Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Anniversary of September 11th

Today is the anniversary of September 11th. I remember CLEARLY where I was when I found out about it. I was a freshman at Augustana College. I actually woke up fairly early this day, around 8:30 am and stumbled down from my loft and flipped on the t.v.  I thought I was watching something from a movie. I thought the first plane was just an accident. But then the second plane hit. Then a plane hit the Pentagon, then a plane crashed in a field outside DC. It was no movie. No accident. America was under attack, on our own soil.  It brought our nation together to stand up to terrorism and bring justice to those who murdered our people.  Spend some time today thinking about September 11th and the horrific tragedy that it was. Watch some Youtube clips of the coverage of the day.  We owe it to all those innocent lives lost that day to think about them and honor them. We owe it to the thousands of men and women of the military who answered the call of duty and laid down their lives to seek out the people responsible for this.

September 11th has a dual meaning for me and my family. On September 11th, 2013, my dad returned home from a horrific motorcycle accident that put him in a coma for five weeks, due to a traumatic brain injury.  79 days after he entered the ICU at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, my mom wheeled him to the front doors of Sanford in a wheelchair. He then stood up and walked out the doors on his own. We then drove back home to Worthington, MN and had a pizza party. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.

So yeah. September 11th is quite the day for me. An emotional rollercoaster.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

I got a Blister on my thumb

Proof of my blister
So I was building a fire pit last weekend with pavers and gravel from Menards. Perhaps you are familiar with the process but at one point, you have to clear away the grass and level out the earth. Well, while doing this, after about 30 seconds of digging, I obtained a massive blister on my thumb. I guess my hands haven't developed tough callouses to ward off blisters from typing on my keyboard or turning the pages of my book. So yeah, my hands are, apparently, soft. So I got this huge blister and then I started feeling sorry for myself, especially after it popped. I was lambasting myself for not wearing gloves. A tried and true tactic to ward off blisters, even from the most vulnerable of hands. But nope, no gloves for me. I just grabbed that shovel and rushed into the action with reckless abandon, eager to clear that earth and construct the fire pit. So I was looking down at my thumb, trying to hold back the tears so my kids wouldn't see me cry over a blister, thinking about how horrible this was--to have a blister this big on my thumb. Having had blisters in the past, I knew the worst was coming---taking a shower! When a water blister pops open, the water from the shower stings so much. Just unbearable.  Plus, after the shower, when you are trying to dry off with the towel, it hurts even more for the towel to rub against the exposed, raw flesh underneath the skin that had blistered off.  Then, something miraculous happened. I had an epiphany! No, not about the best way to organize the pavers to make it look nice, no, not about a new strategy for consuming the most amount of S'mores in the shortest amount of time, but an epiphany on something far more important. I started thinking about the struggle I was going through and then started to compare that struggle to actual struggles people face. Real struggles. So I thought about my blister. Then, I thought about those who suffered during the Holocaust. Or those who toiled away building the Panama Canal. Or, those who endured countless oppression at the hands of racists. Or, those who stormed Omaha Beach and gave the ultimate sacrifice. Or, those who struggle through their lives, working three jobs to just get the bare essentials for their three kids. I thought about those who have suffered through long chemo treatments. Long rehab assignments for a variety of reasons. I thought about those who toiled away in the fields, under the unrelenting sun, behind a team of oxen pulling a plow, hour after hour to grow crops and build a better life for their children. I thought about John McCain and what he endured in Vietnam, never once giving up any information. I thought about Louie Zamperini and the extreme beatings he took, both physically and emotionally, day after day.  There's been some real struggles. The human spirit has prevailed in an awesome way throughout the annals of history. So after all that thinking, there was no progress made on the fire pit, but definitely a renewed sense of appreciation and gratitude for those who came before me.
So yeah, my blister, as it turns out, is not a big deal.

Monday, September 3, 2018

In Honor of Labor Day

Happy Labor Day to all. Today is a day to celebrate all those out there who work hard. Those "laborers" who have done so much throughout the history of our country to build it up to what it is today. Image those who built the skyscrapers of NYC in the 1920's. Imagine what it would have been like to build all those roads, interstates, highways, etc. Imagine the pain and misery of all those shinglers. Imagine the mental strain of trying to figure out how to build bridges over long expanses of water. The Laborer is truly someone to be honored and thanked. For we owe them so much. My question to you is this: Are you a Laborer? Do you work hard and put forth effort in your job, career, profession? As an educator, we owe it to our students to put forth maximum effort and to work hard at our jobs. We can't afford to go through the motions. Our students not only deserve a teacher that puts forth maximum effort, but needs that type of teacher! A few questions to ponder: Have you tried anything new recently in your classroom? Have you done any research to uncover a hidden gem of a lesson, idea or spark? Do you print off your entire year's worth of worksheets on day 1 and then be set for the year? Do you actively seek out passionate educators, have conversations with them and bounce ideas off each other? Do you sit and wonder? Do you contemplate and reflect on yourself as an educator? Do you engage in PD, not because you are forced to, but because it helps you grow and improve as an educator?

Be a hard worker. Put forth maximum effort. Work to be good at what you do. Putting forth effort is a choice. Please, for the sake of our children and future, make the right choice. Choose effort.