My friend taught me to be my authentic self.
I know that I am supposed to write about what one friend taught me. However, there is not one friend but many friends who have been influential in my life. When I reflect on all the friends that have come into my life and all the friendships that I have had starting in kindergarten to my place of employment, I realized that I have been fortunate enough to make friends that have helped me be the person I am today.
The biggest thing that I have learned from these friendships is to be able to be yourself. My friend taught me to be my “authentic self” and not conform to someone else’s beliefs, morals or values. I have learned that being true to yourself provides you the opportunity for personal growth and happiness in life. Knowing who you are and having the support, trust and honesty from friends provides you the self-worth you need to be a better person.
In addition, friends teach us to challenge ourselves by pushing us out of our comfort zone so that we can see things from a different perspective. By being challenged, our friends are there to push us mentally and physically to be better people and help us to see the value of life and what is important to us.
I leave you a quote from The Polar Express, “There is no better gift than the gift of friendship”. Cherish your friends and be a good friend to them as well,
My friend taught me how to stay above the line.
Statistically, it is much easier to be negative than it is to be positive. Everyone has choices to make, but more often than not, we choose to jump on the bandwagon and be negative. Sometimes we are negative because we are having our own issues, or we are surrounded by negative people. When we are feeling overwhelmed or depressed, we thrive on hearing about other people's issues. We listen intently so that we can make ourselves feel better about our own problems.
In the teaching and coaching professions, parents are constantly gossiping about us; newspaper reporters are always writing articles about how high our income is; and the community cannot believe we have our summers off and a job that allows us to "go home" at 3:00! Furthermore, our colleagues are burnt out and tired from all the negativity: “Johnny” constantly acting up in class; “Sally” continuing to not complete her homework; and lastly, no parental support at home!
Blah blah blah, and I could go on...........
BUT what my friend taught me was to look at life differently. He encouraged me to “press pause” when I was feeling negative and to think about my response because my response to the event that I had no control over was going to be the key to my outcome. If I respond negatively, my outcome more than likely will be negative, but if I respond positively, than my outcome will more than likely be positive. Seems easy.....it's not! It is an internal process daily, and one I continue to focus on every minute of every day, and my life has changed in such an incredible way this year that it is hard to put into words!
There are many life events that one cannot control, but how you respond you can control. Once you make the choice to stay positive, life changes. Your personal and professional relationships grow; you begin to have energy; you take care of yourself and then everything else falls into place because you are happier. I have developed incredible relationships with my family, friends, and colleagues throughout these past two years because of my positive outlook. I have more patience in the classroom, and I go to work with a positive attitude. I have grown, and every day I have to think about staying above the line because IT IS WORK.
Don't kid yourself if you think staying positive is easy. I challenge you after reading this blog for 24 hours to not complain about anything ~ this includes traffic, talking about a colleague, being impatient with your children, etc. CHECK YOURSELF.......THINK BEFORE YOU RESPOND......YOUR RESPONSE IS EVERYTHING!
Terri "Simo" Simonetti
My friend taught me the importance of living a balanced life.
One year earlier...
I’m sitting on the exam table in my doctor’s office. My dad in the waiting area. He offered to drive me. I think to myself, he’s such a good dad. I love that man. I could feel my pulse all the way to my fingertips. Fidgeting. Heart rate racing like I was running from something. Well, was I? I got lost in a blank stare - I blinked - my eyes come back to focus. Pull it together, I think.
The door opens.
My doctor makes eye contact with me. My head positioned hopelessly down. It’s printed all over my face. He empathetically asks, “Jeff, what’s going on? Everything, OK?”
I lifted my head. I felt so heavy. “No, I’m not OK,” I release.
One year later...
I humbly crack a smile. I wasn’t living a balanced life. I was suffering and stretched way too thin. My body was begging me for a change in direction; a brief moment of acceptance. Now, as I process, I accept the fact I took on too much. I tried, oh boy, did I try, but I just couldn’t keep up the unrealistic pace I set. I had no teeter in my seesaw. I was grounded on one side. I needed a friend to climb on and help me balance out. At that moment, I slowly began to rise off the dusty pavement. I got my feet under me and pushed off.
My friend taught me the importance of living a balanced life. Balanced in my faith, health, family, friends, profession…..
Balance, for me, came with the realization I couldn’t do it all. My friend taught me my heart was in the right place, sure, but I wasn’t taking care of myself. I wanted to be there for everyone and do everything. I just missed the most important part, I needed to be equally invested in myself before I could make that kind of investment in others.
I’ve been seesawing much better these day.
To my friend,
Photo credit to Gapyear.com
My friend taught me courage.
In serving as a high school principal, I had the privilege to work with many exemplary staff members and I learned so much from them about being a better person and a better principal.
