Over the past couple of months, I’ve done a lot of soul searching and self reflection. As much as I am loving pursuing my passion in 21st century learning, I’m also loving all of the things that I am learning about myself in the process. One of the things that I’ve been pondering during the past week or so is the fact that my weaknesses make me stronger. Of course this makes sense when looking at it from the perspective of constantly wanting to learn, improve and be better, but this isn’t quite what I’m talking about. I believe that some of my weaknesses will always be weaknesses, no matter what I try to do. What I also believe is that knowing what my weaknesses are and being able to recognize them goes a long way! Let me try to explain…
I think that one of my biggest weaknesses is my heart. I care so much about everything. I am a very emotional and passionate person who wears her heart on her sleeve. I always want to do good by others and sometimes this stretches me very thin. Often, it is hard for me to put things aside and put myself or my family first because I care so much about others and about what I do as a teacher. I take everything to heart and I find it difficult to see things clearly when I get too wrapped up in my emotions. There are obviously many positives to this quality, but I know that sometimes, it makes things harder for me and can take a toll on my mental health.
Here’s an example, that in hindsight seems trivial, but in the moment, my weakness got the best of me. At the beginning of the school year, I was on the Terry Fox committee. We had planned a nice assembly and a super fun afternoon for the kids outside running around the field. We were going to end the celebration with a double recess and Freezies. My whole heart was put into this work and I didn’t want to miss any of it. The night before the celebration, one of my boys got really sick with croup. This resulted in getting woken up around midnight to a frightful sight of my son really struggling to breathe. I quickly got dressed and drove him to the hospital. We spent a sleepless night that eventually ended with no harm done, but it was really scary none the less. The next morning, my mom came over to keep a close eye on my son. I went into work and before the school day started, I went into my principal’s office and explained what had happened. I also explained that I might have to leave abruptly from work if I got the call from my mom saying that my son wasn’t doing well and had to be brought back to the hospital. Then, my principal asked me this question: “And… why are you here right now?!”. My answer? Or better said, my ridiculous answer: “Because we have the Terry Fox assembly today, I’m on the committee, and I can’t miss this!”.
Yes, I have a huge heart. I care a lot. Sometimes I care too much! I see that, I know it, but I can’t change it. This is who I am. I can’t be perfect, but I can be okay with the weaknesses that I do have. I will own them, acknowledge them, and try to take care of myself in all of this, but I can’t change who I am. I can certainly have strategies and supports in place to help me when my heart gets just a little too full and my emotions get the best of me, but telling myself that I will one day be able to put my heart aside would be a lie.
This leads me to wonder how our students could benefit from changing their mindset around what they view as their weaknesses. I understand that I can’t be perfect and I’m turning my weaknesses into strengths… our students should too!