It is easy to get stuck when facing challenging situations. We might spend an inordinate amount of energy looking backwards and wondering how we got there in the first place. This can lead to blame rather than the solutions that are readily available if we are willing to accept them. We might also be haunted by memories of past failures and concerns about how we will make it through. The good news is that, at any moment, we can take our power back by turning our thoughts toward the future and planning for success rather than fearing failure.
In our district, we have the best teachers in the world. As we evolve and learn together, we become more inclusive and understanding. We are learning to tap into our own inner resources and move boldly forward into the unknown. We are learning from the past and creating new ways of reaching our students and connecting with one another. When we make mistakes, we look at what we have learned and keep moving. It is a concerted effort from families, students, teachers, administrators, staff, and everyone in our community that allows us to move gracefully onward.
As teachers and parents, we are often acting as guiding lights for young people as they navigate new challenges and experiences. Often times, the best thing we can do is encourage them to take their focus off of what they do not want, or fear might happen, and put it back on to what they do want to experience. By doing so, we are encouraging young people to trust their inner guidance. We are fostering a spirit of courage, adventure, and success. We are also teaching them to tap into their inner resources, rather than looking outside themselves in the hopes that someone else will save them.
In my classroom, we start each day with a reminder that “mistakes are proof that you are trying”. This is a green light to go for it. In fact, in my classroom, we give high praise to anyone who gives an effort, regardless of what the outcome looks like. It is a joy to see students who might be reluctant to attempt something new, give their best effort without fear of judgment. This method of learning gives constant feedback as to where we are and makes it easier to discern what steps we can take to improve. It keeps our sights set on a future full of hope.
We all need to be reminded that it is okay to fail in the moment. If we do not allow ourselves this luxury, we will never learn anything new. Perhaps you have been holding yourself back because you are too occupied with the past to consider the good that awaits you. If so, now is the perfect time to reconsider any beliefs that you have held about yourself and what you are capable of. Within you lies limitless potential and only you know what you desire to become. Give yourself permission to fail, to make mistakes, to laugh and keep learning. Sooner than you think, you will realize that whatever old, limiting definitions you were holding onto about who you are no longer apply.
Edward Biagiotti is an Educational Specialist for Culver City Unified School District and the cohost of the inspirational podcast “Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed” on iTunes. For questions, comments, and ideas for future columns, send an email to: EdwardBiagiotti@ccusd.org