Some of them faced some of life’s most devastating events: terminal cancer, children born with serious birth defects, divorce, children with drug addiction, alcoholism, sons and daughters serving in war zones, and others.
Yet every day they came to work, put their life problems aside, and served our students, parents and other staff members.
When I would walk by individual rooms I would marvel at their enthusiasm and passion in their instruction, interactions with students, and steadfast dedication to their learning.
One teacher will always live in my heart. Living with a terminal illness she scheduled her treatments to minimize her time away from her students, and though ultimately on an alternate schedule with a substitute, determinedly adhered to her own high standards of teaching. Begrudgingly and reluctantly, she allowed co-workers to help her instruct, assess and grade, as we all watched in wonder at her strength and commitment.
Her courage was indomitable, facing each day with strength and determination, not for herself, but for her co-workers, her students, and her family.
When those tough, long days of being a principal would at times drain me of energy and positivity, I simply had to think of her and know that while my problems would pass, hers would not.
We all know that being an educator today is a tough job. It takes courage to face accountability measures, the social-emotional well-being of every student, the serious problems of our society, and the daily challenges in schools today.
But I learned what real courage is from my friend,
See. Believe. Do LLC
*Photo credit: BJWok at freedigitalphotos*
My friend taught me that being a friend can be direct and sometimes, indirect.
My friend and I have known each other for a long time. We have been together since my beginning actually. She is the best friend I could have ever asked for. It hasn’t always been that way. I can remember being in the heat of one of our adolescent screaming matches with my mom trying to get the point across that friends come and go but sisters are forever. She got a door slam or two out of that one.
My friend was there for me whenever I truly needed her. She even taught me how to read! I remember being so jealous of my neighbor who was only five and she could read. I was six and I still didn’t know how.
My friend sat with me in her room next to her bed for hours, memorizing the little book she pulled off of her bookshelf. We went over it page by page until I could do it on my own. She walked me downstairs to my mom and dad and told them that I had learned to read. They all sat down and listened to me “read” the book to them and then big hugs were given. She didn’t have to do that.
When my mom had the crazy idea for my brother and I have our tonsils out at the same time, my friend was there the whole time. My brother was not doing well after the surgery. He struggled to wake up from the anesthesia. I was fine. I was loud about my nausea, but generally fine. My friend stayed by my side while mom cared for Greg. She gave me a Western Barbie Doll even though she couldn’t stand them. She knew I’d love it.
As we got older, my friend and I only got closer. Life can be hard sometimes. Parents get older. Children get sick. Animals die. No matter what was going on in our lives, I knew that she was there for me. There were many times when she couldn’t do anything to help or make a difference in the situation at hand. She didn’t care. She was there. Her presence and her love gave me the strength that I needed to get through whatever life brought my way. It didn’t matter to her where I needed to go or how scary it might be. She was there.
So my dear readers, if you ever feel like you don’t have a friend in the world because no one is calling and you don’t really go anywhere you don’t need to, consider those who are ready to answer when you make the call for a laugh, for tears, for comfort or for joy. They are there, waiting for your call,
My friend has taught me intimacy in a world of social media "friend" frenzy.
Did you know that you can change your number of best friends in a “snap”? Snapchat makes it easier than ever, “If you want more than three best friends, you can easily change the number to five or seven.”
According to 2016 stats, Facebook users now have an average of 338 friends; Twitter users have an average of 201 followers; Teen Instagram users average 150 followers. 150-338 friends and followers, and some people have all three, if not more, social media platforms. That's a lot of friends with which to maintain intimate and close connections!
Does intimacy actually exist in these virtual friendship worlds? Some would say they do and swear by it, but quickly come to realize…I’ve never met her daughter; he’s never been to my home; we’ve never shared a private meal. How often have you taken a social media spawned connection to the next level of real offline friendship?
Now, what about the time that is spent on these virtual friendships? Social Media Today posted in January of 2017, “Teens now spend up to nine hours a day on social platforms, while 30% of all time spent online is now allocated to social media interaction.” Could all of this time be driving relationships farther apart by "knowing" more and more people and less and less about each of them?
Imagine if we spent this kind of time investing in relationships like taking chicken noodle soup and a note of encouragement to a friend when we heard she had fallen sick. Would intimacy in the world increase at the rate social media interaction has? The human desire for connection and intimacy is great, and I’m grateful for my offline and real world friendships. That is why I want to make a concerted effort to answer fewer tweets (my social media vice) and shorten my email responses while using that time to develop and grow old and new intimate offline friends. The cost of less intimacy in my world and yours is too great otherwise. Will you join me?
Ohio Hi-Point Career Center
High School Director
My friend taught me that together we are stronger than we ever could be alone.
