Happiness is Serving Students

Happiness is Serving Students

service, happiness, gandhiThe mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. ~ William Arthur Ward

I have tremendous respect for teachers, I always have.  I had some fantastic teachers over my lifetime that had an impact on me.  My third grade teacher Mrs. Nicholson loved me, she always made me feel special and for decades after having me as a student she continued to do so.  She would check in on me through family and friends and whenever I saw her she would always say I was her favorite student.  My fifth grade teacher Mrs. Garno really paid attention to me.  She recognized my intelligence and pulled me out of class to do extra, higher level math with two other students.  One has been one of my best friends for the last 45+ years.  That class was where I learned to play chess, gave me the first glance of an alternate path, I was a kid from the neighborhood and Mrs. Garno also saw me starting to head down the wrong path and showed up at my house one night to talk with my mom.  Her intervention was likely a turning point in my life.  In high school I had some of the best teachers in my life.  Two married teachers Mr. and Mrs. Russell taught my Biology and Calculus classes and were incredible, challenging and inspirational teachers.  Mr. Sullivan, my English and the best teacher I’ve ever known, made a weird kid feel smart, made me feel like there was far more in the world outside of the town I was growing up in and that I could see it.  I know he did the same for many, many others including some of my good friends. I still hear his voice every time I write, I always date my writings.  Years and years before I ever wrote anything worth reading, he would say to me in class, always date your papers, someday when you’re a famous author people will want to know when you wrote this.

education, inspiration

Both of my sisters are teachers in the secondary system, they are both great teachers. One of the reasons I do what I do is the satisfaction that comes from knowing the impact you can have on someone’s life.  Particularly at the Community College level a lot of what we do can transforms people’s lives and not just their lives, but the lives of their families and for generations.  Education was my ticket out of a bad neighborhood, a ticket to a life that I dreamed about but never truly thought I would have and made it real.

education, inspirationTonight I want to talk about something I watched happen the other day.  Over the last nearly 20 years in education working as an administrator, I’ve had the privilege of working with some really fantastic teachers.  In my current job, as a dean at Skyline College there is an instructor I’ve gotten to know this year who is really fantastic.  He and I share some similarities in our background and both of us were able to use education as a ticket to a better life and are trying to give back.  He’s one of those teachers who gets his students excited about the subject, no easy feat as a math instructor.  He desperately cares about his students and sees his role as both math  and LIFE instructor.  He challenges his students but is an absolute cheerleader for their success.

The other day he and I were in the hallway having a conversation and classes let out.  As students came by he would see former students.  He engaged each of them, not just to say hi but to ask about them.  How are you doing?  How are your classes?  He asked questions about them and made direct eye contact with each of them.  He finished each interaction with a simple phrase, “I’m proud of you.”  It was said sincerely and I watched every single student walk away with their chins up and their heads a little higher.  It was truly inspirational to watch the impact he was having on each and every student.

I'm proud of you, quote

Whether or not you’re a teacher, in your life you have opportunities all of the time with young people.  You have interactions that often seem utterly innocuous, but every single one of them is an opportunity.  In each of those interactions you have an opportunity to provide a positive encouraging word to them.  Something as simple as you’re awesome, you’re doing a great job, wow you’re really smart or just I’m proud of you can have an incredible impact on a younger person, or even a student who might not be so young.  You never know how much someone might look up to you, and they may never tell you.  If we can all do this more often, we might help our children, our students, have a more positive opinion of themselves, feel more confident and eventually achieve greater things.  It’s a little thing from us, but done sincerely can be absolute huge to them.  So tonight my friends, be kind, be positive and express those positive thoughts to children and students and help them have happier and more successful days. ~ Rev Kane

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Happy National Pizza Day

Happy National Pizza Day

pizza brooklynIt doesn’t even matter if I don’t win a self-gold – after every meet, I have pizza. Pepperoni pizza. ~ Simone Biles

So for people who know me well, they know that I may have no greater love in life than a really good slice of NY style pizza.  That’s right, I’ve written an entire book of poetry and over 250 poems about the love of my life, but put a really good slice in front of me and it’s a toss up.  I love pizza!

pizza, New York, food

For those who grew up with me, they know that my love for the Pizza Pit, the greatest pizza place in the history of mankind was the center of my world as a kid.  When I was away in college and driving fifteen hours from Kentucky, my first stop was the Pizza Pit.  That’s right, I would get a pizza before seeing my family, I told you, I love pizza.  I even had fantasies when I was younger, the owner of the Pizza Pit had a beautiful daughter named Mary.  I thought, wow, if I married Mary, I could inherit the Pizza Pit, know it’s secret and live a happy, and likely very fat life.  Well, Mary was a couple of years older than me, barely knew I existed and gentrification drove the rent too high and the Pizza Pit closed decades ago.  But it deserves a mention on National Pizza Day.

pizza, happiness

Unfortunately I won’t be having any pizza on National Pizza Day.  I’m battling some bad blood sugar and am heading to New Orleans for Mardi Gras in a couple of weeks.  I’ll be misbehaving, on the food front only I swear, during that trip and right down the street from my hotel is a place called NY Pizza.

