Paddling Perspective: Educate against hate

I push the paddle to the side and let my kayak float for a few moments to consider the real reasons why we want our schools to be the incubators of both free thought and inclusive practices. I ponder how we have expected education to get us to new places.

Bigger thoughts, new horizons, and innovative spirits, they all are the utopian goal of learning.

But here I sit in a little green boat and think why we keep pressing our educators to give our children and our aspiring minds what it seems adults absolve themselves from in mainstream society.

Do we always believe it is someone else’s responsibility to dismantle systemic woes or elevate people beyond any type of plight they may encounter? Are we all hands on deck for all learners all the time? Are we ready shift mindsets so that structural constraints can be dismantled?

Educators don’t shy away from these questions, but I wonder if society does. Perhaps we educate so a new generation carries the torch of love and life more boldly than we have.

Educators think about their work, their lesson plans, and their students so very often. We are always navigating the mine fields of untapped potential. We employ best practices so that student engagement overturns the temptation for disorder and resistance to learning.

We look in the eyes of 11 year olds and need to evidence our belief that all students can learn and succeed even if their surroundings or the stats might indicate otherwise.

We have to believe, not the unbelievable, but the unpopular.

We have to believe that relationships and nonverbals communicate as much as test scores and AP course enrollment numbers.

We need to not shy away from the data. We need to hold the student’s home life and action choices in class as just parts of the puzzle, doing our best to not let stereotypes dismiss the possibilities for the young girl in front of us.

We need to take the young man and show him worth and dignity in a land that shows up with hate and distaste to his race, national heritage, and ethnicity.

We are in the business of rewriting narratives so that divisiveness is not multiplied.

We get to believe that every minute, every tone chosen, every eye contact made is part of the pathway to our society’s freedom to hope, instead of despair.

I believe we get to educate against hate and it starts with the students in front of us. Teach on, teachers! Be ever encouraged, educators! Our work matters. Monday morning is near.

What it meant to be ME today 

It meant that I laid my head on a friend’s lap in recalling nightmares I had just hours before in my sleep.

It meant walking away from a commitment to find rest for my body and an intentional restart on my day.

It meant staying in a space despite racism and harsh triggers.


It meant saying yes to good opportunities, working hard in meaningful tasks and relationships.

It meant learning to take a compliment and also granting myself an end to internal criticism when I was maybe over confident and wanted to take words back.

It meant accepting that I could not comfort all who grieved or encourage all who felt lonely or frustrated–but the ones I could, I did.  The ones I couldn’t, I whispered a prayer for.

It meant feeling the hurt and hearing the voices of others. It demanded advocacy for change.

It meant wanting marriages, partnerships, and families to carry less strife and trial.

It meant taking the joys and wins of the day and letting them put air into my step and refill for my outpour.

It meant proffering service to local community and demonstrating  gratitude to places that fight for justice and mercy.

It meant not taking to labels nor ignoring them either.  Refusing to crumble in fear, but honestly not rising to potential in every moment either.

It meant celebrating young people, respecting elders, fighting demons, and holding my sons.

It was a day.  Much like many days.

Not so unlike yours.

As you navigated your employer, your past, your obligations, and your irritations…

As you met your family, lived your faith, found your policy, saw your community…

As you exchanged the emails, listened to your therapist, walked with the co-worker, and visited the medical provider…

As you journaled your story, read wisdom from others, found a crowd to stand with or a corner to be alone in…

As you reacted to politics, started an application, thanked the store clerk, or looked in the mirror…

A day–no so unlike yours.

A thousand choices, a hundred chances, 10 seconds to move to action and moments to reflect quietly on being wounded or being a warrior as life swirls around.

The wind blows strong here in Minnesota tonight.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Stand up.

Breathe.

Do the one day in front of you.

#perservere

Not a post as much about me as the title and words’ surface convey.

More or less the truth that life–it’s here.

Let’s live it, foibles and fortitude both–do another day, fellow sojourner, do another day.