“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” Bill Keene

 

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Hunter Franks is right. He is the one who came up with 1000 reminders, secretly placed around San Francisco last Christmas, to “Be Present” in our lives especially during the season of consumerism. I just ripped off the idea and turned it into an art project for my students. Good artists are good thieves, and good teachers steal good ideas.

Another good idea I’m using in the classroom is this video by Moby:

It gives me hope that the revolution is happening. I want to believe that people understand that smart phones are creating stupid people and that not being present will ultimately lead to some very bad things.

But what does being present mean? Glad you asked, I made a list:

  1. Maybe not pathological optimism (what my wife calls my world view) but just living positive knowing that any day above ground is a good day.
  1. Getting out in the world: Walk, run, bike, whatever. No special outfit needed, just go, stimulate your endorphins, say hi to strangers, see things, live.
  1. Embracing change: You can’t control everything, life is a fluid, amazing ride full of ups and downs. Stop fighting.
  1. Loving: Love people, love stuff, love music, love experiences, love life, I was super excited to show off the bacon I cooked this morning (too far? Maybe.)
  1. Walking the walk but not walking off the cliff: I was wrapping my gift for our staff party and realized how much I hate gift wrap (expensive, unnecessary, trash) so I wrapped my gift in the day’s newspaper. Will I do this when my wife and I are wrapping the kids gifts? Not a chance.
  1. Finding your voice: Post your opinion or pester editors till they give you a blog linked to their newspaper (thanks Jason). Knowing that I am read by at least six people each week gives me confidence, makes me write more, increases endorphins and gives me something to talk about at staff parties. Stir stuff up, debate, and help people think (rewatch the Moby video above).
  2. 7. Risk: Put yourself out there, try new things, connect with old friends, and let grudges go. Yes, you should learn to snowboard at 60. When the superintendent sent out an email that she was visiting the high school and wanted to visit classrooms, guess who immediately volunteered? She works for me remember: http://valleytalking.blogs.sonomanews.com/2016/08/05/note-teachers-plan-hard-teach-well/
  • 8. Freeing up some brain space for the really important stuff: What is on your mind and why? Worry? Fear? Anxiety? Regret? Drama? Change the things you can and forget the rest. Stop doing things that make you feel crappy, you deserve to be happy, happy is good and happy is infectious.

And please keep the sign as a simple reminder of what is truly important this time of year. Be present.