Grafitti of a face and the words "what now" on a white wall.
Academic life

Stay Human: A mini blog post

Wow, so, it’s really hard keeping up with everything these days, isn’t it? I’ve had a lot of time on my hands since mid-March but many things, my coaching blog included, have slipped to the wayside. Time is contracting and expanding in new and unpredictable ways from day to day. For a planner like me, being forced into the moment and out of my bullet journal is destabilizing.

I also like to do things right, and properly. So if I don’t have 900 nicely-formed words expressing helpful and cogent thoughts, I can’t possibly have anything to share on my blog. Those kind of thoughts have been in short supply. But in the can-do spirit of these trying times, I’m going to put a couple half-formed ideas out there in the form of some mini-blogs, which I hope to share more regularly. (Hope being the operative word).

Thought for today: Stay human. Or, to say it like a coach: Values over content.

Michael Franti’s 2001 song (and album of the same name) Stay Human opens with a verse that seems like it was written for the pandemic:

Starvation is the creation of the devil, a rebel
I’m bringin’ food to the people like a widow
Bringin’ flowers to a grave in the middle
Of the city isolation is a riddle
To be surrounded by a million other people
But to feel alone like a tree in a desert
Dried up like the skin of a lizard
But full of color like the spots of a leopard
Drum and bass pull me in like a shepherd
Scratch my itch like a needle on a record
Full of life like a man gone to Mecca
Sky high like an eagle up soaring
I speak low but I’m like a lion roaring
Baritone like a Robeson recordin’
I’m givin’ thanks for bein’ human every morning

Like many other teachers and professors out there, I’m worried about my students, about what my courses will look like in the fall, about how I’ll connect with and teach people over some yet-to-be-determined distance. So my first learning objective will simply be this: Stay human.

In other words (coach’s words), I’m going to start with values and let the content flow from there. What values do I (do you) want to show up with, model, and sustain through whatever form our teaching takes in the future? Compassion. Patience. Vulnerability. Justice. Curiosity. Solidarity. Those are a few that come to mind for me.

I don’t exactly what that translates to in terms of topics, readings, assignments, and lectures. But right now, it’s as good a place to start as any.

Stay human, friends.

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