Motivational Monday: Do People Like Themselves When They are Near You?

Smiling woman in the market - Mujer risueña en...Image by Lon&Queta via FlickrSchool starts tomorrow and I'm drawn back into a story told by Elizabeth Mauske about her mother and a friendship she had with a native Indian woman from Central America. The two didn't even speak the same language but would share gifts to one another. They would drink tea and eat cake together.

Elizabeth saw that this woman said the same thing every time she left. The curiousity was driing her crazy so she and her sister memorized the phrase and found someone who could translate.

What was this woman saying about her mother? Why did she return when they did not speak the same language?

The woman said:

“I shall come again for I like myself when I am near you.”

What kind of person are you?  Do people feel better about themselves when they read your Facebook page? Your Twitter updates? Your blog?

Do You Know What You Say Says About You!
No, don't be a Pollyana – the world is not a perfect place! But neither should you be so whiney that the rest of us want to run when we see Mad Marvin or Grumpy Gertie coming, either. You can always see them, you hate to ask how they are. The conversation goes something like this:

“Hi, how are you?”

They'll respond:

“I'm gettin' by, I guess.”

“I guess, I'm OK.” or “I'm still here, I guess.”

Oh my goodness, if you do anything in this new year work on that answer! We tend to fulfill what we say we are. If you want to feel better, start smiling — you will feel better.

This Week's Challenge: Be The Kind of Person People Want to Be Near
We're all going to be a bit grumpy and tired this week as we start back to school. No one will be ready for their break to be over, I suspect, however, we can all make our schools a better place by being the kind of people that others want to be near.

If your students could choose whether to be near you, would they? How about other teachers? Administrators?

One finger pointing back at myself
As usual, I'm talking to myself here. We all go through negative phases. However, if we can keep it just that, a phase, then we're ok. It is when negativity becomes a HABIT that we've got some work to do.

For me, I have several books that I draw upon when I find myself in the dumps, The Power of Positive Thinking The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale or How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie or one of my new favorites PowerThoughts by Joyce Meyers. Also, a good night of sleep several nights in a row helps.

An old greek poet quoted by Socrates once said:

“By those whom we frequent, we're ever led:
Example is a law by all obeyed.
Thus with the good, we are to good inclined,
But vicious company corrupts the mind.”
Memorable Thoughts of Socrates by Xenophon Location 157-59

What kind of company do you keep? And even more importantly, what kind of company are you?

School improvement often starts in the teacher's lounge. There administrators, students, and other teachers have been quietly picked to the bone while they sat oblivious in their desks on the other side of the wall. But also, schools have turned around on the simple decision of a teacher to begin to be positive, encouraging, and to turn heel and run when the sour talk begins.

Nothing kills a whiner like a lack of audience.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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3 comments

Terry Freedman January 3, 2011 - 11:17 am

“Be The Kind of Person People Want to Be Near” — excellent advice, Vicky, and a great start to the new term!

Tutoring Match January 5, 2011 - 1:17 pm

This rings very true, and especially in the teaching profession, you want to be the kind of person other want to be near, you want to be that teacher that’s loved by all. One thing is for sure positive attitude goes a long way for your self and for those around you.

Msyingling January 6, 2011 - 11:05 am

When students ask me, I always try to say something very positive even if I don’t feel that way. You are right about that self-fulfilling prophecy!

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere