"To live with joy, examine your heart, motivations and accept failures" by: Betsy Monico

   This week has been full of ups and downs. If I created a tally sheet, it might show a few more tearful moments than smiling ones for me.
   This happens from time to time with us all - if we are honest and forthcoming. I will attempt to share snippets from the mountaintop and some from what seemed like I was nearer to a valley.
   Transparency keeps my purpose in writing alive, meaningful, and helpful to others I pray.
   Our local school district just completed the first nine-week grading period. We dismissed early Thursday.
   Students do not return until next Wednesday. Continuous questions and heartfelt concerns regarding face to face instruction, virtual classrooms, and Covid quarantines have worn us all slap out.
   We needed a break! My co-workers would agree in unison if asked.
   My two kids might be the only ones in disagreement.
   The break delayed Bosque returning to school and extended his quarantine. Blaise just got back on schedule from her 14-day virtual experience.
   She learned the hard way to appreciate me waking her up with iced coffee and the value of being able to converse with her teachers.
   Despite all of our attempts, as teachers, parents, and students, remaining positive in is tough. 2020 feels like a magnet constantly trying to pull us down and keep us there.
   I must say this though – education is still alive and well.
   My 5th graders were challenged to learn the “Preamble” and recite it by memory.
   The delivery details for assessment included two options: say the Preamble individually or in front of their peers.
   When my first homeroom kiddo raised his hand and volunteered, I wanted to shout for joy! I contained myself though; vowing silently to not embarrass him.
   He is not the most outgoing of the bunch; therefore, his bravery caught me off guard.
   I casually asked if he wanted to share it with me. He proudly stood up and walked confidently to the front of our classroom.
   His hard work paid off. He nailed it and earned the first perfect score of the week.
   I instantly remembered the value of intrinsic versus extrinsic praise. I asked him how it made him feel. He smiled and said “Mrs. Monico, I was nervous, but now I feel good!”
   I again controlled myself. I really wanted to jump out of my seat, do a somersault, or an old Eagle cheer; however, I wanted HIM to sense the value of his huge achievement.
   I pray he remembers what he earned from his hard work and applies it to the next assignment or challenge that life throws at him.
   Oh, he will face challenges. No one can escape them.
   If there is a “skip” card available, deal it to me please. I slacked off recently as a parent.
   My optimism, lack of attention to detail, and tendency to “tiptoe” around obvious problems caught up with me. There will be consequences.
   The thought of it all sent me spiraling off of the mountaintop and headed towards the valley. Parenting is the hardest job on this planet. When you add in marriage, work, finances, household duties, and the daily need to conquer “to-do” list – it can be too much!
   I decided to go back to the intrinsic, extrinsic thing and apply it to my situation. If I want to live with joy and peace, I must examine my heart, my motivations, and accept my failures.
   I cannot and should not thrive off of extrinsic praise and confirmation.
   David was far from perfect, but labeled a “man after God’s own heart.”
   His example should encourage us all. Seek, find, and follow God this week.


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