Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Day 14: And Now Time for the Strengths...

It's only right that I follow up yesterday's post about my weaknesses with a blog post about my strengths, right?  I mean, what's the fun beating up on myself if I can't brag on myself too.

And that's what today's post is... Describe five strengths you have.  Yes, another list... but I'm excited about this one.  HA!

1.  I believe I can change the world. 

Don't laugh. It's true.  I absolutely believe that if I can reach one child in my class each year and encourage them to follow their dreams and do everything their heart desires - I'm making the world a better place.  And my odds are pretty good.  I have 20 kids in my room....surely one of them will go on and do wonderful things because of something I did for them or said to them or had some part in.  My hope is that many more than that will, but I like to keep my expectations down just so I can be more happy in the end.  Even if I don't mold the next Bill Gates or Donald Trump or Beyonce... there are kids in my class that could become doctors and business owners and scientists and teachers.  Just teaching them how to add and subtract is putting my little stamp on our future - but I just know that someday, somehow a past student will walk through my door that has gone on to create a wonderful life for themselves - and they'll come back to tell me all about it.  As long as I keep that belief alive, I will continue to do everything in my power to be the best teacher I can be.

2.  I am a great mother.

The odds were stacked against me for this little feat.  Having my first child at 18 and then my second at 19 didn't really set me up to win any kind of Mom Awards.  I had to work long hours, depend on others to help take care of my kids while I was working just to put food on the table and clothes on their backs.  I worked my tail off to give them a happy life - despite our setbacks and problems...that they were none the were of.  I finally got tired of living paycheck to paycheck and not being there for them and decided that in order to show them that hard work pays off, I went to college and became a teacher.  I did that because I've always wanted to be a teacher, but I decided to do it then... because I wanted to be an involved parent.  I wanted my kids to be able to participate in extra curricular activities, be home with them on the weekends and holidays, and just be available to them whenever they needed me.  I have great kids.  Loving, caring, hardworking kids...and I like to think that I had a lot to do with that.  Being a teen parent has it's stereotypes, but I wasn't going to be one of those statistics.  I have three super bright kids that love going to school, being in the band and various sport teams, that are fully aware of the struggles we've gone through and even more appreciative of what I've done for them over the years.  I love the relationships I've built with my children - and I know that I'm a dang good mother.

3.  I use laughter as the best medicine.

Not sure this really classifies as a strength, but it's something I'm good at.  I can make people laugh.  Not only that, but I can laugh at myself.  I've been told by several people that had I not gone in to teaching, I could have made a career out of comedy.  I love to laugh, laughing is my favorite.  Any bad day can be turned around with a little laughter, and I've learned that first hand.  Just yesterday, on the verge of tears from an extremely frustrating day, I let out my frustrations the way I do... making jokes.  And I ended up leaving work with a smile on my face and leaving the frustration in the wind.  I'm pretty sure this strength has a lot to do with my first two strengths.  My kids, especially Peanut, enjoy listening to some of my quirky jokes and will laugh their behinds off at some of the things I say about myself.  My students know that they are going to spend a lot of their day laughing either at me or with me.  I don't mind being silly... I enjoy it, in fact.  Some of my kids have even started mimicking some of my more popular jokes and sarcastic lines on each other.  When I walk down the hallway and here "Shocker!" or "Stick a fork in me, I'm done" - the two most popular phrases that come out of my mouth on a daily basis.. it puts a smile on my face.

4.  You need help?  Just ask.

Yesterday, I listed volunteering as one of my weaknesses.  And now I'm going to use it as a strength.  It's become pretty common knowledge that if something needs to be done, I'll be more than happy to volunteer to do it.  A kid needs a ride home?  Sure, no problem.  You want me to tutor?  Absolutely.  A student wants to start a school newspaper, but you need a teacher to sponsor it?  Sign me up.  Chaperons needed?  Put me down.  If I'm needed, I'll be there.  Simple.  It doesn't matter if I have to be up at 4am or home at midnight, sleep is something I'll get plenty of one day.  I stretch myself thin with as much as I take on, and I complain all the time about how much I have on my plate... but the truth is, I love it.  Every minute of it.  I would much rather be run-ragged busy than sitting around feeling useless.  My volunteering and helping is a way to help me give back and offer what I can to anyone that needs it.  I've been blessed with many great things in my life, and I want to soak up as much as I can.  Volunteering my time for any activity or cause is just a great way to show that I'm willing to share my blessings or provide blessings to others...kinda, I guess. And it's not just limited to school stuff.  Hopefully, pretty much anyone that knows me knows that all they have to do is ask for some help, and I'll do everything in my power to do it.

5.  I can sing.

More of a talent than a strength, but it's a lot harder coming up with strengths than it was weaknesses.  In 7th grade, I discovered I had a talent.  Back then, it was raw and needed a lot of work... but now I can belt out a tune pretty darn well, if I say so myself.  Unless I'm performing in front of a lot of people - and then I get a little shaky.  However, there are three people I can sing my heart out in front of...and they love it.  My children.  Peanut makes me sing every day to and from school.  I think it's what's encouraged her to start singing.  And she's really good at it, too.  The past couple of years, I've faced some of my stage fright fears by performing karaoke - but it hasn't all been great.  Some songs I sing better than others... and I always sing better without a microphone.  Peanut has tried to encourage me to do some singing at school, but the need has never arose so I'm not volunteering myself for that any time soon.  But, just as laughter is one of my best medicines - so is singing.  And even if it's a strength I share only with my kids - it's still a strength.

And there you go... five of my strengths.


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