January 1

Today's quotation:

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives. . . . not looking for flaws, but for potential.
Ellen Goodman

Today's Meditation:

In my work in education over the last couple of decades, I've noticed what I consider to be a major flaw in the approaches that teachers take.  They always seem to be trying to fix things in their students so that the students can "perform" well.  Jenny can't read well, so let's spend some extra time working on her reading, because reading is a "necessary" skill.  And Pete is having a hard time with math, so let's make Pete spend extra time on his math to bring him "up to speed."

This may be news to some people, but there's a very good chance that Pete never will be very good at math, and that Jen won't become a good reader no matter how much time you spend with her.

In the meantime, what about their real skills?  What about the things that they're really good at?  Why not allow the students to focus on those things and spend the extra time getting really good at them?  After all, Jenny's great with animals, and one day she could be an exceptional veterinarian.  And Peter is an exceptional writer--if all the extra time spent on math were devoted instead to making his writing even better, what might he be able to do with his future?

In this New Year, there are many things that I would like to "fix."  But if I spend time focusing on things that I do well and get even better at them, what kind of potential might I create for myself?  What kinds of heights might I scale?  What kinds of things might I do, and how might I be able to help others even more by strengthening my gifts, the things that make me uniquely me?

For this New Year, I want to focus on developing my gifts and strengths, and as I do so, I know that I'll watch my flaws and shortcomings fade into nothingness.

Questions to consider:

What things do you do best?  How much time do you spend developing those gifts?

What kinds of activities can you do, by yourself or in groups, to develop your own strengths?

What does it mean to you "to just be yourself"?

For further thought:

Every new year people make resolutions to change aspects of themselves they believe are negative.  A majority of people revert back to how they were before and feel like failures.  This year I challenge you to a new resolution.  I challenge you to just be yourself.

Aisha Elderwyn



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