Today there was a lot of reflection about my work in the classroom. I feel so blessed to still remain friends with students I taught over a decade ago, and even my first graders from last year. They are wonderful people and so are their parents. When I get a SnapChat video from Ethan or when a grandparent just thinks of reaching out because her grandson misses me, I feel like I’ve contributed something worthwhile in this world.
When we moved to Alaska, I didn’t think there would be much for me to offer as I decided to home school this year to reconnect with my own family. But I never stopped connecting with other educators (home and public) and that has brought on tremendous opportunities! From becoming the Logistics Manager for EduMatch Publishing to helping form a “Moms For Math” club with the public school here in Anchorage that we partner with for homeschool. The connections are what drive me! The connections lead to amazing opportunities! My first children’s story will be launched next month and it’s because of connections I made with my PLN (Professional Learning Network) on Twitter!
There are those who work and have careers and don’t experience the connections like those of us in the school system. Working alone without a lot of contact with others is definitely not for me. Getting to know others, learning about their lives, being in awe of the differences they experience is what drives me. Because of those powerful conversations, I have learned to be open-minded and that has helped me to let go of a judgmental attitude. Caring about others’ input has helped me listen to understand which in turn has grown deep relationships. For those who know me, accept me, and love me, I pray I harness that power to help others understand how that feels to have in life.
One thing growing deeper in my faith has taught me is that real love, the love like Jesus has for us, is a love without agenda. That is the basis for all deep connections. It’s not about “What can you do for me?” It’s about getting to know those whose path cross with ours and offering support. Sometimes support is just not judging someone. Sometimes the support is listening to a need and finding a way to fulfill it because it’s in your power to do so. Many times it’s offering friendship.
People of God speak to people; people who don’t look like them, people who might not smell good, people who have different ethnicities, people who don’t love like them, people (period).Winfred Burns II
Supporting others is a way to deepen connections. They cycle of support, and it has to be genuine support, will pull you up along the way. More connections, more opportunities, more support, more connections…it’s a wonderful cycle. But the thing is, people can see when you are using them or when you are sincere. Sincerity breeds deeper connections. Name-dropping brings immediate results without the connection. People can see through it, and no one likes feeling used.
Wherever you find yourself today, I pray that you can see the connections in your life that have helped you get where you are right now. And if you feel a lack of connection, please reach out to those who have been knocking on that door. Allow them in. It’s powerful, Friend.