Many will soon join the frenzy of New Year’s resolutions and new beginnings, and there is good in that; however, the real power of a new year is in the endings.
While a new year brings new opportunities and challenges, it’s the endings we acknowledge that allow us to begin again. Transition experts tell us that there can be no new beginning without an ending. New relationships often begin because others have ended. New jobs occur because some were lost, or left. New opportunities happen because previous ones played out.
I have never been one to focus on the resolution phenomenon, and research tells us they often don’t pan out. Oscar Wilde put it this way: “Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.” Whether or not you like to make them, realize there is often more power in your endings. You might not be able to make a new start, but maybe you can make a new ending, which usually leads to a new beginning.
The Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, said: “New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” The truth is that every ending can be a new beginning–if we empower it to be.
Perhaps it is enough this year to embrace Arthur Ashe’s approach: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
Turning the page can be a powerful feeling. At this new place, let’s take stock of what has ended, acknowledge the endings, and have the emotional power to begin again…in all kinds of ways.
I have been fortunate to have known many great teachers in my academic, business, and personal areas of life. As a student, and later as a secondary English teacher, I saw many everyday heroes in the trenches with students, handling a myriad of needs, challenges, and issues, laboring often unseen and unnoticed–except by their students.
Changed lives were an everyday occurrence, and parents were grateful. The love of learning was on display every day.
As a teacher, I loved teaching. I still miss the daily interactions with students and other fellow learner-teachers. In this post, I won’t talk about what I don’t miss.
This not only happens in public education. It also happens in corporate America when learning professionals help learners develop their competencies so that they can be successful in their jobs. When one of these learners closes my office door and says, “I need to talk about something,” the real learning often begins, and it is for real. I am honored when learners share like that, and it is a sacred trust.
I have been privileged to be in the presence of some great teachers, who have these qualities:
- A genuine love of learning in their own lives, which they model every day
- A caring spirit for others, demonstrated in how they treat those they teach
- A heart of servant leadership–the willingness to be humble, real, and approachable
- The ability to inspire others to learn, even those that have not been very successful learners
- A genuine joy in the accomplishments and success of their students
What might you add to the list?