So my friends, have a slice of pizza today, enjoy life, watch the sunset and have a happy day. ~ Rev Kane

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AT Happiness: Trail Suprises

AT Happiness: Trail Suprises

20150412_114808

The AT is full of surprises.  I’ve ended up hiking with the brother of someone I went to law school with 25 years ago completely by accident.  There are of course unexpected vistas and tucked away spots. My favorite, a rural church, was a covered picnic area a tenth of a mile off of the trail.  I ate a peaceful and wonderful lunch there on a sunny afternoon.

Photo by Shaggy Hobo

Photo by Shaggy Hobo

I’ve gotten lost three times so far and once found a heart shaped lichen on a tree (similar to the moss one in the picture above), second time I found an old grave yard where the most recent burial was 1900.  Yesterday we also came upon the wonderful old dam in the picture above.

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The boys at Hemlock Hollow

Today we found Mom’s Store, a perfect hiker stop two hours in and only 100 feet off of the trail.   While there we learned a storm was coming in and that there was a hostel just up the trail a bit.  Throw in the chance to slack pack 20 miles tomorrow and the rain starting and here we are at Hemlock Hollow having a happy day my friends.  – Rev Kane

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What’s up with 2020?

What’s up with 2020?

2020

Watch the sunrise at least once a year, put a lot of marshmallows in your hot chocolate, lie on your back and look at the stars, never buy a coffee table you can’t put your feet on, never pass up a chance to jump on a trampoline, don’t overlook life’s small joys while searching for the big ones. ~ H. Jackson Brown Jr.

The first year of the new decade has seemingly been a rough one for everyone.  I’m seeing a lot of posts of on social media, particularly near the end of January, that were expressing how long the month seemed.  The year has definitely been full of reasons for people to be stressed.  It started with massive wildfires in Australia (that are still burning), an impeachment trial in the United States and a coronavirus epidemic in China.  All of this, along with the normal stresses of life seem to have people on edge.

I have to admit it’s been a tough start to the year for me as well.  I’m struggling with blood sugar regulation and today have pretty much had to give in to the idea that I’ll have to go on medication.  I’m determined for that to be a temporary situation, but when you have a condition and basically ignore it for a year while traveling, well, there are consequences to every decision.  Of course as someone whose primary responsibility at work is managing people, tensed up people make for difficult days at work.  Honestly, Friday was the first day in two weeks that people didn’t have my blood pressure up.

So it’s been a tough start, what can you do?

Well the first thing you always have to remember when things aren’t going well, is that the situation is almost always temporary.  So take a deep breath, relax, things absolutely will get better.  Next, when things are going bad try and find positive things to focus on.  For me right now, I’m trying to work up to running a 5K, but I have bad knees and I’m struggling with some knee pain.  I could focus on that negative, but instead it’s better to look at the fact that since I started training my resting heart rate has dropped 3 beats per minute.

Finally, and this is really important, have a little fun, do things that make you feel better.  So I’m actively involved in doing that for myself.  This week I bought a couple of small things for my upcoming trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.  I finally found the dates and space to book a trip to Las Vegas I’ve been trying to put together for a couple of months now.   One of the biggest disappointments I had at the beginning of this year was to find out that 13 months in advance wasn’t enough lead time to book my trip to Antarctica, a visit to my sixth continent, then my fall back, hiking in Tasmania in April wasn’t possible because of work commitments.  So my big news is that I’ve worked out a trip to Australia (Sydney and Tasmania) in November to hike the Overland Track.  I have tentative approval, just waiting for the president to sign off.  All of this has made this nomad a little more at ease.  I’m truly like a cat on a hot tin roof when I don’t have a trip planned and once I finally book Australia I’ll be more at peace.

Don’t forget of course to do the little things as well my friends.  I love movies and tonight I’m going to head out to see JoJo Rabbit, I have plans next weekend to go to the track, then I head for NOLA the following weekend.  So I think that 2020 is going to start improve my friends, so stay positive, smile even if you shouldn’t and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness is Laughter: Fun Friday!

Happiness is Laughter: Fun Friday!

happiness, laughter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company ~ Mark Twain

happiness, laughter

 

 

 

 

 

A guy who finds a way to stick it to the banks the way they stick it to us, classic!!!

happiness, laughter

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite fireworks video of all-time.

3 2

 

 

 

 

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Happiness links from Zen Habits

Happiness links from Zen Habits

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize
there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. ~ Lao Tzu

Everest

Sunset in the Himalayas

I’ve referred to one of my favorite sites on happiness a number of times, Zen Habits.  So today, a list of some of their most popular pieces on how to live a happier life.

1.  Breathe http://zenhabits.net/breathe/

2.  I really love this very short piece, a brief guide to life

3.  Solitude

4.  72 ideas to simplify your life 

5.  Simple mindfulness

Enjoy and have a happy day my friends! ~ Rev Kane

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Zen Habits: The Little Book of Contentment

I make no secret of my love for the site Zen Habits the author of the site has put together a book that’s available to download for free, give it a look see and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

The Little Book of Contentment 

 

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Happiness, Games & Resilience

Happiness, Games & Resilience

 animals baby elephant

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him. ~ The Buddha

So recently, I happened across Jane McGonigal’s TED talk and I have to say it is quite amazing.  The main reason is that the talks I like best are the ones that give you something tangible that you can take away from them that can help you live a better life.  The goal unabashedly that I have with the Ministry of Happiness posts. 

