DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ON REFLECTION?
I spent the afternoon with a group of students who were reflecting on their year so far. They are our leadership team - 4th and 5th graders who are trying to develop their communication, collaboration, teamwork, and leadership skills. They take it pretty seriously, too. They were given a few minutes to come up with a plan for their next steps - what improvements they hope to make for the future. They are nine years old, and it is pretty adorable.
"We are gonna put more work into collaboration because if we work together, we can get more stuff done."
"We wanna try and see if we can't communicate better because then people will feel like we listened to them. It is better when you can talk about things."
Don't you wish someone had taught you this stuff when you were a sweet, baby angel kid? Seriously. They spent some time today trying to figure out what they were most proud of this year, and what was most important to them.
Traditionally, in the weeks following Winter vacation, teachers assign New Year's resolution - I found them so dull; dull to assign and dull to talk about. I'm much more interested in actual reflection: What have I done? Where am I going? What's next? I suppose it is my preference for solutions and being proactive. The only resolution I make is to not make resolutions - which of course, I break while making the resolution - it is a vicious cycle.
I was listening to TED Talk Radio this morning - it was all about Kindness. It was a pretty interesting take on compassion, though. It talked about the fact that kindness and compassion are rooted in our desire for survival - when I share preference for my family - I am protecting my DNA. But more than that, they talked about the idea that kindess is rooted in a sense of gratefulness. When I am thankful and content, it is much easier to show patience and compassion for those around me. It is hard to practice kindness, when I am bitter, angry or ungrateful.
And let's face it, I've got tons to be thankful for. I love my husband and he loves me. Our kids are healthy, and generally, well-behaved. We are surrounded by family, who are also kind, and loving. More than that, I live in a country that does not prohibit the education of women. I live during a time when it is legal for my husband and I to be married, and for our family to wander the earth in relative safety. I work at a fantastic job, surrounded by thoughtful, wonderful, determined and kind people. My students are hard-working, bright, and cheerful. Tonight as the temperature drops below 50, I am inside a warm apartment, and will sleep on a comfy bed, next to my sweetheart. What cause do I have NOT to be kind, and compassionate to those around me?
True reflection should always lead me to a place of thoughtful gratefulness; a spirit that recognizes the goodness that is all around me. If I were to make a resolution, I would resolve to keep my heart joyful and open - always quick to believe the best of those around me, and ready to reach out my hand, not to take, but to lift my neighbor up, and help them stand.