Gratitude Challenge

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Every November for the past six years I have participated in NaNoWriMo. If you don’t know what it is, just Google it. Last year I wrote just over 20,000 words and then just… stopped. This year, out of habit, I was planning on participating, but as October went on my excitement for November to arrive had nothing to do with writing a novel. I haven’t written fiction in a long time. I didn’t have an idea for a novel. I’m really enjoying come home most days during the week and having no obligations.

But! I like challenges and projects and I like writing. So when I saw this Gratitude Challenge yesterday, inevitably on someone’s Instagram, I decided that I’d make it into a (totally no pressure, no rules, just for fun and processing) Writing Challenge! I’m already a day behind, so great start. But here are my thoughts on growth!

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Last week our third grade teacher was put on bed rest (she’s pregnant). We, the administration, decided that the best option would be for me to go into third grade as the full time teacher until December to give the students (and their parents) stability while we look for a teacher to take over for the rest of the year. However, as anyone keeping track would know, I’ve already been serving in two roles at school this school year – Academic Coordinator (basically Vice Principal with an emphasis on teacher support) and High School English Language Arts teacher. So me jumping into third grade left a hole in high school (and in the office, but that’s another blog post).

Fortunately we were able to find a High School ELA teacher very quickly (*praise hands*) and our middle and high schoolers only had to deal with random other teachers teaching their English classes for three days.

This week I had a dream that I was in a car being driven by one of my middle school students. I was joking with him, giving him reminders about keeping his eyes on the road and his hands at 10 and 2, generally enjoying riding around in a car with him.

This is only noteworthy because when I left my first grade students for three weeks in May I had a nightmare that my favorite student was murdered and then kind of haunted me.

It’s also noteworthy because for most of my adolescence and adulthood my reoccuring nightmare/stress dream was someone driving a car while I was in the backseat or nobody driving a moving car while I was in the backseat.

The other night I had a dream that I was driving, but it was hard for me to see because one of my passengers was sitting in front of me (dreams, am I right?) so I said to that passenger, “Hey, why don’t you drive?” totally pleasant and casual.

YOU GUYS. Growth.

I have been focusing on loosening my grip on everything for the past *mumble* years. I have been trying to give other people the opportunity to try things their way even if my idea of how things should be handled is really good and proven to be successful. I have been trying to plant this truth deep down in my heart: you are not better than anybody and other people do have something to offer in each moment. 

Apparently it’s working! Having to pass over my middle and high school students to a stranger would have induced a nightmare/stress dream mere months ago, but this week I had two “putting someone else in control casually” dreams. TWO.

Looking back it’s hard to define what steps I have taken from anxious and control-freaky to more peaceful and at ease. I’m sure there were millions. I’m sure there were also many times when I stepped backward by grabbing control from someone, focused on anxiety-incuding lies, fed fears, and stepped on other people’s toes. But there were more steps forward than steps back, and that is growth to be grateful for.

2 thoughts on “Gratitude Challenge

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