Bowen: We cannot afford to have bad days

Published 9:41 pm Thursday, August 24, 2017

Don’t hang around with those mean, negative people.

Don’t involve yourself with grueling, aggravating chores.

And don’t listen to bad, grumpy news during the day, if you can help it.

“Okay,” you say, “so you’re sayin’ to quit my job.”

Well, good point. Better not do that. But maybe you can close the door to your office every now and then, if you have one. Somehow, better put up a little shield — like when you looked at the eclipse — to keep from having too many of those bad days.

You see, I have come today with some breaking news: We absolutely, positively cannot afford a bad day,

One of the reasons we haven’t talked politics or too many world events for the last 20 years in this LDN space is that our hope is to help you have a good day, not a bad one.

Several years ago, I sent out an e-mail at my Red Oak High School in Texas recruiting teachers and school employees to re-enlist in our weekly “pep talks” we sent out. Somehow — on one of those bad computer days — the system swallowed up my old list, so I had to get a new one. Many good teachers wrote back to us quickly, saying, “Add me on.”

Then I received this desperate message.

“Coach,” the teacher wrote, “please put me on your e-mail list. I had a TERRIBLE day yesterday!” The “caps,” by the way, not mine.

She was a junior high teacher, which tells us all we need to know. One school year I spent half a day teaching in junior high — not including the several years I enjoyed as a “marginal” student back at LaGrange’s West Side Junior High — so I do know a little bit about junior high. Old Mr. Bill Walsh or Mr. Singley could tell more!

I don’t know what happened “yesterday” with my new friend. But I couldn’t help thinking of all the bad things that could’ve gone wrong. The list might’ve made Gone With The Wind look like nothing but a comic strip, just not quite as funny.

But for the sake of my new teacher friend, I quickly assembled my mailing list and wrote a little piece reminding all, “You can’t afford a bad day!”

The truth is: You don’t have to be a junior high teacher to have a bad day (although it doesn’t hurt). We all have bad ones, and — chances are — about half of you right now are having one. If you are, stop it! Stop it right now! Close the door, turn off the news, slip out the back door, breathe deeply, say a big prayer, grab a Snickers. Do something.

Here’s why.

One day near the twilight of my teaching career, I was having a bad day. I had earned it, and I was enjoying it to the fullest. I took my bad, bad, bad day to the hallway between classes and was standing at my classroom door, when one of my sweet young students walked up to me with a friend; and she dropped a bombshell:

“Coach,” she said, “this is my friend Mary Ann. Mary Ann’s been having a really bad day, so I wanted her to meet you. I knew that if she met you you’d help her feel better.”


(By the way, if you want to know one way to end a bad day immediately, that’s it.)

I learned something that day: You may think you can, you may think you have earned it, and you may think you’re fully entitled to it.

But the truth is: We really, really can not afford a bad day.

Just ask Mary Ann.

Steven Ray Bowen is a former Granger who lives in Red Oak Texas.