Many (many) years ago, I read nearly all of Norman Vincent Peale’s Positive Thinking books. I read them during a dark time: I was struggling with the career for which I had trained (which turned out not to be a match); a spiritual life that was unfulfilling. In need of an epiphany, I ended up watching Phil Donohue where I learned about positive thinking and its impact.
Positive Thought has sustained me many times over the years. It helped me over a career bump. Eventually I found something fulfilling that I felt passionate about. It helped me through a scary illness. It helps me to stay away from the dark side, the part of me that would like to throw in the towel most days.
As a teacher, I’ve found Positive Thinking is a profound impact on my students and their parents, whether or not they know it is applied. When I start a conference or when I am writing report card comments, I try to begin with something positive that the student can do. Doesn’t every parent want to hear something good – I know I always did. Simply providing a laundry list of what a student can’t or won’t do is never met with any sense of partnership between parent and school and the resulting disconnect is hard to repair.
Our students, our families, and our selves – we all respond to positive thinking, positive talk. In our current educational climate, that is becoming more of a rarity, isn’t it?
But positive thinking is also a necessity. It is the essence of moving forward.