I admittedly thought I was finished with this topic, but apparently it was meant to be a 3-part series. Why? I have a few people who have shared thoughts with me about this very topic. While we are still tormented by news of deaths related to COVID-19 (one we just heard about in our church this morning), we are also getting smarter, used to reminders about how to stay safe, and freaking out less about the potential disappearance of toilet paper.
We can make jokes about how we are handling things, but the truth is: we ARE handling things differently. How?
Our tolerance for others' quirky tendencies has expanded: A dear friend of mine just shared with me how things that really niggled at her and got under her skin are no longer bugging her nearly as much. She said that, where she used to be annoyed with a couple of people's habits, she is seeing them as part of the make-up of them, and she is finding ACCEPTANCE. What a beautiful word: ACCEPTANCE. Many of us have heard the notion that acceptance does not mean we have to agree with what is happening or what someone is done or has done, but it does mean we need to find some acceptance that it did happen or that person is the way they are. I don't know about you, but all the wishing, hoping, and cajoling have not ever proven to aid me in changing another person. I do not have to agree with that person's actions or demeanor, but they are who they are. I can simply control what is in my own "hula-hoop" as a dear friend continuously reminds me.
Appreciation for one another in the education world: Let me preface this portion by saying that I have loved and laughed at the memes of parents lined up in the wee hours of the night before school re-opens, begging schools to take their children back to educate them. And I have watched and admired passionately the creativity that teachers and administrators have shown in the way they are educating and caring for students. But, as a I had a beautiful opportunity to lead and engage in a Professional Learning Community (PLC) with educators around the world the other day, I heard so many educators say how impressed they are with how resilient not only the students are but how resilient the parents are, as well. One said, "I keep reminding the parents they don't have to know how to multiply fractions the way we are teaching that skill now. All they need to do is be supportive of the struggle their children are going through." Parents and teachers need to be gentle with themselves and not expect miracles, although we are seeing miracles happen all over the world. I pray we never take these miracles for granted.
What's the lesson? What's the blessing? My dear spiritual advisor said this the other day, and it stopped me in my tracks. She was talking about how God puts situations in our lives. Our work may just be to figure out what lesson we can take away from it and then also see the blessing that comes right on its heels. This "lack of traveling for work time" has shown me the lesson in slowing down a little bit. It has also helped me in being totally present in the graduate courses I am teaching, providing opportunities for my students to engage in weekly webinars with me. More work? Sure, but the blessing has been that I have truly gotten to know these students as people, not just names on my roster, whose papers I grade on a weekly basis. Now, when I grade Mike's paper, I see Mike's face. He is a living, breathing person, and having met him, it allows me to talk to him in a much more relational way than I would have before. Therein lies the blessing.
By the way, if anyone else is from the south and loves their southern roots with a longing and deep passion, as I do, you might just want to steal that last point and alter it to say: What's the lesson? What's the blessin'? Then, it rhymes so very nicely. You're welcome.
Happy Communicating, and hang in there. There might even be a How Have We Changed? Part 4. Who knows?