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It’s All Connected

Choosing Serendipitous Mindset

Recently, I watched Manifest on Netflix. After three seasons of fast past scenes, interesting drama and never-ending plot twists, one three-word phrase stuck in my head: It’s all connected.  

A Serendipitous Mindset

One of my favorite things about teaching is that it connects so many dots. Something that I learn today, connects to a lesson or student I taught twenty years ago. Uncanny connections explain serendipity. 

According to the dictionary, Serendipity is defined as luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for. I love the phrasing, “luck that takes the form of finding things that are not looked for.” Sometimes we find things we didn’t even know we were looking for. Imagine adopting a mindset where we were not fixated on finding one thing but believed that connection and opportunity are constantly being added to our lives.  

Believe Life is Happening For you Not to You

Kayla, a friend of mine, makes it her mission to find meaning in everything she experiences. Whether she has a race bib in her hands or turns around in an elevator to see a powerful quote that connects with her, Kayla lives with a serendipitous mindset. She believes there are lessons, beauty, and connection wherever she is. Kayla is focused on a mindset that gives examples to remind her that her life and experiences are not accidental. Kayla is intentional about living and teaching others to uncover a life filled with purpose and meaning. Kayla has decided the world is working together for her.  

In his new book When Passion Meets Project,  Brian Aspinall says, “Take what you learn from school and make it work for you.” 

Life is constantly reminding us that everything is connected, and we can find meaning anywhere we look. 

The Path to Serendipity 

My Faith has always encouraged me to believe that things happen for a reason and are connected to a bigger plan. Likewise, the first time I thought about the word, “Serendipity” was when I read Allyson Apsey’s book The Path to Serendipity. Apsey strives to remind readers that some of the lessons that surprise us are some of the most powerful ones. She wholeheartedly believes in a mission to help readers discover the gifts along life’s journey. Through an example from John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale’s movie, Serendipity as well as several examples from her life, Apsey beautifully explains that there are lessons all around us. 

Meaning Made from Today’s Date

The first thing my friend Amy does when she gets her bib before a race is to make her number work for her by doing math with it.  She creates a positive pre-race experience by doing square roots, addition or multiplication to make a number she loves. I love how happy she gets when she realizes her number is a perfect square or a number she is excited about. The more I thought about this, I realized I have an opportunity to create magic each day with the date.  One of my favorite things to share with students is the reason that each day is amazing. Each hour I write the date on the whiteboard, followed by two reasons the individual numbers are exciting. 

For example, on Friday, November 12th, I explained to students that today is incredible because 11 (November), and 12 (The date) add up to the number 23. Twenty-three, I explained, was Michael Jordan’s (One of the most incredible athletes of all time)  basketball number. Secondly, I offered, #12 (Date) on the periodic table is magnesium.  And lastly, when you write the date, 11/12/21, it is made up of 1’s and 2’s which is kind of neat. 

I hope students will be excited to find the gifts each day. Making meaning each day from the current date reminds students that there is something to celebrate each day regardless of what is happening outside the classroom. Making meaning from the date also helps students have a serendipitous mindset to spend energy focusing on the gifts, connection, and meaning that all around them. 

Celebrate each day, not the break that is coming. 

It is not uncommon for teachers to show an uncanny amount of excitement for the end of the day, a weekend, or a holiday break. When I read 100 Things Teachers Should Stop Doing compiled by Dr. Rick Jetter, and a hundred other authors, I appreciated the chapter that focused on how important it is not to get so excited about the moments when we are not in school. First, teaching kids to not enjoy the present is a mistake. There are amazing and beautiful things to be found each day. When we encourage them to think about something in the future without truly experiencing the day we are denying them the opportunity to see the magic in front of them. And, equally important, some students may not be excited to leave school. It is natural to be excited about breaks, but it is important to be conscious that school might be the best part of an individual’s weekend,  

People and Things Come In and Out of Our Lives

There are so many people who offer gifts of encouragement as well as a gift to the profession of education. Our connections have certainly been serendipitous. 

Sean Gaillard (@smgaillard), a principal from North Carolina, reminds me to Celebrate Monday each week. He also focuses on making connections to music, and sharing inspiring quotes that remind me of my purpose. He makes several references to the Beatles and Mr. Rogers, two areas that deeply connect with my past. 

Lisa Toebben (@teach_n_boots) Shares books, podcasts, and uplifting ideas that connect me to new authors, speakers and outstanding educators. Her recommendations constantly open new doors for me. Fortunately, I was able to meet her through a Twitter chat and, from there she has connected me to many resources. 

Dave Burgess (@burgessdave) the author of Teach Like a Pirate, has opened so many doors through the company resources in Dave a burgess consulting. The professional development sessions, chats, books, and interactions with amazing educators, would not have happened without my initial fascination with the first book. This connection began when I picked up Dave’s first book because it was filled with analogies related to pirates: a topic I have always loved. 

Believe It’s All Connected 

Life becomes more meaningful when it feels like things are happening for us. The students we are assigned, the colleagues that teach near us, the professionals we connect with online, and the  positions we take on, have all been chosen for us. When I lean into a serendipitous mindset I cannot help but notice all of the things that are happening for me. When I write tomorrow’s date on the board, I will pause to think about the ways my friends make numbers work for them, and realize it is all connected. 

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