Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Different



DIFFERENT.

That word. Oh, that word has not been my friend. I've always felt DIFFERENT. DIFFERENT means not the same, to which I translated to mean not fitting in, being wrong, and being alone. I've felt that way, in a big and small ways, my whole life. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's struggled with that word. DIFFERENT.

As an educator, we "say" it's important to celebrate our differences, but we often don't show that we value those words. As educators, we look for the right answer and we need students to behave and we want them to be successful. None of those are bad things inherently, except who defines "right" and "good behavior" and "success"? We do. Do we allow, really allow, for DIFFERENT?  (This is not about blame. I'm not blaming teachers. I've done these things myself. It's about opening our eyes and asking ourselves if we truly value DIFFERENT.)

These ideas have been bouncing around in my brain for awhile. I am almost 46 years old. I've struggled with DIFFERENT for most of my life, until recently. Within this last year, I've started to value and celebrate DIFFERENT. I love things about myself that I'd previously felt shame about and hidden. What happened? What changed? I. DON'T. KNOW.

This change feels good. I feel free and valued and wonderful. Is it me? Have I finally accepted all the parts of me? Is it the people around me? I have moved to a new school, but that's really the only change in my life recently and I started feeling changes before the move. I wish I knew. I wish I could figure out the why of it so I could replicate it for my middle school students.

I will live it. I will be a model for my students. I am DIFFERENT. It's exciting to be DIFFERENT. Sometimes, it can feel lonely, but it's worth it. It's not about fitting in, it's about belonging. The brilliant Brene Brown writes about this topic a lot. She says, "As it turns out, men and women who have the deepest sense of true belonging are people who also have the courage to stand alone when called to do that. They are willing to maintain their integrity and risk disconnection in order to stand up for what they believe in."

I am DIFFERENT. I BELONG. I will celebrate that. I will allow for  DIFFERENT in my classroom and when I struggle with that, I will reflect and ask myself why I'm resisting it.  DIFFERENT is good.  DIFFERENT is beautiful.  DIFFERENT is who we all are.

3 comments:

  1. You use the word “different,” i hear you speaking of compassion and self-compassion, and daring greatly. You are in a good place when you feel free and valued and belonging. And I know you make sure that people around you feel the same.

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  2. It takes a long time for us to accept who we are and be willing to bravely present ourselves to the world. You model this in everything you do. Your students will see that and find strength in it.

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  3. The world would be a pretty boring place if we were not all different. Different is good. Different is interesting. Different is fun. Embrace different!

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