The Life of Bon: Better

Sunday, April 21, 2013


These are my work besties.  From left to right: Mrs. Harrison, Ms. Lewis, Ms. Vanwagenen (Now Finlinson!) and me!

About a month ago I made one of my worse teaching decisions to date.  I made my seniors read The Alchemist by Paul Cohelo.  Have any of you read it?  Well, my students hated it to pieces, and the truth is, I kind of did too.  It moved too slow and was a little too "Soul of the Universe" for me.  My students test on it tomorrow and then we all promised all each other we would never speak of the book again.  Fair enough, right?

BUT.  There was one part of the book I don't want to forget.  One line out of the thousands and thousands of lines that almost made reading the book worth it.  The line says "When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."  Pretty simple, but all day today and yesterday I have been thinking about that line.  So you're telling me that if I want all the people around me to be better, all I have to do is be better myself?  

Why that's absurd!  That's too easy! That would mean...

When I am a better wife, Greg is a better husband to me.
When I am a better teacher, my kids are better students.
When I am a better friend, my friends are better to me.
When I am a better worker, my principal treats me better.

Surely it can't be that easy!

I decided to put it to the test this weekend.  I compromised with Greg on something I really didn't want to do last night.  But I knew it was important to him so I relented and didn't complain.  I was trying to be a better wife.

And what do you know?  Today Greg was a better husband! All day long he has been a champion- helping make dinner, cleaning up the bedroom, doing the dishes, walking the dog with me, playing basketball outside, and playing several games of Dominion with me (I'm in love with this totally dorky game that involves witches, thieves and collecting gold coins.  Admit it, you're intrigued.)  He has done everything I have wanted to do today because I compromised with him yesterday.  I tried to be better for him, and then he was better for me.


As I thought about this, one person jumped to my mind.  The best person I have seen do this the best is my work bestie and carpool buddy, Charlotte.  (She's the one sporting the long blonde hair in the picture.)  Charlotte is probably the nicest, most sincere person I have ever met and she is always cheerful.  The craziest thing about it all is that because she is so nice and cheerful everyone is nice and cheerful back to her.  The whole school loves her. Any member of the faculty would take a bullet for Charlotte, I'm sure of that much and the students practically worship the ground she walks on.  And it's not hard to see why- she's just so dang nice that you want to be nice back!

So I suppose I will be putting this theory to the test all week.  If I act better, are the people around me really going to act better too?

A few things I am going to do better at this week:
1.  Cleaning the house.  20 minutes every night.  If I keep clean, Greg will too, right?!?
2.  Responding to blog readers and commenters.  Because I love you guys.
3.  No snappy, rude remarks.  Period.
4.  Forgiving quickly if I have been offended.  I hold on to some crap that I really shouldn't

And that's all for now.  Let's be honest, four is probably more than I can handle.  Of course, if you folks at home want to try this out too, I totally support you!  Is there an area in your life you could do better in, causing everyone around you to do better too?

And why is it so hard to be a good person?


  1. Yes, I want to try this too! Thanks for the challenge!

  2. This is a very inspiring post! Be the best you you can be! I actually enjoyed The Alchemist...I think? I can't remember it has been soo long since I've read it.

  3. I have a friend who asked me why my husband is always so nice to me and I replied it's because I'm always nice to him. It's a little thing but it's true! If you give happiness you will get it back. Love this.

  4. Bon I SO needed this today. I love your posts and you always give me something insightful to think about! You make me want to be a better blogger and person :) Have a great week!

  5. Sounds a lot like that book "The Secret". Send out positive energy into the universe and it will send it back double!

  6. I love this post. I am trying to be more positive and this post just served as a reminder. I am also putting your 20 minute clean time in my routine starting today!

  7. Love this! I want to do it, too! :)

  8. IT IS SO HARD. But I need to work on this. I complain that my life sucks and nothing great ever happens. But how much effort am I putting into my life and the people around me? OF COURSE it's going to suck if all I do is sit around on my couch, order take out, and watch Game of Thrones.

  9. Oh jeez...thank you for this. I shall be taking on this challenge and kicking its booty (I think).

  10. I got to hang out with Robin on Thursday! Small world. Do you think this idea will work with a two year old? No harm in trying I guess!

  11. Anonymous8:55 AM

    I implemented this a few years ago and am still pleasantly surprised that it works. (Mostly, there are some real jerks out there!)

    Did you know that if you smile at someone they're almost guaranteed to smile back and your interaction will have a better chance of a positive to you result? If you're on the phone with customer service people, try smiling and asking how they are today before you ask your question. The "sound" of a smile can be picked up and most people don't ask how they're doing.

    Try it.

  12. I try to do this too, but sometimes I get tired and/or busy and I'm not as strong and good as I should be. Thanks for this reminder. We are in the middle of State Testing (8th grade), and I am going to need to be extra patient and caring this week!

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  14. I like this idea!!! I think I will try to be better this week too! :)


  15. That's exactly how I felt about Catcher in the Rye--I had to sift through a bunch of crap to come to about two paragraphs of gems at the very end.

    And my husband and I totally love Dominion. But then again, we also love Settlers of Catan (and all of its expansions), Munchkin, Betrayal at House on the Hill...we are like the lord and lady of nerdy board games.

    So we get it.

  16. Anonymous12:42 PM

    I love the idea of learning to forgive quickly. I am guilty of holding on to little remarks and comments for much longer than necessary. I think I will have to try to improve this area of my life an hopefully it will move forward and improve my husband/friends/family's lives when I'm not so sensitive and crabby!

  17. This is great! I struggle with being a better wife sometimes. I know if I put the positive vibes out there, I'll get them back!

  18. Oh, Bonnie, I LOVE this post. I've read it twice already today and found a super cutified picture of that quote to add to my Pinterest. Thanks for reminding us to try a little harder and be a little better. I LOVE this message. <3

  19. Love this. Thanks for sharing! What a great concept to work on.

  20. Anonymous1:46 PM

    This post hit me right between the eyes. I need to work on being a better daughter, sister, friend, roommate, and student.

  21. I heartily agree! Though I can't help think that evn though I am a good friend, I can't change my more self-centred friends and perhaps work on my relationship with more reliable friends.

  22. I love this. It really hits home. If we try our very best, it is much easier to see others trying their very best as well.

  23. I like this approach...I think that it's got more of an effect on the way you see others and the things they do rather than actually changing behavior. When we're busy focusing on ourselves and improving, we not only don't have time to dwell on others' shortcomings but we are more positive so we view people in a more positive light.

  24. Love it! I have noticed that students especially, just feed off my energy. So if I'm not feeling it, they aren't either. If I am interested/involved, they are way better. That is a great line to keep in mind in my daily life!

  25. I LOVE this! I have been feeling like my hubs and I aren't totally "getting" each other of late...I am going to make ME better and I bet WE will be better too! Thanks Bon, you rock my socks.