During my time in education, I have witnessed some of the most rewarding and remarkable accomplishments by both students, staff, and parents. I have watched a student move an audience to tears as he sang the National Anthem at a community event. I have seen teachers go above and beyond their job description to make a difference in a child’s life. And I have also seen parents put in late night volunteer hours to pull together the finishing touches of our impressive school musical.
Unfortunately, there has also been some unbelievably difficult times throughout my career. Shortly after conquering my own battle with cancer, I attended a funeral of a mother in my class who lost her second battle with the same disease. Her daughters were in second grade and kindergarten. Since then, I have attended funerals of other mothers, a father, and a student. These times are heartbreaking to say the least. Every time I attend a service, especially of those so young, I reflect, as most of us do, on my own life and mortality. It really put things in perspective. All the big things now seem so small. The daily stress quickly becomes so trivial.
Why does it take such heart-wrenching circumstances for me to remember to keep things in perspective? Sadly, there have been far too many of these circumstances in the past few years, so I have had frequent reminders. Through my own battle with cancer, sitting alongside a dear friend as she faced her much more difficult battle, and watching life come to an end much sooner than should ever be, has given me the strength to not sweat the small stuff. The pile of work will be there tomorrow, so will the to-do list, and the inbox full of e-mails. These things are all important, and I’m never one to procrastinate, or blow off an important e-mail or task, but life balance is more important and family is most important. As educators, we live to serve others and enjoy the gift of giving. Every teacher I work with always gives 110% of themselves to make a difference. We live for it. I will continue to live for it, with balance, making sure I give the same passion, love, and commitment to my family and friends. I will remember to not sweat the small stuff. Live in the moment, keep things in perspective, and enjoy. Live life as God intended it.