Gratitude - Day 6
The Ice Man Commeth?

Grateful for Butterfingers

Nov13 001 copy

Reports cards consume me right now...programs not doing what they're supposed to, dropping grades, changing grades, simply not printing grades, and all of it while attending 3 meetings within 3 days, and continuing to teach 70 plus middle schoolers. Conferences begin tomorrow, go through Tuesday, and are pretty much devoid of anything called a break.

WIth all of this leading to some not so happy moods, I really focused on stopping each day to give thanks for what was good in my life, a concious act to remind myself that not everything was awful. The concious posting of each day's gratitude became a public declaration that overall, I found life pretty delightful.

It came to a rather screeching halt a few days ago.

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Reading through one facebook group...and I don't belong to but a handful...a few folks posted that they found these postings banal, boring, and pretty much would like to see them banned. I immediately wanted to fire back my own thoughts. But, something stopped me, because in a sense, they had a point, and also, they're entitled to their feelings. So, I waited, and I've let some things stew and muddle about in my head for a few days, trying to get a better sense of why I felt differently.

I had to acknowledge that I should have done a better job, at least for this group, of not letting my posts become trite...not just a few words plunked down in a hurry. The group is totally awesome in so many ways, and our fearless leader wants us to develop our creativity, to really put it out there. I hadn't done that, so maybe, I shouldn't have posted there. I needed to do it right, at least for this group.

For example, those Butterfingers. I'd posted a rather silly little photo on Instagram of a pile of Butterfingers, all brought in by my sixth graders, because they know I like them. Those Butterfingers are so much more than candy bars. They represent that somehow, I'm getting through to these wonderful kids, even the ones that I need to correct multiple times. There's a relationship being built, and the smiles on both our faces testify to the fact that this is so much more than an exchange of candy bars. So, yeah, I am grateful for Butterfingers.

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Someone had posted that the prompts reminded them of some rather banal prompts from junior high school, and okay, I bet some of those prompts were banal. But, for some kids...and for some adults, need something to get you going, to get you started. After so many years of teaching, I now know enough to tell the kids - if you have something else to write about, go for it. But, this is here to help you if you don't, because something that can start out pretty awful, can indeed, open up into something wonderful. You need to take kids where they're at; ditto for adults. And, if we're past that point of needing the prompt, wonderful, but let's have patience and respect for those who are not. Let's not do anything that might prevent someone from dipping their toes into creativity, because, again, I can tell you, they'll stop if they feel ridiculed.

So, I'm going back to posting my gratitudes; they will be better written, or at least I hope so. They will reflect more thought, which is good for me personally.

My gratitude for today? Two things, really. First, for this group, because you made me stop and think about what I could be doing better. Second, for whatever made me stop and think before I posted, for taking the time to let it sort out in my mind, and for realizing that yes, I can do better!

If you made it this far...thank you for reading! The pics were all taken last Wednesday, a day of glorious skies and sunsets. What a gift from God these skies were!



Kim Mailhot

I would rather read and see simple posts about moments of gratitude than the rants and rages that many people share without a second thought.
I have loved the focus on gratitude that I have been findng this month, and have joined in where I felt like it and will continue to do so.
Let's keep the focus on what is right and what is good. It is what will continue to guide us through the chaos and extreme challenges of this life.
Huge hugs to you, Artist lady !


Oh you are very kind, Paula, and more forgiving than I would've been. I don't belong to groups much anymore for this reason. There are always people (in every group, for all time, even, if you can believe it, in my husband's fishing group, I think it's just a part of the group dynamic) who like to complain and stir up trouble. Certainly I don't know what the group rules are, but still.

Your posts about gratitude are very rich indeed, never trite or banal. I love knowing the story behind the butterfingers and there is a certain delight I take in reading about everyday things, like a candy bar, elevating a person - after all we are surrounded by such things, and to stop and notice and find gratefulness in that is no small gift. Again, you are very generous and kind, but it distresses me to see anyone taking the wind out of your sails.

Bless you. I look forward to more stories about Butterfingers and sunsets and glorious skies. xoxo


Paula this post hit deeply with me on so many levels. I admire your ability to step back and reflect before reacting. Groups are such an interesting dynamic and I try to approach them with the old saying "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I am not sure of the specifics of this group and do appreciate that you looked it from a different angle, but I feel with social media people are so quick to judge and speak harshly. It makes me a bit sad. But you, oh my you really rose above. Awesome. You totally rock! xo

Nancy Brill

Paula, Please don't let Them discourage you from blogging. I've read and enjoyed your blog for a couple of years now, and see no reason you should be ashamed of it.
Some people just have to complain--it really has nothing to do with you, they're just cranky people who have too much time on their hands. Please don't let the b******* put you down!
Hoping to see more of your adventures, and best wishes for the holidays, Nancy

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