Saturday, November 22, 2014

Attitude of Gratitude #20: Relearning Life Lessons

According to Colbert, I must be young! 
Today's TeachThought's  Attitude of Gratitude blog challenge prompt makes me cringe. It's one of those questions that force me to be look inward, pushing me to be "mindful." Touch-feely questions raise  my cynicism-hackles. 

The cringe-causing query?  What is one life lesson that you are thankful for having learned? Eeeew. 

My strategy? Read what reflective teachers have to say, hoping their words shake loose ideas hidden in the cobwebby wrinkles of my brain. 

The blogger behind  Eat the Yolk  reminds me that teaching is like a roller coaster, full of uncertainty she can't control. The author of  Middle Management - A Teaching Journey  amplifies the theme, noting she can't manage everything or anyone. 

Been there. Done that. More times than I care to confess.  

By owning their experiences, these bloggers make it easy for me to admit how I fall into thinking I am in control, even as I delude myself that I can. Their truths shine a light on my habits of mind and heart I hide from myself to convince myself of my amazing power, talent, and wisdom. This Is How To Do It's post on life lessons ties it all together: I've gotta stop taking myself too seriously. 

Guilty as charged. 

So today's post is less about my own original thinking. Recognizing my "life lesson" has to do with standing on the shoulders of others who are willing to tell truths I'm too uncomfortable to admit, too defended and cynical to acknowledge. 

What my peers remind me is no revelation. It' something that I relearn and rediscover, over and over again. Apparently I work hard to forget that lesson.

If I had to put it in a single (but tortured!)  phrase, the life lesson I keep learning over and over again is I need others to help me see who I am, who I might be, and who I can become. I need the multiple perspectives in order to get what's going on.

Okay. That was more than a phrase. And that's what I hoped joining the blog challenge would do, compel me to think more deeply, to practice the kind of reflection I hope to engender in students - so we can create a better world. Or at least figure out better ways to face the problems the world throws at us. 

Ugh. I'm making myself cringe.