As my first day back in grad school approaches, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this most recent decision. Why on earth am I doing this to myself? What is it that I hope to gain from all this?
I’m not doubting myself, just looking at my calendar and giving myself a pep talk.
When I was a kid, I was told over and over that I should be a teacher. I was shy and quiet. And I hated this idea. I think I’d watched too much Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie. The job of teaching looked like there might be moments of inspiration and breakthrough, but mostly it looked thankless. I was afraid of being bored. Or boring. I wanted more for myself. And the fact that grownups kept suggesting this made it sound even more unpleasant. Admittedly, those first impressions of it were not that far off.
I wanted to write. I wanted to tell stories.
And this is me several years ago teaching a quick lesson on the importance of teaching good storytelling in the classroom. This is not my favorite picture. I did not ask for this picture. A friend, and fellow teacher snapped it, and later as we walked to our cars, texted it to me and said, “Here, sometimes we need a picture of ourselves doing the things we are especially good at.”
I had to laugh at myself and my childish arrogance.
What I’ve learned over the years and inside the classroom as a student and as a teacher is this: storytelling sets people free. If I get to be a part of that process in someone’s life, I am in my sweet spot - the place where my passion meets my vocation.
So, why am I doing this to myself?
There are a few reasons.
Every time I enter a classroom, I find myself spending more of my time dealing with the mental health issues my students are carrying with them. I feel woefully untrained for this.
This opens up my ability to write, teach, and speak to the heart of the humans in front of me,
I’ll be honest, it also opens up my earning potential.
In my last position at Create Common Good, I came face to face with the realities of the mental health crisis we are facing in America and became determined to do something about it. I decided if I could be in a position to help families and couples and young adults before the homelessness, the addiction, the abuse... wouldn’t all boats rise? Wouldn’t stronger families strengthen communities?
And maybe I still am that shy (and secretly arrogant) little girl who wants more. I want more for all of us.
This is Not the End,