Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Turning Passion into Action

I believe in signs.  The universe (or God to me) has a way of showing us what we are supposed to be doing.  We can be in tune with the energy and go with the flow or we can tune it out, ignore it, and forge ahead in the direction we are going, as wrong as it may  be.  
Passion has been a buzz word in my home lately.  I have shared my belief that if we follow our passions and try to find a way to merge passion with livelihood, work is never “work”.  Sometimes adults get trapped in jobs or careers because they are lucrative.  They expend tremendous amounts of energy, time and resources in a career that allows us to live a certain lifestyle. But when our passions lie elsewhere, our job is just work.  How does a person, who may be the highest income earner in a family, walk away from that security and comfort to pursue a dream or a passion in a completely unrelated field?  It may not be possible.
When I was younger, my passion was international relations.  Once upon a time I thought I would be in the fashion industry as a buyer and travel to the fashion capitals of the world.  In college, I thought currency trading would be a “cool job”.  I majored in international business, fell one credit short of a minor in economics, and envisioned myself in a very different place than the one I am in right now.  
For years I used to have a job that I loved.  Every day was a great day.  I moved the United Nation’s Field Office Personnel around the world.  I would sit at my cubicle with my atlas open and geography came to life.  I dealt with customs agents, freight lines, cargo airliners, as well as my co-workers onsite at the UN.  No day was boring.  No day was the same.  One of my best days was when I received the biggest bouquet of flowers ever for helping clear a very difficult shipment through US customs.  My worst day was when I sent a car to Venezuela instead of Brazil! I would probably still be at my job if it were not for the owners, who were men of questionable character.  Well, maybe not... since I believe that I was led to mentor a young girl as part of the I Have A Dream Foundation just so that my interest would be piqued in the possibility of teaching.......
Although I only taught for a short time at the most idyllic public school in the world, the experience empowered me to make the decision to homeschool my girls.  I had the opportunity to learn the craft of teaching from truly amazing men and women who opened up my world to art journaling, reflective teaching practices, hands on math activities, nature studies and more.  While my thoughts on public schools have evolved since my teaching days, which were pre-No Child Left Behind and the before the testing craze swept our country, I took the best of my beliefs and incorporated new ones, forming my own very unique philosophy of education.
This rambling post is really my attempt to determine my passion.  We have read about people with passion and drive, like Clara Barton.  We have been instructed by people with passion, like Geoff our dig facilitator.  We have had spiritual enlightenment by our passionate Priest who spoke Sunday about using your passion and spirituality to do great things.  We have had literary enlightenment when we had the pleasure to be in the company of Jim Weiss.  Now we need to connect these experiences to our lives.  What are we passionate about?

I have come to realize I am passionate about developing the gift of literacy.  My art journaling classes are something that I spend a great deal of time planning for, participating in, and reflecting on.  I have a goal to incorporate new ideas into my sessions to expand what we are doing and challenge the children to push themselves harder, write more, share more, build on each other’s creativity..... and of course I will blog my every step!

This fall my children will have the chance to put their passion into action as well.  They will be given time, instruction, and guidance to create a project based on their passion.  Any project at all.  It could be an outreach project similar to Lilah’s DI project for animal conservation, it could be a for-profit project such as the creation of a business, or it could be an event that raises money for a specific purpose.  The possibilities are endless.  It is one thing for me to continue to expose my children to passionate adults in their community, but at some point, I have to provide them with the chance to follow their own passions by doing something great.  No longer will I ask them what they want to be when they grow up, I will ask them what they want to be right now.  And from that one complex question, we will see where the answer leads us.  

To say I am excited for this upcoming educational year is an understatement.  We are carefully choosing our activities, building collaborations with other families, and creating new opportunities for our children to excel in their chosen field of interest.  It has taken me 2+ years of homeschooling to get to this place of peace, but I feel like where we are is exactly where we are supposed to be.

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