Grace | #Oneword2018

I’ve spent the first few days of the new year pondering my #oneword2018 choice.  This is my first time participating in a #oneword selection, and I want my choice to be intentional (I love the idea of setting clear intentions for the new year), meaningful, and memorable.

Last week our 18 month old burnt his hands on our gas fireplace.

That night, after finally getting him to sleep, I wept.  Tears of fear, and sadness, and lots of guilt.  How could I have let this happen?  What kind of parent doesn’t have the fireplace guard on during the coldest day of the winter? I should have been closer, paying more attention, more diligent.

Enter:  G R A C E  – My 2018 #oneword choice.

Grace

What I love About /Grace/

1. We all need it.

We need grace.  Grace from God, grace from others, and grace for ourselves.  None of us (nope, not one) are perfect.  Our intentions for the year ahead will occasionally fall short. We may not always bring our A game.  We will fail.  In 2018, istead of focusing on our inadequacies & guilt, let’s commit to embracing our imperfections, celebrating our failures, and granting ourselves grace.

If you and I are in need of grace, then others in our lives are as well.  This means our friends, students, colleagues, administrators, community members – and even our enemies – are all in need of the grace of others.  Why not be the one to offer it in 2018?

2.  Grace is undeserved.

What makes grace a wonderful (and sometimes difficult) gift is that, by it’s very nature, it is given to the undeserving.  The students, colleagues, and strangers that come into our lives in 2018 will, at some point, be undeserving of our grace.  They will yell, say rude things, refuse to listen, whine, and break their promises.  They will argue with us, ignore us, and give us less than their best.  It is in these moments, when grace is needed the most.  Consider how wonderful and unexpected a gift of grace (kindness, courtesy, & clemency) would be in these circumstances.

3.  Grace is the cousin to empathy.

Empathy, the ‘Not So Secret’ key ingredient to being an innovative educator (and all around good person), sets the stage for grace.

It is empathy that fosters thought patterns of love and equity.

It is only with an empathetic heart that we can consider offering grace to those around us.

4.  Grace is not a free pass.

Offering grace to others (and to ourselves), does not equate to handing out free passes for any behavior.  Instead, it opens the door for ourselves and others to try again.  Consider a violent student or a negative colleague.  Grace says “let me understand”, not “I agree with your choices”.  The same is true of ourselves.  When failure and disaster strike in 2018, grace says “this happened, but it doesn’t have to happen again”;  “This does not define you”.  Grace opens the door to a fresh start, another try, a next attempt.

 

G R A C E 

is what I believe will be a difference maker in our classrooms, and our world 

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