Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Courage to Teach

While I am not a teacher in a school, I am surrounded by them in my life. I know that I have a teacher's outlook on things no matter what my title currently says. So, I picked up The Courage to Teach at a garage sale last summer and finally got around to reading it. WOW! Any leader, any teacher...this is a good read.

Thanks to Amy Dutt for introducing me to Parker Palmer, giving credit where credit is due.

Some quotes from the book that struck me:

Good education may leave students deeply dissatisfied, at least for awhile. I do not mean the dissatisfaction that comes from teachers who are inaudible, incoherent or incompetent. But students who have been well served by good teachers may walk away angry – angry that their prejudices have been challenged and their sense of self shaken.

The hallmark of the community of truth is in its claim that reality is a web of communal relationships, and we can know reality only by being in community with it.
We invite diversity in the (learning) community not because it is politically correct but because diverse viewpoints are demanded by the manifold mysteries of great things.

Becoming a leaders of that sort – one who opens, rather than occupies space – requires the same inner journey we have been exploring for teachers. It is a journey beyond fear and into authentic selfhood, a journey toward respecting otherness and understanding how connected and resourceful we all are. As those inner qualities deepen, the leader becomes better able to open spaces in which people feel invited to create communities of mutual support.

The decision to live an undivided life, made by enough people over a long enough period of time, may eventually have social and political impact. It is a deeply personal decision, made for the sake of one’s one identity and integrity. To decide to live divided no more is less a strategy for attacking other people’s beliefs than an uprising of the elemental need for one’s own beliefs to govern and guide one’s life.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tights and a skirt

I often get looks at the airport. It happened again today.
I am fairly good about dressing up for the airport anymore – more professional, mainly because I am usually off to a meeting or some other event that I need to look nice. I usually think that is fake me. I am really the pjs and t-shirt girl, but I can dress up and act the part.
When I am not dressed up – today’s jeans and pullover would be an example, I feel more at home with myself and yet I get the looks.
“Uh, you need to go in that line, lady” was the line at the checkin today.
“No..you can’t come this way.” was the line at the security gate.
Both times, I was right. I have my “I’m special at Southwest ‘cause I fly a lot” card to get me through both the check-in line and a different security line. I am used to being mistaken for a misguided college student and just going with it. Though, today, the security line was really long….so I asked the woman at the security line…”if I show you my card, can I go in that line?” “Oh, yes, maam…I am sorry”, she said, as she let me in the short line.
I could talk about how young folks (or looking young folks) have to prove themselves, or talk about the misjudging that happens in our society for people of color. All good topics, all good journal and blog topics. But not for today…
Thanks for my spiritual director and personal coach (yes, I have both right now!), I have been thinking about two topics that are quite linked – What is God telling you by how you view God? And How to be authentic at work…so as this all is happening today at LAX, I think bingo! This is it!
I feel more comfortable being me – the jeans, sweatshirt, the caring, sweet, passionate church girl from Ohio that loves Chicago more than anything – I think that is the real me. Something that God is constantly asking of me – don’t pretend, Krista, just be you. That’s my image of me.
When I put on tights or even pantyhose and a skirt and look like a business woman, I feel like I am lying in a way….or when I go to these meetings and think – I can’t believe they want my opinion on this, or what do you mean this is solely my decision, or when people are nervous about how I might see them, I can’t believe it – because I don’t see me being anything but passionate church Chicago girl in jeans – that is what I want people to see.
But the thing is….it was me that flew all those freaking miles to get the “I’m special at Southwest ‘cause I fly a lot” card, I secretly like tights enough to wear them under pants sometimes, I am good at working through issues that I am asked to, I am good at paying attention to details in a mulitude of places, I wrote a book (in my jeans, but its. A. book.), I am good at what I do in my skirt and my tights.
Maybe I feel like I have left my true, my whole self out, because I don’t really acknowledge that I, in crass terms, “know my shit” instead of my previously held idea that people needed to learn to know me to find the sweet, compassionate, Chicago loving girl inside. Until I claim the power and respect that I already have, maybe I can’t be content in my skirt or my jeans.
Maybe I should do more tight wearing under my jeans……

Saturday, March 6, 2010

All in a week's time

The other day I realized a reason that my Mom and I may feel the need to go try new things other than just reading the paper (or in my case, blogs) and knowing about stuff. We really take seriously the authority of someone when they say, “You really should go see….experience…..eat….” I complain at times about being such a rule follower, but this may help me take seriously the need to experience and learn. So after that realization, I have been thinking about what I have experienced in the last while that I see as important – and in the last week, it has been a lot.

Last Saturday, I went to a Diversity in Missions Conference at Trinity International Seminary. I have lots of notes, but I found it to be a great way to do some more thinking about the work I am in, how exciting, how scary, and maybe at times profound.

After a day of thinking, I felt the need to veg but not at home where work loomed. Jim and I finally made it to Calumet Fisheries, a highly recommended white box of a place that serves seafood and fries – and that is it. Recently, this hole in the wall got recognized by the Beard Awards – sort of the Oscar of food awards. The funny thing is – the place is such a dive, the owner had to google the Beard Awards!

I also registered the KERK team in The Doughman – so we are officially headed to Durham, NC to eat and then run! The registration sold out in 15 minutes, so glad I did a little juggling to get it done!

Thursday afternoon, Becky and I went to a Sacred Spaces event entitled, “Discovering Chicago’s Religious Art and Relics” I was amazed at the time. First, what I really liked about the art we talked about was that it was used…vestments, altars, and pieces that were still used in worship. Useable art is important to me! I am also keenly aware of the importance of learning more about worship spaces for history and sacred sake.

Friday, Becky and I did a variety of things – none of which I have ever done. I was planning on us attending a part of “Redefining Neighborly Love” at Wheaton Bible Church – and so when it was a nice day decided we should take advantage of several other suburban options. First, we went to Morton Arboretum, one of those places that I heard was a must see. While, I want to go back in the Spring or the Fall – it was really cool and a great place to celebrate Chicago as it was going above 32 degrees. Second, we headed over to the Billy Graham Center on Wheaton College’s campus. It has a museum that tells the story of evangelical Christians since arriving in the US. It was interesting. While we were there, an exhibit was still being put up of work by Timothy Botts, an artist that I really find meaning in. This exhibit was of work that was based on Spirituals – Bound for Glory. Oh, I could have bought prints of each and every one. I bought two. I highly recommend this free exhibit.
Today, on the first nice weekend in Chicago, we headed to the Zoo. It was pig day at the Zoo, and I was able to get Jim to pose by this car that was a pig!