I have been ""doing"" The Artist's Way for almost two months now, and I had generally been finding it frustrating because the author is very much the kind of person that I am not, but there has been some helpful advice in it. It gets me writing a bit more, although I am mostly convinced that I am doing the morning papers wrong, even though she says there is no "wrong" way.
Today, however, there was a bit of a crack in my brain flow as the weekly school meeting was going on. Here once again, as many times before, the principal was giving advice on setting a goal and going for it. Which is great but a lot of the time there is just this hint of "select a goal from these pre-approved things" twist to it. It bugged me. And then a memory creeped back into my head.
Fourth grade health class. We are talking about complimenting others and the effects of making people feel good. The teacher asks us students to compliment others. A good friend of mine, Tim, raises his hand and says he admires how good I am at video games. The teacher dismisses it and says that is not something to compliment someone about. Way to practice what you preach.
I could sit here and blame some of my insecurities on this moment — but where would that really get me. I wish I had the confidence, or the reassurance of someone to tell me that there was value in my hobby. I would not have ever gotten into programming were it not because of video games. I would quite possibly never have learned Japanese. These are all valid things but they miss the point.
There is value in everything in which we do. We can find out what it is about the things that we "waste" our lives on and see how they really make us happy. My ability to put my nose to the grindstone and get good at video games is the same thing that has me work on a programming project until it is the best thing that I am capable of making. It took me far too long to realize what that teacher should have said to me. What positive thing should have been gleaned from a silly remark made from one ten year old to another.
As a teacher myself now, I need to remember to be careful about how I word things and how I say things. While it may feel some days that the outside world looks far more interesting to the students, the words inside the classroom can go deep and stick around for a lifetime.