It made me realize that I don’t do it enough. I don’t validate other people’s contributions to society, to my life, to the world enough. No matter who I may come in contact, there is something good about that person. I may have to look for it but it is there. I need to practice saying and doing these things in my life.
Do I validate my colleagues’ connections to me? Do I see their strengths or do I mainly focus on their weaknesses? Do I try to see what skills they can offer and do I use them wisely? Do I ask them for advice because I value their opinions? Do I let them know how much I appreciate them?
Do I validate my students’ connections to me? Do I appreciate the humor that they bring into my life? Do I let them know how important teaching them is to me and how their success is important to me? Do I look for something positive about the student that I really dislike in my class (come on, be honest, we all have one)? Do I really listen to them and let them know that their opinions count?
Do I validate my family’s support to me? Do I spend time with them? Do I interact with my family or do I basically exist with them? Do I show them how important they are to me? Do I support the things they like to do even though it isn’t my cup of tea? Do I cherish every moment that I spend with them because I know how short life is?
Do I validate strangers who I may meet? What harm is done by smiling at them? Or saying something nice? Or just acknowledging their presence? Since I don’t know what is going on in their lives, maybe something positive I say or do can have a positive impact on their life. Do I take the time to do this?
Do I validate my own existence? Do I constantly tell myself that I cannot do things or I talk myself into inadequacies that I really don’t have? Do I pat myself on the back when I deserve it? Do I take pride in what I do and what I think? This perception of myself will appear as confidence and self assurance when I meet others.
Why is it so hard to be positive with others? It seems like we get in a habit of being negative and then it feels impossible to get out of it. My husband and I make it a common practice never to insult or say negative things (even if it is only teasing) about each other in public. In fact, many times he tells complete strangers something nice about me and they seem shocked because they don’t know how to act. They are not used to people saying nice things. When did society think that teasing and saying negative things were cute? They are not only NOT cute, but they are insulting and demeaning and shouldn’t be said at all.
I think if I could break this cycle in my classroom, it can change the dynamics of relationships between the students and me as well as their peers. Hopefully it would spill over into family relationships. I think this is important in making a classroom successful.