#DigiLitSunday · Reflections on the Teche

Purpose

#DigiLitSunday

purpose

This is a word that demands attention. 
Commitment. 
Focus. 
Seriousness. 
purpose 
We all seek purpose in our lives. 
Without purpose we are lost.
Stranded.
Without purpose we have no direction. 
That’s why we look for something or someone to give us the praise – validation – 
that we sometimes desperately seek. 
The validation that will reassure us our lives have purpose. 
But, external validation is not what we need.
As a mom, my purpose is to support my children as they carve out unique paths in the world. Although I cautiously dole out advice, it is just that. Advice. What my children do with it, and everything else they encounter, is what makes their life their own. 
As a young mom, I was drawn to Khalil Gibran’s poem about how parents are simply conduits for their children to this life. As they grow older, we need to let them go. 
They need to make their own way in life. They need to define their own purpose. 
In my relationship with my spouse, we have a shared purpose: to make sure our relationship grows and remains healthy. This is for the long haul. 
As a teacher, my purpose is to love, encourage and support my students to grow their best selves. This is a lofty purpose. Not something to take lightly. To dismiss or delay it until next week. It’s a responsibility that I take it seriously. 
purpose
It’s what gives meaning to our lives – both personal and professional. 
purpose
Figuring this out, given the recent elections in the US, is what will get us through the next four years. At least, for me. Each one of us must determine what role we will play to fight bigotry in all its forms.
There is no better purpose than to help influence the future as teachers, as activists, as parents. 
Purpose. Purposefully. With intention. Not potential intention, but action. 
#DigitLitSunday · Reflections on the Teche

How Do I Focus?

How do I focus? 
#DigiLitSunday
This is a great question with several entry points and no easy answers. 
I could write about how I stay focused, or not, by getting things done despite a myriad external and internal work demands. 
Or, I could write about how I maintain a focus on what matters
Or, I could write about how I make effective use of my time and stay on task. 
Focusing is a disciplined response to something important or valuable. As a result, focusing is about paying attention and following through, no matter what else is going on at the time. 
Truth #1: I have a hard time focusing on just one thing.  
Truth #2:  It’s really hard to focus on more than one thing without compromising something else. Starting a project is easy. However, completing a project is not. Yet, the satisfaction of having done so is what makes it all worthwhile.
Truth #3: I take on way too many projects and responsibilities and tend to lose my focus. I forget what my purpose was for starting the project and then it doesn’t seem so important anymore. I have a hard time saying, “No,” or “Not now”. (Note to self: Learn how to do that.) 
We can practice for the big projects (those that matter and help us grow) by saying “no” to less important things that don’t matter and don’t help us grow. This way, when it’s time to create something or follow through on a commitment, we will know why we took it on. We won’t be overwhelmed and become paralyzed. 
For those of us who teach, the day-to-day demands on our time are difficult to manage. It’s easy to lose track of what’s urgent and what isn’t. To lose focus of what’s important and meaningful. Everything appears equally important and urgent. 
In fact, this urgency about every new initiative in schools is just plain odd. If everything is equally important, then nothing is important. Isn’t that what we tell our students when they are first learning to annotate text? If you underline everything in a text, then nothing is worth focusing on. If every initiative is equally important, then nothing requires our undivided attention. We can make a haphazard attempt at a lot of things and therefore do nothing well.
We lose our way when we lose our focus. And, so do our students. 
At school our focus has to be on our students. 
No one else. 
Nothing else.  
So, back to the question that @MargaretGSimon posed this week on her bloghow do I focus
I focus by slowing down.
I focus by taking stock of what’s happening with my students, myself and my family.  
I focus by taking a metaphorical step or two away from a situation to decide what’s important…for now. 
I focus one project at a time so that I get really good at starting AND finishing just ONE thing.
I focus by remembering what’s important at any given moment.  
That’s it. 
What about you? How do you focus?
Cross posted to Reflections on the Teche