Monday, October 5, 2009

It really is contagious

Pin It A friend of mine—strange that I say friend when we’ve never met in the ‘real world,’ but we’ve had so many encounters while here in ‘the Matrix’ — so I choose to call her friend.

While on a visit to her realm of cyberspace a day or two ago, I perchance encountered a song she posted which I’d never heard before. This song has become somewhat of an anthem in my head for the past several days—a testament to what I believe music can truly do; which is to speak the message which our hearts feel, yet we just cannot express properly with words alone.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this weekend, mulling over those times when I have felt myself drug down into that well-known pit of bitterness and despair. Don’t think for a moment that I don’t have one of these places, for I do; a deep, darkened abode which I frequent on occasion. Anyone who has read over the summer experience back home understands just how far one can wander when a tragedy hits so close to those whom you love.

Life is not always easy.

Heaven knows this, and unfortunately, hell does too.

So why don’t I always blog about those experiences? Why don’t I talk incessantly about the times when I feel that I am trapped on the outside looking in? Why am I not continually sharing the moments when it seems that things are bleakest and there’s no hope? Because let’s be honest, those times are very real and DO happen.

Mostly it’s because I believe that standpoints are infectious; I believe that attitudes are contagious. I have the mindset that if I can strive to believe it, I can achieve it….wow, I’m starting to sound like one of those Hallmark cards, aren’t I?

Who is the person who generally holds me back when I am not able to do what it is that I should? Usually, if I’m honest with myself, it’s me. The sun can be shining, yet I can carry around a proverbial raincloud over my head if I so choose.

Please understand right now that my life isn’t all rainbows and kittens (thank goodness as I’m allergic to cats, and when you stop to think about it, rainbows fade with the passing of the rain). This isn’t anything I need to remind myself of, after all—it’s my life; however, on my blog (and from day to day) I try to focus on that which is good.

But why?

Because I believe that attitudes—like I said earlier—are infectious.

Case in point: When I was a boy, I remember being in school. It was amazing to me just how much power the teacher controlled in the classroom. True, while I as a student could select my own personal outlook, but that teacher had an incalculable power to plot out the road-map for the day. If Mr. Miller, my sixth grade teacher, was excited and enthusiastic, it made it so much easier for me to be so as well; however, if he was complaining about his problems, or about how much he hated the job of teaching us, that attitude would have been transmitted to his students as well.

I cannot control others, I can only control myself. And that is a full-time job. When I go to school, I have two dozen students who look to me to set the stage for the day—I choose to have a good attitude and get them in the right mindset. It is from there that they must take the reigns and decide how they will respond.

Believe it or not, I hadn’t planned on writing all of this today—I really hadn’t, but I did. I’d only planned on sharing a song. But anyhow, there it is.

Attitudes are contagious, make yours worth catching today.

And if you’re having what I call a ‘rainy day’ this might help; however, remember the challenge…don’t click unless you’re serious.


SO said...

Okay you just made my day. Honestly. I am honored that you choose to call me friend. What better way to start the day?

I absolutely LOVE this song. It is brilliant. Truth set to music.

Yes, I believe, our attitude can affect those who are around us. I think it's great that you want to take a good attitude into your classroom even when you are struggling. That shows what a fabulous teacher you really are. And how much you care for your kids.

cari said...

Great song with a great message! I totally know what you mean. Just last week, I had the worst day and I was in a horrible mood. My bad mood (attitude) transfered to every member of my family and, let's just say, it wasn't a pretty sight.

shoezimm said...

Love the song and its already playing again in my head...what a great message. Of course there is the old saying that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink....we can hear the message in this song but it is up to us to choose to really listen and apply it to our lives. I'm going to go for it.

Trevor said...

Im bummed the video wont work. Can you post a link to it?

Trevor said...

Oh, I just clicked on it and now it works. Wicked good song, and cool vid.

Rachel said...

I have many thoughts running through my mind right now after reading your post today and your posts about your mother. The main thought that keeps coursing through my mind is, "I see why you are the way that you are. This makes sense".

I'm sorry you had/are going through what you did with your mother and will continue to. These are hard things but now I see why you are the way that you are. We met but for only a few short moments and you said that anyone would have done what you did but I assure you, they don't.

We go through hard things. Really hard things. I have found that those who do not fall and get swept away in bitterness are able to reach out to others in ways only they can because they know.

I have always felt that there is good in all things. Lessons to be taken and learned from. It is good to be positive even in the days when getting out of bed and breathing are things that we have to think about and can't seem to think beyond that.

