I choose to walk the path of the TeachThought blog challenge because my friend Kenneth Durham asked if I would. A post-a-day is not my typical methodology, so that is why this is the perfect thing for me to do. The careful process I undergo to compose a post is very, inextricably me. That is a helpful hint on Day One: goals for the school year.
1) Stay uncomfortable – and help others find more comfort in discomfort.
Paths through woods are lovely; they take on different feelings depending on the weather, time of day, season…walking one path 1,000 times will yield at least 1,000 new discoveries. Yet this path still cuts through the same landscape – what we know about this piece of the world ends with our depth of vision.
So what about the deer trail that nudges modestly into the thicket? Easy to overlook as we trod past on this familiar terrain. What if we decided to follow it (either after much contemplating, or rashly, upon seeing it for the first time?); what if we move into the unknown volume of this great wood around us, and we haven’t packed enough of a snack?
2) Revel In the Wonder of Being Afraid
Bill Russell used to throw up before games. He won 11 NBA championships – certainly everyone he played against was afraid of him. So why did he experience this before games? Evidence of someone fully invested in what he was doing – sensitive to the reality of doing his work in front of thousands of people without a clear script.
His fear wasn’t an immobilizing force; throwing up was simply his way of moving through the dark wood. Acknowledging our fear means we can be present and engaged in this new experience. Fear gives us the gift of being alert and attentive to our current moment.
“Fear, in evolution, has a special prominence: perhaps more than any other emotion it is crucial for survival.” Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ
3) Be A Better Dad
Being a parent has helped me become more mindful of the uniqueness of each child, and more compassionate to kids and families struggling to stay afloat. So how can my work as an educator help me become a better dad? How can I bring that mindful compassion home with me each day to my own wonderful children?