The Subtle Art…

I’m currently reading this great book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****. Since I tend to give way too many, wasting a lot of time worrying about stuff that doesn’t matter nearly as much as I think it does, this book is right on time. Yesterday when I was at an event, I took an introvert break. There was no cell reception, so I cracked open the Kindle app and continued to read where I left off. 

Excuse the potty language. Not my words. Also, while I’m asking for pardon, know that I am writing this from the gym, so the post won’t be polished. Very stream of consciousness. 

Anyway, I had been reflecting on this idea for a little while now. A few months ago, I had heard someone talk about how so many people are results-driven, when the process itself is often more meaningful. This has implications for education, for bettering ourselves, and for many of other things I care about. It just makes sense. 

Yesterday in a Voxer group, I was chatting with some friends about gatekeepers in our field, and how my early feelings of powerlessness drove my passion to be connected. When I discovered there was so much more out there, and that I didn’t need to wait to be spoonfed PD, that there were other millions of educators out there just like me, willing to connect and learn together around the clock…it was like a drug and I couldn’t get enough. 

Yesterday, I had the honor of attending a symposium at the White House. It was my first time there since a tour in 8th grade. My mind was blown when I saw my name tag:

#EduMatch!!! At the White House!!!

It was a little over two years ago when I was chatting on Voxer with my good friend Rafranz Davis on a Friday night. I remember saying something to the effect of, “you sound like my cousin. You guys should meet and talk gamification in math. Hey, wait a minute…” 

Those 30 seconds were the birth of EduMatch. I wrote about it at length in our upcoming book. More on that later. 

Anyway, people are usually surprised when they hear how long (or short, more accurately) #EduMatch has been around. It has grown exponentially and that is all thanks to everyone who joined the family. Everyone who comes in leaves a little piece of themselves, and what we have built together belongs to all of us. I didn’t mean for this to turn into an EduMatch commercial. Got carried away. Back to the point. 

“Who you are is what you’re willing to struggle for…the joy is in the climb itself.”

I was a very inquisitive kid, and read anything I could get my hands on…encyclopedias, magazines, dictionaries even. My parents encouraged this habit and would often lend me their books. I remember reading one of my dad’s books around the age of nine or ten, and coming to the realization that life has to be hard at times. If there is no challenge, it would get boring very quickly. We have to struggle…we have to work. That’s what makes success taste so sweet. You must have something to compare it to.

In another Voxer group, or maybe the same one…I can’t remember, we were talking about learning. I had an aha moment when I realized the things I was proudest of were the ones that I had to work for. I assume the same is true for many others. 

For example, I had a student once who was an amazing kid. Great sense of humor and leadership skills. He had some academic challenges at various points, but when he tackled something, that’s all he wanted to talk about. He was so excited every time we got to the unit with his favorite topic. The kid had a grasp on poetry! This was his thing. He had worked hard, and nailed it. 

But he wasn’t satisfied. He wanted to learn more. The joy was in the climb. Standard eighth grade curriculum wasn’t enough for him. He put me to work (which I did happily), looking for high school level vocabulary and concepts so that he could be challenged in this area. 

There is so much more I’d love to say, but it’s almost time for work. I will add that this morning, I picked my struggle. It is cold as a mug, as we say in the DMV, and I’m sleepy after an exciting day yesterday. However, I am committed to the gym, so here I am. The joy is in the climb. Results are slow, and sometimes non-existent, but I love seeing the progress in personal records for lifting. I’m choosing not to focus on results, i.e. visible changes in my body.  If they come, they come. But I am enjoying the journey!

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