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I've spent the better part of my adult life formulating this opinion that needed to be right. At times in the quest to be right I would find perfectly logical answers. The correct answer. The right answer. I would read and discover as much as I could about something, so when the time came to be able to defend that particular position I was ready. So what happens when being right isn't always the important thing? What happens when you discover that in your quest to be right all the time you have place yourself in a position to devalue others? That's what I subtlety discovered this past week.
I spent the week in Corbin, KY for the STEAM Academy held by the Kentucky Center. There were plenty of educators from around the state eager to learn newer and time-tested methods of teaching creativities in the classroom. It was very inspiring and very powerful to learn how to slow down and view the details and analogies in order to view objects, actually, with 'beginners mind'. We heard from a professional Oboe players, a furniture maker, a art/math teacher whom was battling through the loss of her dear husband. I, for one, learned a lot of things. A ton of things. However, I believe I learned more from my roommate for the week.
See, he and I are quite different. The modern day odd couple, if you will. He is very conservative, well spoken, modest, and simple. I, on the other hand, am liberal, at times loud and outspoken, not modest, and complicated. I wasn't so much worried about the content for the week. I was worried how we would get along. We did. Brilliantly.
What I found out this week was, as remembrance of my Tai Chi studies, that for all the is black, lives a little white and vice versa. We did have commonalities: stand up comedy, love of learning, family, teaching, and a well prepared meal. Politics were brought up several times. He and I are very different in this aspect, but I found something grow in me that I haven't had in many, many, many years: patience. I found myself being patient with him. Instead of immediately trying to force feed him my research and studies behind why I believe what I did. I listened to him. I listened to him. I didn't agree with all he said, but I began to see him more as my human equal as opposed to anything otherwise. Til that point I didn't realize that I had been doing that to people. I wasn't exerting kindness. I was exerting forced knowledge and predicament. I would take one position and if someone disagreed I would in turn assume they wouldn't agree on other points and I would then devalue those points in my head. I wasn't being kind to people. I wasn't being patience. Though I was 'correct' in my views, from my standpoint....I am never going to help convince or educate better without better patience and kindness to the adults around me.
What a kensho week for me in that aspect. A re-education in respect, patience, and kindness.


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