“Any ordinary favor we do for someone or any compassionate reaching out may seem to be going nowhere at first, but may be planting a seed we can’t see right now. Sometimes we need to just do the best we can and then trust in an unfolding we can’t design or ordain.” – Sharon Salzberg

Welcome to the last “unofficial” month of summer.   I always have mixed feelings when the calendar page turns to August because summer is my favorite season, and it reminds me how breathtakingly fast the days slip by these days! We must focus on being fully present, to enjoy every last second of each lovely day, each experience and each person we spend our time with.

This August is especially bittersweet for me because I must put aside writing A Cup of Caroll until after Labor Day. I love writing this blog and it is hard to let a weekend go by without sitting down to share with you some inspiring tips and stories that will, hopefully, help you to create a life filled with abundance and personal fulfillment. Right now, I need the time to focus in on my coaching, and my own personal priorities, including a few last summer flings like an upcoming trip to the wine country for fine dining, wine tasting and horseback riding to celebrate my hardworking husband’s mid-August birthday.

So, the question facing me right now is, what should I write my last blog of the summer about? When I see the end of this season approaching, what immediately comes to mind is school, which now starts well before Labor Day in many districts, and the legion of hardworking teachers who are already busy preparing to help shape the lives of a brand new crop of students this fall.

Even if you don’t have school age children in your household, please keep reading because the truth is that teachers play a vitally important role in ALL our lives and we are ALL teachers.

Do you doubt that you are a teacher? The dictionary definition of “teacher” is: “1) Someone who teaches. 2) Anything from which something may be learned.”

I don’t have any children of my own, but fresh out of college, I was — for one whole year — a high school English teacher. I can tell you from experience that teaching is one of the most challenging jobs in the world, probably second only to being a parent.

What if every parent had to teach his or her own children every academic subject? A very limited number of people are great home-school teachers who love imparting academic knowledge and skills to their own children. But imagine if you had to start with teaching your kids “reading, writing and ‘rithmatic” and then continue all the way through college subjects? How effective would you be at critiquing Shakespeare’s plays, teaching chemistry, algebra or accounting, not to mention music, art and physical education?   Not many parents could or would want to attempt it.

So we rely on those very special people who are willing to take the extra time, spend a lot of extra money and show the unwavering dedication it takes to become credentialed in elementary, secondary or college education. Their post-graduate training includes becoming proficient in their own specialty subjects, as well as mastering techniques for developing young minds in the complex areas of critical reasoning, creativity, and social skills such as leadership, self- discipline and functioning as a team member.

Of course, no professional teacher does it for the money, which is far less than what they could make with an advanced degree in another line of business. They do it because they love teaching and they genuinely care about their students. Does that mean every teacher is masterful in the classroom?   Of course not. Some have been in teaching too long and have become bored and jaded. Newbies fresh out of college are often thrown into the most difficult schools with the fewest financial resources, mentoring help and administrative support that might have gotten them off to a solid start.

For the most part, though, teachers are overworked, underpaid and vastly under-appreciated daily heroes. And YOU are one of them, even if you don’t hold a teaching credential or staff position. If you are a parent, you teach your own children their values, manners and sense of self-esteem — among other critical life skills — every day. And even if you aren’t a parent, you are a teacher to someone. If you are a boss, senior co-worker, mentor, sponsor, aunt, uncle, sibling, trusted friend, life or athletic coach, you are a teacher.

In one other essential way, we are all teachers too: As psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw says, “We teach people how to treat us.” If someone in your life mistreats you, threatens you, disempowers you, disrespects you, doesn’t listen to you or ignores your requests and YOU remain silent, guess what? You are TEACHING them to continue to treat you that way. And guess what? They WILL! That is why each of us must be our own advocate and teach others to treat us as we want to be treated.

So here’s a simple but profound thing you can do for your fellow teachers: Thank them.   If your child has one or more good teachers this year, go out of your way to write them a personal note stating how much your child loves their class and how grateful YOU are to have them in your child’s life. You don’t have to wait for Back to School Night! You can do this the second week of school. And even if they are not perfect, if you make the effort to acknowledge your child’s teacher for their hard work and dedication, guess what?   They WILL rise to the occasion.   Just feeling supported by parents can encourage them to be EVEN better teachers and role models. We all thrive on acknowledgment and encouragement.

Even if you don’t have a school-age child, you can still thank one of your OWN favorite teachers.   If they are still teaching, track them down and write to them, call them or better yet, VISIT them to thank them for the difference they made in your life. If they are retired, hunt them down through Google, social media or your school’s alumni association. Don’t wait to read their obituary. Reach out NOW to thank them and acknowledge that you wouldn’t be who you are today without their influence.

I want to publicly acknowledge one of the most influential teachers in my own life. He passed away much too young and I will be forever grateful that I took the time to write and thank him many years ago for the role he played in my life. When I was in high school, Mr. Mauthe taught me how to write. He went above and beyond the requirements of his job to critique my themes in detail and sometimes meet with me after class to show me exactly how to say more with fewer words. I learned the word “verbose” from him and I’ve tried NOT to be that ever since. So if you like this blog, you can thank Andrew Mauthe. I do in my heart every day.

See you in September!   You will receive your next Cup of Caroll on Sunday September 7. Until then, I hope you will savor every last drop of summer!

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What do you want for your life? My “job description” as a coach is simply this: I help you get what YOU want. I invite you to schedule a complimentary phone consultation where together we’ll explore your big dreams and determine if coaching can assist you in reaching them. I have programs and coaching specialties for every need. Learn more at: http://practicalprosperitycoach.com or contact me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or toll free at 888-503-8145. Contact me TODAY to schedule a complimentary phone consultation!