In order to become more and experience more of the things we desire, change is inevitable. To go somewhere new, we must be willing to trust that we are heading in the right direction even if we do not recognize the scenery. This means that there will be moments when fear is likely to creep in. We might hear an inner voice that attempts to convince us that we are off course and that we would be wise to turn back. Fear not, with practice we can get better at recognizing that this voice is an indicator that we are heading in the right direction.
As teachers, we often have the opportunity to guide young people through new experiences. It is important that we create an environment that encourages bold exploration. We must encourage our students to try new things even if they might get it “wrong”. Without the willingness to risk getting things wrong they would never have the chance to discover something new. Learning is a process and learning to enjoy the process makes life a more delightful experience.
There was a middle school student who was frequently getting into trouble with teachers. He spoke out of turn, had conflicts with other students, and failed to turn in his share of assignments. Much of his difficulties stemmed from mental habits he had developed outside of school. He did not come from a family that empowered him to believe that he could be successful at school. As a result, he carried a feeling that he had no chance of being successful and acted accordingly.
One of the main skills we focused on with him was a willingness to slow things down and see the world through a different lens. Rather than assuming that his teachers had it out for him, we considered more empowering perspectives. When he failed to turn in an assignment, we considered ways that he could talk to his teacher about getting more time. When he got into an argument with another student, we reflected on the fact that both he and the other student had already been having a difficult morning before they crossed paths. By looking at things this way, he started to see that things were not as personal as he had been making them. He also started uncovering the role that he had been playing in the results he had been experiencing.
It was not always easy for this young man to slow down and reflect. Our thoughts take on a life of their own when we have practiced thinking them. It is tempting to go back to what is comfortable. We might think that it is too hard to change our thinking and feel like our thoughts are in the driver’s seat. All of this is normal when we embark on a journey to explore new ways of being, even if part of us knows where we desire to be.
In the case of this young man, like everyone else, he made progress and then would bump up against an old pattern. Then he would slow down, reflect, choose a new path and experience success once again. This is life. It is a process that we will always be a part of. There will always be new opportunities to explore and express more expanded versions of who we are.
If you are feeling out of sorts and not sure that you are headed in the right direction, it is time to slow down. You are always in the perfect place to re-engage with life in a new, more empowering way. Your job is to nourish your mind with uplifting perspectives and ideas that will allow you to see the opportunities that surround you. You are an amazing person who is here to experience the satisfaction of accomplishing your dreams. Your willingness to accept that you are part of a never-ending process of discovery will open new levels of joy and satisfaction.
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