This has been quite a process – searching the world over for my OLW of 2015! OK. Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but still…I formally tried on four words and informally tried on about six others before I finally settled on question. Once I found this word, which was sitting in the back of my mind the entire time, I wondered (pun intended) why it took me so long?
Sure, those other words were great. I played around with better. But it felt arrogant. Like I expected everyone (including myself) to be better every single day. Seeing the importance of bettering myself was my intention. But when I was honest with myself I realized that sometimes I am OK with “good enough”. I’ve never had the need to be the very best at everything I do. So I threw that word out.
I set out to find another word that exemplified the way I live my life. The word laugh crept up. Laugh. I certainly love to laugh. People say I have an infectious laugh. My friends tell me they want me front and center in any audience they are speaking to because I laugh the loudest at their jokes. It’s a natural, organic if you will, reaction. I couldn’t fake it if I wanted to. Yes, I want my friend(s) to do well in their speeches – but I truly find them funny. I guess that’s why they’re my friends. But, could it be my olw for 2015? Is it unique to me? Everyone loves to laugh, right?
For each of these olw’s I sat down to write about them and came up empty. I experienced what we tell our students; it’s fine to really like a topic, but make sure you have something to actually say about it. For the words better and laugh, I did not.
To my very core I believe in questioning. Asking why. Pondering. Wondering. Speaking up. I was once admonished by my 6th grade teacher for asking too many questions. As I aged, especially in my college days, I grew into what I had been labeled all those years ago. I saw what my questioning could do. I learned. I understood. I caused some anxiety in others because I didn’t simply accept. Of course, my 11 year old self had no idea what to do with such a proclamation from her beloved teacher. Question too much? Me? Should I stop? How do I stop? I didn’t even realize I was doing it! Nice going Mrs. West. Way to get an impressionable young girl, in the middle of her parents’ divorce, her sister’s bad behavior, her mom’s depression and her dad’s drinking to see that school was in fact just as unpredictable as home. Fortunately the scars healed and what was left was a strong determination on my part to keep doing what bugged my teacher the most. Ask questions.
So, for 2015 I will nurture my ability to question because, as we all know, every year that we are alive we lose our natural inclination to question. We become complacent. We often travel down a particular path, usually a very comfortable one, stay the course without ever standing back and reevaluating. Without questioning.
Thank you, Mrs. West, for giving me an experience that I will never forget.