As many of you already know, community is an integral part of my Grade 4 class each day. We begin and end every day in community because it creates connection, respect, and even promotes beautiful awakenings. On #Bell Let’s Talk day, my class expressed great interest in the basis for this special movement. We discussed why Bell supports this campaign, and how it affects each and every one of us in our society. As a result, we implemented a special Let’s Talk Tuesday during our community on that day each week. Unlike other days, when we have a pre-determined theme for discussion, Tuesdays are devoted solely to classmates who wish to share a particular challenge they are facing. Once their concern has been voiced, the floor is open to their peers to offer up solutions, and to address the issues at the core.
I don’t even know how to put into words what has come of these brilliant discussions, except to express one thing: vulnerability.
Vulnerability essentially refers to the expression of fears, uncertainties, and the willingness to emotionally expose oneself to others. It is a characteristic that many adults still struggle to embody, and continue to strive to achieve; however, I have a group of 9 and 10 years olds fully embracing the opportunity, and mastering the skill.
Is vulnerability less scary to express because they are kids? Heck no. Without wanting to compromise the confidentiality that exists between my students and myself, I will only say that the experiences and feelings being expressed (ranging from concerns about arguing parents, to worries about their own physical appearances, or perceived shortcomings as a person) are raw, truthful, and risk the chance of backlash from their peers.
Except that they don’t.
There isn’t any backlash.
The kids are not taking their peers’ insecurities and worries, and holding them against one another.
Just the opposite is happening.
I always have an immediate response in my mind of how the proposed problem should be addressed; however, I have been challenged to hold back, and to allow for the problem solving to come from the kids themselves. And what I’ve noticed, is that 9 times out of 10, the kids’ advice is far superior to my own. It becomes easy for me to relinquish power and control.
My students look to their peers with genuine love, concern, and empathy – characteristics we could all use a bit more of in today’s world. They offer up solutions that are tangible and within reach.
It is nothing short of beautiful.
So why should we lean into vulnerability, and encourage our kids to also lean in from a young age? Doesn’t it risk exposure? Hurt? Sadness? Possibly. But it also opens the door to opportunity, learning, growth, and experiences that we didn’t even know were waiting on the other side of the door for us.
Isn’t that what our journey is all about?
It can be scary to show your vulnerability to others. Maybe it means that you expose your deepest insecurity, you stand up for yourself, or you express love without knowing if it will be returned.
This can be difficult – really difficult.
But these raw truths and exposures, can be the most liberating experiences. It propels the journey of healing and knowing yourself to a much deeper level than you could ever have imagined. Perhaps through your own vulnerability, you have opened the door on the other side for someone to share their own truths.
Vulnerability exposes our strengths as a human, not our weaknesses.
Showing our vulnerability to one another brings about connection. We share a mutual understanding that no one is perfect. No one lacks insecurities. No one is alone in the Universe.
I am forever grateful for being on this lifelong journey of learning, and having the opportunity to learn from my students each day, is an even greater gift. They have opened my vision further, to see that these little humans endure the same hurts, pain, fears, and insecurities that our counterparts face each day. They too, hold the keys to help one another journey through these emotions and expressions of themselves to become the best version they can be.
What part of yourself are you hiding from? What do you most fear in sharing with the world? Could you have the bravery of these little souls to meet with your most vulnerable side?
I encourage you to start right now. What can you share with New Age Teacher and its’ readers right now?
We look forward to hearing from you and supporting you.
P.S. I’ll start things off: I feel most vulnerable when I write. I don’t sugar coat what I write, and I don’t pretend to believe that it will be everyone’s cup of tea. For many years, I hid my writing and in turn, hid myself. I have not always touched upon topics that are mainstream, but that’s o.k. Taking the leap of putting my writing out into the world started by being for everyone else, and came back to really being for me. Through writing I heal. Through writing I inform. Through writing, I am sharing what I believe to be my gifts with the world. Whoa, that was tough to say, but I feel darn good 😉