Practice Positivity


Core scripture: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Message: Let me be honest.  I haven’t had much positive this school year.  It has been a stretch for me to find the hidden gems in my day.  I could dwell on the negative, and I must admit that some days I do.  My back is aching again, I am teaching new curriculum, my students are loquacious as ever, and tendonitis is flaring up in my left arm. 

There I got it out.  I just refuse to stay there.  I mean, I could think about all that junk, but what good would that do?  It would just make me feel more depressed.  Instead, I am trying like heck to rise above the negativity, clinging to the lifeboat of positivity that Paul wrote about so poetically above.  With all my heart, I try to dwell on the positive. 

I could rant to my students about not reading my screen when they walk in.  Every day is a new direction for them to follow, and they struggle to get going.  Monday I tried something new.  I put my direction on the screen and added an Ohana pass reward to the first kid that completed the task.  It felt so much better to praise that positive behavior, and I wonder if the latecomers will be reading my screen more closely tomorrow, hoping for the same reward.  Fingers crossed!

I could complain about a young lady in my class that can’t stop talking.  But she talked so well the 2nd day of school that she won our class scavenger hunt, earning her an Ohana pass.  Sure enough, she was drawn from my raffle on Friday, and her prize she picked?  She wanted a positive phone call home to tell mom what a great kid she was. 

She stayed after class as I called mom at work.  Mom probably hadn’t had too many positive phone calls in the past, but I praised her daughter for pulling an A- in my class and winning the class scavenger hunt.  Mom was blown away!  So much in fact that I got an email from her right afterwards saying that her daughter was always self-conscious about being the “bad kid” and desperately needed to be praised. 

Finally, I am looking for small improvements to praise students for.  One gentleman had trouble getting to class on time the first week and a half of school.  The first day he actually arrived on time, I greeted him at the door with a high five, saying, “You made it!  Good to see you!”  Guess what?  He hasn’t been late since.  Baby steps. 

Is it easy to be positive when the world around you bleeds negativity?  No, sir.  But you have a unconquerable power inside you called the Holy Spirit that can assist you if you submit.  Pray that God will reveal those positive in your classroom.  Dwell there.  Thank Him for it!  All through your day, praise God for His numerous blessings. 

I would normally stop writing here, but do you know what?  I feel I need to do that right now.  Can I just take a few extra seconds to list my praises? 

  • Our FCA brainstorming session is tomorrow morning.  Praise God for Christian students!
  • My 7th hour had a MUCH better day Monday than last Friday. 
  • My team is supportive, and I am blessed with numerous hard-working colleagues.
  • Our new principal is one of the most positive people I know. 
  • Football and volleyball games start this week.  What an awesome way to connect with students and ask them about their passions.
  • I am teaching a new reading curriculum, but the positive outlook of the four ladies I am going into battle with makes it that much less daunting. 
  • We have our first half day full of House activities on Friday.  Go Team Amistad!
  • Man, do I have a couple phenomenal writers this year!  I cannot wait to recognize them as Kings and Queens of the Week on Thursday.
  • I get to reach out to Olathe South Football on Thursday, taking them through a devotion about trust. I can’t wait!
  • I have a job that gives me the opportunity to make a difference in our youth, showing them who Jesus is through the way I treat them.

There.  I already feel better.  I am ready to tackle the day.  How about you?

Challenge: How do you look at your world of teaching from a positive light?  Share an original idea of your own or try one of my ideas above.  Meditating on the good will help your bucket be filled with that glass half full philosophy.  Take some time to make your own original list just as I did above.

Song application: “The Goodness” by TobyMac

You made the rain, so, when it falls on me, should I complain?
Or feel You’re calling me
It’s all on me to stay and really catch what You’re showing
It’s my roots that You’re growing, ’cause life is more than this moment

You are the light so, when the darkness falls
The greatest heights, they never seem so tall, no, not at all
You’re right, it’s my roots that You’re growing
Don’t wanna miss what You’re showing

Ain’t no doubt about You
Everywhere that I go You keep showing up Lord, You
Make me wanna shout it, oh
You’re the goodness in my life

Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …

  • Praise God for the positive moments and improvements throughout your day.
  • Pray that you will see the good in the world that the Lord puts around you—especially in your classroom.

Just for fun: Every Friday I always ask my kids what they are doing over the weekend.  I got the normal stuff—you know, video games, birthdays, sleepovers—until one young man raised his hand with a mischievous smile. 

“I am going to take over the world,” he said, dimples shining.

After thanking him for that comment, his buddy across the room raised his hand with the same mischievous smile.  I called on him, asking him what HE was doing.

“I am going to help him take over the world.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I will close with this thought … our world is in trouble!

Prayer: Lord, amidst the complaining and negativity of the world, help me see the goodness you put around me.  Amen.

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