Sunday, September 16, 2018

What's the headline of your life right now?

What a week… nothing like a 50-hour work week covering a storm that may or may not impact your life to make you feel grateful to have a day off to be with your family. I had a laugh earlier in the week with a new co-worker who mentioned that she had hoped the hurricane would affect our area, so she could experience what it’s like when we have to stay at the station until the storm passes—the idea of spending the night at work with her co-workers seemed exciting. We quickly explained that two of the worst words to hear at work—after ‘you’re fired’--are “slumber party,” but some people must to see things for themselves to understand.

And then there are some people who have all the evidence right in front of them and still don’t see the full picture. Take the recent Time Magazine covers for example—you know, the ones with the photo of a teacher with the caption that reads, “I have a master’s degree, 16 years of work experience, work two extra jobs and donate blood plasma to pay the bills. I am a teacher in America.”  Or “I have 20 years of experience, but I can’t afford to fix my car, see a doctor for headaches, or save for my child’s future. I am a teacher in America.”

The article goes into the reality of being a teacher in America from working long hours, losing benefits, paying for your own supplies, losing control of the curriculum and no help in classroom management.  As the wife and the sister of public-school teachers, I see this up close every day so it’s no big surprise. But I guess there are people out there who just don’t see the truth of our education system or feel the need to blame it on others rather than work to fix the problems. So, you have to put it on the front of a major magazine to try to get some people’s attentions; but even then, will it make a difference?

I’ve never understood how some people can have all the facts right in front of them and still not see the bigger picture; not see that they are not treating people the way they should. But, I know I can be guilty of not seeing the truth sometimes.

What if we all got to write our own Time Magazine covers? Would anyone be surprised to read them? Sure, most of us could probably write something about how we are overworked, underpaid, and forced to work multiple jobs to make ends meet—I know I am.

But what would people write about us? What would your kids write about you? What would your husband write? Your friends? Maybe it would go something like this: “I work hard all week and my wife only points out the fact that I didn’t make the bed, or I was too hard on the kids.”

Or, “I work hard, I’m honest, I do my homework and my mother is still never happy with my grades or my friends.”

But these are just what we could guess—sometimes the reality of what others think about you is so far removed from your own reality you can’t imagine they would have something negative to say about you.

But even though we know the truth about how we are treated, we are mostly afraid to write those headlines and be honest about how we are treated—whether we are mistreated at work or in our personal lives by people who are supposed to love and accept us.

Sometimes it’s hard to admit you’ve allowed someone to treat you so poorly and sometimes we don’t know how to get out of that toxic relationship. Sometimes it’s hard to write those headlines, but it’s probably even harder to read those headlines and know in your heart that it’s about you--and it’s true.

You don’t always need to experience something to know it’s true—you don’t have to be a teacher to know they are mistreated, and you don’t have to hear someone tell you that a slumber party at work is a really bad idea.

But sometimes you need to write that headline and let certain people in your life know they are mistreating you. Or write that headline to claim your shame or write that headline to own the circumstances in your life and know you are not alone. Maybe if we all spent a little more time reading those headlines instead of writing stories we feel are true, we’d be a little closer to reality and little more accepting of others. But in the end, it doesn't really matter unless you're willing to accept the truth that's be put in front of you. 

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