We talk a lot about flourishing here at the blog, and that's good because it's the whole point of schooling. Schools exist to promote the long-term flourishing of kids. In the best schools, the adults who facilitate all of this are flourishing, too.
The most rigorous study of human flourishing that I'm aware of is Marty Seligman's. In his aptly-titled Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, Seligman distills the “what” of flourishing into five points. If you've got PERMA, then you might be flourishing.
- Positive emotions
- Engagement (or flow) in your work or hobbies
- Relationships (especially rich and supportive ones)
So Memorial Day has come and gone, and here we are on the brink of summer. Let's take a minute to consider a few questions — for once, not about our students' flourishing, but our own. How will you work toward bringing more of these elements into our own lives this summer? Pick at least one of the following reflective application prompts and write out an answer — either privately or in the comments section of this blog article. Even better, consider sharing what you wrote with a colleague.
- Positive emotion: What might you do this summer that can give you easy access to joy, or contentment, or happiness, or peace? How can you make more space for these kinds of activities?
- Engagement: What kinds of activities take you into that flow state where you lose track of time and, in Jedi speak, become one with the Force? How can you make more time this summer to do things that engage you, all of you?
- Relationships: Building better relationships is often hard, but the fruits last longer. Our relationships outside of school may very well be our longest-lasting legacies. So, here is the prompt: Who would you like to build a stronger relationship with this summer?
- Meaning: This summer, how might you give yourself in service to something bigger than you? How might you use your unique strengths toward a goal or a task that's much bigger than you?
- Accomplishment: What is one thing you'd like to accomplish this summer, outside of the realm of teaching? Perhaps it's a physical accomplishment — climbing a mountain, walking a 5k — or perhaps it's something fun with a loved one — traveling to two states you've never been to with your daughter. What's something you'd like to accomplish this summer? What would give a sense, looking back at your summer this September, of, “Hey — this summer I did something cool.”
Pick one (or more) and just write. If we use our summers poorly, we're bound to lose the steam it takes to run our career's race.
Teaching right beside you,