As a school principal, I have had the privilege of watching masterful teachers change lives in their classrooms. There is the fourth grade teacher that gets reluctant boys to be so excited about writing that they write stories in the car while traveling on vacation. There is the second grade teacher that wraps her arms around a student that is hurting because of issues at home. There is the art teacher that helps a student discover a hidden talent.
The teachers I have the privilege of working with, my friends, have taught me that together we are so much stronger that we ever could be alone. In the past year and a half, my current staff has undergone a major restructuring in the pursuit of personalizing learning for our students. We organized ourselves around Learning Communities made up of multiple grade levels. We thought we were reorganizing to benefit the students, which Learning Communities certainly does, but it has also brought us together as a staff. 'I have never worked closer with a group of teachers’, says one teacher. Another teacher emails me to say how pleased she is to work with her Community because they respect one another, build upon each of their strengths, and lift each other up. Her email goes on and on with specific examples of how powerful the Community of teachers has become.
I feel like it is my job to encourage and support teachers in the classroom. My friends taught me that I cannot do that alone, but through the Power of the Team, the power of Learning Communities, we can do that together,
My friend taught me to value that which lasts over that which is temporary.
The pace at which our world moves increases every day. Information is more readily available than ever before and I feel very blessed to live in this time. Through experience, I also know that the most meaningful moments of my life are pursuits that require extended time. These can be very contradicting notions, which is why I deeply appreciate my friend who taught me; to value that which lasts over that which is temporary.
My friend taught me that time is one of our greatest gifts because time helps us to determine what we value most. A favorite food or a funny video can be an enjoyable way to fill a day. But what I feel when I reflect on those things pales in comparison to the feelings I experience as I watch my young family grow or as I reflect on the process of earning my degrees.
Increasing the time that a pursuit takes, often opens the door for moments of conflict and doubt. These moments often carry a negative connotation with them. But my friend taught me that it's through these lessons that we are able to truly evaluate how meaningful they are to our lives. For those pursuits where you're willing to take a risk, to fail, to regroup and persevere, time will provide you with feelings that are everlasting.
Finally, my friend encouraged me not to grow tired in doing good with my time. When the proper time has been applied, we will reap a harvest as long as we never give up.
Challenge and opportunity will be constant in our lives. Find joy in the journey and plant your feet firmly in that which endures,
My friend taught me…not to be a blatherskite!
Did the title draw you in? According to the Oxford dictionary, a blatherskite is a person who talks at great length without making much sense. This is my first blogging attempt, so I will try to not be a blatherskite.
My friend really taught me, the way you do anything is the way you do everything!
This year I helped coach for Hilliard Darby boy’s basketball team. Our season wasn’t a story book season but I enjoyed my time greatly and learned a lot. When reflecting on what my friend taught me, it would have been very easy for the coaching staff to go through the motions and just circle the last game on the calendar. But that’s not who we are. Each game we prepared like it was for a championship, we developed a Canvas class to help our players on and off the court, we adjusted practices to improve our weaknesses, and we invested in our players. The way you prepare, play, and live should look the same whether you are undefeated or winless.
Growing up we all have those sayings we can still hear our parents say in our head even though they may not be with us. For me, it was my dad telling me, “leave it better than you found it.” I try to carry this phrase into all areas of my life and all that I do. I recently read, “The Power of Habit” and the author mentions research that the most successful people make their bed every morning. Making your bed every morning isn’t something I would recommend putting on your resume but it does tell you a person cares about details and follows through.
Challenge yourself to never stop being qualified for the job and live everyday as if your preparing or playing for a championship,
My friend taught me the true meaning of appreciation.
Too often, people are spending time thinking about the past or worrying about the future. My friend taught me to be cognizant of where I am focusing my energy. We need to take time to be present - to soak up the moments that make us feel alive. Jimmy V once said, “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special.”
My friend echoed these words and taught me to pour myself into my passions; however, take time to appreciate every moment along the way.
Sometimes appreciating life starts with something as simple as nature. My friend taught me to take a deep breath -- the type of breath that causes your rib cage to expand -- on a fresh spring day. My friend taught me to observe the hues in a sunset or embrace the vastness of the stars. Life’s natural artwork is incredible, and these little aspects of life make it special. In the noisy confusion that life can bring, we must come up for air and realize the greatness around us.
My friend taught me to appreciate the people around you. Everyone matters, regardless of role or title. My friend taught me that we are at our best when we value and make connections with others. Life is too short to not communicate and express our gratitude. More importantly, my friend taught me the power of a hand-written note and/or a thoughtful gift of appreciation.
My friend taught me how remarkable it is to celebrate life with a happy heart! Find something that makes you come alive inside. Appreciate every step of your journey.
After all, that is what makes life special,