An Essential Reset

So I was speaking to a friend and colleague of mine the other day, about some of the difficulties that we have been collectively facing as a global society over the last two years, and our conversation eventually started to revolve around the themes of isolation and community. Knowing that we’ve gone through almost 24 months of mask-wearing, zoom meetings, limited gatherings, and a lack of human touch, it doesn’t come as a surprise that people are feeling isolated, and that sadly, our idea of community has become drastically altered. We even began wondering nervously if people have started to feel comfortable in this isolation, and finally, we began wondering whether transitioning out of the pandemic might actually be just as tricky as transitioning in. 

You see, living in a world for this long of a period of time, where the primary sources of communication are text messages, social media posts, emails, facetimes, and Zoom meetings is bound to become problematic, and it’s not much of a stretch to say that as a world we are a little worse for wear because of it all. It’s also not a stretch to consider how this problem might have actually started before the pandemic even hit hard back in 2020, but I digress. Anyway, these communication defaults and platforms have absolutely contributed to this isolation, and they have not only isolated us, but they have in many instances started to divide us as well. 

I have certainly been guilty recently of being triggered a social media post that was shared by a long time friend of mine, whose opinion is drastically different than mine, and instead of reaching out to connect with him and to seek to understand, my knee-jerk reaction was to hit the unfriend button…and I couldn’t believe that’s where my mind initially went. It’s just so easy these days to get sucked into our confirmation bias silos, and to lean away from the human connection thread that links us all together…sadly, that thread has become increasingly frayed over the past several months and what we need, in my opinion, is a complete reset. This essential reset needs to be rooted in kindness, understanding, and even a little bit of forgiveness, and as educators we should be leading the way. 

It’s interesting to think how it’s going to be those same foundational pillars of kindness and understanding, that helped us to struggle through the most difficult parts of the pandemic in the first place, which will be the ones that will help us to successfully transition out. The first step however, is to recognize that we have ALL been negatively affected by this experience in one way or another, and that the only acceptable response to any given situation these days is kindness. Once we lead with kindness, the only acceptable response to any given situation after that is to seek to understand. That, along with a willingness to forgive people for maybe not being at their best, or maybe being somehow changed (haven’t we all) over the past couple of years, needs to be our first step in our approach to transitioning out. 

That first step will be an important step into community building, where we prioritize sharing, listening, reuniting, celebrating, and relationships…smiling face to smiling face, away from our devices. For me, it’s exciting to be writing this post because it means that we are at a place where maybe, just maybe, there is a hope and some light that signals the beginning of the end of all of this. Regardless of that though, it’s time to open up our hearts to each other NOW, in meaningful ways, and to start rebuilding what has been lost. It’s about kindness, seeking to understand (especially when someone has a different perspective or stance than you) and forgiveness. It’s my belief that as hard as it has been for the world and for our community, we will get past this and emerge stronger than ever. My challenge to all of us, beginning this week, is to find the courage and the strength to begin that essential reset, and commit to leading with kindness, seeking to understand as your default stance, and to open up your heart to forgiveness…we will transition out of this together, and I know we will do it well. Have a fantastic week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

There is nothing more intimate in life than being understood and understanding someone else.

-Brad Meltzer

Related Articles – 

The Loneliness Pandemic

Acts of Kindness 

National Park Visits

The Importance of Kindness

Compassion in Key

Inspiring videos – 

Driven By Love

The Fairy Garden Friendship

The Inner Net (10 years old but still powerful)

20 Year Timelapse

10 Things That Made Us Smile This Week

TED Talk – Kindness at Work

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