Hello, and welcome to my new blog. I don’t really know why it’s taken me so long to get around to writing one – I share my thoughts fairly generously with the world most days. It’s just that, till now, the world hasn’t been fully alerted to its good fortune. Today that is finally going to be put right (write?).
My main topic, the rationale and impetus behind ‘going public’ at all, will be human behaviour. Modesty belongs with reticence and they both lie in the past. Human behaviour is what I major in, and it was largely human behaviour I was talking about when I was invited to speak at the rather wonderful Sunday Times Festival of Education, held at Wellington College on the 18th and 19th June. Nominally it was Resilience I was there to talk about, but what is resilience, if not the best marker of really successful human behaviour?
Another day I may go into a bit more detail about why I think I’m entitled to talk about this with a degree of certainty and enthusiasm, but right now I’m going to explain why I’m not about to talk about anything with….
And that’s because I felt assaulted by the repetition of the wretched word during my two days at the Festival. This is not a criticism of all the speakers who felt it necessary to repeat it ad nauseam during their slots, but it jolly well is of a world that seems to think you can’t function as an ethical and concerned teacher (never mind human being) without going over the top with feelings, the new world’s morality, it seems.
My own talk began, rather neatly I felt, with my literally binning some of the tired and overworn educational captions/clichés that others were promoting. Such words as these were written on the slips that hit the bottom of the basket:
Empowerment, Mindfulness, Feelings, Stimulation, Passion (ahead of the curve there), Enrichment, Happiness, Self- esteem, and Positive Thinking
Because I believe that these are ideas which have been oversold, often by American academics, and are now definitely too much over here.
So, reader, I binned them.
I binned them because they are feelgood ideas that pander to the current obsession with both self and self-gratification – the last preferably instant. In essence, they are all about the most important person in the world, ‘Me’.
But the reality of Resilience is that truly resilient people do not primarily think about themselves. Far from it. And neither do they respond to anything and everything with – Passion, that hijacker of sense, and sorry excuse for everything from the bullying of others – ‘he/she is simply passionate about their cause’. Ergo they must be right and must take centre stage, to the detriment of those who feel that not being passionate, but merely believing something to be sensible or obvious gives them too little investment in their cause to have an equal right to speak up and speak out – to a sloppiness of thinking and/or of performance, just because they really, really care.
I’ve worked with far too many teachers who have felt that having a passion for their subject (or at least their personal take on some aspect of their subject, occasionally political, occasionally sociological) gives them the right to promote various degrees of nonsense, instead of acknowledging to their students that all ideas might have similar value, or at least that opposing claims to value need to be weighed and judged dispassionately.
Passion is an ignis fatuus. It leads us alluringly into emotional and intellectual bogs. Reader beware!
But what about those other binned words, and what about the truth of Resilience?
Till next time………
THERAPY, COUNSELLING AND RESILIENCE TRAINING FOR MANAGING COMMUNICATION AND BEHAVIOUR DIFFICULTIES