Uplifting Moments

I was frustrated this morning after a Zoom meeting. We’ve all needed to make big changes on how we’ve done things since this COVID-19 thing hit. Some of us have handled change better than others. In my world, it’s been adapt or die for a long time. I know I’m being a prickly hard-ass about it, but it’s meant that I’ve been able to excel even in the hardest of times.

As a teacher, adapting during COVID-19 has meant becoming more proficient using online tools and platforms. Granted, I’m a tech guy; I use this stuff every day. Heck, I’ve even somehow convinced my mother into buying an Oculus Quest VR system so we can bowl or play frisbee golf and catch up virtually a few times a week. I get it. It’s much easier for me to jump into some of these technologies than it is for others. Here’s the thing, never in my world has it been okay for me to say, “I can’t do it.”

You find a way. If suddenly, Americans lose the ability to speak English, and we all need to speak Japanese, guess what, I’m learning how to speak Japanese. If I need to learn how to do advanced mathematics, and trust me this is the most tortuous activity I can imagine, I’d learn how to do the math. It would suck in the beginning. I would work and sweat and beat my head in. And then I’d figure it out.

I work in the non-profit world. Our resources are limited. People are performing functions that should probably be performed by twice as many staff members, but the money isn’t there, and the public needs our help. When someone can’t step up to a challenge and are not willing to find a way to push forward, they put an extraordinary amount of stress on other team members. Either do your job or step aside.

That’s where my mind was this morning. I left the meeting and jumped straight into an online ESL class (which I planned at 11 o’clock last night by the way).

Deep breath.

I promise I’m done ranting.

Class went well, and I realized I had a few messages in the Call Me Positive hopper that needed to be posted. The first message was about how someone brought flowers to their favorite teacher and how they had this tearful exchange. The next message was about someone spending the day working in their yard, enjoying the sun, and trying to keep papers from blowing away. The final message was from another ESL teacher that I know talking about a parade in Central Falls, RI and how the community has banded together in these tough times.

I felt so much better after listening to those messages and posting them up in the podcast. Call Me Positive hasn’t blown up in terms of popularity. It’s definitely made an impact though—on those that call in and on those that listen, including me. Sometimes, I can get on this downward spiral of anger. I focus too closely on one thing, and I can’t break out of it. I know I’m wasting my emotional and mental resources by focusing on what made me angry, but I can’t get out of it. Listening to those positive messages helped me break the chain. Writing this has helped as well.

I’m proud of Call Me Positive. I hope it can help others find little moments of happiness for years to come. I’ve posted the episode that helped me feel a little better below.