By Loren Deutsch
As I reflect on the past 12 months, I look at my goals from 2018, what they were, whether I pursued them and whether I achieved them. It can be an interesting way to review the year; sometimes we achieve what we strive for and other times we revise our goals. Before delving into my goals from last year or exploring their significance to this year, I want to share something I wrote in November, during Thanksgiving. It describes what’s important to me and exemplifies the way I think and how that has informed the mission and vision at LAS.
During Thanksgiving, I was reflecting on the written word and what it meant to post online – to have a presence on the internet in the age of social media. Writing online has gotten me to think about how we connect with people. Of course, there are pitfalls to the exposure that is created when writing online, but the online community has also connected us in ways that feel hopeful. Since I never shared the Thanksgiving post on the LAS Blog, I figured I would back up and do so, before moving forward.
The written word can be a powerful dispatch. Nowadays it’s located somewhere between poetry, newsfeeds, and yesterday’s social media detritus. Sharing personal thoughts creates an added layer; the public forum gives feedback and the written word can last a lifetime, or beyond. This challenges us to push pause and take time to reflect, to be thankful, not just once a year but each day, for ourselves, our feelings, our dreams, our family, our friends, our hopes, our sorrows, and the future.
Growing up, canoe tripping in Ontario was integral to my life. And so, I am thankful for endless days outdoors, time with my sisters, camping with friends, time with my parents (and later with my own children and their dad), grit, lifelong friendships, making mistakes, loving, apologizing, learning to be a custodian of the planet (not a presumed resident), dancing, falling in love, laughing, snorting, making more mistakes, listening, hearing, apologizing more, resilience, hoping for do-overs, writing, running, integrating feedback, biking, cooking, hoping, singing (even when I shouldn’t), crying, watching, dub smashing, spending time with people I love, loving the people I spend time with, learning to play the guitar (even if I shouldn’t), reading, hiking, playing, listening more carefully, listening to those who play guitar, cherishing, smiling, gardening, the journey.
During summers in Ontario, I learned to sing grace at every meal and those songs endure and remind me to be thankful. Below is a modified version of the Evening Grace we used to sing (I changed it a bit).
Let us give thanks that life is high adventure,
That unscaled heights await us, await us every day.
Let us be glad for work and love and laughter,
For loyal friends and family, and friendships on the way.
The evening shadows gather ’round the sunset,
This day will join our long lost yesterdays,
As builders of a better world we seek,
May we be wise to use each newfound day,
Let us give thanks.
At LAS hope is integral to our work. I have always believed that the “glass is half full”. Believing this means pursuing life with a certain amount of optimism and grit. The path can be straightforward but sometimes it is filled with twists and obstacles, meaning mistakes will be made and setbacks might occur.
I often write about curriculum design and coaching, or the evidence-based approach we take to learning and the empirical information embedded in LAS learning plans. However, none of that adequately communicates the importance of pushing pause, and taking time to reflect on our own experiences and the personal narratives we are entrusted to support. This is vital to all that we do at LAS and in future posts I will explore how self-reflection, hope and wellbeing help us harmonize all the moving parts.
Happy New Year!