I am a recently divorced mother of two. My son turned five years old the day before my divorce was finalized and my daughter will be three years old in October. I was married for just shy of eight years to a man I had been with since I was 19 years old. For the last year of my marriage, I struggled with my own self-identity. I often questioned my decisions and struggled to find my inspiration to achieve my goals. I still struggle. It has been less than 3 weeks since my divorce was finalized and a month 2 months since I made the decision to throw in the towel.
Deciding to end my marriage is the hardest decision I have ever made. I feel as if the last decade of being with the father of my children has made me who I am today. It has made me stronger and more independent. My children, I have discovered, have been my inspiration for the last five years. They are the reason I get up in the morning, the reason I go to work, and the reason I decided to go back to school full time at 29 years old. My daughter is specifically the reason why I decided divorce was the only option. I did not want her to ever feel that the relationship I had was appropriate for her. He is not a bad father, but he was not a compatible, supportive partner that I needed. I want her to be with someone one day that compliments her as a person and is a supportive partner. I also wanted my son to see value a person’s worth and know that a family is about being a team. We both love are children very much, but just do not belong together.
My responsibility in life is to build a strong foundation for my family. I want them to know the importance of love, family, education, communication and indecency. My job as a mother is to lead by example. By finishing college, working full-time, and showing them what self-respect and self-love looks like, I am being a great influence on their lives. When I have them with me I never bash their father, I actually do the opposite. I talk about him in a positive way. I want them to know that even though I am cannot be with him, he is still an important person in my life. I can only hope he does the same.
Being a parent has completely changed my life. It is my biggest challenge and my greatest accomplishment. It helps me establish goals and stick to them. It is easier to break promises and give up when you do not purpose. When I feel like depression is sneaking up or on weeks I do not have my children, I always think about ways to make them proud of their mother. I want them to not remember me being stressed out about homework assignments or tension between their father and me. That is why I do homework while they sleep, speak highly of their dad even when I’m hurting, and show them love and affection at all opportunities.
Positive Psychology is the study of what makes life worth living. It is what makes people happy. It is about understanding how to make people be the best versions of themselves. Instead of asking “what wrong with you?”, positive psychology asks the question “what is right with you?” It is about making normal life more fulfilling. If we focus on what makes life worth living instead of the negative aspects of life, people will grow, be kinder, find their self-worth, and become goal driven.
Appreciative Inquiry is a way of thinking, seeing, and acting for powerful, purposeful change in organizations. It is finding out what is going well within the organizational culture and what we can do to enhance those things. If you do not focus on the problems and focus on the positive, you can enhance the good things and what works instead of making problems the focus. Encouraging your employees and co-workers to do what they are already great at and enhancing those skill sets, you can make the atmosphere more positive.
Where I work, the organization is more problem focused. I currently have a director that micromanages the division. She points out flaws and will check in frequently until problems are corrected. She is fairly new to her role in the organization and does not have a background in our line of work. If she sat down with each of us and used appreciative inquiry to find our strengths and passions our area would run more smoothly. I feel as if I don’t not want to go above and beyond for people who expect me to fail. I want to feel appreciated.
In my line of work, we send out monitors to make sure the grant funds are being used appropriately and the environment is appropriate. We use a check list that is shared with the program beforehand. After the monitoring visit is complete, we touch base several times and work with the entities to establish an improvement plan. The more we visit and more feedback we have the better our programs become.
I feel that when supervisors or co-workers provide positive feedback and work with a development plan, employees do better work. I do not work well in an environment that I feel I am micromanaged. I work better when I have freedom to make decisions and an open-door policy for asking questions or if I need guidance. I have worked under managers who have exceled in this. They would say “I believe you will do great on this project because…”, instead of “this is what I expect out of you and here is your deadline.” I believe success comes from encouraging others to do their best instead of having too much pressure and high expectations. Employees want to feel trusted and fulfilled.
I am naturally a positive person. I am an extrovert and value friendships. I enjoy being around people and feeling as if I am contributing to their happiness. I am often seen as the division liaison when new hires start because I like to start with positive conversation and interaction. The more I know about someone, the better I can make the environment for them. I come from a large family of many personality types. I adjust easy to new people and situations. I feel that being approachable and kind lets people let their hair down and become more comfortable.
Having a sense of community and stewardship at home is very important. My macrosystem consists of my children, friends, family, and co-works. I find it important to instill the value of taking care of one’s home, neighborhood and environment. It is important to be conscious of our water use, cleaning chemicals, and everyday products we use.
In my home, we try to do our part. I refuse to buy non-biodegradable Styrofoam. I rarely use paper plates and towels. My children and I discuss the importance of not letting the water run while we are not using it. We also turn of the lights when leaving the room. Even at work, I turn the restroom light off if no one is in there when I leave. We are only given one Earth. Once our resources are gone, they are gone. I find it important to educate our youth on how to care for the environment in every age.
Appreciative Inquiry is very important when it comes to teaching young children. Believing in the youth is important in the classroom. It is important to find what the child excels in and focus on that. If the child enjoys art, you could potentially incorporate art into their math or reading comprehension. When trying to achieve the goal of quality education, it is vital to incorporate positive affirmation to these individuals. In countries that do have extreme high poverty, teaching life skills is very important. You need play on their strengths and needs in the community. Teaching children and young adults how to take care of their crops or how to sew could benefit them.
