Wednesday, October 11, 2017

100th Blog! The Power of I Don't Know

My younger son’s literacy teacher, Becky Anderson, shared this image with us when he was in the 4th grade. It popped up on my Facebook memories and struck me again for its applicability towards both young and old (and everything in between). Thanks to Heather Wolpert-Gawron and Rebeca Zuniga for their original inspiration from 2014! Many have responded to this graphic, including Terry Heick in a post on TeachThought. Today, I’m focusing on the truth that not knowing is a constant presence for us ALL and we should embrace it.

I didn’t know what to write about today. That’s OK.

I feel some pressure because it’s my 100th essay on Verbostratis! My first foray into this world was back in July 2016. Back then, I knew I wanted to push myself to begin and maintain a regular writing practice. I hoped I could do it, getting better as the days & weeks went by. That’s all I had.

I didn’t know what would happen. I was excited by that.

My first essay, titled Hugs, was only 227 words long and appears to have only been viewed 7 times to date. LOL!  I didn’t even write it in Google Docs to save an original. No formatting. No pictures. Nothing but my mind and keyboard. They were heady days of fear and amped up energy of hopeful aspiration.

I worried I would run out of things to say or that my ideas would be flat. I had to reach out to others.

I setup my blog. I dove into Twitter. I sent letters and emails. I met with people face-to-face. When I’m out in public, I talk to people. I ask questions. I wrote of Serendipity- we can stumble on something at any moment. There is a world of ideas out there if we just open ourselves to it. An almost limitless world that I wanted to add more to.

A blog didn’t seem enough. I looked at my goals and changed my plans by considering a book.

I’d always had vague visions of becoming an author. A number of unfinished works of fiction that still sit in binders and computer files attest to that. I’d never considered writing personal narratives or persuasive pieces. However, the powerful messages that aggressively condensed, stand-alone essays can convey became too much to ignore.

Again, reaching out to others helped me. I began learning how to self-publish, using CreateSpace. I wrote and Marlene Oswald’s photos proved just the thing to augment my words and paint a more detailed picture of the support I wanted to offer to teachers. The editing help that others provided was invaluable to the overall product that Dear Teachers became.

What next? I don’t know. Yet.

In my essay about not knowing....yet, entitled Yearn, Embrace & Try, I took Barbara Gruener’s acronym and stretched its message a bit. We want students to be comfortable with growing. We don’t know- YET. “Yet” requires us to yearn for something, embrace the challenge it takes to get there and be willing to try for the goal anyway.

What’s good for kids should be good for us adults, too, if it’s real. If it’s right. If it’s what we really should be teaching them in the first place. I think it is. I think we can all benefit from “I Don’t Know” and “Yet”.

If we can't benefit from not knowing, why bother with anything?

I’d love to know your thoughts. What would you like to see me write about? What are you looking to accomplish? What haven’t you achieved yet? Comment and forward my blog to your friends to continue this conversation. Thank you for reading and I wish you all the best!

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