There’s a funny thing that happens in education. Each level – from 1st to grad school – has a tendency to grumble about the earlier grades, assuming that the reasons that the kids are [fill in the blank] is because of something the previous instructors are or are not doing.
And then, on those rare opportunities when we are able to meet with other grade levels, we quickly realize that the struggles and the efforts and the goals are the same at every level.
And as soon as we realize that we are on the same side – the side of doing everything we can to help these kids succeed in school and in life – the conversation shifts. From one of blame and frustration to one of problem solving and sharing ideas.
The struggles haven’t changed. The kids are still [fill in the blank]. But by changing the way we look at it, what we’re looking at changes.
This mental shift is relatively easy to do in education. After all, we’re a group of coworkers brainstorming ideas to help kids that are ultimately only ours for a year. We care. We’re invested. But it’s not personal.
It’s a lot harder to do in a marriage. Because there, everything feels personal.
Even when it’s not.
And it’s easy to forget that all so often you really have the same goals.
Even when you have different ideas about how to reach them.
There’s a magic that happens when you realize that you’re on the same side.
A laying down of the defenses because you’re no longer feeling like you’re being attacked.
A willingness to listen because their words aren’t against you, they’re towards the goal.
An openness to new ideas because you’re more willing to bend when you’re not bracing.
And energy can be put towards solving problems rather than placing blame.
The magic that happens when we realize we’re on the same side.