I know I said I’d blog every week. Here’s what’s been happening: I internalize all of the problems in the world to the point that I can’t discreetly write about any one of them! But, I’ve been hearing a common thread of, “You may not be able to do everything but you MUST do SOMETHING!,” “The sea is but many drops of rain,” and “The flap of a butterfly’s wings in South America changes everything in China.” so here I go.
I often wonder if the entire world needs to change before I can do something good. Let me rephrase that: Is me working in a flawed education system in a flawed society justifiable? Do I need to create a totally new role outside of this system that stimulates rather than stifles before I am doing good work? Then, time and time again, I come back to the conclusion that I must do what I can with what I have. That’s not easy to sit with.
Last night I read something that helped me sleep a little easier. I revisited a text that I had pulled off of my bookshelf to be a sort of door stopper between my noisy hanging/sliding doors to my room and the wall they sit inside… and I flipped open Viktor Frankl’s A Man’s Search For Meaning to find the following quote underlined: one has the “freedom to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” OK, Frankl, I can dig that. If a man who suffered through the monstrosities of the Holocaust can say that in reflecting on his experiences, I can certainly buck up, get positive, and do something. Just because I experience great challenges teaching with few resources in a system that is built to breed compliance rather than free thinking, does not mean that I cannot do something.
Here’s what I think. We all live in this world. We all need to take care of this world. When we are making decisions about how to go about our days, we need to get to the point where we are making decisions–even the tiniest of decisions–based not on what is good for just our individual selves. No, we need to frame every decision in what is going to make the most hearts sing and what will least destruct the beautiful environment we’re so lucky to be a part of. We can all succumb to that feeling that the world’s problems are just too great for our tiny actions to have any meaning, but then we’d be letting our inner demons win.
I dunno guys. Here’s my little imperfect thing for now. More musings to come on teaching, living an ethical life, and what it means to be a good person in a really f’ed up world. What do you think? What can you do?
Inspiration for this blog post: The documentary I Am Tom Shadyac