Wow, these last chapters were a lot to take in! Just when I thought my personal reaction could not possibly be more profound, the Zander’s prevailed with more stories and more implications of living a life of possibility. Most notably were chapters 10 and 11 when adversity was discussed in more detail, including the analogy of self as a game board (versus the typical interpretation as a participating piece). I will admit, when the idea of mutual responsibility in every situation was introduced, I felt some indignation. I mean, who doesn’t want to ostracize the drunk driver or the blatantly rude reaction or the frequent absentee. But how fascinating to think about their perspective and how it will not improve attitude and happiness by being upset and throwing blame.
As easy as it is to get into a downward negative spiral towards my students, blaming them for their negative, rude, and apathetic actions. But what about what I have done to contribute? What about my negative sarcasm or mediocre effort? Not to mention what they have eaten lately or when the last time is that they got a hug or “good job” from a parent? Trying to remember myself in each other person’s shoes will help me to react with a more enlightened attitude, just as Ben did when his students partied in South America. What would it have helped to “go off” like so many of us teachers are expected to do. Instead, the kids understood, felt enabled, apologetic, regretful, and still valued. Amazing. This Art of Possibility stuff is definitely not second nature in the world of modern education, but I feel like a breath of fresh air, a reminder of options and how to go with the flow, giving students and others in my life the benefit of the doubt, has been given to me…I am inspired and grateful.
Original Artwork, detail of tapestry from "A Perspective on Eastern Design in Threadwork", 2007