School is back in session! The semester has started, and last night, as I breathlessly walked up the giant hill to my classroom, I did what I always do when a semester is about to start. Any number of curious questions start to flit around my brain, “Who are my students? Are they going to be receptive to what I have to say? Are they going to be responsive and participate, so that my 3 hour class doesn’t feel like it’s a 30 hour class?”
When I open the door and enter my classroom, I begin my normal prep routine…I turn on the lights, turn on the computer, check the air conditioning to see if it’s working (it is, but it’s incredibly hot in the room), and then I begin to get out the many copies of syllabi, schedules, and worksheets I am going to hand out.
As the students come into the classroom, they ALL do the exact same thing…they look at me curiously (sizing me up) and then go sit in their seats. As the room begins to fill, I can almost see the questions pouring out of their brains into the stifling air above, “What is Fundamentals of Human Communication anyway? Is this class going to be hard? Who is this person sitting next to me? I wonder if that person has a boyfriend/girlfriend? This class is 3 hours long, surely, we won’t stay the whole time, right?”
My class last night was special, for the first time in 9 years, I had an entire class of Freshman…so I was teaching ALL of these students on their very first day of college! This was a day they would remember, quite likely, for the rest of their lives.
As our time together took off, I couldn’t have been happier. This class was AMAZING. They asked a lot of questions, they were fully engaged, they laughed, and at the end of the class when I asked them, “Well, be honest, how was it?” They all looked at me with genuine smiles on their faces and a mix of answers flew my way, “It was so much better than I thought it would be. It was awesome. It was really fun. I actually learned something.”
At the end of class I asked the students to write a reflective journal; and when they finished, I packed my bag, locked the door, hiked back down the enormous hill, and began my long drive home.
I went to bed last night tired, but fulfilled, knowing that for all intents and purposes, I had just had a flawless first class!
This morning when I woke up, it was an extra happy day, because I had scheduled a massage. I had some time beforehand, so I read some of my students’ journals before going to my appointment…and as I read one after the other, I had a mind-blown moment. The journal was a reflective journal, so I had asked them to take a look in the metaphorical mirror and ask themselves, “What can I do to become better at communicating with the people in my life? What are my flaws while communicating? What can I do to fix the issue?”
Their answers went beyond the simple answers…these students actually THOUGHT about what they were writing. And I have to say, some of them have an incredible sense of self-awareness. As I laid on the massage table thinking about their journals, the masseuse said, “Wow, you have a lot of kinks and knots we need to work out.” This got me thinking…about the “kinks” and “knots” that we ALL need to work out.
I read somewhere (and I will be honest and say that I have no clue where I read this), but the person wrote that “True self-awareness is the path to happiness.” I think there is something to that. Should we fixate on other peoples’ judgments of us? Absolutely not, but that doesn’t excuse us from the responsibility to check in with our self from time-to-time and see if we have some “kinks” and “knots” that we need to workout.
I can say, without an iota of hesitation, that I am loving this season of life. I feel balanced and fulfilled in every aspect, BUT that does NOT mean that I still can’t be better. That does NOT mean that there still isn’t WORK to BE DONE. If I held up the metaphorical mirror to myself, like I asked my students to do, I could easily name a couple of things right now that I could work on. I could say please and thank you more to my husband, I could have more patience when things don’t go to plan…and listen, this doesn’t mean that we aren’t good people…that’s just it…we are people, we make mistakes, this is life, and in life…NO ONE is flawless.
And these little improvements don’t have to be earth shattering revelations. Most often, the little tweaks we make are the ones that make the biggest impact to the people in our lives…maybe you need to filter what you say, maybe you need to think before you react, maybe you need to apologize quicker when you know you’re wrong, etc. Whatever it may be…no matter how big or small…it’s important.
We take a LOT of selfies in this day in age…but do we ever really stop to look at our selves?! So I ask you on this beautiful day…wherever you are in the world…what can you do better? What little “kink” can you see inside yourself that you want to change? What little “knot” do you need to untie so that the people in your life continue to get the shiniest version of YOU? We are all a work in progress…so let’s do the work!
Have a terrific Tuesday Leisurelings!!