I've heard it said, many times, "How we handle adversity is how we handle everything." In other words....wait...I really don't know for certain how you interpret this quote, so I'm going to just leave it right there until I have several people respond with their answers.
Just kidding, that wouldn't be much of a blog would it, and I have been a bit negligent in the weekly blogging, so much so that I have received a few "pokes" to post again. Here goes that!
For me, that quote means that I am, at the base of my soul, Shelly. I have learned many times in many ways that I have to rely on some power greater than me to make good solid choices (GIGO---good in; good out) in order to keep spiritually, physically, mentally, relationally, and even emotionally fit, as I can't do this deal alone. I need help from a Higher Power to be my best self and not turn into Sherlinda (my evil twin).
With all that is going on in the world right now, I can't help but think that we should be banding together MORE rather than pointing fingers at one another and bonding LESS. And yet, that simply doesn't always seem to be the case, and I fear that my Higher Power likely weeps when He sees what all manner of messes we (me included, for sure) can make in this world when we forget that we are, indeed, on the same struggle bus (or boat, if you are irritated with me for mixing my transportation analogies).
I do want to say, though, that I believe we are in a position to work together for the greater good. One of me has pretty fine grain size; lots of us working together for a common good has pretty powerful implications and a much larger grain size. But what does that really mean, logistically? I'll just stop the blog here, because I really just want to hear your answers to that questions. Okay, just kidding. I really do have thoughts I want to share about that.
I am currently teaching a Master's level course (to teachers who are getting their Ed. Leadership degree and may someday become school leaders) on Finance. Sounds pretty sexy, doesn't it? Not really, right? However, I have seen these 22 students and me form a learning relationship in the last two weeks (the courses are all 6 weeks long) that is pretty darn cool. They are saying things like, "I dreaded taking Finance. I'm not great with math. My mind is totally changed now" or "I keep telling my wife how rich the conversations are in our classroom discussions, and she keeps making fun of how excited I am about Finance!" I just told them this morning that I am kind of falling for them (not in a creepy way, mind you). I always make sure that I let every classroom of students I teach (whether it's for a university or facilitating a training for educators around the world) know that I believe, with every fiber of my being, that teaching is likely the most complex and hardest jobs in the world. That is not to say that it is easier to be a school leader. It is simply a different sort of complex.
I love watching the "coming together" of groups so much so that I believe it is one of the biggest highs there is. I may get some kudos for that (or maybe 1/100 of a jewel in my crown) from my students/participants, but the reality is that the group synergy (with each other and with the teacher/facilitator/professor) is what sets us on fire. Discussions become richer, eyes are opened to new and different ways of viewing things, debating is done with total respect and listening to what the other person has to say (versus simply lying in wait for the person to finish talking just so you can jump on their view and poo-poo their thoughts). I have even seen this vitriolic type of behavior on a Facebook user group I belong to that is simply for principals to share ideas. The other day, one person asked a totally legitimate question (asking for suggestions on a particular leadership issue), and all of a sudden, it looked (on that page) like a divisive war had broken out, in which there weren't going to any winners or losers.
In other related crazy wonders of the world, I was checking in on one of the many Labrador Retriever websites to which I belong. One person, again, asked a pretty "softball question" about Labs, and you would have thought the question had been, "If I'm going to shoot my dog, do I do it in the heart or the head?" Wake up, people!! We are all in this together. Nobody is getting out of this world, alive forever. How about helping instead of hurting? And I get it. I truly get it. Hurt people hurt people. What does that mean to you? I'm just going to stop blogging so I can your "take" on that last sentence. Okay, just kidding. I have every intention of telling you my thought on that. When we feel comfortable in our own skin and feel that we are doing the very best we can to be traveling the road to progressing toward what we are intended to be, we don't tend to lash out at other people. For Pete's sake, people, put on your own oxygen mask now so you can begin to help others! If you are wandering around in your pile of poo complaining about how horrible your plight is, I invite you to step outside the pile and start washing off.
That is, I think, the essence of what I am feeling about the current class I am teaching....that adorable sounding Finance course. We are listening to one another's views; they are taking in feedback I am trying to give them and giving them anecdotal examples, snippets of advice; we are growing together and not against one another.
And for that, I am eternally grateful.
I challenge you, just for today, to figure out how you might work on working together to help someone else instead of lashing out at someone with whom you disagree.