Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hope #oneword

When I think of my #oneword for 2016, I don't think of anything specifically related to teaching and learning. I don't think of "rigour", "grit", "moxie" (apparently a thing  now?), or anything to do with technology or mathematics.

I won't take a stand for something new and trendy, and I won't take a stand against something I see as stale and old. In 2016 I would rather be for things, rather than against things, anyway. I am for optimism, and I am for hope. I don't believe the world is getting worse every day. It's getting better. I am conscious now, on the planet, and my consciousness, as of all humans, goes back and forth between hope and despair, between the darkness that we stare into, and the light that comes from within (or without, depending on your spiritual beliefs).

I am for being hopeful. I am for supporting each other, when we're struggling, or feeling down, hurt, or broken-hearted. I am for the mental health of our teachers, administrators and support staff. I am for supporting our students to be hopeful, even in the face of trauma and despair. Classrooms are places of hope. (You can ignore trendy arguments against "safe spaces", classrooms must, always, be safe spaces).

This will probably be seen as another post about putting human relationships above all else in our education systems, and it is. It's about sustaining hope in each other. It will probably be seen as another mental health advocacy post, and it is. Most struggles are struggles of the mind. Look around you- are you aware of the struggles inside each and everyone around you, even if they don't show on their faces, or come through in their words?

There are people around you who:

-stare down the vicious monster called depression on a daily basis
-struggle with dependency (particularly on alcohol- if you are an adult in this world, you know someone who struggles with alcohol- you just don't KNOW it)
-are critically ill, or have loved ones who are, or who struggle with chronic pain
-have unresolved trauma in their past
-have suffered through broken relationships, heartbreak, heartache
-everyday swallow the bitter pill of disappointment over unrealized hopes, dreams, aspirations

I could go on, but I won't. Be the "light in the darkness of misery" (E. Costello) for others, but above all, take care of yourself. As much as is possible, be hopeful. Be not so fearful, and know that everything has its equal, and its opposite. Light has darkness, darkness light. If you feel despair, you can feel hope. Be ever hopeful.

Light vs. Darkness by Ritesh Man Tamrakar 
(CC, Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/_rmt_/5569820904)

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