My first few days at iNACOL’s 2018 symposium have been phenomenal. My brain and my heart are swelling with ideas and thoughts. I feel I am surrounded by people who believe and desire for all children in this country to have the absolute best learning experience possible. The conversation has centered around equity. I was struck by so much that I have heard, but one thing today really stood out today. In one session I attended the facilitator reminded us to “embrace our vulnerability because it is the foundation of connection”. Additionally, she pushed us to think about how, when, and if we were sharing our why as a mechanism of doing just that. As I began to reflect, I recognized that at one point in my life and career, sharing my why was a central part of knowing me as a colleague, a person, and friend. In thinking about the last time I shared my why with anyone, I am ashamed to say, I could not remember it. After years of sharing it, I almost subconsciously decided that people were tired of hearing about it. In fact, I grew concerned about how others reacted to it or might internalize it and what judgments they might make of me if I continued sharing it freely and openly…and so I realized today that I’d stopped sharing my why.
Although I have been reluctant to share it in my current professional capacity and in conversations with colleagues, I have never internally silenced it. It wakes me up in the morning and keeps me up at night. It troubles me and it drives me. It gives me great joy and great heartache. I am because it is my purpose, my reason for being on this earth.
I must admit that I was ashamed when we had to turn and talk with our neighbor about sharing our why as advocates of equity. I was honest although it was difficult to say, I hold back, and quite often I can’t seem to find the appropriate space in conversations and meetings to share my why. I’m not sure if that’s accurate or just an excuse, but today I made a renewed commitment to share my why. To be sure others know, without doubt, why this work in public education is so very important to me and central to who I am personally and professionally. The reflection pushed me beyond my comfort zone. I can do more and I promised myself to do that for the sake of those who I am serving. They deserve the absolute best of me and my why gets at just that.
Until next time, be you! Be true! Be a hope builder!