Sunday, August 18, 2013

Giving and Receiving

“Gracious acceptance is an art - an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving..”
-Alexander McCall Smith

Especially in the first weeks in the classroom, with new children, and children returning from weeks in a different kind of order, I find myself getting caught in a mode of giving. I am observing and responding, and most of the energy is going out in giving: instruction, hugs, reminders, non-verbal communication, in showing how, in connecting and helping. I sit back and observe, sure, but my interactions are focussed a lot on getting things headed in a certain direction. Influencing. Modelling.

I was thinking about the opposite of what I have been doing. I am spending so much time giving that I'm forgetting to take care to receive fully. In beginning again the balance should be tipped this way: to listening, and welcoming, and creating space, and being available in the moment to acknowledge what the children are sharing. I see that they have so much to give, so many ideas, and words, and silent successes, stories, questions, and love. Especially when we are meeting for the first time, or again after a long time of absence, I imagine how nice for them to find an adult that is ready to receive them. I remind myself to graciously wait, quietly, and receive what they are offering.

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart.”
Brené Brown

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