Appreciating is something I always feel like I could do more of. Often it seems as if there is never enough time to really thank, help and listen to all the people in my life who need support. I feel overwhelmed somedays remembering who I need to get a thank you card to or a quick return email. Somedays it is easier to forget.
This week, as I was chatting with my hairdresser ( that I've known for 11 years) about how I can be bad about remembering others, she reminded me how important it is to touch base and check-in with others. Whether it is to let someone know you are thinking of them through a quick email, call, note or text, she suggested that I act instead of forget. She so gently planted that seed in our conversation. I always seem to walk away with some personal insight and goals for being a better person after talking with her.
In my classroom today, we read the book The Three Questions by John J Muth. The book is about a boy searching for answers to wonder questions that he eventually finds meaning to with the help of his friends . My favorite line from the book reads:
"Remember that there is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one that you are with. And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side. For these, my dear boy, are the answers to what is most important in the world. That is why we are here."
I had to write this quote down after reading it aloud to my kids. I began thinking about how the message of appreciation and remembering had been a huge part of my thinking this week. After lunch, I decided to share its importance with my students (knowing that we have been living and learning side by side for two years).
The quote inspired us. We decided to make sure we remember each other by taking time each day over the next few weeks by writing a quick post-it about what each one of us has done to help or teach each other. I set up a schedule on the calendar with the name of a student (or two) each day. Before math, we took time to reflect and share how B and J have helped us grow (I had B and J hop on the computer with headphones while we reflected so we could also surprise each other with our thoughts at the end of the year). I used one student's quick reflection to model and then their individual thoughts came pouring onto post-its. Ideas like ...B helped me learn math games, J helped me learn the monkey bars and J helped me figure out the flip camera filled the classroom. Kids thought about how others had helped their learning. I was remembering Samantha Bennett's quote: We are smarter together.
I honestly don't know what I am going to do next with all these thoughtful post-its (maybe compile into a book) but I knew I had to respond to the quote and the notion of appreciation. It has followed me in conversations and encounters all week long. It was my turn to plant the seed in others.