When my daughter asked me how my day went Friday, I was taken back. Not because I was surprised that she cared about my day. Her question just happened to be late. Nevertheless, my initial response was, it was okay—nothing exciting.
I am the assistant principal at an alternative school so a day in which nothing exciting happens can be a pretty good day. My daughter didn’t see it that way and she kinda felt sorry for me. I knew I had to search deeper. And then it hit me.
I did have something positive to share with her. A close friend of mine had heard some good news—awesome news really. He was so excited and as happy as I had heard him in years.
And so, you know what? So was I. His good news made me happy and I carried that joy with me with rest of the day.
Happiness doesn’t have to be a solo act. In fact, it rarely is. Think back to the times when you were your happiest or when you experienced the most joy. I bet it involved others. And I bet at least half of the time it involved someone else reaching one of their goals or someone else shining, not you.
We all know that laughter is contagious. Just try watching a video of a baby laughing and giggling without laughing too. It’s almost impossible. The same is often the case with happiness. If we witness someone else experiencing happiness or joy, we often feel happy and joyful too.
What does this have to do with education?
We have all experienced moments of joy and happiness that had nothing to do with us and everything to do with what our students were experiencing or sharing at the time.
Maybe it’s the 6-year-old student who skips into class and can’t wait to share with you what she did over the weekend. She got to bake cookies with her grandmother and it was the best day ever. Her grandmother even let her lick the bowl and have an extra cookie. But don’t tell her mom she pleads, she doesn’t want to get in trouble.
What about the middle school student that just found that the girl he has a crush on, likes him too. You know that this budding romance won’t last long, but his happiness brings a smile to your face. You’ll be there when it is over and you’ll be there when he has his next crush.
Finally, how about when the high school senior that you’ve been working with since 9th grade shows you their acceptance letter to the college of their dreams. They can’t believe it, even though you can because you’ve been watching them grow for the past four years.
You see, we may have days that are tough, stressful and just plain suck. But, if we can take our focus off ourselves and what we are going through, I am certain we can find students who can lift us up. Or even if we are having a good day, students have the power to make it even better. I had one such day several years ago.
These are the folks that you spend the majority of your waking hours with. You laugh with them and you cry with them. During the course of a school year, you will all have ups and downs. And it’s hard not to take on the stress and frustrations of those that we are close with.
Since that is the case, why don’t we try harder to share in our colleagues’ joy? I know we have baby showers, birthday parties and such. But what about day to day victories? We’re all not going to have them individually, but we will have them collectively.
Maybe at the end of the day you and your team, or your partner or your staff come together and share what went well. As I mentioned, we all won’t have victories every day. But someone in the room will. That is a reason to be happy. That is a reason to smile and just knowing that someone else experienced a victory, has the potential to turn your day around. If you allow it.
Parents love to hear good news. Most often though, the calls they receive from us are not pertaining to positive occurrences. I am guilty and I must get better at this. I am certain if the only time I ever heard from my kids’ schools was when they did something wrong, I would not look forward to hearing their calls.
Additionally, parents have jobs and lives and difficult days too that have nothing to do with their children. But like us, their day could be turned around by hearing about someone else’s good news. More specifically, we have the power to lift parents up just by sharing something good about their child. It doesn’t need to grand and it doesn’t need to take long. Sometimes a 30 second phone call is all that’s needed.
Close your eyes. No wait a minute, this is an article and you have to read the words. Anyway. Just imagine if you were having a bad day. Nothing seemed to be going right. You couldn’t wait to get home so you could just rest and start over. Then, just when you couldn’t feel any lower, you get a call from your kid’s school. The school counselor called to tell you what a great kid you have. The counselor had observed your son standing up for someone who was being teased and they just had to let you know. All of the sudden you realized that you had a good day.
So, while I didn’t have any exciting or particularly great news to share with my daughter about my Friday—my friend had a great day. And that was enough to make my day good too. There will be days when great things might not happen to you or for you. That’s okay. Look around. And you’ll find all the happiness you need.
*If you would like to have my next article and my latest podcast episode delivered to your in box just click HERE. And as an extra bonus, when you sign up for my newsletter you will receive A Teacher’s Blueprint To The Best Week Ever. This is a free, 40 page pdf designed to help you have an awesome week. It’s not what you think, trust me.