Life’s adventures are meant to be shared

Photo Courtesy of Edward Biagiotti. MAKING MEMORIES: Share your adventures and ideas with the people in your life. They will turn from acquaintances to allies.

“The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing” – Isaac Asimov

One of the most important things that I do with my students is to let them in on my real life experiences.  Whether it is a great wave I have surfed, a song I have written, or a challenging situation that I have faced, the kids love to hear what I have been up to, in and out of the classroom. They respond to my real life experiences because they can relate to the human emotions that I share, both good and bad.  My sharing creates common ground.

There was a time when I felt like I was two people.  One was the serious me.  He would show up at work, church, and family gatherings.  He was never too high or too low and his main goal was to appear as though he had everything under control.  The other me was more care-free.  This me loved writing, music, and surfing.  He also loved to laugh and freely acknowledged that he was not in control.  He was more concerned with connecting with others than proving himself to them.  At some point I started to wonder about the possibility of integrating both of these parts into one happy me.

Over time I have learned how to bring these two aspects of myself together in one room.  I invest time to hear them out, either by writing down my thoughts, saying what I am thinking out loud, or quietly reflecting on whatever is present. In this way, I honor all of me.  I see that I have control over some things, like what I invest my energy in, and what I eat for lunch.  I also recognize that there are things I cannot control, such as the way other people are feeling and the choices that they make.  By recognizing both sides of the equation I am able to show up as one whole person.

Making peace with all aspects of myself is really helpful when I work with children.  I find I am able to listen more effectively. I can laugh at the things that strike me as funny and be sincere about the things that call for compassion and firm direction.  From this expansive place within myself I find that my students feel heard and are receptive to my input.

I have a student that has many wonderful reasons to not complete his school work.  They range from the belief that school is created by a shadow government, to the fact that he will never use what he is learning in real life.  I allow myself to relate to the things that he says.  I share my own perspectives and appreciate the valid points that he makes, while lovingly redirecting him to get his work done.  Sometimes I surprise myself with the effectiveness of the simple things I say.  Last week I reminded him that learning “scientific notation” really does matter to him.   I explained that right now, going to school is his job and that he is going to be tested on the material we are studying.  His life will get easier by learning “scientific notation” because when he sits down to take those tests he will feel more prepared, and have a better experience.  By breaking down the facts for him, he laughed and agreed that he will be using that information soon.

It is easy to make life more complicated than it has to be.  By slowing down and listening, I am able to hear and see more clearly what needs to be done for myself and others.  When I take care of myself, I do not project my own unresolved conflicts upon everyone else.  This simplifies my relationships with people and makes everything easier.  I encourage you to consider experimenting with this practice.  Start by considering any areas of your life where you are having conflicting ideas about how to proceed, or how to feel.  Rather than try to figure out which idea is right, take time to hear yourself out.  Think through all the perspectives and see what new ideas might come out of it.  When you do this you will find that all the answers you need are within yourself.  You will also find that it becomes easier to laugh at yourself and be honest with others.  This will create allies out of acquaintances.  They will celebrate your successes and relate to your challenges.  It will save you a great deal of time and energy going forward.  That will give you more energy to devote to your own exciting adventures.

Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District.  He is also co-host of the popular radio show, Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed, live each week, Wednesdays  at 3 pm on  Visit for more articles and a free, inspirational parenting download.