Wednesday, September 5, 2012

More Mentoring from Those I've Mentored

Yesterday, I wrote about the clever name of the two person marathon relay team I'll br running as a part of in November--Who's the Mentor?--with the reason for this name.  After I wrote, I went to the Y and did 5 miles at 6:40 pace for each mile with 1/4 mile job in between each.  Was that the fastest I've ever run five miles?  No. Was it the best I've ever felt?  No. Was it easier on a treadmill than it would have been outside on a track?  Yes.  But none of that mattered.  It was all about just getting back out there and starting over again getting ready for my next race.  Just as I had talked about yesterday.  Today, also in a move that I consider wise, I'm taking a day off from exercise--or at least a morning.  I may go to the Y later this evening for some biking or rowing before tomorrow's run.  Success doesn't come without some effort--even for those willing to get right back up again.

In any case, I had yet another example of being mentored by someone I had mentored yesterday--even though the person I'd mentored hadn't necessarily intended what she wrote as a mentoring experience. Here is just a part of her post yesterday morning, 

Your sharing a slice of your life or story with someone does not automatically entitle him or her to pass judgment or have an opinion you must observe. Never give someone the power to disempower you in your own life, by discounting what you bring to a table or discrediting your potential.

I read this and the rest of her post and thought about my decision to stay away from posting in Facebook for two months.  A decision driven by my dislike for what I perceived as incivility from both sides of a political argument.  So far, I have gone three entire days without a post (I have been reading a bit but not posting).  No pictures of food.  No fun stories about my boys.  No stories of my boys cooking dinner either with me or for me.  Nothing about running--not even the results of a race I'd planned all summer for.  No comments on my friends' posts.  Nothing.  Silence.  As planned.  

Is it okay?  Well, it is definitely a different way of interacting with the world.  And, I am okay with it as I have chosen new ways to interact with the world.  I have sent emails about running to those with who I care about exchanges about running.  For example, I have sent emails of thanks to all those who helped me along the way (and whose names I know) from Sunday's race.  I have continued with my blog and tweeting and posting to Google+ even if I don't share it with Facebook.  

Facebook is just one forum for sharing a slice of my life and my story with others.  It is not the only forum.  It may not even be the best forum--particularly for certain topics like politics.  Sometimes asynchronous communication--particularly among a diverse group of friends of mine who don't necessarily know each other--can be very damaging as there is no change to explain, the level of "shouting" goes up exponentially, and the discussion just disintegrates.

Later in the day, the same person I had mentored before put up a post about professional disappointment.  Even though I am no longer formally her mentor, I wrote back to her about professional disappointment continuing  throughout one's career.  The exact topic changes, just the theme changes a bit.  I shared with her a story about a situation in which some of my colleagues seem to think that teaching is a zero sum game while others try to think about teaching as an activity in which there can be mutual benefit from courses that slightly overlap and that build a greater whole.

So, whether it is about sharing a slice of my life or sharing my teaching, I have to remember that as the person I'd mentored before posted at the close of her earlier post yesterday (and shifting from third person to first person), "I have the power to dictate who has power in my life; I need to be judicious and discerning. [I need to] Use it for good and don't let anyone stop me."  As I continue to work with colleagues on building up the best education program we can within the context of where I work and as I continue to share on Facebook after the election, I will have to decide whether (and how) to let people in who have proven to be barriers to my healthy and positive view of the world.  Is there any easy answer to that?  No.  My I hurt and hurt others?  Yes. But for my long term health and sanity, some choices must be made.  

No comments:

Post a Comment