One week ago today (almost one week after my daughter’s graduation), we learned that a beloved teacher of my daughter’s died from a tragic hiking accident. He had personally written and read out loud on tribute day a short description of each and every student in the 8th grade (70 students in total).  This was only a fraction of his contribution to each and every student he met, taught and spent time with in the past 25 years at this particular school (one of two schools where he taught).

He exemplified universal love and acceptance and this is the religion he taught at a catholic school.  Every assignment began with questions and not directives because he wanted his students to create their own models of what they thought religion meant and not what he thought it did or what it meant to him.  His philosophy was about the individual and connecting with and celebrating individuals strengths and differences.  He treated each child with such positivity, empathy and respect that my daughter along with her friends spent their free time pre-practice and during the day in his room just chatting with him.  He was the go to teacher, counselor, coach and de-facto parent and friend to so many children, students and appreciated by all parents.

There is a void and will be a void when the students return to school though they will be next door on the HS campus.  The incoming 8th graders will never know Mr M but they will certainly hear and have heard about him.

Through tears and, at times, shock and disbelief, people have shared how they are coping with the loss.  One parent shared how she reminded her daughter when she mentioned missing him that we can continue his legacy by remembering how he was in our daily interactions with others.  Another parent mentioned that he once said that any day he lived past 52 years would be a blessing  as both his Father and brother passed at that age (he died at 57).

Too soon but grateful our children met and knew him.  It’s hard to understand why things happen the way they do but it’s times like these when being philosophical seems to help: it helps to believe that the universe works in its own way.

I think about how much he accomplished in his lifetime and how others can live longer lives and not accomplish a fraction of what he did.  I share as a reminder that every day is a blessing for which we do not know the duration so we must embrace, appreciate and live fully each day.

“Positive Mantra NOT Negative Chatter”

SDWhen I run, jog and/or walk, I often find myself thinking more thoughtfully and today’s thought fell upon how much negative chatter consumes so much of my daily thought.  How is it possible I make it through the day without serious self-esteem issues affecting my daily interactions.  Worse, I couldn’t recall the last time I had a day devoid of negative chatter, how sad I thought to myself.

Then I started thinking, and pardon my generalization, how is it that men can (so seemingly and easily) celebrate small accomplishments yet women find it more difficult to celebrate any success without qualifying it.

I don’t ever recall a Mother proclaiming she was amazing for all she had accomplished during the day because, after all, she was ONLY doing what was expected.  And the comment, “what ELSE do you do?” upon answering your vocation as a Mom.  I was dumbfounded when asked this once…as if!

Back to the negative chatter…I would like myself (and all of us women) to replace negative chatter with positive mantras.  With each step I took on my run today, I imagined quashing each and every negative thought that came to mind. Let us support each other in celebrating our successes how little or big they may SEEM and replace our negativity with positivity because we DESERVE it.

Do it because you can and will even if you don’t always want until you can’t.  My intention is to be more positive with my thoughts for not only myself but my daughter and (son) and to find inspiration to live a life of passion.

Just yesterday, I couldn’t stop watching a clip of Stephen Curry receiving his MVP award and remarked to my son, “what an inspiration” to which he replied, “but you aren’t even a basketball player”.  My response, “every word of advice he shares can be applied to anyone’s life”.  He walks his talk and is all he is because of what he deeply believes with passion and purpose. Believe!