Make My Day

44599175“Go ahead, make my day” is a catchphrase spoken by Clint Eastwood in the 1983 film Sudden Impact. Back in the day, he was one of toughest male actors on TV. He was a bad cat and he didn’t take anything from anyone.

I am not a confrontational person, however, I do have an opinion. I am also honest to a fault. If you don’t want to know what I think, don’t ask.

Everywhere I turn lately, I feel controversy. I can’t help but think of The Grouchy Ladybug who asks everyone she meets, “Hey you! Do you wanna fight?” I don’t like it. It makes my skin tingly, my jaw tightens, and I want to retreat to my safe places.

I can’t turn the TV on without hearing about HATE and CORRUPTON. I can’t look on Facebook, open a magazine or newspaper, and I can’t even go to the local store without hearing about someone being mad at someone else, or a group of people bashing another group. It is really affecting my mood.

This week we had the evaluation discussion at school that included Marshall goals, SLO’s, rubrics, yearly growth, catchup growth, data points, glows and grows, evidence to prove our integrity-2effectiveness… yada, yada, yada. I would rather have had a tooth extracted. It was the most uncomfortable meeting that I’ve attended in a while. The only thing I got from the meeting was that no matter how hard I try, I will never be good enough. There is always something I could be doing better at, and that the top score is not attainable even to God.

So, I retreated to one of the wisest teacher mentors of the 80’s (and way too many sugar cookies with icing). I knew that Mr. Miyagi would talk me off the ledge.

 “It’s ok to lose to opponent. It’s never okay to lose to fear.” I am not perfect. There are other teachers out there who are much more talented than I. However, I do expect to be noticed for what I am successful at, for people to be fair, and not be overcome with fear in the process of defending what I do and why. Goal #1: I need to work on not being fearful.

 “Never put passion in front of principle, even if you win, you’ll lose.” I try hard not to be emotionally charged. I work to be rational, making calm and level-headed decisions that are well thought through. Goal #2: I will close my mouth and think through what I want to say before I say it or write about it.

“To make honey, young bee need young flower, not old prune.” If I want to become better at what I do, I need to surround myself with people and tools that will make me stronger. Mom and Dad always told us to find friends and coworkers that we were a lot alike, or someone who we wanted to be like, in order to lift us up. Goal #3: I will continue to seek out good role models and teammates that bring out the best in me.

“Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later…get squish just like grape.” Goal #4: I will continue to have an opinion and chose a side, standing on principles that are grounded, fair, and Godly.

“Man who catch fly with chopstick, accomplish anything.” Goal #5: I will continue to have tenacity and grit. I will work hard, tweak when necessary, and work hard again. I will not give up.

When in doubt, “Wax on, wax off.” Some good physical labor always puts life back into perspective. I just love working on our property. Weeding the garden provides exercise, time for reflecting, and it looks good when I’m finished. Goal #6: Get off my butt.

I think Mr. Miyagi had the right idea. Following certain guiding principles, and living with integrity is what my focus will be. This year, my goal is to simply be a better human being. There should be a spot on the evaluation for that.

Maybe just maybe this would force joy, caring, cooperation, and bring humanitarianism back. I’m willing to give it a try. Go ahead, make my day and I’ll make yours.

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