Friday, November 7, 2014

Living Outside of the Comfort Zone

Teaching children of the 21st century we are consistently encouraging them to live outside of their comfort zones and take risks. We do this for various reasons. One, we want them comfortable with the idea of "taking chances" despite the possibility of failure, two , we believe that the growth potential can be exponential with each risk that is taken and three, it will stretch their capacity to learn over the  course of their lifetimes.

Lifelong learners ourselves we must lead the way and embrace this concept of risk taking as well. If we expect our students to fully buy in to the idea, then we must demonstrate a courageous mindset. One that reflects potential failures and gains. Moreover, we must be willing to openly share these pursuits and their results, if we expect the same of our students. 

Within the past two months I have been
confronted with situations in my personal and professional lives that have required me to make multiple courageous  decisions. Each decision required a departure from my "safe" or comfortable life. They were not easily made and were given careful consideration. However the leap outside of the comfort zone has paid great dividends on all recent occasions.

Had I not decided to fly to New Orleans by myself to attend a National Education conference  (#ecet2Nola) I would have denied myself one of the most enriching experiences of my professional life. I would have missed out on collaborating with amazing educators from my state and throughout the entire nation. I would have missed out on a chance to be part of over 300 teachers parading down Bourbon Street, escorted by a High School Band and local law enforcement. (Talk about elevating and celebrating. Wow!)  I would have missed on a chance to improve my craft in ways that would ultimately benefit my students.

Had I not decided to play on a PGA golf course ( the longest one in Disney World) I would have missed out on an amazing bonding opportunity that my oldest son and I will remember for the rest of our lives. He is still talking about how we played on a course that the great "Tiger" Woods played on.  Furthermore had I not taken advantage of the opportunity to tackle the highest water slide in the world (Summit Plummit) with my youngest son Scott, I would have squandered an authentic opportunity to demonstrate my willingness and the importance of taking risks to my son. We both successfully embraced and completed the challenge and it was awesome to hear him say that this was the highlight of our trip.

As the adults of the 21st century we must continue to cultivate opportunities for our children to push their limits and take risks. We must do so in an environment that presents failure as the "first attempt in learning" and remove inhibitors that may cause them to dwell within their comfort zone. Lastly we must celebrate the risk and the result if our children are expected to achieve their true growth potential as both learners and contributors.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! It sounds like your trip was inspiring! Thank you for sharing! It is a big task that we face as teachers of the unknown future!