It has been almost a month since the quarantine season started getting us stuck at home most of the time. The biggest question is this: what have you done with your life lately? Has your life taken on a new meaning amid the COVID-19 crisis?
We are in the midst of the most crucial of times. We have been wishing for more time to do other things we really want to do other than work. Now that we have got what we have been wishing for all this time, how have we been using our time so far?
Time is our most precious and scarcest resource. Once it is used up, it can never be taken back again–ever.
This is not a call for mere productivity for the sake of keeping yourself busy with meaningless things to do that do not really add value to your life or to the lives of others.
This is not just a reminder to value work for the sake of earning money, but it is a reminder to consider our calling, our life’s work, the kind that makes life worth living for ourselves and others because it fuels us and changes lives.
Changing people’s lives is such a gargantuan task, right? But without really stretching too far, whatever you do (or do not do) actually affects people’s lives for better or for worse.
Your life may just be a drop of water in this ocean of life, but this ocean would not be complete without you.
Before changing other people’s lives, though, change must first begin with yourself. Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
As a teacher, you are someone people look up to, whether you like it or not. This applies not only to your students but also other people around you: your community, your friends, your family. Even without your knowledge, they are all observing how you teach people through the examples you lead.
As teachers who have been given this wonderful yet challenging opportunity to impact people’s lives with our calling, where do we start in changing our own for the better? It all starts with our habits.
The European Journal of Social Psychology says it usually takes somewhere between 18 to 66 days to build new habits.
Are you unconsciously building bad habits because of the downtime that coronavirus has caused? Or are you fired up and aware of building good habits?
What one habit could change your life and others’ lives around you? Gratitude.
Summer Allen, Ph.D., wrote in her research paper titled “The Science of Gratitude” that “gratitude inspires people to be more generous, kind, and helpful (or “prosocial”); strengthens relationships, including romantic relationships; and may improve the climate in workplaces.”
Gratitude makes you a better teacher, as it makes you become more kind and helpful to your students in a more authentic manner, not just for the sake of money. It helps you strengthen your relationship with them, as you feel grateful you have this opportunity to make a positive difference in your students’ lives.
There are obviously so many negative events happening around us in this global pandemic. But Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, strongly encourage us: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
We are challenged to choose to be grateful for whatever we have right now, no matter how little we have. But the fact that you are alive and reading this means that you have so much. You still have the most precious yet scarce resource one could ever have: time. Use it wisely. It is time to be grateful.
How about starting your own gratitude journal if you have not made one yet? Or write three things you are grateful for each day on a little piece of paper and put it in your gratitude jar. You could do this all throughout this quarantine season, or you could do it for an entire year. It would be a great Christmas or New Year tradition to open it and choose to share your top three things that you have been grateful for throughout the year with your loved ones.
Whatever you are doing now during this quarantine season will impact your life. And because your life inevitably affects others around you, the habits you build during this quarantine season will also affect those around you.
Dear teacher, your life matters–big time. Make each day count. And stay grateful!