I learned an important lesson this week on feeling valued.
Usually while you are in the midst of living, you curse, complain and suffer through when bad things happen or you are uncomfortable. You don’t see the message or what you are learning until AFTER the fact.
I am teaching kids design and storytelling. My design class is eager and they carry their sketchbooks around to every class designing pants outfits and dresses during break times. They burst through the doors with enthusiasm ready to sketch. Teaching this group is invigorating and fun. I want to come up with a ton of ideas to inspire them and nurture their budding talents. They value the class and the subject.
My story class has been…a challenge. Part of the issue is we aren’t set up with the computer programs or cameras yet and so there is a lag on what I can cover vs. what I want to cover. The group of kids are all over the place in attention. They are rude, talk over me when I am trying to teach, and have little enthusiasm for the projects. I have one child that tends to finish all assignments in two minutes, handing over her notebook crying out “Done!” as if it is a race. I plan my curriculum the day before with such love, and spice it up with inspiration and fun, hoping it will catch on with this group of students. After the second try with this group, I took one look at them and set it straight. I told them we were thinking of canceling the course because this was not rewarding for anyone. I wasn’t going to be a babysitter, or jump up and down and entertain. I was physically and emotionally drained and defeated when I left that class and I never want to feel that way teaching. After my big speech the kids focused on the exercise before them, but I had already made my decision.
This was a turning point for me and I am surprised there wasn’t a big lightbulb that burst over my head in the middle of the speech. I don’t usually just give up. I have a long-standing habit of giving so much where it isn’t valued. I just keep giving and giving, and if that doesn’t work, I try harder. I was able to FEEL the devaluing while teaching in that classroom. Perhaps the feeling was shame and insecurity first because I internalized their devaluing as rejection. Then I just felt hopeless and depressed and later, the drain.
If they don’t see the value of what you are giving, you are going to feel a huge energy loss.
It’s time to look back over everything I give and decide, where is it valued? Keep those. And instead of keep trying and trying and putting it out there (in all aspects of life) only offer where its worth is reflected back.