Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Sky is the Limit

I've been sitting on this idea for a couple of weeks. I've been trying to formulate words that would adequately express my thoughts on the subject without cheapening the idea. The worse thing I could is to share something that would totally turn someone off an idea. Of course, to be fair, I'm never going to have everyone agree with me or even like what I have to say. This is par for the course, I suppose.

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled out of town for a week-long conference, which focused on educating all students, regardless of disability. The conference focused heavily on what a huge impact assistive technology can have on individuals. It's an excellent conference and I always walk away amazed and empowered to...yes, I'm going to say it...change the world.

Having just finished my third year in the classroom, seasoned teachers probably still consider me a novice. I consider myself a novice. Still wet behind the ears. That's me. But that's okay. I'm also somewhat of an idealist and a dreamer. I know that my ideas would be considered "out there" by some people. I understand that while my classroom has challenges of its own, I am ultimately sheltered from mainstream education. Well, as an educator. I still have one child in the public school system, so I'm still a vested stakeholder as a parent. But for all intense and purposes, I'm a dreamer and an idealist.

I recognize this and embrace it.

One thing about living in the community I do is that in order to get to anything "good", a drive is involved. Just this past week, I took Baby Girl and some teacher friends to the beach. It was about an hour and a half drive. The conference I attended was also an hour and a half drive. This year, I opted to drive rather than stay on site.

Workshop schedules began at 8 in the morning and lasted until 4:30 in the evening. They were long days that meant getting on the road by 6 am. I'm an early riser, for the most part. And getting up at 5ish to get on the road by 6 should not have been a stretch for me. I do it every day during the school year. But there's something about those summer months. I drug myself out of bed every day despite the fact that I was excited about the workshop. The drive wasn't so bad, either.

In fact, the drive gave me an opportunity to think and contemplate things. Sometimes, I just mindlessly listened to the radio. Sometimes, my mind drifted to places I don't even remember. But one thing I do remember was looking at the sunrise every morning. If I timed my drive just right, the sun wasn't in my eyes. Rather, it was off to the side.

Aren't sunrises beautiful? Sunsets are pretty but sunrises feel so promising. The dawn of a new day. Endless possibilities.

As I drove, I came to a realization. How beautiful the sky became was dependent solely on where I chose to put my focus.

If I looked to the left, I was greeted with a bright sun and beautiful colors. If I focused my gaze on the road ahead of me, I still saw the light from the sun, but the colors were muted, significantly. Finally, if I looked to my right, it was light, but not bright. The sky was blue, but the kaleidoscope of colors from the view on my left was missing completely.

As I looked, I came to realize that it was a perfect representation of perspective. Everyone looks at the same sky, but what they choose to see depends on where they focus their gaze. How significant is this in my own life?

Every morning, the sun rises. Every evening, the sun sets. What I see that day (and night) depends on my focus. During the week of the conference, I was actually awake to view the sunrise and I did, gratefully, every day. Since then, I haven't been up early enough to see the sun rise.  I haven't seen many sun sets, either. But as I sit here writing, I am observing the sun set right outside my living room window. But even as I look at it, I realize that I've missed the most beautiful part of the sunset. Sure, it's still pretty...take a look for yourself:
Sunset from my front yard

But it's not as pretty as it was.

And so it is with my perspective, oftentimes. Some days, I'm spot on. I see the beauty in all its glory. Other days are like today where I see it, but I don't see it quite in all of its glory. Still other days, I miss it completely because my focus has been elsewhere. But it's always there for the taking. I just need to choose to look.

Until next time...

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