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Lesson 9: Come to Your Own Conclusions!

In school as a teacher, at the start of a new school year there is a lot of excitement. While the idea a fresh start is very appealing, there a few tangible things that get teachers excited. Teachers get excited about getting into the classroom and decorating for the new group they will invite in. Teachers get excited about new lessons they already planned weeks ago in the summer that will really engage their scholars. Teachers also get excited about their class list. Whenever you get your class list, it is commonplace to wonder which teacher the scholar had in the previous year to try to find out all the scoop. Many teachers do this with really good intentions. They are trying to prepare. While this sounds helpful, it can actually be very harmful. I remember my teacher preparation program asking us not to do this because you don’t want your relationship with your scholars to be based off of what they did last year, and you don’t want to cloud your mind with judgement based on someone else’s perception! Also, many times this conversation can tiptoe the line of gossip. We don’t want that.

Just as teachers should give each scholar a fresh start in the beginning of the year, we should allow ourselves to form our own perceptions and opinions about people, places, ideas, etc.

This is actually a lesson I learned at a very young age. Since I was a little girl, I have been told that I am set apart, and to be the light in this world. I took that very seriously. I never really wanted to fit in.

As an adult, I have had to hold on to being set apart and trying to be the light even more! Have you ever been around a group of people who LOVE to gossip?!?! Or what about a group of people who don’t see the positive in ANYTHING?! Whew! Not my favorite.

Y’all, misery loves company.

People have been saying this for years, but you don’t realize how easy it is to fall into that company until it’s too late.

This situation is very common. As the new person at a job, or on a new team, etc., people will step up and try to get you acquainted the culture and environment. They will try to explain to you the cleanest bathroom in the building, or which floor has the strongest coffee, or which parking lot is quickest to get out of at the end of the day. Most people would be grateful for these helpful tips. They will also try to tell you about the people. They may tell you who to go to if you need help, who has a terrible attitude in the morning, or who to stay away from completely. This is where I just smile and nod. I think people really do mean well when they do this, but at the end of the day, I want to come to my own conclusions about people. I remember being in a new group and being told that one woman was a terrible person. They tried to tell me all the terrible things about her. I changed the subject at some point, but I also didn’t let those stories take root in my heart. Because what could happen is, I will start treating her differently based off of someone else’s perspective. Instead, I went about my business treating her just as I would any other person. To this day, I have never had an issue with that lady. I’m not denying that she could have been a mean person to the other girl, but that had nothing to do with me.

The same thing goes with experiences or places. My mom hates spicy foods. I used to walk around saying that I didn’t like hot sauce as a little kid. If anyone knows me now, you know that the spicier the better for me. I didn’t like spicy food because my mom didn’t like spicy food. As I’ve gotten older and tried things for myself, I have come to my own conclusions.

When you base your opinions off of other people, you are letting their likes and dislikes control your life. There are things that you can learn from others, but make sure to use discernment to clarify if this is something you actually need to figure out for yourself. We have also been called to be light in this world! When we refuse to let other people’s opinions taint our own, we are showing them something different. When we refuse to join in with the gossip around us, we are being the light in our communities. This is not always easy. It can be very tempting to join in with others when they are trash talking a person or situation, especially if you share the same sentiments. But this does nothing to improve the situation and after the conversation is over you are still in the same predicament.

Today I am challenging you to be the light wherever you are, to make your own opinions and not to be swayed by others! You can do it! Where is one place you can be the light in your community? Share with me in the comments!

Love y’all

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