Creating (…in isolation?)

In 2018, we have more opportunities to be creative together, to explore the possibilities within ourselves and our communities, and to find like minded individuals/groups. At the same time, our creative practices can feel more isolated than ever before.  As I reflect on my own creative endeavors, I find that I am still bound by some measure of worth that was placed on me as a young student…and that is troubling.

The impact educators have on students (at any age) is proven to be far more profound that often considered in the classroom. While it is not the educator’s responsibility to “raise” the students to be well-rounded, confident individuals, it is our opportunity. When providing academic feedback, the choice of words can empower or demoralize a student. The body language can fill a students sails, or take the wind right away. The casual conversations can lead to unique explorations in creativity, or set in a lifetime of doubt. Teaching is hard…teaching well is even harder.

I often get inspiration from social media, colleagues, my own children, and a variety of other places, but my engagement is measured against the “why”…

  • Why do I want to do that?
  • Why do I think I can do that? I’ve never done that before.
  • Why would anyone care if that was done?
  • and finally… Why bother? Its not worth anyone’s time.

Amidst that self doubt, I can directly reflect on 2-3 specific interactions in my school years that lead to this type of internal dialogue. At the same time, I have enough experiences and education to be able to pinpoint the origin, reason through its weak points, and move forward without the doubts and “why” questions. But in the end, the cycle is very strong and difficult to get out of. As I continue to evolve as a mentor/leader, I find the “impostor syndrome” getting stronger, feeling as though I don’t belong in this role or don’t have authentic value to add to the conversation, which brings me back to an earlier point… teaching well is hard.

Educators must engage in reflective practice! It must be regular, but it must also be realistic. Feeling as though we must be the expert in everything we engage in is an expectation we put upon ourselves. Everything I can do today, was once new to me. Remembering the process a beginner goes through, in every stage of life, is more valuable to us than the comparison of “end products”. Embrace the process, look for growth, and love the power of “yet” in life. So today, I commit to create…for me. I need to go back to find the love of creating because that is who I am. The medium may change from what some expect, but the internal outlet will be as fulfilled. Here we go…

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