Monday, April 1, 2013


I have been thinking about hope a lot lately.  What is hope?  How do we get it?  What happens to us when it is gone? 

I have had Parent/Teacher Conferences a couple of weeks ago.  Conferences are a double edged sword for teachers, at least for me they are.  You want to celebrate what kids are doing right!  Kids are fabulous and every single one of them is doing something right.  Some kids you have to search harder for what it is they are doing right and others it is pretty easy.   The kids that always make right choices and turn in all their assignments and do beautiful work are the easy ones.  I enjoy them and they make teaching seem a breeze.  It's the ones that make me want to bang my head against a wall that are the reason I teach. 

It is quite possible that many of the kids that I teach who don't turn in work, mess around in class and in general are as disruptive as possible are the ones that need someone to care about them the most.  My way of caring is to have high expectations, consistency in rewards and consequences and to try and have as much fun as possible along the way.  Some of them don't have anyone at home that thinks they can be better, or makes them follow rules or gives appropriate and consistent consequences when they make poor choices.  A lot of these kids have given up.  They don't have hope.  They may leave my class with an F because I'm not going to lower my standards just cause I like a student.  But there are going to leave my class knowing that I pushed them to be better the entire time they were in my class.  I believe in them, even when they are getting an F. 

I had one student before Spring Break who I called over to my desk to talk with.  He sauntered over and says to me, "Are you going to give me one of those talks about how much you care about me and believe in me?  And how you know I can do better and I need to believe in myself.  And education is the key to making my life different."  I had to laugh.  He's heard it all before.  So my response was, "No, I want to tell you to quit being a lazy whiner and suck it up and do your work."  He laughed and said that that was a new one, he hadn't heard that before.  He's 13 years old and already playing the system.  It's really sad.  I do like him and he does have a lot of potential and really could change his life.  He chooses not to and I think it is because he has no hope of anything better or different.  For all I know his teachers may be the only ones who are shining any kind of light in his life. 

I want to be the teacher that helps kids start believing that they can do or be more.  I want to be the teacher that is their biggest cheerleader.  The one who celebrates every victory with them, big or small, in the classroom or out of it.  I also want to be the teacher that is on their case when they make bad choices, don't turn in work, turn in sloppy work, don't show up for school and holds them accountable.  I want them to learn that someone who really cares about them will celebrate the good and harass them about the bad.  :-) 

Okay, enough teacher talk.  What does this have to do with my running and getting healthy you might ask.  A great deal actually. 

As I have been on my journey the past few months I have been staggered by the support and love I receive from my family and friends.  They celebrate my successes and when I am having bad days and am down on myself, becoming Madam Crabby Pants, they encourage me or kick me in the butt (depends on who it is and what I need, lol!).  I have hope.  When days are frustrating or hard I know there will be days that are better and some days that will be spectacular.  I cling to that on the days that I am struggling, either with my attitude or with my body not cooperating with what I want it to do. 

The definition of hope is:

1: to desire with expectation of obtainment
2: to expect with confidence : trust

I know that I have had very little success in losing weight.  But I have hope that we will figure out why that part of the equation isn't working.  I have hope that I am making enough changes in my lifestyle that my body will eventually figure out I'm serious about this and get with the program.  Some days I am clinging to hope by my fingernails and other days I feel full of it.  Either way I still have it.  And I plan to keep it!  Because I see every day at work what having no hope looks like.  How can I give up hope about something I have a certain degree of control in?  Many of my students have horrible lives and absolutely no control over any of it.  No wonder they have given up. They don't realize that school is the one area that they do have control over and can lead to giving them the hope they have lost.  What kind of example do I set for them and my own kids if I'm not willing to show them that you can have hope.  I will work out and eat healthy and concentrate on the things I can control.  I will have hope that the rest will eventually work out.  I think that is one of the examples I am trying to live in front of my students.  One asked me the other day why I kept trying when I wasn't seeing the results I wanted.  I told him that if I quit now I will NEVER see the results I want but if I keep working at it I can hope that I will, sooner or later.  :-)  Kids file all these little conversations away and think about them whether they realize it or not.  I want my example to be that hoping is worth it but you have to work at life in the meantime.  Nothing worth doing is easy.  My students have been teasing me because I have been using my running as examples for many of our monthly character traits and our discussions about them.  I think they like that I'm real and honest about how sometimes things work and other times they don't but you have to keep trying.  :-)  Adults struggle and have successes and disappointments.  If kids don't see how we handle it when things are tough they won't know how to pick themselves up and try again. 

There are many verses in the Bible about hope and faith.  One of my favorites is this one.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (NIV)

Hope is about the inside.  My outside may not be where I want it to be but my inside is focusing on hope!  God has been showing me that I have so many things to be thankful for.  How can I do anything but have hope and trust in Him for the rest?  He hasn't failed me yet.  And the times I thought He had because what I wanted didn't happen.  Well, let's just say I'm glad He is in control because things ended up being better then I could have ever imagined.  I would have totally messed things up if I had gotten my way.

My run tonight was good for me.  I had to work hard but I kept a good pace and overall was pretty happy with how it went.  It was nice to run in the Oregon air instead of the dry desert air from last week.


Tomorrow it's a hill run.  It will be fun to see how much better I do since the last time I did my hills.  I have hope that I will see improvement.  If I don't then I guess I will know what I need to work on.

Keep running and keep hoping!!


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