Secretly Cheering for Us
There’s a tension I sometimes feel as a teacher (and as a parent, friend, son, and colleague). It’s the tension between giving my students room to express their creativity, curiosity, and authentic selves, and reinforcing the roles that school, society, and culture have taught us adults that we’re supposed to play.
In the classroom, when the noise level gets too high or the conversation steers away from the topic I planned, my impulse is to steer it back to where it’s supposed to be: quieter and focused on the class topic. That’s what the classroom is supposed to look like.
As a dad, when my five-year-old was spinning around the kitchen with food in his hands, my impulse was to tell him to sit down and eat at the table. That’s the way we're supposed to eat.
For myself, when I feel inspired to say something new or take actions in an unconventional or untrodden way, my thinking generates all sorts of reasons why I should stay in my lane and carry on.
There’s always been and there always will be a pull to the accepted, expected, or conditioned way of doing things. We may always tend to see things as we’ve been taught to see them, to act in ways that are acceptable and socially safe to act, to resign ourselves to our lot and hope for the best.
But that doesn’t mean it’s what’s best for us or for others. And it doesn’t mean that we have to live that way.
Resignation, frustration, overwhelm, stress, and cynicism are optional approaches to the challenges we face personally and collectively. We can thrive in life no matter the circumstances - and anyway, despite the pull to the status quo, society is secretly cheering for us to wake up and bring our innate, creative, and passionate genius to live a more compassionate and enjoyable life for ourselves and others.
Thanks so much for reading. ❤️