Once again, the Gospel Reading and sermon today in church got me thinking....a lot! I love to partake in deep reflection, but not if it makes me feel guilty. Maybe there is something about that, though. Maybe if something makes me think or feel a certain way, there is a reason for it. The Gospel reading and our Reverend Jamie talked about how we need to ensure that we are using our talents, as we are able. So, I started thinking about all the talents I have and if I am using them to the best of my ability.
Here are a few talents (albeit at varying levels) I have:
I used to get quite nervous, sometimes, when conducting a professional development (PD) for all teachers or all administrators in a district for fear that they would think my modeling of certain techniques or strategies might be "silly". I no longer fear that, and I often start by telling them I will be modeling for administrators (for instance) what they might model for their teachers as instructional leaders themselves so that teachers can then take these ideas into the classroom. One of the techniques I use are chimes (just three tones, as I do have to pack clothes in addition to my training material). I almost scolded a few teachers one time in Houston who were on their phones while I was giving instructions on the next task. I used proximity to walk over to them while I was talking, and one of them looked up and said, "We're all ordering the chimes from Amazon". Naturally, that got a chuckle out of me. Fast forward to a week or so ago, I was teaching a workshop to about 60 teachers. At the end of the day, we did a "Circle Up" protocol in which they first individually write one word, one phrase, or one brief sentence that summarizes their learning from the day. We made a literal circle and went around the circle quickly (it isn't meant to be a dissertation from each person, and I, as the facilitator need not respond to each one), many people saying things like "total engagement"; "collaboration is key"; "learning can be fun"; etc. One of my participants said, "Honor the chimes". I had to ask him to repeat it because I wasn't quite sure what he meant, but he told me afterwards that learning to respect when the chimes are rung, the expectation should be that everyone gets prepared to listen. Brilliant!
I have thought about school-age students I have known or heard about who feel this fear paralysis in classroom environments. They don't speak up even if they know an answer (for fear of being ridiculed); they don't know how to do the work that has been assigned to them so they simply act out instead. I have learned, time and time again, that sometimes, students would rather be categorized as "misbehaving" rather than "not very bright". Of course we, as adults, can say, "Come on---you can do this!" but the reality that possible environmental issues keep them from wanting to take that chance.
I, too, could stay "comfortable" in the life God has given me....or I can truly listen to what God is "calling" me to do. Which will it be? At the end of the day (or all my days, for that matter), I sure would love to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant".
Happy Communicating to all and have a blessed week,