Hooray for Number 900!

Sarah Ackerman

Photo Credit: Sarah Ackerman via CC Flickr

Well, today’s blog is number 900. It’s hard to believe that it has been slightly over 4 years ago that I decided to begin a blog “Good Time Stories.” I thought that it would be a terrific idea to write, find, and discover shorts stories, tales, pictures, and other interesting tidbits that would serve as an encouragement to the heart and soul of people. Little did I know that it would ever have over 900 posts!

I have always been an individual that has always enjoyed making people smile, laugh, and generally feel good about themselves and the life that they have. It’s sort of funny when people find out that I am not only a blogger but also a coach, they are sometimes stunned and say, “Wow! You’re a coach? I didn’t know that coaches had a tender and sensitive side like you do.” I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing, but regardless, I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this project over the years.

Life, at times, can be a struggle. It is my hope that I can continue to find new heartwarming, inspiring, and motivational stories that will lift up a person’s spirit, touch their soul, and brighten their heart in the days and years to come.

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Remember…”A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after a success.” ~ Author Unknown

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~Leo Buscaglia

 

 

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Why Life Is Like a Camera…

Martin Pettitt

Photo Credit: Martin Pettitt via CC Flickr

There are many times in our lives when life seems good…everything is going well, we are healthy, making money, have plenty of food to eat, we have great families and friends, and the list goes on.

But sometimes, the tables get turned and we  can become sad or bitter or discouraged. It is during these “down” times that we can remember the simple lessons of a camera. They are as follows:

FOCUS on what’s important

CAPTURE the good times

DEVELOP from the negatives

And if things don’t work out….

TAKE ANOTHER SHOT!

Hey Coach

Photo Credit: Lesley Show via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Lesley Show via CC Flickr

I have been a coach of many sports on all levels for 30 years. For most o those years, I coached three sports a season in a row. People used to ask me, “how can you do that?” “How do you find the energy to be able to coach so much? spend so much time with players and not get tired of it?”

Well, world famous author, Mark Twain, once said this, “If you love your job, you will never work a day in your life.”  This quote is one of my favorite of all time because it is so true. I have truly enjoyed every season that I have coached my players.

Besides the joys of victory and the agony of defeat of the games on the field, it’s the everyday coaching, teaching, and building relationships with people on a daily basis, that makes the job so rewarding. There is nothing that means more to me than when a player (or parent) tells you how much they learned the sport, enjoyed their experience, or other things that may have touched their lives.

I recently came across the following “Letter to a Coach” on FaceBook that I thought would give you a glimpse of what players sometimes say to a coach and illustrate why the profession of coaching is so fulfilling. 

~ Coach Muller


Since I have graduated high school there is one phrase that I miss saying more than I ever thought I would. “Hey Coach” left my lips at least once a day. Anyone who has  ever had a coach knows just how important they are. I’m sure everyone will say that their coach is the best. But this post is not about the coaches you’ve had. This is about mine. If I wrote just how much one person has changed my life, this post would be unreasonably long. But it is crazy to me that one person can do so much.

What makes a good coach? Well, don’t ask me! I’m a little too picky, grumpy, and “my way or the highway”.

What makes a good coach? My coach.  My coach has pushed me to success, and pushed me to tears. My coach has been a parent figure when times got tough, my best friend when we could celebrate our wins, and a shoulder to literally cry on. When we succeeded my coach succeeded. When we failed we knew we let coach down.  But that never stopped coach from loving us.

What makes a good coach? Compassion. I never doubted the love coach had for me. Not one day went by without my coach showing, or telling me how much I was appreciated.

What makes a good coach? Coaches leave their family, and dedicate their time to the people and the sport they love, even if sometimes it doesn’t feel worth it. Missing vacations, birthdays, and so much more, to give their time and love to us, even when we are ungrateful.

What makes a good coach? Everything my coach was, and everything I will be because of it.  One single person can change your life. And I know my coach changed my life for the best.

I’m trying to be like my coach. Hard, yet soft, harsh but loving, a rock, a shoulder to cry on.

I don’t know how to even thank someone, who has done what they have done for me. I know I will never be able to repay coach for the things done.

If you had a coach who changed you, please, go thank them. If you have a coach now. Go now,and thank them.

You don’t know how much they sacrifice for you, and for your team.  I love you coach. I love you for pushing me, I love you for accepting me, I love you for caring about me without fail. I love you for still caring even when new team mates have taken my place. I love you for being you.

Thank you.

A Passion of A Coach

Me

A Picture of Me!!

Today, I have decided to share a little bit of myself with you.

I have been a Physical Education teacher and a coach for 30 years…and I love taking pictures (and my my blog :). It is funny how many people are tell me how surprised they are when they find out that I enjoy photography and writing as much as I do. They seem to think that someone who is an athlete (or least used to be) and is as big as I am (6’3″, 275 lbs) can’t possibly be someone who likes to do these things.

That’s OK. Because everyone is different and and have different passions for various things. I found my interest in photography by the one man who had the most influence and biggest impact in my life…my dad.

My father was a photographer for over 45 years. He had his own studio, took pictures for a local paper, snapped pictures at an untold  number of weddings and took pet, individual and family portraits. He closed his shop for the final time just as the digital camera was becoming popular.

When my father passed away a few years ago, I decided to use some of the money that he left me to purchase a really nice camera. The following pictures are of some flowers that I took in Philadelphia last summer while my family was visiting some of my in-laws and nephews and nieces.