The best way to help keep our community and macrosystems strong, we need to focus on educations. You can also lead by example. By explain why littering is bad for our environment and why we need to recycle to my children, they will do the same and influence their friends and future children. It is important to educate them on the damage that could be done to our ozone layer or our water systems. Ultimately education is the best way to influence others.
Coverstatio has made a place in my heart. This Benedictine Hallmark represents stepping out of my comfort zone and transforming into a better person. It is about renewing and progressing with time. My life has been flipped upside down this summer. My whole being is out of my comfort zone right now. I am transitioning into the best single mother, strong-minded, and independent person I can be. This Hallmark is about finding one’s strength as the grow and change.
The Benedictine Hallmark of Hospitality also holds a strong meaning for me. It is about letting others into your life and acceptance of others. As I transition into this new life of being a divorced mother of two, I’m attempting to learn to trust others and see the good in everyone, although I have been hurt in the past. For me this Hallmark is about opening my mind and soul to new friendships, experiences, and opportunities. It is about showing my children even when you have lost faith and trust, you can find it again by keeping your heart open. I’ve also began to talk to other women going through similar situations and attempting to build them up and support them.
I have not been much of a spiritual person. I have struggled with this concept my whole life. It is hard to find peace in my chaotic life at times. I do thank God every day. I was always told by my mother and grandmother that you do not have to go to church to have a conversation with God. When I take time to pray, I like to be alone in nature. I also do not believe that a person must pray to be spiritual. Being spiritual can be done through acts of kindness or by just having a moment of silence and relaxation. This course and other current events in my life, like my recent divorce, have given me a different outlook on spirituality. It has put my life into perspective by reading other’s hardships. Not everyone is fortunate to have the support system that I have. This course has helped me look at my micro and macro system a little differently.
When I am Gone
The main people in my micro system consist of my children, brother, parents, co-workers, and friends. I have slowly begun to reach out to more of my friends from my past that I lost in my journey to where I am. It is hard to think about other’s reactions to when I die. I have always been perceived as a jokester or comedian amongst my friends and family. I have been slightly hard headed and opinionated at times. I want my children to know that every decision I have made since the day they were born has been for them. I left their father because I feel it is important for them to know that a relationship is a two-way communication and about being a team. I want them to know that I went back to school to show them the importance of education and achieving goals that people say are impossible. I want them to think of me as a selfless person who did everything in my power to make their lives comfortable and worry free. I want them to look at me as their role model and supportive.
I want my friends and family to remember me as a determined person who loved her family with all of her being. I want them to remember that I was more than jokes and smiles. I want them to be inspired by me. I want them to make a difference in my name instead of mourning the loss of me. I want to leave behind a positive glow on people’s hearts as the person who never gave up and always tried to see the positive in the world, even though it can be a scary, dark place.
I have been at my place of work for 9 years. I have always been a hard worker, but I have also been the office clown. I would like to eventually be seen as professional team player. I believe a contribute to the agency and division in a big way, but I often give credit to others. I would like to be able to take the lead on a project and inspire my co-workers. I am often motivating others and being the cheerful one of the group, which at times makes it hard to be taken seriously. This is a phase I am trying to transition into.
I have several causes that are dear to my heart. The most important in my life is education. I work for an education agency. My job is to make sure that the school of Illinois are providing the best education to the most at-risk children across the state. It is important to me to start a strong education foundation for children early in life to make school fun and safe. These children do not have the best home environment. They do not have a safe home or proper nutrition. They come from homes where English is not their first language. They have high poverty rates and their parents to not have a high education level. Some of these children have disabilities. This cause drives my passion at work, at home, and in my community. Adults are the only people who can speak out and help these kids reach their full education potential and hopefully stop the cycle of poverty.
My Mission Statement
I am rediscovering myself after divorcing this July from a relationship I was in for 11 years and married almost 8 years. I was with this person since I was nineteen years old. We had two children together. Our son is five years old and our daughter is almost 3 years old. This is the only adult life I have known. My journey from this point forward is going to be very different than the last decade.
My mission is simple and complicated at the same time. I want to be the best example I can be for my children and my community. I want to be seen as an influencer and an inspiration. My first goal is to show my children that your gender does not define your role in your home, workplace or community. Woman and Men should be equal in their jobs, pay, and responsibility. I will show my children that it is okay to be an independent woman and head of house hold.
With recent events going on with racism, I believe is important to stand up for what is right and not complicit. It is important to stand up for those who are being torn down by our government and other hate groups. I want people to see my passion for equal rights for all races, genders, and sexual preferences. I do not want to look back on my life and say I did not do anything to stop bigotry. I can do my part by not allowing others to degrade people. I will always try to stick up for what is right even when it is not the most popular option or if I have to lose friends because of these choices. No one should ever treat another human with disrespect.
My basic goals are to be the best person I can be. I want to use my communication skills and outgoing personality to help the community, pass along my mission of equal rights, and be a strong role model for my children. I want people to look back at my life and say that I stood up for what I believed in and loved with all my heart. I will not let my gender or relationship status define me. I will not lose myself in this world full of hate.