Must Education Feed Your Soul?
There was once a time when education was able to feed my soul. I don’t know if that is more a comment on where I was then or where I am now. Either way, it doesn’t any more. Is that wrong? Should I keep it hidden?
No, I don’t think it’s wrong.
And I believe that sharing these thoughts will let others know that they are not alone.
Now, before you write me off, allow me a chance to explain. I still go to work each day and when I am there, I give it everything I have. I am pleasant to work with and I believe I am able to positively impact the adults and children I encounter.
So, Jon why are you even bringing this up?
Because I am of the belief that our jobs are consuming too much of us. Educators spend their evenings, their weekends and their summers figuring out ways to become better at their craft. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Or is there?
When are educators allowed to take care of themselves? I mean, no one is forcing educators to go above and beyond. But something happens once we teach our first class or lead our first building or run our first district. We begin to think that any time spent not thinking about education is … well… we feel guilty.
Yes, we really want to watch This is Us tonight but tomorrow we’re being observed. And we want to make sure we have everything ready and planned out for the big day. Yes, our friends got tickets to go see Jay Z but we know if go to the concert we’d be no good the next day. And yes, we need to go to the gym but that stack of papers isn’t going to grade itself.
What to do. What to do.
Take care of you.
Recently Mandy Froehlich and I recorded an episode of Teachers’ Aid titled When You Are Exhausted, Find the Things That Feed Your Soul. Mandy shared a beautiful story about reconnecting with a student she hadn’t seen or heard from in years. She also blogged about it and I recommend you not only listen to the episode but read her piece titled Find the Thing That Feeds Your Soul.
Me on the other hand. What I shared and talked about had nothing to do with school. Or did it? I’ll let you be the judge.
I knew heading into 2019 I needed to take better care of my soul. Currently, what feeds my soul has nothing to do with my 9 to 5. And I have finally come to grips with the fact that that’s okay. It doesn’t make me a bad person or even a bad employee.
Playing night football in our cul-de-sac with my seven-year old son, feeds my soul.
Hanging out with my teenage daughter while she shares with me how she courageously stood up for a friend who was being picked on, feeds my soul.
Watching Atlanta with my wife and laughing until our stomachs hurts, feeds my soul.
Speaking with educators from around the globe and having them trust me with their stories, feeds my soul.
Writing what I think/hope might help others feel a little bit better about themselves, feeds my soul.
Exercising a little each day, eating healthier and feeling better, feeds my soul.
You see, I have more than enough to feed my soul. My soul is not going to go hungry. At least it won’t as long as I decide to feed it. Work? My day job? I work with amazing people and have the privilege of serving amazing kids. I even think I do a pretty good job of it.
But that’s not what feeds my soul.
And that’s okay.
Because you know what?
The more time I spend feeding my soul when I am not at school, the stronger and happier I will be when I am at school.
Find out what feeds your soul and then spend time doing it. Even if that means leaving some things undone.
And just watch what happens.
I bet you have your best year yet.
Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.