Wednesday, November 12, 2008
frog stickers and inspiration
See the picture?
No, it's not an audition for hand-modeling, though the pose strikes me as a bit odd now that I look at it. (Look, ma, I've almost quit biting my nails!)
You probably can't help but notice that strange little sticker, yes? Well, it's there for a reason. Several years ago, I had this glorious imp of a little girl in my class. She was loud, energetic, full of love, completely desirous of friendship, and rather exhausting. As the months passed, I noticed that my normally overflowing reserve of patience was often tapped with her by the end of the day.
One night, I remember thinking really deeply about her, wondering what it was that tried my patience so. Every thought made me realize that it was not her intention, nor was it her fault. Yes, I'm blessed with a greater than average dose of patience, but she wasn't setting out daily to whittle it away.
That night, I started remembering little stories of her: snippets and images, her voice and her smile. By the time I went to bed, I had her fully on my mind and I couldn't stop smiling, thinking about her absolute glee about school and learning and me, her teacher.
I woke up on a mission. I knew it. I knew all these little, glorious things about her and by the end of the day, my patience was so thin that I wasn't remembering them. I realized that I needed a way to remember the bits of her that warmed my heart, so I could also support the parts of her that helped tire me out.
That's where the sticker idea came from. Putting a sticker on my hand was essentially tying a string around my finger. Every time I saw it, I thought of this little girl and all of the details that made her amazing. Now, I talk with my hands (more so than most humans in the world, probably), so you can imagine how often I saw that sticker during the day.
It was exactly right.
I spent the day remembering all of her, so that even during the moments that would have tired me out, I was able to hold onto her very essence and help reframe it -- for her and myself.
As for the visibility to her and other kids... well, I collect frogs, so when students saw the little frog sticker on my hand, they commented, but thought little of it. I just said it was there to help me remember something.
And remember it I did.
I honestly can't say where the sticker idea came from -- but that's often a theme in some of the greatest moments of teacher-inspiration, isn't it? A momentary brainstorm that ends up being just right.
So, there you have it. When I need to remember something, when I'm trying to break a habit, or start a new one, that's what I do. I stick a frog sticker on the fleshy part of my right hand and go about the day.
I'm sharing it here because, well, I love hearing about the little things that people invent to achieve a goal. Perhaps this will catch on and sweep the world! Maybe in a few months we'll see world leaders wearing frog stickers on their hands in the middle of important peace summits... maybe we'll see Wall Street execs wearing frog stickers during important financial meetings.
Maybe I should buy stock in frog stickers.