Purpose. Why do we do what we do?
The answer to this for me is multilayered. Peel a layer off bit by bit, one at a time and what is at the core?
Be patient. That’s the key. It doesn’t come to us all naturally.
Being so entirely engrossed in reading or writing something that you are unaware of time. Being so caught up in a chain of ideas that you are rushing to articulate them in speech or writing. Being so excited about a subject, concept, idea or event that you feel a bubbling energy, rumbling inside you like slow-brewing volcano.
Flow. This what I would like all learners to feel when learning and my purpose is to help them get there.
For some learners, the journey is more tumultuous than for others and I do understand the idea of a scattered brain, with lots of jumbled ideas, in that even though I love learning, it hasn’t always and exclusively been easy to reach that state of flow.
One example is last year, 2019. On one hand, it was amazing to run my first marathon, but the year was also a mountain to climb and I’m still descending the other side.
After I turned forty, April 26th, I think I had some sort of crisis point and started to wonder what I was doing. My purpose wasn’t wavering but I felt that any sense of equilibrium had become distorted and I was beginning to feel exhausted. The realisation that my children in September 2020 will be in Year 6 and Year 11 jolted me and I started to consider all of the school assemblies and sports’ days I had missed whilst I’d been busy helping others to learn and fulfilling my purpose. I realised that I had not been to one of these at my daughter’s school during the school day since she began school.
However, I looked for the positives and knew that I had been supporting her love of running and swimming since year seven and eight respectively, driving her around to training and various league and county races. She loves cross country and running in the hills. I do too but I’m nowhere near as fast as her, but her running forced me to either work at her training sessions, or go for a run for myself. The latter enable me to look after my wellbeing and maintain a kind of fitness. Both important to purpose too.
As well as being dedicated to teaching and many have told me I go above and beyond what is expected of me, part of that purpose is also to do something that supports society and to be a good role model for my children and those I teach, so they can see it is important to be hardworking, positive and committed to something. Being able to afford a home and be independent is also important. My mom gave up working for money to work on looking after my sisters and I when she was thirty three. Whilst I think she doesn’t regret the extra time and routine she was able to create for us at home, as well as the healthy dinners and being here to help us all the time, my mom did lose some of her independence and freedoms she had enjoyed as a teacher. I look around me and see so many parents able to sustain full time teaching jobs. Why not me too? Should I have to channel all of my energy into looking after my children or is there time for both?
Whilst my daughter is a good learner, listens and does her best to respond to feedback with improvements, my son is different, although swimming has helped him over the past 15 months before lockdown.
He is having a choppy voyage through school; he was born August 14th and I don’t think he was ready for nursery when he began nursery. Being told by a staff member not to play with the toy vacuum cleaner because “it is a girl’s toy” (if he was telling the truth) was not helpful either. Socially, he is shy but covers it with excessive bravado and aggression. When being told off at school he would smirk in embarrassment and the staff think he is laughing, when really, I think he sometimes finds it hard to process the emotions attached to why he is in trouble. He was excluded on a fixed term basis in year two and the journey through has been hard. In year five now, he still struggles to stay in his seat and concentrate, particularly in writing and becomes frustrated and panicked easily. For a while I have thought this is partly my fault because of the excessive hours I have spent working at home. Yes, we have found some solutions, but I am his parent and naturally worry he needs much more of me.
When he was also banned from the running club last February, for aggression, I felt such intense guilt that I was spread too thinly and I was letting him down.
Cracks were showing but carry in we did.he was still swimming and going to cubs and he loves both of those activities, both for what they are and for the social side of them. They are very purposeful.
Later last year, when my mom had a heart attack abroad and had to have surgery and recover before she flew home with my dad, my lifeline and help with childcare was gone: you see I am the only driver and their dad works in Leicester and Birmingham. When a week after my mom’s heart attack, my son then also sustained two head injuries at school: one accidentally through being slammed on concrete in a game of Bulldog and another after being punched twice in the face leading to a trip to the dentist to check on loose teeth, something had to give.
I was behind at work and felt like a failure at home. But, think positive Liz! I am not a failure: everyone faces challenges in their lives. What does not beat us makes us stronger and how can we appreciate the highs without the lows?
Moving forward, we have decided to try again to move my son’s school and change where I work. CAMHS have agreed to see our son after a year-long attempt and I am starting to feel again like the newly purposeful me.
My purpose is to help others learn and work through their struggles, in the aim that we all, at some point, achieve that purposeful flow. Results day is amazing when learner see how the fruit of their purpose is rewarded. On this day, the human journey of how we arrive at that point is also of prime, purposeful significance.
We are all still on our way and the trick is not to be phased by the list remaining incomplete. When we have purpose, the steps to take us there are myriad and grow organically from one to the next, sometimes branching off in new directions and digress from a straight path, but it purpose and perspective remain, we stay content and ultimately, I say in jest, sane!
It is a similar picture for my younger son