Sunday, March 1, 2009
Earning our place
From Parker Palmer:
"Our inner world has a reality and a power that can keep us from being victims of circumstance and compel us to take responsibility for our own lives."
This distinguished author and thinker wrote a book called THE COURAGE TO TEACH.
Here is another quote from that book:
"Authority is granted to people who are percieved as authoring their own words, their own actions, their own lives, rather than playing a scripted role at great remove from their own hearts. When teachers depend on coercive powers of law and technique, they have no authority at all."
Palmer's message is good news and bad news for all of us, whether we are educators or not.
The good news is that investment in and commitment to our inner lives-turning our compassionate attention to what is in our hearts- will lead to affirmation and authentic success in our personal and professional lives. The bad news, of course, is that this work is necessary if we are to truly succeed in our endeavors. Remaining in the hole of victimization and spiritual blindness is what in AA we call the "easier, softer way." It may be a seductive path initally, when we are in pain or facing huge challenges, but it will lead only to more suffering.
I think of all of the years that a false and pretty two-dimensional Mrs. Hagar has posed and functioned, sort of, as a teacher of art. Of course, she can and does take over immediately, should I decide to leave. Going through the motions, relying on "powers of law and technique", I really can do a great imitation of a teacher. The hollowness and lack of fulfillment of that path are hard to describe and harder to live with. When Claudia shows up for work, and true connection with students then occurs, I can tell you sincerely that there is no greater joy for me.