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Someone asked me recently who my favorite teacher was. Ok, truth be told, it was one of those password questions on a website for Delta. But it got me thinking nonetheless – despite the lack of face-to-face contact.
I thought of Sister Brown at Sacred Heart School. She taught me not to laugh at the class clown’s jokes for fear of being sent to the Bench of Shame in the hallway. I thought of George, a salty sailing instructor who taught me the difference between a beam reach and a broad reach and the trade-offs between thrill-seeking (it’s exhilerating!) and a measured approach (it gets you safely to a destination).
And dare I not forget Mr. and Mrs. Bradley, who taught me that dads can take long baths in the morning and draw cartoons — but not necessarily at the same time — and moms can “wear the pants” and be accountants. There is no right and wrong way regarding family roles.
But all this was long ago, as evidenced by the “wear the pants”reference. Who says that anymore?
When I think of my teachers now, the list is long, and growing daily if I pay attention. There’s the spider in the corner of my office that keeps building an intricate and delicate web, again and again. Quotables“We did then what we knew how to do. Now that we know better, we do better.” — Maya Angelou
We have a tacit agreement regarding each other’s life form, and I watch her with admiration as she spins her surroundings, then sits in anticipation of what might happen next.
There are my kids, who teach me to practice what I preach and that each day is a gift as precious as love and life itself.
But perhaps time, in its relentless march forward, is my biggest teacher right now. It can’t retrace its measured steps. It has momentum and is forward-focused. Yet, paradoxically, it stays precisely in the moment. It’s an ever-present, invisible guide, that never retires from its job, dies, or gets swept up with one swift stroke of a broom and dustpan.
This month’s lead article is about education in recovery. Eleanor Leonard writes beautifully of two young people and their journeys through recovery and college. Their stories symbolize the courage that many people in recovery find, and the faith that if they continue to take the right steps, that their one precious life will follow.
Regular columnist John Driggs writes in this issue about the costs and benefits of shame, and sheds light on the various faces that shame wears. And Mary Lou Logsdon speaks to us of mindfulness and social connection — two key ingredients in the recipe for resilience.
In fact, this issue of The Phoenix Spirit is filled with many tidbits and teachings. We gently offer them to you, to savor, enjoy, and pass on.
A special thank-you to Delta Airlines for allowing me this journey, without ever having to leave my home.