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I Can…

I Can…

Confession time. I am currently supposed to be reading an epic amount of voter/candidate information material as part of my research for November 6th. I’m not. (But, lest anyone worry, I absolutely will!)

Instead, I’m thinking about a set of connections that I made today after a really thought-provoking Twitter chat. 

First, a bit of context.

I’ve had a bit of a mentally tough week. You know the kind. Nothing major has gone wrong, but there are prickles of discontent everywhere and a sort of heavy feeling that you are punching water. 

The reasons for all of this are, of course, numerous.

  • A rather, uhm, contentious political climate in play.
  • Professional pressures to knock things out of the park.
  • Personal pressures of daily life (including a puppy who is really angry that her family went on vacation without her and is showing her displeasure by destroying … everything). 
  • My Packers are struggling. Don’t laugh, that’s a huge stressor around here!
  • The humanness of being human.
  • The busy.

The result of it all can leave you a little over-focused on the things you can’t control. That’s exactly the mindset I had when I decided to join in the #teachmindful Twitter chat lead by Melissa Chouinard (@collidingwithscience). Tonight’s topic? 
‘Generous Connections, Generous Response’.

Connecting the Dots

As I said, the chat was thought-provoking. As I said goodnight to my team members and got in my car, I realized that the list of things up there? That’s not going to change. I can’t control how people run their lives and the choices they make. I mean, let’s be honest, it all might get worse before it gets better.

As I started the car, I had this moment of “WAIT JUST A DANG MINUTE!” I might not be able to control some things, but I’d better reset my brain to focus on the things I can do before my attitude starts to circle the drain and the beast that is self-fulfilling prophesy kicks in.

That’s it, isn’t it? Can’t is the opposite of empowerment. And friends, that’s not just an adult thing! How many of our students need to learn how to switch gears to empower themselves when life gets too … well, much.

So … now what?

Well, I guess now I vote. Not at the ballot box (although that’s coming), but I cast my vote with action. The whole thing is about choices.

Which selection do I make? It’s up to me.

I can’t:I can:
The dog is just SO wild! She is
out of control. She’s going to
eat everything.
Hide the shoes! Take her to the dog park!
This policy is SO unfair. Folks
are not set up for success.
Restructure processes so that
policy is followed and impact
is minimized.
There are so many things to do. All of them need to be done. I’m just … I can’tPick one. Implement it well.
Celebrate successes and move
to the next.

That table could go for days, right? And it’s so simple; and hard. On good days, I think that most of us can naturally do this and focus on the good. On hard days, it takes explicit work.

Focusing on the can’t takes away your power. It diminishes and minimizes. I marginalizes and negates successes and wins and everything in its path.

Students need us to understand this. Our colleagues and those in our PLNs and support circles need to understand this. Those we mentor need to understand this. I think we need to hold each other accountable for both empowering others and ourselves. 

I’m going to do my best to stop punching water. I’m going to change the container it’s in and find and celebrate successes. I’m going to help others do the same. 

Will you join me?

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