I am currently reading Brene Brien’s book Daring Greatly. In it she uses this really great metaphor to compare those we choose to be vulnerable with and those we should think twice about sharing our vulnerabilities. She calls it the arena, and it can be anything: work, life, a specific relationship, anything.
She says that those who are in the arena with us deserve our vulnerability. Those who are in the stands, not only do they not deserve our vulnerability, but they also don’t deserve our head space. I take her ideas to mean that if you want to be in this (and this can be about anything) with me to solve problems, to work together, or to simply be with one another doing whatever it is we do- then I will make my self open to you. You not only deserve my openness, but our relationship quite possibly depends on it.
At the end of the school year, those of us with reflective practices, also have our students reflect on their learning. It is a powerful process to look back at a school year or a semester to see how far you’ve come. This week I am seeing that my students see themselves in the same arena as me. They are fighting alongside me to become stronger writers. They sling their words into the world hoping to make an effect. We are in that space together and there is something really empowering about that.
I am also grateful this week for my colleagues who are in the ring with me. It is a really hard job, this teaching gig, we need people in the arena with us. We need to be with those people who help us become stronger. We need people in the arena with us to help turn down the voices from the stands.