December Retreat Reflection… ideas into change

As a homeschooler, I often work with just myself. There’s just not the large amount of people in my community that there are in public schools, and I know everyone well enough that I almost never work with someone new. I love working by myself- it gives me a chance to think things through and run with my ideas as far as I desire. When I have been in public school a couple years in the past, what I mainly felt while working with others was a sense of clipped ideas. I have always been a big dreamer- it’s a great way to be, and my ideas seem very reasonable to me. However, I noticed right away in school there was a lack of wanting to work- your desire is to get off with as little work as possible. This always bothered me, because my partners never wanted to really do anything. I did.

The first step I see in creating a situation where people feel free to talk- to share ideas and feel that they won’t be caged, is to bring together a group of people who are REALLY passionate. I noticed right away, while talking with people on the first day in What’s the Story, that we were all very focused- we each had something that we loved- something that spoke to us. It is so engaging when you find someone who will flush with excitement and talk about what they love fervently. It doesn’t matter what the topic is- it’s always meaningful if someone is passionate about it. You can see it in them.

I also feel it’s important to respect where others are at, both who they are, and where their ideas are at. Respect is powerful. To create a group that works well, we also have to have the love of our topic, as well as cooperation between all. It feels good to be fair- it’s human nature.

My story this weekend began with a slow, gradual work time, where I began to find that although my ideas were there in my mind, it was hard to get them out so others could understand. That was by far the toughest part of this retreat.  I came in with a clear image of what I was doing- still with a few loose ends to tie up, but generally feeling confident. It was a hard process to talk with others and explain to them what I was doing, why, and how. It became easier as I became comfortable in myself. I do feel that creating a safe, understanding environment with people who want to hear you is especially important for creating trust- and therefore change. I also feel that being confident and loving yourself really influences the way you talk and how you feel around others. It all starts inside.

What’s next? I am a one-person group, and have chosen to focus on a topic which has many different sides. What I would love to focus on next is exploring those sides and capturing them in interviews.  There is always more thinking I can develop to make my topic more refined. Since I am a one woman show, I will be the coordinator of interviews as well as researcher. I am thoroughly enjoying pursuing what I love and what speaks to me.

Photo: Tony Palmer

Aidan Palmer

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