Ah, June. The end of school. Celebrations completed. Sundowns extended. A time to be.
I have been taking classes on the art of developmental coaching. The idea of development for me is that we can grow (up) and become bigger and better selves. We can see the grey and not just the black and white. We can become less egocentric and more allocentric. (Other focused). We can embrace the ying and yang of things (polarity management). We can get grey and messy. We can see there is no ‘other,’ really. We are all interconnected and interdependent.
In this moment of sunny days and time to restore ourselves, without the push of the school day and framework, the assignments and responsibilities, it is a good time to stretch ourselves in a few ways.
Work with new prepositions. Instead of learning about something and being focused on the task and content, how about learning with and from others? Thinking about the process and the experience of being with others. Learning from them.
Practice being good company while doing the learning. What might that mean? I think it has to do with being less judgmental, appreciative of differences, being curious, less certain of a right response, being interested not just interesting, asking questions and actually listening to the answers. Using all the wonderful non-verbals you know to use to show engagement and truly be present. Stretching to hold ambiguity and uncertainty. Getting messy.
On LinkedIn, there was a beautiful video of a child encouraging her father to get messy and join her in a muddy puddle. Take my hand, she says. He hesitates. He looks at the camera. He ultimately gets in the mess with her. They bounce around with delight. “Muddy Puddle. Muddy Puddle,” she says. This adult, her father, I imagine, is the embodiment of good company. He learns from his daughter what she wants to do. He joins her. He connects with her. He gets into her world and celebrates it.
This summer, I wish for you that you get messy. Learn to be good company with others who stretch you at your edges. See you in the muck.
If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
If you are interested in being a part of an upcoming 6 session open cohort (dates TBD) on Stretching Your Learning Edges: Growing (Up) at Work, please email me to express your interest! If you have months that work better than others, please share that too.
Jennifer Abrams "Muddy Puddle" ,as originally published on Jennifer Abrams Developing Individuals Transforming Schools, 06-01-2022, https://jenniferabrams.com/muddy-puddle/