As teachers, we all need a mental happy place. A place where we can close our eyes and take a quick mental vacation. If you see me behind my
desk with my eyes closed for a second, I’m probably at the ocean. Wiggling my toes in warm sand. Sun warming my face and my soul. And since it’s mental vacation – I have a fruity drink with a little umbrella that is served in tiki-inspired glassware. And yes – I do have a good book.
It’s safe on the beach. Not much to hurt me there – but that’s not where my kids are. My kids are in the ocean. In. The. Ocean. It’s dangerous in the ocean, I’m not overly fond of the waves. However, since that’s where my kids are, then that’s where I need to be too.
The waves do come. Fortunately for me, I was given great advice by someone once. First she said always keep your eye on the waves so that they don’t catch you by surprise. Then she told me that when a wave comes you have 3 choices. If you’re feeling scared, just hold your nose and dive under it. Avoid it and stay below the surface. It’s not glamorous, but it keeps you safe. If you’re feeling confident and energetic – jump up and rise above it. Float along the top and you’ll land in exactly the same spot – letting it all pass beneath you. You might even be able to keep your hair dry.
But if you really want an adventure – ride the wave and see where it takes you! Let go, relax, and make the wave work to your advantage. Have fun – it can be exhilarating. Surfers surf for a reason!
But when you fight the wave or try to stand unmoving – you’re going to get knocked down. There is no fighting a wave – it will always win. It will exhaust you. It will beat you down into the ocean floor. It is a force of nature and it will drown you.
The thing is – when I was given this advice, it had nothing to do with going to the beach and everything about life.
We as teachers have to be in the Ocean. That is where our kiddos are. We don’t have the luxury of sitting calmly on the beach watching safely with our toes (and heads) in the sand. We have to be out in the water, eyes alert ready for the next wave and preparing ourselves as to how to handle it. There are undoubtedly fights worth fighting, the storms that we have to brace ourselves against and fight – the tidal surges and tsunamis that threaten what we hold dear. Fight those! With all your might. But I’m just talking about the day to day everyday waves that chip away at us.
Everyday is a new challenge. A new wave. The question is – what are you going to do with it? Because whether you get knocked down or not is up to you.