If I could inspire one thing as a teacher, what would it be? One thing. Myriad choices. Would it be respect? Diligence? Creativity? You can’t exactly inspire reading, writing, mathematics or history. You can model practice & appreciation. Would it be emotional intelligence, tactical awareness or time management? Would it be tolerance? Incisiveness? Perspective? You can’t exactly inspire philosophy, physics, behavioral economics or evolutionary psychology. What. Would. It. Be?
The questions that I asked as a child. The endless patient answers that my parents lavished on me. The nurturing yin to heredity’s yang. Why? Most ignorance is vincible now. Most, not all. In a digital world with a surfeit of information, am I curious?
Curiosity drives learning so far past school marks, class ranks, college applications. It opens a lifetime of purpose and almost joy. More than almost. Unearthing then building on the foundation of billions and realizing that we are very much together, never more alone. Will I have one original thought in this brief century?
My favorites are hardbacks and my highest compliment is to write in them. I join the author in dialogue even if she is long dead. I learn from her and we teach each other in a strange fourth dimensional correspondence. Learning on a screen from blogs, watching videos, listening – – have the same value and bring the same joy to auditory or visual learners. I’m just tactile – – I learn by writing.
If I’m sincere, will you explain your life to me? If you trust me, may I explain mine? Will you tell me your story of doubt? May I tell you why I believe? We might have to learn each other’s language to do so. That’s alright.
Will you dedicate a decade to this? A mere tithe of a short life. Do you still have the ability to await the post and a handwritten letter with a stamp from a land you have never visited? Would you risk the uncertainty of that letter being lost, or worse – – treasured forever in a wooden box and waiting years for rereading with a different lens.
Photo credit: By ☻☺ (Flickr: smelling the roses) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons