Menu

19 August 2011

The Re Invention of Living

I recently watched The Invention of Lying with my 14 year old son. The movie offers an interesting perspective on brutal honesty, white lies, and the ripple effect of seemingly small, harmless mis-truths. What struck me most profoundly was my son's ability to acknowledge the many untruths we tell ourselves in the course of a day, and how these often significantly affect the trajectory of our lives and experiences.

In fact, these thoughts continued stirring through my subconscious over the last few days, and led to the realization that my own life and career path share an underlying foundation of two equally powerful beliefs, that I do not want to work for myself or possess an entrepreneurial spirit, and that I both love and am okay with working the long hours demanded of my various professions (teaching, nursing, web design, grant writer, etc.). They are also, undeniably, untruths upon which I continually build our lives. As I examined each of these career paths, and contemplated the amazing atmosphere of calm peace filling our home these last few weeks, I came to a stunning realization. We, our entire family, exude such an amazing sense of happiness and work together like clockwork, in a manner that I previously found unimaginable, when I am not working insanely long hours outside of the house. That isn't to say I haven't been working a great deal, or even as many hours, just that I've completed hours of research and freelance writing from home, and in a manner that makes me available to my children - when they need me.

In the midst of all this, I decided to review my students' CSAP scores from last year. I truly care how my students performed, how well these scores reflect on the quality of my teaching, and to an extent, whether the decision to non renew my contract made any sense according to this one indicator of student learning. My students performed amazingly well in all content areas and sub indices, but one area outshone all others - writing. My students, from a Title I, low income, predominantly ESL background demonstrated greater than 90% growth on their writing CSAP (class average.) Wow! A friend asked me how I taught writing last year, and what might have been different. I knew in a heart beat the greatest underlying factor to this success. My students and I spent the entire year discussing and exploring the power of our voices, and how writing allows us to share ideas and explore the world and relationships around us. I shared my passion for writing as they discovered their own voices and developed a sense of passion and investment in their craft . By years end, every student in my class shared their personal writing with a display of pride that astonished their families.

Beyond an incredible sense of accomplishment, I gained something even greater. I rediscovered my own passion for writing, for sharing ideas, and for helping others discover how to share their own. I spent the summer editing and copy writing, helping friends and clients revise content, and even started co writing a novel with my daughter. I regarded this as my hobby, something I loved to do in my free time, and spent endless hours applying and interviewing for teaching jobs along with hundreds of other teachers who, as a result of budget cuts, also found themselves wondering, "What's next?"

For me, the answer sat, quite literally, at my fingertips. It took a movie, a 14 year old's insights, and my own reflection to recognize the mis-truth and discover a seemingly simple answer. And so, the re-invention of living begins, as I discover my inner entrepreneurial spirit and explore the many joys and challenges of becoming a work at home parent, or more appropriately, a write at home parent. Here's to the power of Voice!!