Passion! What will lead you, to lead them?
As another school year is just around the bend, I found myself in reflection on the following: "Passion! What will lead me to lead them?" I heard my dad's feint voice telling me over and over, "If you follow your passion, you won't ever feel that you are wasting a day." He said this to me as a child, as a student, as a parent, and every time I would share with him about the toils of my day as an educator, and now I reflect on these words practically every day.
Quite frankly, I have many personal passions in my life: my wife, my life, my children, my friends, my health, having fun, my pets, my children's friends, and the list goes on. And, then, I think about my professional passions, which I focus on and include many #educational issues such as: #resilience, #equity, #access for #opportunity, #engagement strategies, #inclusion, #support, #thoughtfulness, #puposeful approaches, #empowerment, and #leadership, to name a few.
So, as all of these ideas are flying through my frontal lobe, and competing for priority status within my mind, it could be overwhelming without employing strategies for reflection, self-accountability, strategizing, planning for actions, and actual follow through. I do this my by not simply hoping that I can make a difference and improve the state of these issues in the world, though hope is absolutely needed as a strategy to effect change. I do this by making a determination to actually create an impact in my world with respect to these issues, and then doing something.
Here are my examples: I think, I conducted research, I write, I speak, I engage about #resilience. I provide my mind with data regarding the lack of #equity and the importance of #opportunities for all children by reading, listening, and tracking the issue. I learn about #engagement strategies by participating in professional development, staying abreast of the latest in technology, and by communicating to those that have knowledge in my immediate circles, and through social media. Yes, a big thank you to #twitter, #Facebook, #linkedin, #instagram, and to those that seek to share ideas through these alternatives.
I am focused on listening, watching, and learning all of the time. I work to be #inclusive in my work place, remain committed to opportunities to learn about people, and strive to offer #support when I can to all. I work hard to be #purposeful in my words, actions, and deeds, to make a positive difference, and to not place any boundaries in front of others. I seek to #empower each person that I meet to think, to challenge themselves, to build a new skill or reclaim an old one, to take that step towards personal fulfillment, and to make decisions that positively impact them and those in their worlds. Dear reader, I seek to #lead!
Now, I say all this, not to receive a pat on the back, though that would be #awesome! I say this as a way to continue to challenge myself with the aspiration of striving to truly become this person. For the cumulative effects of being this person to those I am passionate about, and improving the work that I am passionate about and focused on is the goal! If I were to be this person, if I were to strive to become this person, if I am able to get one step closer to being this person, then, I have to believe that the world of others just might be a little bit better, and truly, what loftier goal is there?
So, now, I ask you to consider: "Passion, what will lead you to lead them?" Are you a child, a student, a parent, an educator, a committed individual who wants to change the world? What is your passion? How are you living it? How are you striving to become who you want to be? How are you strategizing and implementing the actions that are part of your goals, you plan, your life? Who is it that you will lead to a better place? And, should you continue to wait to plan, or get started becoming who you want to be?
Caution now, as there is no need to eat the whole apple with one bite! The journey to becoming you, and following your passion, is a trip to be savored one bite at a time. Your steps are each important, and need to be recognized as part of the approach to who you will become. Yet, you do recall that this is a one-time ticket to your life, right? So I truly hope that you make a decision to take that step, think consciously about what you are passionate about, plan just one step, and get moving.
@ResiliencyGuy AKA Dr. Rob, Robert A. Martinez, Ed.D., is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District. He presents and engages on the importance of "Transformational Resilience" and seeks to build the capacity of those he meets to support the development of #Resilince for all children. Follow him on @Twitter as @ResiliencyGuy or @DrRobM_FSUSD, or on Facebook as "Resiliency Guy"
Take a moment and consider your current understanding of the word “Resilience.”
Do you consider your understanding of #resilience to be deep, or surface level? It seems that in our day-to-day culture the word has become more of a descriptor of character or action, rather than as a true understanding that the word more accurately describes a person’s ability to persevere through an adversity, a challenge, a trauma, a life-changing circumstance, and to demonstrate a strength in their resolve that comes from the experience.
What is true #resilience?
It’s not just about winning a sporting event, or getting through a test, or even making it through a day. It’s more about having and demonstrating the ability to recognize that whatever the adversity was, or is, was more than likely not a personal descriptor of the individual experiencing that adversity, but something that has occurred to them, that they have dealt with, and have learned from. Resilience is about overcoming, battling through, surviving, and growing from adversity, and limiting the negative impacts from derailing future success for that person.
What does research say?
Researchers have recognized the ability of an individual to reframe events so that they do not internalize them, and use the adversity as a means for growth and success. For many people these challenges are recognized as launching pads for new ideas, new strategies, new ways of acting, or for new ways to limit the impact of adversity from negatively affecting themselves any longer. The stories are numerous of those individuals who have come through adversity, and who then have not only improved their lives, but the lives of others.
Further, it has been found that those that demonstrate resilience tend to have a firm locus-of-control on where the problem exists, how it came about, and they are able to distance themselves from the trauma. Now, this doesn’t mean that people don’t feel the pain from trauma, or are not affected by it, yet they tend not to own it, ruminate over it, and allow it to remain in their frontal lobe exhausting their energy, resources, thought process, or ability to move forward.
So, if the ability to maintain a powerful locus of control, and to reframe events to be able to limit their negative affects on us are two assets that can be utilized to build resilience, then why wouldn’t we seek to support the development of these skills in our children and each other. If people can learn to reframe, if they can distance or remove themselves from traumatic events, then they have more of an opportunity to demonstrate resilience, and to enhance this skill for when they will need it in the future.
We know that one person’s challenge is another person’s trauma, and that each person may react differently to the same circumstances, and in turn may react on different timelines to trauma, and this makes the point even more important that we must seek to build the resilience of our children, and each other, each day, for we never really know when the next traumatic event might initiate a down-turn for ourselves or someone in our world.
Let’s build each other up! Let’s build skills in each of our children! Let’s build resources in our communities! Let’s share the message of supporting the development of Resilience skills in our children! Let’s focus our energies on engaging, supporting, and providing the healthiest environments that we can for all of our children!
Are you with me? I hope so!
Robert A. Martinez, Ed.D, @ResiliencyGuy on Facebook: ResiliencyGuy
Dr. Martinez is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, and has been focusing on building the idea of Transformational Resilience in people, our schools and our communities. He also co-moderates #Resiliencechat on #twitter each Monday night at 7:00 PM PST.