Teachable moment fatigue

I love being in a classroom of adult learners. I am grateful for the diversity of culture, ethnicity, ability, academic readiness and spend a significant amount of time managing my expectations and looking for opportunities to inspire compassion and connection, knowing that my students are destined to be helpers.

However, this political climate has left many of my students and myself emotionally exhausted, often defensive of our personal leanings, and starved for discourse.

So what do I do when I’m feeling “teachable moment fatigue”?

I stop teaching.

I start listening.

And I take space from the hustle and bustle of the 24 hour news cycle and biased op-Ed pieces and choose to sit in the silence, listen to an audiobook, or crochet until my hands hurt.

Because as Anne Lamott says, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

I see you. I remember you.

Women do this identity shape-shifting thing when they become a mother.

They morph into a creature that provides all of the basic survival needs to keep a human alive.

Really think about that.

A HUMAN being from birth, through all of the major developmental stages, and if you are lucky, to adulthood.

But within all of the amazing capabilities, mothers don’t just forget who they are, they self-impose limits that are often only able to be challenged by their dearest friends.

How does it work?

We remember you. We remember that you like your coffee with a sprinkle of cinnamon. We remember that you prefer baths to showers. We remember that you know what to say to a rude hostess to get the free appetizers. We remember how damn smart you are and watched in awe as you slip from friend to sister to mother to exhausted, confused and questioning every decision you’ve ever made.

Remind the women in your life of the times you’ve shared, the little moments that can bring them back to who they were. Ask them what they see for themselves (as a person who has interests outside of their children).

Check on them.

Remind them that they are special.

They need to hear it.

They are still in there.

Be patient, and set the intention to connect with them to help them revisit that past-self often.

Odds are they miss that part of themselves too.

Because you can miss things deeply even when you feel so damn grateful for what you have now.