Vacations with my family are probably one of my favorite things to do. Aside from the obvious downtime from the hustle and bustle of life, I’m able to see my family in a different environment to see how they adjust and react to things. Recently, our family was fortunately enough to go on two vacations this year. Our spring break vacation was good except for the awful incident that happened at the end, but this summer trip Miami/Fort Lauderdale area has been downright great! It is so cool to see a large diverse group of people in one area and seemingly everyone being pleasant wanting to enjoy their vacation as well. It is a great feeling that I wish I could bottle and take back to work in a few weeks to show it is possible for people from diverse backgrounds all be able to “live” albeit temporarily in peace and be successful (having fun at the beach is a success in my eyes).
So what does vacation have to do with purpose? Actions and Intent. People are purposeful on vacation: get some sun, relax, unplug, spend quality time with family, etc. Their intent and actions come together on resorts, in timeshare houses, and hotel rooms, seamlessly evolving into an enjoyable and joyful experience not only for themselves but for everyone.
As an educator, I have a hard time with adults who wander through their lives aimlessly. For educators, it is frustrating to see teachers with no purpose in their classroom except to survive until summer break, teachers who hop from trend to trend without their own substance to rely on, people whose intent and actions combine but move towards trivial and flaky things, or people who are generally lacking substance and integrity. It is amazing to have people that are my mentors, eduheros, and friends really living out their purpose. It is not only powerful to see first hand, but also helps me continue to re-center and be more mindful of my own purpose. Some examples of these friends/eduheros truly living out their purpose:
- One friend almost single-handedly through various ideas and bold actions is changing the edtech world for people of color and conquering the digital divide in schools.
- One friend using her life story as a means to continue to foster more global awareness and increase empathetic mindsets about injustices against marginalized groups both in schools and worldwide.
- One friend recently left her good district gig to follow her purpose working as a professor in higher ed to do great work in impacting the lives of future educators.
- One friend who with his extremely eloquent, thought-provoking and intelligent words has been able to change mindsets and create a powerful movement driven to fix equity issues in education all over the US.
I realized a long time ago, I can’t fix adults. It’s not in my DNA, heck I have a hard time fixing my own mean ways sometimes. But I did realize awhile ago I was blessed with the ability and desire to help children. I know my purpose is to work daily to provide opportunities for all students, through technology, a listening ear, or better equipping my teachers so they can provide outstanding learning experiences for their kids. My purpose is also to give students guidance and support towards owning and finding their purpose. Mind you sometimes this purpose usually is not realized until many years after they’ve left my gym or classroom. I know other factors fall into place for each of them as well, but I do respect and humbly understand my impact in their purpose finding journey. Some took longer routes than others, some experienced more potholes in the road, but most of my older former students have reached a point where they now know what they are driving towards. Now their intent and actions are perfectly in sync creating purpose, peace, and joy in their souls. It is that peace, which comes from having a purpose, we as educators need to continue to cultivate in our young people by encouraging and aiding them daily.
First of all, educators know and own your professional purpose. Make sure your eyes are set on a steadfast purpose and that you are not aimless and void of substance. Understand your professional journey will have twist and turns, but your purpose should always be the guiding force for your decisions. Remember you can’t help someone else do or find something you are not aware of in yourself. Once you understand your purpose, do you best daily to support your students in finding theirs. The repeated acts of an encouraging word, a listening ear, helping hand, or even a smile can lead to more purpose-driven students leaving our buildings each year….imagine how much better off our world would be if we have more purposeful individuals in it….