In her talk, Jane McGonigal, who is by training a game designer, talks about how increasing your strength and resiliency can increase the length and quality of your life.   She points to four types of resilience or strengths that lead to what she calls post-traumatic growth, the type of growth that normally occurs in someone’s life after some great trauma causes them to re-examine their life.  In the talk she actually shows you four ways to work on these resiliencies without having to deal with the trauma – that part of the talk starts at 12:40 in the video.

Below are the four types of resilience she discusses and a little description of each with a little bit on happiness attached to each.

Physical resilience – handle stress better and recover from illness quicker, and quite simpler the healthier you are the more you can do the things that make you happy.

Mental resilience – more mental focus, discipline and will power, which is a real key to being successful in whatever you are trying to accomplish.  We know that people who set and achieve their goals are generally happier.

Emotional resilience – provoke positive emotions when you need them most, if you can maintain having three positive emotions for every one negative emotion you can improve your overall health and happiness.  The game/exercise talked about to improve this is by far the most fun, look at pictures of loved ones, cherished places or even pictures of baby animals helps improve and strengthen this ability.

Social resilience – expressing gratitude, touching helps us gain positive energy from our social interactions.  This comes back to many things we’ve talked about before her at the Ministry, expressing gratitude, being with those you care about and even the simplest of things, the touch of another person.

According to McGonigal, If you regularly doing these 4 things you will likely live 10 years longer than other people.  So give them a try and have a happy day my friends       ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

Are You Happy?

 

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Doing it all over

Doing it all over

beach, sunsetMake it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy, you can’t build on it it’s only good for wallowing in. ~ Katherine Mansfield

I’ve hear people say something in conversation my whole life, “if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t do anything different.”  I heard it again this past week and it got me thinking, how sad for that person that they don’t think with a second chance that they could improve on what they’ve done.  There are only a few things that could mean.  It could mean that you’re actions in every instance are perfect, there are few people who are truly that narcissistic and arrogant.  The second is that people feel, that whatever they have done, is the best they could possibly do.  If that comes from a place where someone believes they are constantly giving it their all I have to really respect that attitude.  However, I think most of the time people feel that they are fated that things are never going to be better, even if they were given a second chance.  That somehow, forces outside of them are conspiring to keep them down.  Let me be clear, everyone has barriers and some people absolutely, for many reasons, have many more than others.  But I’m suggesting that through knowledge and effort, we could all so something better the second time around.

What does this have to do with living a happier life?  It comes down to the basic philosophy I try to follow, and try to help others understand.  That is that you get to better places, a better life, a happier life by constantly getting better.  Consistent and incremental positive change, much like compound interest, can do amazing things over time.  It’s about always getting just a little bit better, being just a little bit smarter and more educated, trying just a little bit harder.  All of that over time can lead to amazing things.  It has worked in my life and it can work in yours.

redwoods, travel, photographyThe easiest example I can give is on the physical exercise front in my life.  These days, when I get on the treadmill for a workout, my starting point is 3.0 at a 4 degree incline.  I remember very clearly when I was first starting working out in the gym.  It was 2009 and back then I would step on the treadmill at 2.4 mph and 0 degree incline.  So no, in the last 11 years I haven’t become a monster fitness person.  But over a 30 minute workout, there’s a significant difference in the number of calories I burn and the overall cardiovascular benefits that I gain these days from my workouts.  I’ve also employed this in the way I eat, the way I address my job and this type of process took me from being only a day hiker to hiking a 1000 miles on the Appalachian Trail over a 100 days.

So the real question tonight my friends, is what is that one thing that you are going to do a little bit better tomorrow, than you did today?  Have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness is Poetry: More Langston Hughes

Happiness is Poetry: More Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. ~ Langston Hughes

happiness poetry hughesDemocracy

Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right
As the other fellow has
To stand
On my two feet
And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I’m dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.

Freedom
Is a strong seed
Planted
In a great need.

I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you.

***************

Dream Boogie

Good morning, daddy!
Ain’t you heard
The boogie-woogie rumble
Of a dream deferred?

Listen closely:
You’ll hear their feet
Beating out and beating out a –

You think
It’s a happy beat?

Listen to it closely:
Ain’t you heard
something underneath
like a –

What did I say?

Sure,
I’m happy!
Take it away!

Hey, pop!
Re-bop!
Mop!

Y-e-a-h!

***************

50 – 50

I’m all alone in this world, she said,
Ain’t got nobody to share my bed,
Ain’t got nobody to hold my hand—
The truth of the matter’s
I ain’t got no man.

Big Boy opened his mouth and said,
Trouble with you is
You ain’t got no head!
If you had a head and used your mind
You could have me with you
All the time.

She answered, Babe, what must I do?

He said, Share your bed—
And your money, too.

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