Skip to content

One Little Word Check-In


The other day, a friend of mine told me how she took a day off work in order to take a dear friend of hers to a chemotherapy appointment. She said, despite the circumstances, they shared some laughs while her friend received the treatment, which took several hours.

I thought about this story as I tried to put together this post, a one little word check-in as the sun begins to set on 2016. This has been a challenging post to write, as my 2016 One Little Word (OLW) was “happy.”  It just doesn’t feel like the right time to talk about being happy.

But when my friend shared her story, I thought about the levity and lightness that sometimes make very hard situations somewhat brighter. Maybe happiness isn’t a 24/7 thing, but could be moments that are like sunshine peeking through a gray sky day. We all deserve these moments.

One of the books I read to my children is The Way I Feel by Janan Cain. The book describes how all of our feelings are part of us and change- no one feeling is always present. So happiness comes and happiness goes, just like sadness, fear, pride, and shame. What are some ways to work towards happiness, not only for yourself but for others?

As a teacher, I think it is important, now more than ever, to bring happiness to the classroom. To not only be a reliable and caring adult presence for my students, but to be one who brings them laughter and smiles too. Brain breaks, time for community-building activities, hands-on ways to learn and create all lead students to feel more joyful at school. Reading aloud funny books and poems can help, too. Allowing my students time to write whatever is in their hearts and on their minds through blogging and independent writing. is another way to add happiness and the validation that comes from being heard.

As we enter the last few weeks of 2016, maybe I will look towards how to make others happy, too. What kindnesses could I do that might brighten someone’s day? I will look for ways to listen more, be more patient, and see the joy that is around me, the joy that comes from working with children. As I begin to consider the word I will choose for 2017, I think happy was the right choice for me this year. I will keep looking for ways to be happy in my life and to make others around me happy, too.

What was your One Little Word? How did it work for you this year?


2 thoughts on “One Little Word Check-In Leave a comment

  1. My OLW is quest. It was quite a challenge for me and I was drawn to it, but I had no idea why. Then I started reflecting on my word, searching for breadcrumbs to help me understand it better. I realized it really isn’t a journey but its the steps (quest) of the journey. My word had really touched me since school started in August and continues to grab me as I am on a continual quest to help my learners.


  2. My One Little Word (OWL) was OKAY. Last year at this time, my 6-year-old niece had been placed in our home by CPS, and everything was feeling a bit shaky and unstable. She was returned to her mom in late January, and the turmoil created by her removal caused a rift between my sister and I. They moved out of state, and I struggled to understand why mental illness and addiction continued to wreak havoc on my family of origin. I trust that nothing happens in this world by mistake, and I was okay then and I’m okay now. During this divisive presidential election, I kept reminding myself of my OWL. In the end, everything will be okay. Additionally, this world has taught me to be okay with imperfection. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to wrestle with hard emotions. It’s okay to abandon a book. And it’s okay to be vulnerable. Thanks for giving me a chance to reflect. I’m headed to Goodreads now to add the children’s book, “The Way I Feel” to my TBR shelf.


%d bloggers like this: