Sometimes it’s hard to be positive. People don’t like it when you’re happy and they aren’t.
I’m generally pretty happy. Here’s a picture of me about a week ago:
They moved the class schedules around at my gym, and now I can go to aerobics twice a week instead of just once a week. This is a good thing for me. When the teacher announced it, though, everyone in the class was outraged! People were saying they were canceling their gym memberships and all sorts of things. They just went on and on. I realized that it was going to be just great for me, but did I say anything? No. I was afraid they would eat me alive. I did mention it to the teacher after class, though.
“This schedule change is going to work out for me.”
“I know,” she said. “It isn’t working for a lot of people.” She walked away before I had a chance to correct her. I guess there were so many people complaining, she couldn’t hear a positive comment?
I recently substituted at a middle school where all of the teachers were complaining. We were in the teacher’s lounge, at lunch, and all they could talk about was how bad the kids were, what job openings there were at other schools, and how bad the administration was. I finally got the nerve to say something,
“I don’t see it, honestly. I’m a substitute here, and I really haven’t had any problems.”
A teacher shot me an evil glance.
“Take a look in our hallways!”
“Yeah, okay... I haven’t seen much in the hallways that’s different from any other school.”
“Today must be your first day, then.”
“No, no. This is, like, my tenth time here or something.”
No one seemed happy about my comment. They went on, eventually, as though they hadn’t heard. I went to read a book in my empty classroom for the rest of lunch. I went to the staff bathroom, and even in there, someone told me, while she was washing her hands, how she didn’t enjoy the discipline problems there. You can’t even relieve yourself, apparently, without experiencing some complaining!
I realize this is hypercritical. I am complaining about people complaining.
When class started again, I was showing a movie (it was band class and I’m not really qualified to teach a lesson, so therefore, movie) and right before the movie started, this one child was complaining, quite loudly,
“I hate this movie! Can’t we watch something else?” He went on and on, of course. But then, a revelation came to me. No one else was talking. Were they afraid to contradict him? Just like I was afraid to speak in my aerobics class? I picked a kid at random,
“Do you like this movie?”
"Who? Me?" He asked, timidly.
"Yes, you! Have you seen it before? Do you like it enough to see it again?"
“Yes.” And another,
“Do you like this movie?”
“Haven’t seen it.”
As it turned out, the one kid was the only one with an issue. Once I put it in (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” with Johnny Depp) even that one kid seemed to enjoy it. Everyone was happy. Strange, huh?
It’s strange to me how the negativity so easily takes over and spreads. Over dumb stuff. Sometimes, we really need to complain. But not when, oh, you’re being given an opportunity to watch a movie instead of doing homework. How does the complaining take people over so quickly? Why is that, do you think? And why is it so difficult to be the one positive voice? Relax. It’s all good.