Right now I am sitting in the same room where I started writing my first book, thinking about the writing journey I have been blessed to be on for the past two years. Today is the two year anniversary of The Path to Serendipity: Discover the Gifts Along Life’s Journey. I smiled so big after rereading the introduction to the book. Here it is…
One of my biggest fears when writing this book about seeing life through the lens of serendipity has been that my life will implode. A nagging worry in the back of my mind makes me wonder if, right after finishing, I will get a divorce, lose my job, or be outed as an unhappy fraud. As you can imagine, I felt a bit hesitant to get started. I like my life the way it is.
But that is kind of the point. The lessons I’ve learned through the good and the bad in my life have brought me to this place. Even if any of those bad things above happen (And trust me, I will work hard to make sure they don’t!), I can still be me. Every day, I can inch toward being the person I dream of being because my circumstances don’t define me. I get to choose who I want to be. Knowing I have that freedom—and that power—is quite exhilarating!
I am an educator through and through. I was born to two awesome parents, went to school, got my first job, fell in love, got married, and found out I was a teacher. I became a parent, and then found out I was also a principal. Each of these life experiences has taught me valuable lessons, as have the mentors and books I’ve learned from through the years.
My goal with this book is to empower you with seven truths to live a happier life. We’ll unpack these ideas in each of the stops along The Path to Serendipity:
1. Five basic needs drive all behavior.
2. All behavior is purposeful, and all behavior is information.
3. We get to decide who we want to be and how we react to what life throws at us.
4. The only person who controls you is you.
5. We can’t always get what we want, and there are three things we can do when we don’t.
6. Respect means meeting our own needs without interfering with someone else trying to meet their needs.
7. Strong, positive relationships are essential to our well-being, and they take work!
This is a book for educators. And this is book is for everyone. Well, at least for everyone looking to travel The Path to Serendipity.
So, great news. I am not divorced and I am still the luckiest principal in the world as the principal of Quincy Elementary. I have not yet been outed as a fraud unless you count the number of times my children have told me that I am way nicer to other people than I am to them. I don’t count them because they always seem to coincide when I am asking them to do something they don’t want to do.
Rereading the goals of the book and the idea that every experience in our lives offers us gifts resonates even stronger with me today than it did then. None of us would’ve chosen our current COVID-19 realities, but there have certainly been serendipitous gifts even in this quarantine journey. Enjoying extra time with my boys and my husband and recognizing that I might not need all the “stuff” I was squeezing into life before the crisis are a couple of the gifts I have found. Your serendipitous gifts during this time may be similar or they may vary drastically from mine, but I am sure you will agree that looking for blessings is way more productive than focusing on the negative.
On this very same day, one year ago, my book Through the Lens of Serendipity: Helping Others Discover the Best in Themselves (Even if Life has Shown Them Its Worst) was published. Here is a portion of the preface from that book to explain how it differs from The Path to Serendipity…
This book is different from The Path to Serendipity, which focuses on looking inward as we seek to learn how to become the best version of ourselves. Through the Lens of Serendipity offers a look around us, at the people we encounter every day—whether a casual acquaintance, or a family member, a colleague, or lifelong friend. We’ll look at how we can best support the people around us, taking into account their background, experiences, and which challenges they face. One of my greatest passions in life is to support others so that they are able to be the best versions of themselves, and, at the very least, not make their lives more difficult. My background in Choice Theory training and my recent trauma-informed training has made me even more determined to support and empower everyone around me. We never know the challenges they are going through, and some of those experiences and challenges may well include trauma, which can have a significant impact on a person’s life. One outcome I hope to achieve with this book is to help you develop the understanding that being trauma-informed is actually being compassionate to all people. The supports and strategies that are helpful to those who have experienced trauma are supports and strategies that benefit every single person.
I cannot imagine a more important time to understand that we all have challenges and that we all deserve grace than right now. I am proud to be a trauma-informed educator but I am even more proud to be an educator who recognizes that everyone deserves compassion. Through the Lens of Serendipity is a unique book because it helps support all of the relationships we have, both professionally and personally. Whether teacher to student, colleague to colleague, parent to child, etc., we have an opportunity to support each other in a way that uplifts and empowers.
Having a serendipity mindset inside our own heads and in our interactions with each other is not easy, but it IS possible. It takes work and determination, and we are so much stronger together. I am so honored to be on this journey with you. Thank you for joining me for a little walk down memory lane to celebrate this special day!
Do you know a middle grades student who could use some of these lessons in their lives? Check out my newest book…a middle grades realistic fiction chapter book called The Serendipity Journal. I am in love with this book for so many reasons, and I hope you and your middle grades readers fall in love with Kip and her journal too!