It is our unique dreams and heartfelt desires that make everything else we do worthwhile. By doing the things that make us happy and acting in accord with who we are, we remain connected to a great well of energy. When we lose touch with that intrinsic motivation, we struggle to conjure up energy. We start struggling to survive by the power of our will alone. Over time this leads to burn out. At the very least, it takes the joy out of living.
There was a young man who was struggling in class. He was assigned time in the Resource Room to get extra support with math. While he was only scheduled to attend two sessions per week, he started showing up every day. This was a curious situation. Many students would rather not come to the Resource Room if given the option. He, on the other hand, was excited to come.
It was clear that this young man was searching for something. When he was in the Resource Room, he felt understood and accepted. He was struggling to access those same feelings in his regular classroom. While the student could not attend the Resource Room every day, we found ways to give him the extra support he was seeking, such as finishing tests and other assignments with us.
There was something about this student that reminded me of my childhood friend that we called “The Der”. The Der was always on a different page than the rest of us. He was also unfazed by teachers and other well-intentioned adults who attempted to redirect his behavior. He found the whole world to be a funny place, always laughing and finding joy, even if he was getting in trouble.
When I told my student about the Der, he lit up. He wanted to know all about him. Soon, if he got off-task we referred to it as a “Der move”. He knew that meant it was time to change his behavior. In an amazing way, he felt seen and heard. As a result, he started responding to more of his teacher’s demands and his work output increased.
Sometimes the solutions we seek are so simple that they seem silly. If you are struggling in a certain area, perhaps lacking motivation, now is the time to remember who you are. You are unique. When you honor your individual approach to living, you will access a greater supply of energy and ideas. Things that once seemed burdensome will feel lighter. You will take on a new air of success. People will respond in positive ways as that feeling radiates out from within and you will be glad you took the time to express more of who you are.
Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District. He is also the co-host of “Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed” podcast on iTunes. For questions, comments, and ideas for future columns, send an email to: EdwardBiagiotti@ccusd.org