3

Through a Child’s Eyes… It Was the Best Day Ever

IMG_0644As a parent of twin four-year-olds and a principal of an elementary school, there are times when I look back with disappointment in the way I responded impatiently or somewhat disrespectfully to my kids and/or students. As I lay calmly in bed later at night, I think, “why did I respond like that? It really wasn’t a big deal, but I made it into a big deal simply due to frustration. Why can’t be better at…”

We can be so critical of ourselves. I see my wife at home as well as some staff members at school who are often very hard on themselves when reflecting on their day spent with kids. It is so easy for us to see the negatives… to see all that went wrong in a day. I am not saying it isn’t important to look back with a critical eye but far too often the negatives become the focus.

I recall observing a teacher do a fantastic science lesson that had students moving, engaging with others, reflecting, and creating. Kids loved it! When I asked the teacher how she thought it went, she listed off all the things that went wrong in her mind. That is far from what I saw. What we see depends on what we look for. If we look for the positives and strengths, we will find them; unfortunately, we too often look for all the problems. We need to see both but we also need to do a better job of seeing the strengths.

A few months ago, I was away for a few days and I texted my wife and asked how the day was. She said that our girls had a really rough day filled with meltdowns, tears, fights, and frustration. I felt for her as I can only imagine how hard it is for my wife to run her business and look after twin preschoolers by herself… especially during a day full of meltdowns and tears. The interesting thing was that when I Facetimed my girls at bedtime, it was a very different story of the day.  They eagerly told me they went for a bike ride, they swam, they baked cookies, they read stories… and they told me it was “The Best. Day. Ever!!!”.

Simple moments that we may take for granted can be important memories for our kids. I need to remind myself to take the time to look back with a more positive lens so we, as adults, can also smile at these moments. We know we will look back years from now and smile… the challenge is to do this now.

Teaching is incredibly difficult. Parenting is incredibly difficult. But these are the best “jobs” in the world… because, as teachers and parents, we have the power and the opportunity to possibly make a child’s day “the best day ever”.

To all the educators and parents/families out there, have a wonderful school year and here’s to making many days the “best day ever”.

Thank you to our Superintendent, Suzanne Hoffman, for reminding me of this by showing the following film at our summer admin meeting. Take 4 minutes and watch this powerful short film, “To A Child, Love is Spelled T-I-M-E“. #grabthekleenex

24

Missing the Moments By Trying to Capture the Moments

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo by Paul Coles: http://flickr.com/photos/mr_fujisawa/8169394062/

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo by Paul Coles: http://flickr.com/photos/mr_fujisawa/8169394062/

I noticed Apple’s advertisement for the latest iPhone, titled “Misunderstood”, being shared through social media with some positive comments.  It shows a boy that appears to be deeply distracted with his phone while the rest of his family travels, hugs, makes snow angels and snowmen, and celebrates the holidays. Then on Christmas, the story takes a turn (in Apple’s favour) as he shares that he was actually using his phone to document and create a movie for his family.  In the end, his mother is filled with the emotion of the gift.  You can see the ad below or click here.

I am not sure I am a fan of the commercial.  I have been that boy trying to capture everything with a phone.

I love capturing moments.  I love sharing moments.  I also know that I do this too much but have improved. My wife has caught me numerous times trying to take a photo or video and then asked me, “do you know how many times you actually miss the moment along with the great moment that followed… because you are looking into your screen?” #doh #busted

I remember a few years ago I had the goal of capturing our school sports day so that parents could be part of it from beyond our school field.  At the end of the day, I had a large number of videos and photos that were taken and shared… then I realized that I watched most of sports day through a screen.  I missed the giggles, the cheers, the teamwork, and the playful moments that occurred outside the small screen I spent most of my day looking through.  Did some parents appreciate it?  Absolutely. But I had lost sight of what sports day was all about and felt I missed being there.  I could have captured a few shots with the camera and posted the odd photo; instead I buried myself in the camera app (and share) to the point that I feel I missed a good chunk of that sports day.

I am not saying we put the devices away all day nor am I saying we never capture and share.  I just know from my experience, that I have sometimes gone too far and lost sight of the goal of just being there… in that moment.

The title of the ad, “Misunderstood”, is a powerful one in that I agree we do need to be less critical THAT devices are being used and more reflective in HOW and WHY the devices are being used.  The boy’s purpose of the phone’s use in the ad was clearly a positive one.  My purpose on that sports day was a positive one. For me, though, the real question is: does the capturing of the moment enhance or take away from the moment?

For the ad, it is a fictional story so there really is no context to discuss; however, it is a great opportunity for us to reflect in our own lives as adults and with our kids about when is the time to put put the device away and just… simply… enjoy… the moment.

I’m still struggling with figuring out this new journey of capture and share… not a lot of answers but a whole of questions.

@chriswejr

7

Be There… Really?

Be there.  Two simple words that are so powerful.  Posts by Connected Principals colleagues Lyn Hilt and Dave Meister got me thinking about this once again.  With so many distractions in our lives (for me – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Email, SMS, etc), it becomes that much more important to be in the moment, to be there.

Although the following video is a commercial for a cell phone, it is a good, humourous reminder to be there for the moments – and not let them pass by.  Next time you catch yourself missing out on a moment, be there.  Really?  Absolutely.

Enjoy ALL the moments with friends and family this holiday season.