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Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Morning Check In: Today Matters!

One day is worth two tomorrows; what I am to be I am now becoming. -- Benjamin Franklin

In our previous discussions about teacher character traits, I have discussed specific desirable and undesirable traits and ways to identify them and strengthen or eliminate them. Today I want to discuss how to structure a game plan to cultivate the kinds of habits, values, or traits that will positively serve us teachers for the rest of our lives.

I am a big reader. Now that I have an iPad and a Kindle app, I read constantly because of the convenience of syncing my place in my reading material between my iPad and my iPhone. I can read anywhere at anytime and pick up exactly where I left off on all of my electronic devices, and I am giddy as a result of the possibilities.

Lately I have been reading material written by John C. Maxwell. In his book "Today Matters," John Maxwell writes about 12 daily practices that are important to include and develop in our lives. I would like to summarize the 12 practices here and add briefly the importance of each practice as I have read of them in Maxwell's book.
  • Attitude: choose and display the right attitudes daily because the proper attitude gives you possibilities.
  • Priorities: determine and act on important priorities daily because priorities give you focus.
  • Health: know and follow healthy guidelines daily because good health decisions give you strength.
  • Family: communicate and care for your family daily because good family relationships give you stability.
  • Thinking: practice and develop good thinking daily because right thinking gives you an advantage.
  • Commitment: make and keep proper commitments daily because making commitments gives you tenacity.
  • Finances: earn and properly manage finances daily because good financial management gives you options.
  • Faith: deepen and live out your faith daily because the growth and exercise of your faith give you peace.
  • Relationships: initiate and invest in solid relationships daily because good relationships in your life give you fulfillment.
  • Generosity: plan for and model generosity daily because generosity gives you significance.
  • Values: embrace and practice good values daily because good values give you direction.
  • Growth: desire and experience improvements daily because continued growth gives you potential.
Maxwell discusses each daily practice in more depth with personal stories from others and lessons that Maxwell  personally learned during his life. At the end of each chapter are a series of workbook questions to guide the reader to identify his or her own decisions concerning the 12 daily practices.

Maxwell talks about the importance of having a game plan in our life, and I agree with the importance of this step. By game plan, I am referring to a plan for our own personal growth as teachers and individuals to strengthen our roles in a family, a network, and a community. As teachers we have the great potential to influence (or leverage if you will) our knowledge and expertise with students, parents, colleagues, and audience. Our personal growth is a crucial ingredient to what and how we choose to offer our influence and expertise gifts to others.This book is an excellent resource to help guide us to form our own concrete game plan.

If you have little time to include a more in-depth reading of the book "Today Matters," might I suggest that you get your feet wet with a John C. Maxwell book called "The Maxwell Daily Reader." This book sets out short daily readings about various topics that include many of the same topics addressed in the book I have reviewed here. I have enjoyed the daily reader and am fascinated that I can still be surprised each day when I open up to the assigned reading for that day and find that the topic is one that I sorely need at that very moment! The daily readings have certainly helped me to redirect my focus in much healthier and more positive ways, and the book "Today Matters" has guided me to focus on a concrete game plan to shore up my weak character areas.

Every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and . . . therefore what one has done in the secret chamber one has some day to cry aloud on the housetop. -- Oscar Wilde


  1. Thanks for your recommendation. I reserve this book and a few more by John Maxwell from the local library.

  2. Thanks reei! I have enjoyed everything Maxwell has written. Look him up on the internet. He also has a video of a word for the day, and you can submit your own word for consideration. I enjoy receiving these one minute videos every day, and I'm always surprised by what he has to say about the word of the day. He usually takes my thoughts in a completely different direction than the word originally suggest to me.