One morning when I was six, I woke up and realized that I was small, and big; that I was an intellectual and a poet. I realized that I was irreverent and dogmatic; that I was plain and fancy and that one day I would cease to be. But the thing that I remember most about that day, is the moment when it dawned on me that I live… the magnitude of that reality has haunted and inspired me every day of my life….
So, it’s been a crazy week. I was stressed WORSE than I have been in years….probably the worst I’ve felt since the week of my mother’s funeral. I had a job interview, but I also had to read to my daughter’s 1st grade class, cook corn for the Thanksgiving feast celebration, drop the yoga mats and lunch off to the boys’ pre-school, and find something to wear for the 2nd round of interviews I had been invited to participate it. Needless to say, when I arrived at the interview site, less than 30 seconds to get into the building, and when I did get there, I had technical difficulties. I had spent DAYS preparing a powerpoint from scratch and embedding video and audio into it, manipulating graphics and animation to have it be FREAKING AWESOME! I blew the presentation, the interview and the job (I’m sure). They brought back 6 candidates and I have never been a guidance counselor in a TRADITIONAL high school, so I can understand that I am not their first choice. But I do want to say that I am blessed for that opportunity to interview because they asked me an important question (which of course, I failed to answer well — I NEED TO THINK ABOUT MY WORDS) Even though some people might argue that I don’t ever think about what comes out of my mouth (tee hee). So, I didn’t answer their question then….but I spent the next bunch of days answering it for myself. And I have felt HUGE and inspired by the revelation that this is my DEEPEST belief….deep down in the core of my existence. I only wish that more people felt this way about our children…….
They asked me, “how would you describe a successful student and what is the biggest problem we have in helping them achieve success?”
Here’s my answer:
I’m an existentialist. I have a deep philosophical belief that people’s primary goal in life is to HAVE/KNOW & MAINTAIN a deep and pervasive sense of worth and value — and I think that a successful student is a student who graduates feeling whole and intact. A student who feels “accomplished” rather than “entitled”. I think it’s important for students to understand the difference. I think the students should understand the value of the hard work that went into earning a 98 and the benefits that are derived from — not only the knowledge that they’ve acquired but also of how — the hard work that they’ve put in adds value and worth to who they are as people, as citizens and as individuals. I think our challenge as adults is to provide them with that insight, to place value on the nuts and bolts of what makes them successful, not just on the outcome of their handiwork. I think that if we can provide students and kids of all ages with that insight and that acclaim and regard, they will graduate from high school, accomplished, successful, prepared for college and inoculated against the woes of this time in history — we because we live in a world where we have instant access to everything, except the deepest part of ourselves, the part that feels worthy, and whole and vibrant! Kids who feel good about themselves do good things, it’s that simple!!!
I wish people really knew how amazing they are: I mean, think about it, our heart starts beating in the womb, weak and faint and barely audible…..and then it beats without fail, every second, of every minute of every day of our lives until we are called Home; and we never say thank you, we almost never think about it, we seldom stop and close our eyes, and place our hand over our heart to feel it talk to us, to hear it say “I am here for you, and I will not leave you. I will be with you until your LAST HOUR….feel me and know that you have life.” The whisper of a heart is the first sound a child hears in the womb, and with that whisper the heart does incredible work, delivering life’s blood to every nook and cranny of our existence….yes, we are amazing, we are incredible, and….most of us are too busy to remember!
I am an existentialist and a hedonist. I live my life in search of meaning and beauty. Of course, I don’t belong to any “club” because not all existentialists find meaning in the sufferings of MY life; and not all hedonists adore monochromatic taupe landscapes…..
Still, I dare say that we are more the same than not. In fact, I once infuriated someone to rage by asking him to stop telling me the ways in which we are different, and tell me instead the ways in which we are identical.
He wouldn’t have had to search far. We all of us overlap in the seams. Human beings are identical in the space that exists between us — for that “space” is merely an illusion…
Did you say that this past week-end a boy in our town beat a girl in our town to death because he LOVED her?
For those of you who don’t already KNOW this….the closer you get to your goal/dream, the harder it becomes…..let that be an indication to you that you’re almost there. This is not a “feel good” post. This is a pearl of personal wisdom from me to you because that’s where I’m at…..So remember, if it burns like the fires of Hell to keep holding on, or pushing forward, take comfort….you’re close…..so close. Hang in and press on!
Dirt don’t hurt…
Achieving perfection is not the same as being perfect.
This is because achieving perfection is a myth designed to consume you and waste your life.
On the other hand…..being perfect is a reality. It happens every second of your life and because you’re a perfect human, it means you get a lot of shit wrong!