What a crazy week it has been an it’s only Tuesday! So much going on at school in the next 2 weeks with the end of the grading period, conferences, new rotation classes, OM tryouts, meetings, etc. I’m exhausted so that will probably be a quick one! Thanks for the fun post topics, Racheal (180 Days to Happy).
Ta-Da Tuesday: How I Stay Connected
Connecting has been the running theme for the month. Connections are important to create and maintain. It’s also hard. We’re in a world that is connected 24/7/365. No matter where you are there’s always something or someone you are quickly and easily connected to even if they are several states, countries or continents from where you are. Now, the following won’t rock your universe and aren’t brand new ideas or apps but they are some great ways to connect on different levels.
I have family and friends spread across the country and as with many others, Facebook is one of the fun ways I’m able to stay connected with them even if we don’t get a chance to talk and go deeper all that often. It’s a joy to see friends from high school and when my family lived in Maine in pictures with their 5 kids they’ve adopted from Ethiopia. It is a joy to see the hilarious work posts my college roommate posts when it comes to her job (her humor remains the same). I love seeing teachers from high school and professors from college post about what they’re up to – sabbatical in Mexico, a new musical at Eastern, searching for a prop for a play at the high school I went to… It brings back great memories, excitement and a connection that means something. With family in New England and across the south, Facebook let’s me peek in on my sister’s job as a photographer (Top in NH for the last THREE years!), her new journey as a newlywed. My Grandmother even uses Facebook to try to keep up with all of us!
Instagram has many of the same qualities but we all get to think we’re fancy-shmancy photographers/photo editors with all those filters. 🙂 I like following teachers in my PLN via Instagram too. It is a fantastic source of inspiration, motivation and fun!
Skype and FaceTime have proven useful in staying connected. My cousin Erin and I are the “oldest” among the cousins and are very close. We have had annual trips for the last 4-5 years. She’s come down to stay with me for a week or two during the summer. We are constantly talking across several mediums – Facebook, Facebook chat, Instagram, text, Skype, FaceTime. We’ll plan a night during the week to talk – sometimes during our favorite shows just to talk and gauge each others’ reactions while the show is on. We will talk for hours about the most pointless things but our connection grows stronger regardless of whether it is in person or not. We send each other voice messages (recorded and send in texts) just as a laugh. We’ll plan our trips months in advance – we have the trip to the Hunger Games filming location in NC, mountains, Carowinds, Patriots Place/Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, comic store and Backstreet Boys concert in Boston last year thanks to those discussions across many platforms.
Email and text are also huge. I am one of the crazies who emails herself to do lists and sometimes to do lists in the subject line so I don’t forget. My mom and I talk on the phone once a week if not more. My sisters and I are busy at such different times from each other that it may be a phone call or it could be texts or group texts that keep us all in the loop. Oh the pictures and Gallagher humor that have been shared… Full disclaimer: my sister and my mom were in NH on the hunt for a wedding dress and this was how my mom kept us all in the loop – including my dad. His response was typical Gallagher humor. Pictures speak for themselves.
As Rachael does, I like to send handwritten notes. This year my 7th graders are doing handwritten letters to pen pals in Hungary. They were resistant but I think it’ll pay off and be a great memory for them! On the weekend when I am volunteering at church as an area coordinator I like to write a thank you note or two to the volunteers I get to serve with. I just put the name on the envelope and they take care of getting it in the mail to whomever it is addressed to. Getting a thank you or any handwritten note takes the connection with another person to a new level. It says you took time to notice something and wanted to let that person know what you saw and why it was awesome or important.
In a similar way, you can easily connect simply by being on time and showing up somewhere. We recently instituted a team huddle where I volunteer at church and it’s earlier than some people would maybe want to show up but the time to eat breakfast together, talk, prep for the day together, answer any questions, pray and not be rushed – that is priceless. Communication and community are an important part of connecting with others.
Many great memories can come from connecting and taking the TIME to connect. Even if the person isn’t in the same city, state or country you can invest in the relationship, the friendship.