With Levi it is easy to get swept away in the emotions and I found myself once again this weekend being swept along pretty quickly. It is part of the process. The anger, the sadness, the denial but through it all I am never alone. I may feel alone but I've never had to go through anything alone. Our Father is close at hand and even though this weekend I sat sobbing in the shower yelling at Him, pleading with Him, asking for forgiveness...I wasn't alone.

Your students are very lucky to have you. I say this in all honesty. Because of what you have gone through in your life and you desire to set them on the right path each and everyday, you will be able to touch them in ways other teachers can not.

Thank you for giving the kids something catching each and every day. Do me a favor. When you see Matthew......cough all over him. :D

Richard & Natalie said...

It is absolutley contagious! I see it everyday when my boy walks in the door from school. You don't know the change you- yes you, have made in his attitude toward school. He doesn't beg me to stay home, he hurrys his brother so they won't be late, and he tries harder on his homework. In turn this makes my job easier. So thank you for all you do and for putting on that smile even when you don't want to because it is catching and we are grateful to be infected here.

Mamma has spoken said...

I agree to a point. Yes my attitude will affect those around me and I am very aware of that. But to always stay on the sunny side is a falsehood and not a accurate picture of life. Many times I have to teach the wee little ones how to handle attitudes that aren't that great. What better way to teach them but by example and how I'm handling it. I've told them before that I am having a rough day, but I'm still there doing what I am suppose to be doing and not taking it out on them. When they comment on another teacher's attitude, I remind them that it is teaching them a valuable life skill that they will need when they are employed. Ok I'll step off my soap box now. Guess it's been a rough day....

Lars said...

Exactly what I needed to hear today. Thanks! As always, you have a gift with words.

The Prodigal Tourist said...

Moods are indeed contagious--and I think you have the right idea not always focusing on the negative. I usually run when I find a really negative blog...unless it's funny, of course, humour is contagious too.

Denae said...

I don't know you, I've actually only spoken one sentence to you and it interrupted a conversation you were having.(but only cause it was a potty emergency)

I found your blog through mutual friends and I read your challenge so here I am leaving my comment. :)

Your post has amazing personal meaning to me in so many ways. Its amazing to get to say that my "little black raincloud" days are few and far between. The cynic in me is slowly fading and being replaced by the optimist that I use to be.

your comment about music made me smile. I have always said that music is an amazing tool in emotional communication.

Thank You for your post and for helping me and others to see that it's truly a choice and opportunity to be happy.

Teachinfourth said...

S - I read once somewhere online that, "Everyone is a friend, until they prove otherwise." You my friend, are still a friend...

Thank YOU for sharing that song in the first place. Music can truly reach us.

As for the attitude, I want them to realize that it is a choice I make and not a decision that was made for me.

C - Ah, the power you wield! Of course, there's that old saying which goes, "If Mamma ain't happy, Ain't nobody happy..."

S - Isn't it great? Words cannot describe it properly.

T - I love the video, too; it goes really well with the message.

R - Thanks. When I read over your words I was speechless. Seems that I am like that quite often, to be honest. A whole blog could be written in response to what you wrote.

Perhaps one day I will.

But thank you. Just so you know...I did cough on Matt today, just for fun. He'll probably say that he had no idea why I did it.

I hope things are well (and will get 'weller') with you too.

N - I'm glad that he caught it. Now if we can just keep him infected all year...

It does mean a lot to hear a parent say what both you and Rachel did, I had a student write something the other day which I will undoubtedly blog about in a few days; you know, when the time is right.

Your son is a joy to have in class, and the 'stepping down' from the throne of power hasn't seemed to deter him from in the slightest from joining the ranks in the classroom. Doing well still.

B - Good point! To always see things in the vein of 'life is perfect' may not always be the best way to present oneself - hence an occasional post such as this.

I think it is wonderful to teach students ways to cope and how to 'decide' how they will respond. Kudos on that, Bonnie!

BTW, this is for you (since you mentioned that you had a rough day).

L - Thanks for coming back, reading, and responding. Just know that we all have these days from time to time when we need a blue sky holiday.

PT - I will admit that there are occasional blogs which focus on the negative which do make one laugh, however, I usually don't wait around long enough to find out if they will be funny in the end.

Thanks for stopping by.

D - I always need to remind myself that there will always be 'gray cloud days,' and these are okay, but I cannot allow these to consume what could be a great one. It always surprises me that two people can be in one place and one can have a rotten time and the other will have the time of their life. Sometimes, it's all about a choice.


