I was flying down the stairs this morning getting ready to go to work. Running behind as usual, I realized I had left my classroom a mess on Friday too. As I started to get all worked up about not having enough time to get things cleaned up by the time my students walked in the door, I caught myself. I looked up at the sign Nell hung above the mirror on our landing two or three years ago and I really read it. Find the good in every day.
For every time I notice that sign, there must be at least two hundred times I don’t. To truly find the good in every day, I think you have to slow down, take full notice of what’s around you, and really think about what you see. Just like I did with that sign.
Seeing it, and stopping to think about it, was enough to turn around my rising blood pressure. It made me realize that the important things were to get to school, do what I could with my classroom, and above all, just be ready for my students. As I drove to school, I started to find the good: my lessons were planned for the next three days and all my materials were ready. The mess in my room could be set aside and cleaned up later.
Find the good in every day. I want to make that idea part of my routine tomorrow morning and beyond. I really should have a sign like it right above my classroom door. Then my students could be inspired by it each day, not just me. Wouldn’t that be a great classroom environment to walk into? A classroom where the students and the teacher were intent on finding the good in themselves, in each other, and in the day?
Finally noticing the sign this morning made me think of an entry I knew was in one of my old writer’s notebooks somewhere. I found it tonight. Fifteen years ago, Nell and I were walking into our local library when we passed by a parked car with its headlights on. We saw that all four doors were locked. Looking closer, we also noticed four hand-lettered signs taped near the driver’s seat.
“Lights off?” read a sign taped to the dashboard. “Check your lights,” was the wording for a sign on the driver’s door. Another read, “Turn off lights,” and was taped near the parking brake lever. The most prominent and largest of the signs was taped directly onto the steering wheel. “Lights?” it simply said.
Our first thought was that we were on Candid Camera – it seemed funny at first, all of these signs you could not miss, and yet the headlights were still on. Soon enough, we realized that this was probably a forgetful, elderly driver’s car and that family members were trying to help out with all of the reminders. Clearly it wasn’t working. Just like that, it wasn’t funny anymore.
I squeezed my hand through the top of an open window, unlocked the door, and then turned the headlights off. We locked up the car again and walked inside, discussing what we’d just seen. I wrote later that night in my notebook that I just couldn’t believe the four signs didn’t work. I wondered if the driver now looked past the signs after they’d been there awhile and didn’t even see them anymore. I ended that notebook entry by asking, “How many of us move through life oblivious to the signs in front of us?”
It’s fifteen years later, and I’m realizing that my vision has been as poor as that driver’s was. After starting the Slice of Life Story Challenge two weeks ago, however, I’ve also seen that a daily habit of writing sharpens my eyesight and helps me to find the good in every day.