Thursday, August 16, 2012

Growing the Grass Greener

In his book “The No Complaining Rule” Jon Gordon offers 3 methods to approach life with a positive attitude:

1. The But → Positive Technique. This simple strategy helps you turn your complaints into positive thoughts, solutions, and actions. It works like this. When you realize you are complaining, you simply add the word “but” and then add a positive thought or positive action.  

  • I don’t like driving to work for an hour but I’m thankful I can drive and that I have a job.

2. Focus on “Get To” instead of “Have To.” Too often we complain and focus on what we have to do. We say things like “I have to go to work.” “I have to drive here.” “I have to do this or that.” Instead, shift your perspective and realize it’s not about having to do anything. You get to do things. You get to live this life. You get to go to work while so many are unemployed. You get to drive in traffic while so many don’t even have a car or are too sick to travel. Focus on what you get to do. Focus on feeling blessed instead of stressed. Focus on gratitude.

3. Turn Complaints into Solutions. The goal is not to eliminate all complaining. The intent is to eliminate the kind of mindless complaining that doesn’t serve a greater purpose and allow   complaining that is justified and worthwhile. The opposite of mindless complaining is justified complaining. The former is negative and the latter is positive. The different is intent. With mindless complaining, you are mindlessly focusing on problems; however, with justified   complaining you identify a problem, and the complaint moves you toward a solution. Every complaint represents an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.
Gordon’s book teaches us, simply, that the grass is greener where you water it. He posits that, in our work places and our communities, positive energy is the water with which we nurture our garden.  

So, how do we grow our grass greener at KSA?  How do we use all the positive energy and great innovative ideas to unite our community and help it grow to new heights?

We start with our teachers.  We create an environment in which teachers are constantly learning together and from each other.  We encourage teachers to share new ideas, work collaboratively on projects, and even observe each other's classrooms to help improve the teaching and learning in their own classrooms.  

For our students we continue to focus on their strengths and opportunities for growth (hence personal goals). It means celebrating successes in academic and social areas and encouraging our students to be positive towards themselves, their friends, teachers, parents and community. It means observing each child’s growth and the development of his or her passions. Our grass is greener when we encouraging our students to be curious and compassionate and to embrace new experiences.

For our parents, growing the grass greener means building a culture of transparency and partnership. It means that parents are, and will become even more so, part of the collaborative team; working together toward the success of the students, the teachers and KSA as a community.

How can you help us keep the shefa, the flow of positive and holy energy nurturing our garden and our children, vital?  Meet frequently with the Kehillah teachers that educate your child. Be aware of the goals that your child is working toward this year and be an active part of the educational team by continuing to work toward these goals at home. Celebrate successes and express gratitude, both to your child and to our teachers.

Teachers, students and parents are all gardeners of our little corner of Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden.)  What will your roll be in keeping the energy positive and growing the grass greener?  Tell us what you think in the comments.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi David and Dr. Resnick