I just received the news of Betsy DeVos' confirmation as U.S. Secretary of Education. It feels like my blood is boiling and I'm going to throw up. I'm aware that this news is triggering my diminished state of being. A part of me feels like a "victim" and wants to make the Republican Senators (and everyone else responsible for this appointment) my "enemy" ... and a another part of me knows I can choose to "be undiminished" in the face of this news ... to feel my vulnerability without losing self respect ... and uncover new possibility. Tears are welling up in my eyes.
Calling out to all Educators, Parents, Community Members, Citizens~
The rules of the "game" for ensuring quality education for all students in the United States just flipped 180 degrees. The current Republican leaders of our country believe that private, profit-driven schools are the best way to educate our children. Although I disagree with this premise (with all my being!), it is now pointless to "just" fight against it.
What we can do together is show up and co-conspire, to ask and answer the question:
How can we combine our collective wisdom and creativity with these new rules — with full integrity and respect for our children, first! — to bring revolutionary new possibilities for every single one of our children to receive a quality education, that empowers them to "be" and "become" all that each is fully capable of being and becoming in their lives?
Wow. I was just overwhelmed by emotion as I typed that. I am uncovering something deeply personal right now, and I'm going to be vulnerable and share openly:
Like my father, whom I respect greatly, who holds himself to the highest moral standard of anyone I have ever known, and who managed California's Department of Education for 12 years, and ...
Like my talented and giving mother, who helped her students discover their own personal gifts and inner strength in every piano lesson she ever taught, and ...
Like my wise and generous sister, who has shown up her entire adult life to support educational organizations in raising funds and developing powerful initiatives, that create opportunities for our children to learn and grow and thrive ...
I, too, care passionately about education! I am uncovering in this very moment, that education is the issue that touches me more deeply than all others ... and that I want more than anything for all of us to get to respect our gifts, passions, capabilities and vulnerabilities and be allowed the full potential 1) to learn how and 2) to bring ourselves to the world in the most empowered, meaningful and productive ways.
This is who I am and the work I do every day. I "teach" ... 1) how to feel our vulnerability without losing self respect (in a world filled with vulnerable people, feeling disrespected and disrespecting each other, to try to find self respect), so that we can 2) get out of the painful status quo fight against "what is," and instead focus our wisdom and creativity on using what we have in new ways that create revolutionary new possibilities.
This blog is being written in real time. In reading it, you have witnessed my actual process of practicing vulnerable self respect to remain undiminished and see the new possibility my fear and anger are actually showing me — rather than getting caught up in these emotions and being diminished by them. The nomination of Betsy DeVos started distracting me today from the point of my life. I easily could have gotten lost in emotion and wasted precious energy and time. Instead, I consciously converted my anger and frustration into both a new understanding of the relevance and point of my work and a new possibility to step up, more intentionally, as a teacher ... which both scares and excites me!
Does this (re)solve everything. Of course not! It does help me to reground in purpose and shows me next steps I can take to move forward and make the difference I can make. And that is the Point.
We all are here to teach each other. What possibility are you here to show us?