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Monday, February 6, 2012

Spending Minutes Wisely

The current argument around the house these days stemmed from Angel Baby bemoaning something that had happened at school, wondering how he could get his friend to change. My response was that the only behavior he could change is his own. If he doesn't like something his friend is doing, he can tell his friend this, but he can't expect his friend to change. Upon hearing our discussion, Hubby jumped in, basically saying I was wrong and that I changed people's behavior all the time due to my position as teacher. For quite some time, we went back and forth, with me, Beautiful Lovely Daughter, Funny Delightful Son, and Angel Baby all saying I wasn't changing anyone's behavior, and Hubby adamant that I was.

While I understand what Hubby was saying, I truly don't believe I have changed anyone's behavior. I don't have that kind of influence. I offer the tools with which to work to become more proficient writers, but what the students do with those tools is totally up to them. I don't follow them home and whisper constantly in their ear to get them to follow through on the assigned tasks. I'm fairly certain that once students leave the classroom for the day, they pretty much don't think about any of the tools I've offered until the 11th hour. Then they might pull them out and try to put them to work, but that's only because of a deadline. In the end, the work of most students is accomplished for one reason, a grade, and more often than not, most students are satisfied with simply making a passing grade. Nothing I do or say is going to change student behavior. The student has to do that himself.

This changing behavior concept seems to bother some people, like Hubby, and I have to wonder why. I thought about this quite a bit today, and the place I kept coming back to is no one wants to admit he or she engages in behavior that is destructive, hurtful, unproductive, or negative in any way. But it seems to me we all do on occasion. Recognizing that type of behavior and making a commitment to not take part in it any longer takes guts. No matter what anyone else says or does, the person behaving badly has to take the first step to saying no more. It is an individual choice.

I'm as guilty of bad behavior as the next person, but I do believe I can become a better human being. One commitment I'm living right now is no negative thoughts. When a negative pops into my head, I cut it off and replace it with a positive. If I can't come up with a positive, I move on, not dwelling on the negative and giving it space to grow. I've been at this for a couple of months now, and while I have a long way to go, I can see a difference in the overall quality of my days. I feel as if I am truly living the idea of minutes being more valuable than money, and I am spending them much more wisely these days than ever before. This change came about because I found myself unhappy a lot. No matter what I said to try and get those around me to help me be happier, in the end, the only person who can make me happy is me, and this is only going to happen by me changing my behavior.

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