Via a splashy blog-hopping frolic that started at Feminist Mormon Housewives, I came across a very excellent, new-to-me blog called The Cultural Hall. The "middle-way" of Mormonism is the theme of this blog---which means a lot of things to a lot of different contributors and commenters. I might say more about my middle-mormon-way some other day. Or I might not. But I do want to share a quote I found there from Utah's very own Terry Tempest Williams:
“The human heart … is where we embrace our questions. Can we be equitable? Can we be generous? Can we listen with our whole being, not just our minds? And offer our attention rather then our opinions. And do we have enough resolve in our heart to act courageously, relentlessly without giving up, ever? The heart is the house of empathy. Its door opens when we receive the pain of others. This is where bravery lives and where we find our mettle to give and receive, to love and be loved, to stand in the center of uncertainty with strength not fear. The heart is the path to wisdom because it dares to be vulnerable in the presence of power.”
I, for one, need to meditate on the essence of this message daily, particularly as I gear up for a brand new school year. Much of the art of teaching, while standing inside the 4 walls of a classroom full of children, comes quite naturally to me. I know what I believe, I'm pretty skilled at implementing those beliefs, I know how to be responsive and flexible, and I know how to nurture relationships with kids. But the rest of the job---all the stuff that goes on beyond the walls of my classroom---well, let's just say that empathy, patience, endurance, and generosity are qualities I need to nurture in order to survive. A few interesting math problems to puzzle out during the particularly inane moments in the next few weeks will also help me preserve some sanity.