“I watched as the two students noticed I was walking toward them. They both stealthily slid their math homework under their writing notebooks and pretended to be totally engaged in thinking of their next writing idea.
I, of course, was not fooled.
I came up behind them, crouched low, and whispered, ‘I want to tell you both something. It’s what I would tell my own kids if they were sitting in your seats. It is so important for you to learn to be where your feet are.’
They looked at me confused. Probably partially because they thought they were going to be in trouble and also a little bit because they didn’t think this crazy teacher was making much sense.
‘Be where your feet are,’ I repeated. ‘That means if your feet are in writing then BE in writing. Do the work, listen to the teacher, learn writing things, and put down words. When you are in math, BE in math, do the problems, ask the questions, and do math things.
I continued, ‘If your feet are in writing and you are doing math you are only kind of doing your math and kind of doing your writing; your attention is split and you can’t do your best at anything. Be where your feet are kiddos, OK? Trust me, it’s a whole life lesson.’
They nodded and smiled, and so did I. Were they humoring me and happy to not be in any sort of trouble? Who knows. But I hope I planted a little seed they will think of now and then.
Don’t we all need the reminder to be where our feet are? Especially during this crazy busy time?
When my feet are at home in my family room, I am tempted to also be shopping online instead of listening to my kids or talking to my husband.
When my feet are in the kitchen making dinner I am tempted to also be making lists of things left undone or looking at my phone to see what I am missing out in the world.
(Let’s face it, our phones always want us to be anywhere but where our feet are.)
When my feet are in the car I am running through lists of things I still need to do at work instead of grabbing a few minutes of silence or relaxing music that would get me ready for the next place my feet will be.
When my feet are at work I am thinking about all of the things I need to do when I get home or trying to use my lunch to get a few more deals from Amazon instead of chatting with a colleague or going for a walk.
It is so darn hard to be where your feet are.
Even during special times, the concerts, parades, dinners, and celebrations. We can find ourselves wondering about the next thing we need to do or rushing our people on so we can get home to do some other thing that apparently needs doing.
But we work best when our brains stay where our feet are.
When we live in the moments, right in them, even if they are really hard and even if they are really wonderful.
When we are honestly and truly present to the people around us.
It is so very hard, but so very life-changing to even try to be where our feet are.
And so worth trying.
So let’s all put our math homework in our backpacks for homework time and listen carefully and intently in writing class. Let’s work really hard at work during the day and then leave that place behind us at night.
Let’s look into our children’s joy-filled eyes when we are baking cookies with them and not try and rush us all through so we can wrap more presents.
Let’s take a minute to linger and look at the lights as we drive home. Let’s have dessert together after dinner and read just one more Christmas story. Let’s stop always thinking about the next thing and the next thing and the next.
Let’s be where our feet are my friends.
That can be the best gift we all give our people.”
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