#Reverb11 Day 15: Teaching Moment – Sometimes we find teachers in the most unexpected places. Who surprised you as a teacher this year, and what did you learn?
Teaching Moment, or the Moment of Truth
The biggest thing I learned this year was that caring isn’t enough.
I know, it doesn’t sound good. It doesn’t even look good. It’s not something I particularly want to believe. But it’s one of those things where it doesn’t matter if you like it or not, it happens anyway.
I believe in the power of positive thought. I’m a terrible skeptic, so accepting this means that I’ve experienced it myself, felt its strength, beauty and charm coloring me, allowed myself to acknowledge its benevolent balancing act. For all that, I seem to be far better at sending it out to others rather than using it for myself, so this year I feel as if I’ve rediscovered it for myself. It’s like an old friend that I’ve known under other names all my life.
And yet it isn’t always enough.
I’ve seen it both at work and at home. At work, the dementia care side of my company is committed to doing the very best they can for someone living with Alzheimer’s. Note the phrase–it’s “living with,” not “suffering from.” This is because they believe in looking at what the person CAN still do, not at what they can no longer do. I’ve seen and heard miracles since I’ve been working here.
What this also means, though, is that while of course your love and compassion and caring mean the world, you–or someone who can help–need the skills to see those abilities that still exist, to draw them out, to achieve the highest quality of life possible for that person.
Which of course is fantastic. But you can also see how it’s shifting yourself away from the center of the equation, just a little bit, so that you’re truly focused on the other person and not just on how you’re feeling about it. And that can be incredibly tough.
At home, it’s kind of the same. I’ve found myself wishing for that magic wand to wave so that my husband’s Crohn’s will go away. For that magical cocktail of pills or supplements or Reiki or whatever, everything, anything, that will send it dormant and bring him back to balance. I don’t have the skill to reach in and cure it, and that’s what makes me feel so helpless sometimes. This is, of course, why we have doctors, and the experiences of others to draw from.
None of this is saying that caring isn’t absolutely essential. It is. You just sometimes need the other pieces too.
And I guess knowing that makes me feel less helpless, oddly enough–because there ARE resources and people and information to tap into, online and off. Maybe just knowing that we’ve used our caring to find help, or at least find understanding, is as important as the rest.