"Maycember:" What do you see?
Maybe you’ve seen the Holderness Family’s “Welcome to Maycember” video that so aptly describes the chaos that is May. Somehow in the school world we try to pack field trips, Mstep, SAT, graduation, prom, concerts, spring sports, etc all into one month, and teachers and parents/guardians alike find themselves going a bit crazy. May also brings with it, though, flowers, birds, the scent of cut grass, and warmer weather.
This morning, I noticed this view out of one of my kitchen windows. From a distance, all I could see was the enormous blot of bird poo. I found myself getting frustrated. After all, it's not only unsightly, but I had also just washed these windows.
As I walked closer to the window, though, I noticed that my view changed. I actually saw what was outside the window–the greenery, the crispness of a spring morning, the birds collecting their worms.
You see, in life, there is always a "both/and." May is both chaos and beauty. My window is both a vision of bird poo and new life. We can honor the existence of both, but we get to choose what we focus on. Do we only see and ruminate on the chaos, or do we pause and allow ourselves the chance to notice the beauty around us? We don't need to pretend the chaos is not there, but we also can resist the temptation of allowing the chaos to prevent us from seeing what else is true about the world and life at this moment.
Embracing the both/and of life is essential for all educators. After all, students are both our greatest stressors and greatest joys. We can experience great sadness and great joy in their midst. We find ourselves filled with anger and hilarity because of their actions, and while we must embrace the both/and of working with students, we get to choose what we focus on. One will lead us towards cynicism and burnout; the other will reengage us with hope and passion for the profession. I made a commitment this spring to not let cynicism win. Will you join me?
May you find the courage to embrace the both/and, the vulnerability to look the chaos in the face, and the grace to rest in the beauty that is life.