Woowee! Here we are, friends. 3 days between me and spring break, and just 10 weeks until the end of the school year! It has been a whirlwind. I feel like we just got married and moved down here! This was my first year in a special education role (I did regular ed. last year) and I absolutely love zeroing in on specific kids to make sure that their needs are being met. Although, we should be doing this for ALL kids anyway! (that’s for another time…)
In case you haven’t picked up on this yet, one of my favorite things to do is REFLECT on previous moments, feelings, encounters, events, etc. I strongly believe that if more people were self-reflective, we would have a much kinder world. I’m bringing this up because it happened to be a topic of conversation in my bible study over the weekend. I like to think that all Christians are constantly reflecting on how we can do better, be better, and think better, all for God’s glory. I’ve come to recognize that this is not a thing that all Christians do, but even if you are not a Christian, I still believe that everyone should strive to do better, be better, and think better. Our inward thoughts and feelings have a direct correlation to our external reactions. I see this every day teaching. Although teachers say they will leave their feelings from home at the door, do they really? I know for sure if I am a bit cranky because I didn’t sleep well the night before, it transfers over to my patience level with students that day. This is me being human and recognizing that. Often I come home, reflect, and realize “hey, you were kind of a shitty human today,” and I remind myself that my students do not deserve that. Therefore, I strive to do better, be better, and think better, the next day.
But how do we reflect? What is a good way to go about it? I’m going lay out some questions that I ask myself and I consider in different aspects of my life, and hopefully you can implement some of these questions in your own life. I’m also going to preface these questions with this: You MUST be honest with yourself in order to truly reflect. If you go, “I was pretty mean to that person today, but honestly they did XYZ and they kind of asked for it.” That’s not being reflective, that is pushing it back on the other person instead of taking responsibility for your own actions.
Reflection Questions For Overall Day
#1: How did today go? Make a list in your head, or actually write it out. Mark down things that you think went really well (A+ moments) and some things that did not go well (RFI: Room for Improvement). It’s also totally okay to only have one or two things down for each side or none on one side and a ton on the other. Don’t create a super long list. These are quick self reflection moments. We’re not trying to critique ourselves until we just feel absolutely terrible. Once you have your list, applaud yourself for the A+ moments and then take a look at the Room For Improvement and ask yourself question #2.
#2: How could I have done better? For example, if one of my RFI moments was snapping at a student when they were off task for the 15th time, I would ask myself question #2. In response, I would go, “Okay, clearly this kid is having a hard time focusing. Is there something I can do as HIS/HER teacher in order to help them focus?” This leads me to question three.
#3: What will I try next time in order to improve? Sticking with my teaching example, I would think of strategies I could use to help my student focus, and then go in the next day ready to try those strategies. I’m recognizing how I can do better, and I go back and strive to BE better. Is it going to work every time? Eh, probably not, but then I’ll just reflect again and keep going.
Remember that these questions will be dependent on your answers for #1. If you said, “Trash talking that person on the subway,” you may find yourself thinking that you can’t go back and fix it with that person because they were a stranger. That is true, but you can fix your own attitude and try to not do that to another person on the subway again. See what I’m saying?
Reflections for Relationships/Marriage
Ya’ll. I know I have not been married for that long. Please do not think that I am coming at you with the “I’m so wise, do what I do, it will make everything perfect” bologna. I’m sharing these strategies because I have started to implement them in my relationship, and I have noticed a shift in my marriage (it has only made me love my husband ten times more, and I really think we have gotten closer because of it).
#1: Did I speak with love? This one has been huge for me. I actually try to be way more proactive with it instead of reactive, but when I do need to be reactive I stop and think, “Did those words coming out of my mouth come out with love, or am I just being bitchy?” Most of the time when I actually have to think about it, it’s usually the latter one. Even before I’m about to say something, if I think it’s going to be harsh, I’ll stop and say, “I’m going to not say something right now because it’s not going to be nice.”I then walk away! It’s not avoiding it, because I come back around after I KNOW I can say it with love.
#2: Was I actually listening? It’s one thing to listen to a person, and it’s another thing to actually hear them. It’s is so easy to keep moving and grooving along and answer a person without thinking about it, but how many times do we answer without really knowing what we are saying, and then we get mad about it later? Been there, done that. Listen, no matter if this is a friendship or relationship, if you actually actively listen and HEAR the person who is speaking, it will make your conversation TEN times better. It is being a respectful human by doing this. Please, start hearing people. Even if you don’t agree, still listen to what they have to say, hear them, and respectfully talk about it. Can you imagine our society if everyone did this? *drifts off into faraway world* I’ll keep hoping everyone will strive for this.
I’m only going to stick with those two questions (for now) because those have been the two that have been substantial for me. I’m sure as I continue on in life, I will be coming up with many more questions!
Self reflection is a humbling process. It is essential to find out why you think, say, and do certain things.Pinterest Quote- Unknown author
I hope that these questions challenge you to look within yourself. I will say that prayer has also greatly enhanced my self-reflection. There are times when I don’t know how to improve, but I pray that God opens my eyes to how I can do better, be better, and think better.