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tell me something good.

3 November 2010

i used to ask my students that question at the beginning of class…except that this particular 1st hour class was barely awake, and i got tired of hearing “nothing”.  i mean that i literally heard the word “nothing”, and sometimes just…nothing.

so i stopped asking.

and i think i’ll begin again.

it’s good to think of things that are good.

i heard one of my lovely fellow teachers ask one of her students (in the midst of said student poring over the bleakness of her angsty teenage present) to tell her something good.  but she added something to this that i’ve literally thought about for days now; she said:

“tell me some legitimately positive things that are happening right now — not just the absence of a bad thing, but a positive thing.”

i never really thought of it that way.

such a subtle distinction, the kind that i implore the big brains in my care to notice, but an important one.

good things are not just the absence of bad things.  we need to not just be thankful the bad is at bay (or perhaps is not) but see the good.

this same teacher has resumed writing on her blog about 5 things that make her happy each day.   reading it is a small bit of lovely each day.   it reminds me of my well-worn, dog-eared, highlighted and written-in book that my grandmother gave me: 14,000 things to be happy about. leafing through this book is like taking a long walk with an old friend; remembering the goodness in the past helps me to see the goodness in the present, amidst my wildly unsure footing.

so.

here are my five good things for today:

– for feeling a bit steadier and having more anticipation for my job than i have in the previous weeks.

– doing the dishes while listening to band of horses

– for a sincere “thank you” from someone who recognized and appreciated the mercy shown to him

– dinner with my husband

– for a well-timed phone call from a friend last night

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