OneWord2021 – APPRECIATE

At the outset of 2021 we are all anticipating a positive change, hopefully, from last year called 2020. What a year 2020 was! The year started off normal-ish on January 1st, but later that day we learned of the novel coronavirus called COVID-19 which slammed the community of Wuhan, China. We didn’t understand even what this virus was, but soon would see the impact of it a short 2.5 months later here in North America.
To say that 2020 was an unprecedented time would be an understatement. I have not blogged here since January 2nd, 2020, but have reflected on my Twitter account @bryoncar with a nearly daily @FreshAirAtFive video journal. For more on @FreshAirAtFive see my blog post from 2019 click here. I will blog about my year soon but not today.
Today is about #OneWord2021
Now it’s 2021 and looking back on my #oneword2020 I had RELENTLESS as my word for last year which you can read about below as well. How was I relentless? I pursued relationships RELENTLESSly with people due to the forced nature of facemasks-wearing, physical-distancing, and using video conferencing tools like we would have used the telephone in years past. I pursued my profession RELENTLESSly as I learned each day about being a better educator through listening to podcasts (list them here), engaging my school community as a teacher leader and attending a number of conferences. I RELENTLESSly walked into my 50th birthday back in October with boldness as I thought about my life, what I’ve done, where I’ve been, and whom I know. It wasn’t all roses as I dropped into a bit of the November blues following my birthday in mid-october, but am doing much better now. And this past Christmas, like no other due to PHO restrictions on engagement with others made for social distancing which was really hard. I ached for time with my friends and family outside my immediate family. This past year has taught me to appreciate my relationships and brought that to the forefront. Thus #OneWord2021 for me is APPRECIATE.

The Cambridge Dictionary has one definition of Appreciate as a verb:”to recognize how good someone or something is and to value him, her, or it”. The keyword for me in that definition is “recognize”. We all can see many things, but to recognize “how good” or “the value of” takes one to slow down from top speed, which I approached 2020 relentlessly with, to actually see the value in things that have always been there, not taking for granted that which we have around us.

This year I will focus on APPRECIATE in the following areas:
– relationships with my wife and children, my friends, my God.
– the work I do to not minimize the impact that I have as an educator but believe I am making a difference in young people’s lives and other’s lives.
– the work of leadership in unprecedented times
– see the value in the work that I do and publish it further with @FreshAirAtFive podcast (coming to a podcast catcher near you).

Do you appreciate, that is, “recognize how good someone or something is and to value him, her, or it”? I do. This word this year shall help me focus on appreciation and thanksgiving in every situation. That does not mean that there never ugliness and hardship, but that I will be thankful for the journey I’m on so that I can grow.

“Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV)

I will sing and make music (figuratively of course as I’m not an actual musician) in thanksgiving to my God for every day. That’s kind of relentless thanksgiving or Appreciation as I recognize the good and value in every day. Is that toxic positivity? No, but looking for the light in the darkness of life. My life is not dark but shadows do come. God is good all the time.

I encourage you to Appreciate as you go through your days this year. I will.

What’s your OneWord2021? Comment below or tweet it out and tag me @bryoncar.