Corine said...

Great posts Jason! I went to the ones that were linked to this one as well, though my speaker quit working today... so I'll have to come back and check them out once I get new speakers (some I already know and love. :)

I really appreciate your honest efforts to spread cheer, while still acknowledging sadness and challenges; it's so comforting to know that we are not alone, and to still be uplifted by the contageous attitudes of hope and overcoming. I try to do this too, and hope that I am as successfull at it as you are. :D

Take care and "keep smiling." :D Cory

A Lark said...

I think you need a fall vacation..... (:

jayniemoon said...

I like you, you're great.

summer said...

couldn't agree more...but thanks for the great reminder

Anonymous said...

Great song--video is very visually arresting. (sorry about the alliteration--not intentional ;) And excellent point. I'm actually doing a Bible study right now and one of the "subtopics" is on having a "contagious" spirit--of course we have bad days and bad things happen to us, but we don't need to dwell in them. I want someone to look at me and think, "I'll have what she's having." We are miracles.

Julie said...

I love it! Thanks for being so great.

Teachinfourth said...

C - It's all about spreading the love, right? And as for the music, I love those songs. I hope you discover a few new tunes to add into your arsenal as well.

J - "A vacation from my problems?"

- What about bob

J - I like you, too, Jayne. It's a good thing we're both good friends.

S - I need reminders from time to time as well. Hope you're doing well in the big city.

L - In photography what you focus on is what really 'makes' the overall picture. Kind of like life.

I also really love that line out of the song about being miracles wrapped up in chemicals.

J - Each in our own ways, we're all great.

PMC said...

very good. i have been trying to decide whether or not to blog about my last few days...i think if i do blog about it i had better wait till i have it in better perspective...i love sharing the good stuff..or the bad stuff that got all twisted into good know.

Teachinfourth said...

L - Sometimes, after a few days the not-so-good stuff seems not-so-bad and we can even discover some 'good' that has come out of it.

Valerie said...

How true that is. I have to remember, that there are consequences, when I indulge in my crankiness. It really has a rippling effect, and is never for the better.

Teachinfourth said...

V - How true that is...we have so much power as adults, don't we?

Farscaper said...

Jason, you're awesome!

LOVE that song! (added it to my playlist hehe)

I have a quote on my profile at "Emotions are contagious. What are you going to spread around?" ~me
(psst I'm farscaper42 over there too ;-)

I came up with that one day when my oldest son (jabberbox) was super grumpy (he's rarely grumpy). I was just fine and happy when I woke up that day. By noon everyone was stomping around the house. It totally felt like a grumpy infection hit our house. I came up with that saying to help him understand what happened that day. He has done a great job watching his grumpy levels since.

When I'm grumpy - I warn everyone so they don't catch what I have. "Mommy's not feeling very good today" or "Mommy's grumpy right now, I need a little while to find my happies again." Usually works.

I think it's fun that I'm not the only one who has come to that conclusion about emotions.

Gerb said...

I AM wonderful... we are all miracles...

You're right. That felt good.

I am in a sort of a blogging slump with the recent turn of events in my life. It almost seems as though I should not be writing about the beautiful, wonderful things in my life when I am consumed with worry and concern. But why not?

We are all wonderful. We are all miracles. Thanks.

Teachinfourth said...

FS - Thanks. Glad that there are others out there who feel the same way.

G - I know EXACTLY how you feel...well, at least I think I know. I think we'd best both do well in remembering that we ARE miracles wrapped up in chemicals.

I tend to forget sometimes...

Jess said...

Thats one of my fav quotes... love your blog... found you thru sharkbait.. =) You would be my first encounter with a man blogger.. lol... very cool!! Keep up the good work!! =) (totally hope that came across right... and made you laugh..)

Maridith said...

Your challenge has me leaving a comment when I might otherwise not.
I don't even recall how I stumbled upon your blog, but I very much enjoy your way of sharing your world.
I am often reminded of a good friend as I read your words.
She doesn't post much, so you may need to seek her out in person to see the similarities yourself, though that wouldn't be difficult as she lives in Provo.
Thank you for sharing your world!

Teachinfourth said...

J - Thanks for stopping by, and also for letting me know that you did. So often, I am guilty of being a 'lurker' before announcing my presence.

M - I will check it out. Thanks for letting me know that you're here on occasion. It's funny because sometimes you wonder if anyone ever really reads what you write.

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