I hope you like them. I am planning on beginning to post more pictures that I have taken and edited in future blogs.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them!

Steve and Amys August 3 2015 014 Steve and Amys August 3 2015 016 Steve and Amys August 3 2015 038 Steve and Amys August 3 2015 042 Steve and Amys August 3 2015 049 Steve and Amys August 3 2015 051 Steve and Amys August 3 2015 057 Steve and Amys August 3 2015 058 Steve and Amys August 3 2015 059

The Beautiful Side of Sports

Photo Credit: Paul L. Dineen via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Paul L. Dineen via CC Flickr

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32

It was once said that sports and the competition that is found in each athletic contest is much like life…every emotion that you find in sport competition are the same ones that you find in everyday life. Joy, happiness, fulfillment, discipline, hard work, endurance, perseverance, anger, frustration and sportsmanship…just to name a few.

In today’s blog, I would like to share a video of a great story that shows us the beautiful side of sports. Sportsmanship and the belief of having a mind set of helping others, despite when things do not go our way, it a tremendous attribute to possess. It is my hope that you will be inspired by today’s video.

What Students Remember Most About Teachers

As most of you know (or don’t know), I am a teacher and coach. I have been doing both for 28 years now and I have loved every second of it. I really enjoy teaching my students in an atmosphere where they can have loads of fun, learn concepts, exercise and get rid if some stress. 

The most annoying thing about things about my job are the meetings, political decisions and other stuff but honestly, just about every other workplace has the same thing going on. Just give me my kids and my gym or field…and I am happier than a meadowlark!

One of the great joys of teaching and the most fulfilling, is knowing that I a making an impact on some child’s life…one that they will never forget and use it throughout their lifetimes. That’s why, when I read on my friend’s site, “Pursuit of A Joyful Life”, the following letter…it reminded me of why I enjoy and love the jobs that I do! 

“Dear Young Teacher Down the Hall,

I saw you as you rushed past me in the lunch room. Urgent. In a hurry to catch a bite before the final bell would ring calling all the students back inside. I noticed that your eyes showed tension. There were faint creases in your forehead. And I asked you how your day was going and you sighed.

“Oh, fine,” you replied.

But I knew it was anything but fine. I noticed that the stress was getting to you. I could tell that the pressure was rising. And I looked at you and made an intentional decision to stop you right then and there. To ask you how things were really going. Was it that I saw in you a glimpse of myself that made me take the moment?

You told me how busy you were, how much there was to do. How little time there was to get it all done. I listened. And then I told you this:

I told you to remember that at the end of the day, it’s not about the lesson plan. It’s not about the fancy stuff we teachers make — the crafts we do, the stories we read, the papers we laminate. No, that’s not really it. That’s not what matters most.

And as I looked at you there wearing all that worry under all that strain, I said it’s about being there for your kids. Because at the end of the day, most students won’t remember what amazing lesson plans you’ve created. They won’t remember how organized your bulletin boards are. How straight and neat are the desk rows.

No, they’ll not remember that amazing decor you’ve designed.

But they will remember you.

Your kindness. Your empathy. Your care and concern. They’ll remember that you took the time to listen. That you stopped to ask them how they were. How they really were. They’ll remember the personal stories you tell about your life: your home, your pets, your kids. They’ll remember your laugh. They’ll remember that you sat and talked with them while they ate their lunch.

Because at the end of the day, what really matters is YOU. What matters to those kids that sit before you in those little chairs, legs pressed up tight under tables oft too small- what matters to them is you.

You are that difference in their lives.

And when I looked at you then with tears in your eyes, emotions rising to the surface and I told you gently to stop trying so hard- I also reminded you that your own expectations were partly where the stress stemmed. For we who truly care are often far harder on ourselves than our students are willing to be. Because we who truly care are often our own worst enemy. We mentally beat ourselves up for trivial failures. We tell ourselves we’re not enough. We compare ourselves to others. We work ourselves to the bone in the hopes of achieving the perfect lesson plan. The most dynamic activities. The most engaging lecture. The brightest, fanciest furnishings.

Because we want our students to think we’re the very best at what we do and we believe that this status of excellence is achieved merely by doing. But we forget- and often. Excellence is more readily attained by being.

Being available.
Being kind.
Being compassionate.
Being transparent.
Being real.
Being thoughtful.
Being ourselves.

And of all the students I know who have lauded teachers with the laurels of the highest acclaim, those students have said of those teachers that they cared.

You see, kids can see through to the truth of the matter. And while the flashy stuff can entertain them for a while, it’s the steady constance of empathy that keeps them connected to us. It’s the relationships we build with them. It’s the time we invest. It’s all the little ways we stop and show concern. It’s the love we share with them: of learning. Of life. And most importantly, of people.

And while we continually strive for excellence in our profession as these days of fiscal restraint and heavy top-down demands keep coming at us- relentless and quick. We need to stay the course. For ourselves and for our students. Because it’s the human touch that really matters.

It’s you, their teacher, that really matters.

So go back to your class and really take a look. See past the behaviors, the issues and the concerns, pressing as they might be. Look beyond the stack of papers on your desk, the line of emails in your queue. Look further than the classrooms of seasoned teachers down the hall. Look. And you will see that it’s there- right inside you. The ability to make an impact. The chance of a lifetime to make a difference in a child’s life. And you can do this now.

Right where you are, just as you are.

Because all you are right now is all you ever need to be for them today. And who you are tomorrow will depend much on who and what you decide to be today.

It’s in you. I know it is.

Fondly,

That Other Teacher Down the Hall”