This summer, I read the book, “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama. One of the big takeaways for me was his explanation of the real enemies of happiness. He tells the story of a man who is obsessed with his enemy. He thinks about what he will do and how he can defeat his enemy. The Dalai Lama then points out that unlike his adversary who eats, sleeps, and has other pursuits, the fear and anger that the man harbors toward his adversary never rests. It is constantly with him in times of rest and work and ruins his happiness far more completely than his adversary ever could. The real enemy is exposed as his own fear and anger. Once he realizes this and is able to defeat his true enemy, he then has power over all adversaries and more importantly, power over himself and his own happiness.
I began to apply this lesson to my own life and struggles. At the root of nearly all of them were fear and anger. As a father, I have many fears for my daughters and their future. Have I done the right things while trying to raise them? Will they find happiness as adults? Will they be successful in chasing their dreams? Oh, how those fears often rob me of the joy we could be sharing together! Anger can also creep up over failed relationships, the loss of loved ones, and dreams unrealized. Letting go of that anger is like lifting a weight or unshackling a chain. It’s liberating! What adversary or adversity can keep us down when we have defeated the real enemies of fear and anger?
As educators, we work in a profession that has so many variables that we have no control over. Budget cuts, federal and state mandates, societal perceptions are a few. Factors like family dynamics, past and current trauma, and socio-economic factors greatly impact the children we work with. Yet, with all of these variables, our task and our goal never changes. We have the same high expectations on us and for ourselves regardless of the external factors stacked against us. Some would say that’s brave, others would call it crazy. I would say that teachers have learned that those factors are just the adversaries and that the real enemies of fear and anger can be mastered by us. When we focus on things we can control, like our attitudes, our expertise, and our passion then we can help our students be the very best they can be. It’s not easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is!
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” – Dalai Lama
- Monday, November 13: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM, Principal Collaboration Time at Riley 1:30 PM
- Tuesday, November 14: Achievement Team for CR (Benson) 8:15 AM, Achievement Team for LJ (Trantham) 9:00 AM
- Wednesday, November 15: Battle of the Books Planning Meeting (for anyone interested in helping) 8:20 AM in the LMC, “Fancy Day” Spirit Wear for Goodfellows
- Thursday, November 16: Collaborative Learning Time 7:50-8:50 AM, Lock Down Drill 2:00 PM
- Friday, November 17: “Pajama Day” Spirit Wear for Goodfellows
- Monday, November 20: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
- Tuesday, November 21: Parent Meeting (Pisko) 8:20 AM
- Wednesday, November 22 – Friday, November 24: Thanksgiving Break!