbed our coats and headed out the door, single file, to stand half a football field away from the side entrance of the school.  Even to this day my body jumps at the sound of a siren or sudden blast of an emergency broadcasting system.

Today, we have more than just fire drills. It seems with the increase of severe weather and tragic events, we are always trying to be one step ahead in keeping our young charges safe while they are in our care.  Tornado drills. Earthquake drills. Intruder drills. Lock-down drills. Codes of every color, each with their own set of specifications for action.

Today was a drill day.

As the drill was announced, I helped a classroom teacher gather her students to the inside corner of our room, where we huddled on the floor, criss-cross applesauce, waiting for the all clear signal to be announced.  As the first minute passed, each child settled into their position while we continued to wait. And wait. And wait.

It’s funny what sounds you hear when you sit silently, even in the midst of twenty children. The hum of the fluorescent lights suddenly becomes an annoying mosquito, buzzing in your ear. The creaks of the building make your eyes dart much like playing the arcade game “Whack-a-Mole”… where would the next sound appear?

That’s when I heard the footsteps. Louder. Harder. Faster. Approaching. Silent. I felt my hands clench tighter in fists that formed without my knowledge as I waited for the next sound. My heart pounded, even as my brain tried to reassure my body that this was only a drill. Suddenly, without warning, the door handle jostled and I understood with complete clarity the purpose of this drill.

In that exact moment, with no uncertainty, I knew I would sacrifice my life for your child.

A few minutes later the drill ended, the students returned to their tables, checking off just another task on their daily agenda.  For me, however, my mind remained huddled in the back of the room, arms outstretched, reaching, covering, protecting. So many emotions raced through my body, but one held constant: purpose.

When your children are in my care, whether it be in school or out, I have a defined purpose. I am to keep them safe while teaching, learning, playing, or even surfing on the Internet. Safety first, as the mantra says. But today I was reminded if I had to choose in an instant, I would absolutely, without hesitation, give my life for a child.

Your child.

I know I am not alone in this mindset. Teachers around this world take on this responsibility daily. While we may have our differences and sometimes get caught up in the trivial topics of the day, please know that the role of “teacher” far surpasses one who simply teaches. Drills like these are important, not only to practice procedures, but to redefine purpose. I look back at the shining eyes of your children and realize I have one of the most important jobs in the world, second only to you being their parent.

I keep your child safe every day.

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Post-it Note Purpose

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Today is January 3, which means only one thing: I’m three days into a new year and still motivated to reach the goals I set for 2015. Yay me!

Like many people, I’ve been caught in the trap of making too many goals or hanging hope on abstract wishes that never quite see the light of attainment. Have you found yourself in this place as well? Pull up a chair. Let’s compare stories as we crumple the paper of unfulfilled resolutions and start anew.

By the way, you only get one Post-it note for 2015.

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That’s right. One Post-it note. For all your goals. No, you may not cheat with the extra large notepad. If you can’t fit all your goals on a 3×3″ piece of paper, you have too many goals and will get to the end of 2015 feeling like a failure. I say this with complete honesty because I am the queen of list-making. Trust me, less is more.

When you decide which goals make the cut, it’s important to know exactly how you plan to achieve your goals. To simply state “lose weight” means nothing without a concrete action plan to follow through. Will you eat out less? Make healthier choices at restaurants? Cut out junky snacks between meals? Really think through your plan, write it out, then stick your Post-it note somewhere as a visible reminder each day (perhaps your refrigerator or mirror.)

Remember, your goal has to fit on that one Post-it note. A goal and action plan for weight loss is enough to fill up that page! Don’t be a goal-setting overachiever. Be a goal-mastery maker.

Below are my goals for 2015:

1. Write more. I started blogging two and a half years ago with my random acts of kindness blog. Last year I created this blog so I could have a digital space to share other types of writing. In order to complete this goal, my action plan is to write at least two blog posts a month. While I would love to have a grandiose goal of 2 posts a week, I know that’s a bit unrealistic for me to keep everything else in my life balanced.

2. Organize the Chaos. Each month I will complete one organizing task to declutter my life. January’s goal is to declutter my iPhone. That means backing up/deleting holiday and vacation photos. Organizing quote pics in a folder. Clearing out voicemails and call lists. Deleting unused apps and saved sites that are mocking me with every swipe of my finger. Should be a tedious task, but if I do a little each week, then by the end of the month I will be ready to tackle the next organizing project.

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3. “Sprinkle kindness like glitter.” This goal is in memory of Renee, a teacher at my school who unexpectedly passed away at the young age of 30. My goal is to complete at least 30 glittery-fun RAKs for her and to blog about them on my Celebrate Kindness blog.

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I’m already off to reaching my first goal, just with this blog post! Ahhhh… I already feel good about my goals. So now it’s your turn! Grab a pen and a Post-it note and put those goals into writing. Tweet out a pic and hashtag #2015goals so we can inspire each other!

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