Teaching can be sort of all-consuming: of our time, our energy, our thoughts, our emotions. In some ways that is to be expected. Teaching is, in many ways, much more of a vocation than a career. That being said, it is important to still have a life and identity outside of the school building. Finding inspiration outside of the classroom and for our personal lives can help us do that. In the final post of this three post arc on inspiration, I am going to look what inspires me outside of being a teacher. (If you missed the first two posts, here is week one and here is week two.)
Moments. That is what inspires me. Little moments in everyday life. Let me tell you about a few moments…
This morning my one-year-old gave me a hug. Joseph reached up his little arms to be picked up, then buried his face in my neck, wrapped his hands in my shirt, and then he just stayed there for a snuggle.
A couple weeks ago, my three-year-old learned the hand gesture for “I love you!” (It looks kind of like the University of Texas at Austin’s Hook `Em Horns with your thumb also sticking out.) Addy now regularly comes up to me, gives me a sly little grin, and flashes an “I love you!” my way.
Several months ago out of the blue my husband told me that he thinks I am a really strong woman–much stronger than lots of women he knows. We have been married for twelve years and together for eighteen so we are well out of the honeymoon phase plus Kyle is not often a man of many words, so this was extra surprising and special.
My mom follows my blog. Over the years she has read more of my essays and stories than I can count, proofreading and offering suggestions even when it was past midnight and I really didn’t want to hear them or when I was in college five hours away and we had to do it over phone and email. Even today, when her job schedule is crazy and she only has a little time, she regularly sends me praise after each of my blog posts goes live.
My grandma sent me a note the other day thanking me for being such a good woman and mother and telling me how proud my grandfather would have been of me. Grandpa died when I was six, so I never really got to know him, and Grandma is a prototypical midwestern farm wife–she does not often express emotion and bakes bread and feeds you to show her love rather than say (or write) the words. The fact that the card and thoughts were so totally unexpected, made it even more special.
For me, these little things, these special moments, these out-of-the-blue expressions are what motivates me. Little bits of praise and random expressions of love–these are the things that become the most important inspirations for me. They become the hidden treasures that sustain me during the day-to-day work that is family and life.
Remembering how important it is to me to have these small moments to cherish is something that directs me as a mother, wife, friend, and teacher too. If these types of things are important to me, I figure that they are probably important to others too. To me, it is important that in addition to being inspired in my own personal life, I help others be inspired in theirs. With this in mind, I try to remember to give others little moments that they too can treasure. Here are a couple of ways that I try:
- I tell my children that I love them every day–not just at the “normal” times, but at random, unexpected times.
- I sometimes hold my husband’s hand when we are driving–not always and often it is isn’t accompanied by any romantic words or anything, but simple touch in an otherwise busy life can be very reaffirming.
- I call my mother and grandmother on a regular basis just to check in. We don’t live close to each other, so this helps just to keep in touch.
- I tell my daughter and son not only how beautiful/handsome/cute they are, but how sweet and smart and strong they are too. I want to say this more than enough times so that they have truly internalized it before they hit things like peer pressure and all those social interactions in not so many years that will tell them otherwise.
Personal inspiration keeps your daily life going. It helps you be a more well-rounded person. It helps you be happier. All of this also makes you a better teacher.
So think about where your inspiration comes from. Maybe it is similar to mine. Maybe it is similar to some of the ideas below. Feel free to share who or what inspires you and how you try to inspire others in the comments section below!
Have a great day and…
Thank you again to the wonderful teachers who have contributed to my posts on inspiration over the last three weeks. Again, I encourage you to take a few moments and read what they have to say and visit theirs blogs and stores!
“Let’s be honest, life is tough. There are days when we all feel like throwing in the towel…or staying in bed with a book snuggled under the covers. 🙂 It’s my faith that actually inspires me to continue looking for the silver lining in each day. I trust that in every situation, regardless of how horrible, God is working something good. I continue to cling to that belief because I’ve seen it in action. There is always something redeeming in every person; always something positive about any situation.” ~Story Trekker
“My husband inspires me everyday. He is also a teacher, and his compassion for his students and continuous drive to be better everyday keep me motivated and inspired to do my best!” ~Kristy from Teach with all your Heart
“Nature inspires me! Being outside and observing the natural world.” ~Becca from Science Rocks
“My inspiration comes from my family. My two young daughters inspire me to want to change the world for them.” ~Brittany @ Challenges from a Teacher Mom
“So many things– first, my kids. I want to keep learning and keep growing so I can be the best version of myself for them. Also, all the faceless and nameless women of U.S. History that paved the way for me to have the life I have today–a college education, healthcare, paid maternity leave, voting rights, free speech–the list goes on. Many of the lessons in my TpT store center on women, especially women of color, in each stage of U.S. History, because these are the lessons that most curriculum and textbooks leave out. As teachers, we must ensure these lessons are being taught because these nameless and faceless women actually do have names and faces, not to mention brains and voices. They inspire me to keep creating these types of lessons for TpT.” ~Colleen of Historical Thinking Classroom
“My family. They always find the silver lining.” ~Civics Corner
“In my personal life I am inspired by my family. I have wonderful parents that I look up to so much. I am getting married this October and I hope to have marriage as loving as theirs.” ~Growing Mathematical Minds
“God, and my family and friends.” ~Amanda
This Week’s Featured Product
A fun way to discuss and apply Latin roots and identify Latin phrases commonly used in the English language. Great for use in English or Social Studies classes! For more details or to purchase this product, click here!
This Week’s Journal Questions
For the teacher and student: Why is inspiration important in life? Describe a moment in your life that you draw inspiration from? Is it important to find different inspirations for different aspects of your life? How do you inspire those you care about?
A Recipe from My Kitchen:
(Not Exactly) Rosenmunnar Cookies
- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 whole egg plus two egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (or so) jam or jelly
- I like raspberry or blueberry best, but I use whatever I have in my fridge.
- The ones in the picture above are made with black raspberry, plum, and strawberry jams.
- Also, if you have a really runny jam, it is more likely to seep out of any big cracks in your cookies as they bake. This will not ruin the cookies, but they will not be as pretty.
- I like raspberry or blueberry best, but I use whatever I have in my fridge.
- Position oven rack in middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 375º.
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Hint: You can spray your trays with nonstick cooking spray instead, but parchment paper makes cleanup of any jam that overflows much easier.
- Cream butter and sugar.
- Add egg, yolks, and vanilla and mix until well combined.
- Mix in flour until dough sticks together.
- Roll dough into balls 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter.
- Place balls on the cookie sheets. Leave a little bit of room between them, but you don’t have to leave a huge amount–these do not spread much when baking.
- Using your thumb, press an indentation into each ball. Fill each indentation with jam. Hint: Instead of my thumb, I use the back of the small side of a melon baller to make the indentation and then use the scoop to measure the jam. This way I get the exact right amount of jam.
- Bake cookies one tray at a time for 10-12 minutes or until they are just barely browned.
- Remove cookies from the oven and cool for five or so minutes on the sheet. Then carefully remove cookies and cool completely on a wire rack. Hint: These are delicious warm, but be careful that you don’t burn yourself on the jam. It holds heat much longer than the cookies.