Drill Down Deep To Find Out Why

By |2018-08-30T05:05:56-07:00July 11th, 2014|

Drill Down Deep To Find Out Why, Education ClosetRemember when you first decided to become an educator? Why? Why did you make that most important of decisions? I seriously doubt it was on a lark, to make a lot of money or for the “summer’s off.” It’s really worth examining the deeper (and deepest reasons) why we chose to be educators. Whether you are succeeding wildly or stagnating, the initial “why” (the source of all that you do) can be revelatory and game-changing.

Our deepest decisions stem from two sources:

  • Connecting with what is fulfilling
  • Moving away from deep pain

Of course, these two sources can be very connected.

Here’s a little personal history

When I was a teenager, even though I grew up in an economically comfortable environment and attended private school, I struggled with behavior issues. It wasn’t until years later that I realized I had no mentors, coaches or teachers that I could approach with my difficulties and hurt. Sadly, I have discovered that this is all too common a problem for teenagers – feelings isolation and hopelessness. Needless to say, it was very painful for me. So, the first step was, moving away from that deep pain.

How did I do it? The power of music and arts of course!  I finally found my “why” – getting my hands on something that fed and nurtured me. Once I discovered the guitar, jazz, and all the great artists and culture in jazz, a whole new world opened up for me. See, by moving away from deep pain, we can move our lives forward and not dwell on past hurts.

The past becomes a tool for change, not a pool for rage!  It’s key to make great decisions here. I see isolated teens and lonely adults choose drugs, sex, body abuse and other damaging behaviors to mask pain, not move away from it. Moving away from deep pain is healthy and is a process, masking pain is a temporary fix. When I turned 40, I realized I was in a position to take the healing from the deep pain and connect it with what is fulfilling. Now, I mentor teens and adults. I transformed that pain into the energy of connecting.

So, what is your “why” of how and what you do? (See the book Start with Why by Simon Sinek)

It’s not enough to share how and what you do. You have to drill down deep and gather your inner energy and examine the very deepest motivations you have. WHY do you do what you do?

Why do this? Simple, because the responsibility to the schools, teachers, families, ourselves and most especially, the children we serve makes us part of a community.

If you haven’t examined why you are an educator at its deepest level, you have a massive mental and spiritual blind spot that could hold you and your community back from thriving.

 

 

3 Comments

  1. B July 11, 2014 at 3:34 am - Reply

    Sometimes I wonder if the question isn’t “Why did you choose to become a teacher?” but rather, “Why have you chosen to continue to be a teacher?” I agree with your reasons for making the initial decision, although my 14 year old self’s decision was not as deep as yours; while observing my music teacher one day, I simply thought to myself, “I could do that.” Actually living the life/career, I’ve chosen to stay because I’ve found it incredibly fulfilling to guide my students to greater self-awareness/confidence and skill, in pursuit of the divine and elusive aesthetic experience that results when every person’s effort within the ensemble truly aligns.

    • Rob Levit July 12, 2014 at 11:58 am - Reply

      Thank you for such a thoughtful and on-point reply. I think “Why have you chosen to continue to be a teacher?” is a complementary question to the original one. I remember giving a music assembly with my jazz trio, some fifteen years ago, and bringing a child up to scat sing with us. The teachers around him were shaking their heads “no” but it was too late. He started scatting and did so beautifully. At the end of the assembly, the principal rushed up to me and said, “He stutters and we were worried he wouldn’t be able to do it and that the children would laugh.” So, that is one of the “whys” of why I have continued to be an educator. I am sure you have stories like this – some more moving, so less profound – but they are fuel for our journey, our reasons why. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, it means a lot to me and all who read the blog.

  2. Rob Levit July 15, 2014 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Thank you for such a thoughtful and on-point reply. I think “Why have
    you chosen to continue to be a teacher?” is a complementary question to
    the original one. I remember giving a music assembly with my jazz trio,
    some fifteen years ago, and bringing a child up to scat sing with us.
    The teachers around him were shaking their heads “no” but it was too
    late. He started scatting and did so beautifully. At the end of the
    assembly, the principal rushed up to me and said, “He stutters and we
    were worried he wouldn’t be able to do it and that the children would
    laugh.” So, that is one of the “whys” of why I have continued to be an
    educator. I am sure you have stories like this – some more moving, so
    less profound – but they are fuel for our journey, our reasons why.
    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, it means a lot to me and all who
    read the blog.

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