If you are like me, and I am sure you are in this respect, you LOVE summer. As a teacher, summer provides that much needed time to recharge your batteries and come down from the anxiety ridden, mad controlled chaos of the classroom. Now that I am no longer in the classroom and look at learning from another vantage, you’d think that summer may not be as necessary . . . it is but it is a different type of necessity.
What I most need from the time away from my work is to chance to step out of the groove and reset things. Here’s just a few lessons this summer have provided me. Some are dealing with learning, all deal with living.
- Learning takes all different forms. I know, I know, this sounds cliché. As I sat in my summer reprieve watching my kids, all of whom are in various stages of school I watched them learn. They read, they explored the language and culture of Mexico, our holiday destination, they learned a little more of their place in the world. In schools we get so caught up in the importance of institutionalized learning we can forget that we are always learning – life is a lesson in itself. We are naturally curious.
- The world is scarier when you are not actually in it. Have you ever sat in front of the television and been a little aghast at the horrible things that are going on in the world? I have. It can make you want to pull up the sheets and stay in bed. It’s only when you are living and in the world that you see the wonders. Just to add to my list of clichés, when you look for positives in the world, you will see them everywhere. Mexico taught me that this summer more than any other time. I saw families together on the beaches, fishing, playing and enjoying the beautiful days. They did not have beautiful cars and money to travel but what they had was so very special. They had each other and the love of family. That was imprinted in my brain more than anything else, humans have a great capacity for love!
- Reflect on your life. This trip was so very relaxing. I reveled in my family, my loving wife, my great kids and the special gift of time with them. In the quieter moments, I just stopped all the noise and looked at how blessed I was to have such great people in my life. It was pretty wonderful. That’s something we need to be more consicious of all the time – look for the bright lights in your life and revel in those. look at those areas that you need to address, and just do it.,
- Dance and Laugh . . . lots. This resonated through my summer but rang particularly true during the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. I love music and I love the Folk Fest – my wife and I volunteer and it is a highlight of our summer. I was tired after my shift and I was on my way to relax on my chair when I was drawn into the rhythms of an African Band on one of the side stages. Once there I felt like I was swept away in their joy. My wife and I danced and laughed with hundreds of others to their wonderful lure of this foreign music. Not only did I forget I was tired, I felt renewed.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously.
My summer has been wonderful and I am ready to start my year with a fresh outlook. Summer is the much needed fuel for the learning involved in the regular year.