Growing into Goodness

Yesterday was another day of challenging news, and although I’ve vowed to give myself some space from all of the listening and reading, I’m having a hard time staying away from it.  I want to know what’s going on in the world.  I want to be informed so I can be a better teacher, leader, and citizen.  Toward the end of the day I went to my favorite bookstore, Changing Hands, to pick up some books I’d ordered to use in my writing classes with our two oldest classes.  I wasn’t quite ready to return home, so I took a walk in the nearby neighborhood.  Along the way I stepped beneath a tree that caught my attention.  The branches were filled with vibrant yellow and orange leaves, highlighted by brilliant blue sky peeking through spaces between the leaves.  I paused to take a few deep breaths, which momentarily allowed me to release some of the heaviness I felt in response to all the news.  It was a brief moment, yet powerful.

This morning I took a long look through one of the books, We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices.    It’s a treasure chest full of inspiring essays, poems, photographs, and extraordinary art.  One of the poems that caught my eye was “a day of small things,” by Tonya Bolden.     Bolden invites the reader to “have a day of small things,” offering acts of kindness, noticing a small detail, and beginning to “make a habit of having just one day a week of small things.”  She writes that this is how “it is with growing into goodness.”

I love this idea of growing into goodness through small things.  This approach appeals to me especially during these times when much of life, especially the news, is overwhelming.  I find my work collaborating with the teachers includes frequent opportunities to engage in small conversations that add up to big ideas and shifts in our practices.  In addition to working with teachers, I appreciate the conversations,  questions, and chances to help children develop their voices.  Moments of listening to their comments open my heart to hope.  Hearing teacher breakthroughs with student progress gives inspiration to keep the work going.  

The recent availability of the COVID-19 vaccine for our staff is a not-so-small thing in our lives that will definitely grow us toward goodness.  It won’t change our need for vigilance on a daily basis any time soon, but it will provide those of us who choose to receive it a safety net for our own health and contribute to the protection of others.  That, along with continuing to wear masks, wash hands, and make mindful choices regarding behaviors and social practices, will move us more quickly toward brighter days of goodness.