Day 260 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Thoughts of others – There is always something to be grateful for.

My day began with meditation. I am grateful I know how useful my practice is. My  thoughts revolved around what others are going through. That continued through the day while I worked on my chores. In meditation I reviewed experiences I have had and then thought about who else is now dealing with similar things.

I  contemplated all the trials and tribulations of raising young teens. Especially ones who do not understand long term consequences. Maybe that is all of them. I remembered dealing with surgery and how frightened I was. I remembered feeling all alone in the world, even though that was not the case. I ruminated about all the times I tried to allow my children opportunities I never had. I pondered what lofty goals I hoped to accomplish during the summer before getting back to work. I reviewed how I tried so many times to make a staycation fun because there was no money for travel. I though about the way things were so very different for me as I raised my children. My children now face things as they raise my grandchildren I could never have imagined.

As I worked again, for too many hours, on the front porch I thought about all the things everyone has to go through in their lifetime. I know very few people who had wonderful childhoods without drama. Most people face many challenges in their adult years also. So what does one do when realizing someone else is dealing with a plate full of heartache? The main thing I think of is just to be there. To let the person dealing with their lives know you care.     

I am in a better place in my life because I know I have to take responsibility for my actions. I know I have survived so much.  I am grateful knowing there are wonderful souls who care about me. If I trip and fall short of where I want to be, other’s won’t let me fall into a hole. They’ll probably tell me to dust myself off and get back on track.  So many platitudes. It’s OK I am tired and worn out thinking about so many people I care about. I am not trying to fix anyone. I am not intervening with anyone. I just want them to know I care. 



Day 26 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Mourning/Moving Forward – There is always something to be grateful for.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar’

Today I am grateful that I am moving forward one step. One step that means I have not forgotten but also cannot remain in the space I was Saturday. Yesterday my spouse and I decided to go out for an early dinner. Neither of us felt like cooking so an early dinner means less cologne laden people, less crowds, and less waiting. As we are both wearing our kippot we wondered if people’s reactions would be noticeable. Sadly they were. The waiter was gruff and treated us differently than his other patrons. I purposely tried to be extra thankful to him but it fell on deaf ears. On the other hand the two other tables near us had smiles for us as they walked past our table upon leaving. We also noticed that after serving us the hostess attended to our needs instead of  our waiter. There were only four occupied tables in the entire restaurant. It was hard not to notice his absence. At least the hostess was kind and accommodating.               

That being said I needed to discuss a few matters with my students today. I notified them that they did not need backpacks at school tomorrow as the entire half day was scheduled with fun Halloween activities. Cheers were heard by all. The second item had to do with personal cleanliness and the lack there of. I shall spare you the discussion, but it was one they needed to hear. The third topic was to answer the many questions by my students about my crocheted yarmulke. As I have never in my 35 years of teaching in public school worn a kippah to school. My spouse and I had discussed wearing ours and as stated earlier in solidarity and grief for the victims. We are wearing ours for the mourning period. I explained that if they were not aware, I am Jewish. I told them why I was wearing my kippah and what it meant to me. I was careful to just say Saturday’s tragedy in case they were not aware of what happened.  In this time of people not recognizing or caring about the pain others are going through, I took advantage of a teachable moment.

There are currently so many angry posts on Facebook. It is almost all negative and sad. I try to remember my circle of influence. I try to focus on the things I have control over. I am grateful I can respect and mourn for the people who lost their lives. I can show respect for them and all people regardless of  their religion, ethnicity, or beliefs. I am grateful I choose to be kind and I hope others use their gratitude for their freedom and make their choices known. I move forward with gratitude.

Day 25 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Pride/Loss – There is always something to be grateful for.

I am still in recovery mode, but I have the luxury of not being a victim today. I am grateful that while some of our nation’s leaders spew hatred for anyone not of their same majority, I can express my identity openly. I consider myself a spiritual/cultural Jew. While I typically only wear my kippah at home on the Jewish holidays, today and for the next 5 days I shall wear it. I am grateful that today and for the days that follow I shall proudly wear my kippah to show my solidarity with the victims in Pittsburgh. I shall flaunt my religion and my love of my people. I am grateful I have the choice of my religious affiliation.   

I am grateful that for another day I have life. Those innocent people don’t have today or tomorrow. Today I am able to go to work at a job I love. I am grateful that I get to teach these children of many nationalities, religions, and ethnicities. These kids are “my students.” They are all equal to me. Why are we not all equal to our leaders? Why do people choose hatred over love or at least tolerance? 

Every student in our school has loved ones who entrust them to our staff. The students come to class hopefully feeling safe. Sadly because  of the current state of the country we now have three different levels of lock-down drills. Our doors have special locks to help us speed up the process. We teachers are being trained to run, hide, or fight.  It raises the stress level of all of us. Times have changed and not for the better.

Those whose lives were cut down due to hatred have many loved ones suffering for their loss. They are being told it is the synagogues fault for not hiring armed security. What are we teaching our citizens when we tell them to have armed guards at every turn? Kind people who for absolutely no rational reason will never again come together with their families to share  what should be the most spiritual and precious of times. I am grateful that I have my family, my friends, my co-workers,  and my students in my life. Eleven people through no fault of their own have lost everything. All their families, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances have been deprived of their presence. I am grateful for my breaths and I am sad for the loss. 

Out of respect: Those killed were Daniel Stein, 71; Joyce Feinberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Rose Mallinger, 97; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; brothers Cecil Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal 54; husband and wife Bernice Simon, 84 and Sylvan Simon, 86; Melvin Wax, 88; and Irving Younger, 69.

How do we talk to kids?