I usually prefer to run by myself. Times when I may run with someone else, it can often feel more challenging because I am trying to match their pace, which may be different from mine. They may start faster than me or I may be ready to quicken my pace while they stay steady. As we shift away from pandemic mode I am feeling the shift in pace for everyday living. It is quickening, once again becoming more full of activity and engagements. However, I’m not jumping on the train. When everything shut down and we had no where to be other than essential activity, the pace of life slowed to my comfort level. I had time to meander. There was no place for me to be other than with my immediate responsibilities. I am not a fan of shopping, or errands, or large gatherings with many people so it wasn’t too much of a stretch for me to be told these things were off limits. In fact, it was a bit of a relief. I spent much time in the woods, I crafted, I read, I ran, I cooked, and fortunately, as an Outdoor Educator, I continued to be with children outside. As a teacher I have come to recognize that who I am and the person I bring before the children is the most influential learning tool in the space. I can go to conferences, listen to webinars, and read books, but ultimately my own personal growth and my inner sense of balance holds the largest impact on the children I work with.
I fully recognize and understand my privilege in being allowed to slow down and step off the fast track of life over this pandemic. For some, things got more hectic, juggling little ones while working from home, or being considered an essential or frontline worker, being asked to carry more weight than usual and not given the luxury of extra time. However, I can only speak from my experience.
It would be a shame if people got back to “normal” forgetting the insights we all gathered as we stepped away from “normal.” As a society, we were gifted an opportunity to step out of our routine to allow a wider perspective on life. Is it necessary for us to move through our weeks at a frantic pace? It is actually my responsibility, as a teacher of young children, to make space for myself; to nurture my interests and passions, discover my challenges, and prioritize healthy learning and growth. It is in this realm where I can be most present and aware of my student’s needs, when my own needs are met.
So I feel myself pausing, hesitating, as I am feeling the pace around me again begin to feel like too much. We have a choice to do things differently. But I am realizing it requires active engagement on my part. When I was little we had a small kiddie pool. I remember walking around the inner edge of the pool at a steady pace creating a current. I clearly recall that moment when I would turn around and walk in the opposite direction. At first, I could barely step forward into the resistance of the water, but gradually I was able to shift the current if I continued to move forward, step by step, eventually finding a new flow.
It isn’t often in life we are given a moment to change course, and while that initial resistance may be challenging, collectively we can shift the assumed pace of living. As an Educator for children, I consider what that looks like for me and the space I invite my families to step into. I’ve never been a fan of just doing things because that’s how it’s always been done. I appreciate intention and true purpose reflected in my actions. As we move through this season of renewal, I will continue to pause, reflect, and listen, and maybe just walk instead of taking the train.