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It’s difficult to come up with interesting ways to lead a discussion.  We have all done it, we’ve all had to make up the silly game or write out the rules, and it often falls flat because… well… we’ve all seen it before.  Doing it online, as I’ve had to this term, can be even more difficult.

A friend of mine is leading this week’s discussion topic on Holistic Education, and he came up with a great starter:

“We would like to begin this week’s discussion on wholeness with a short activity.  It is our belief that in order to provide learners with an environment that nurtures their own wholeness, it is essential that the teacher strives to promote wholeness in their lives.

Here is your first activity for the week:

Describe a typical day in your life.  As you describe different parts of your day, consider the physical, mental and spiritual activities that you do.  Is there an aspect of your being (physical, mental and spiritual) that you tend to neglect?  How does this translate into your work/teaching?”

This is a challenge in the best possible ways.

It took me no less than a thousand words to lay out my typical day, and I won’t share all of that with you, but the process was incredibly cathartic and I will pull out a few of the better quotes that came from it:

  • I don’t know why I set an alarm clock anymore, since my 2-year-old daughter is unfailingly up by 6:45 AM.  She politely calls for one of us (Mama or Dada) until we come get her from her crib; after that we optimistically lay her down in bed with us for a short nap, but that usually degrades into a game of “pokey-pokey-face-kicky.”
  • I try hard to make sure that I eat lunch in the staffroom at least a few times each week, since that is one of the few times that I interact socially with other adults, but I admit that I am prone to bouts of social anxiety that keep me from going there every day.
  • I try to make up recipes whenever I can; with the exception of baking, I consider cookbooks cheating.
  • My daughter insists on at least two stories.  Her current favourites are Not a Stick, 47 Beavers on the Big Blue Sea, and Tyrannosaurus Drip (I make sure to read all the tyrannosauruses’ parts as if they were voiced by Winston Churchill, circa. 1943).
  • Before I put her to bed, I always ask her the same three questions:  “Are you going to have a good sleep?” (“Ya!”)  “Are you going to have sweet dreams?”  (“Ya!”)  “Are you going to sleep in?”  (“Ya!”)  (The last response from my daughter is invariably a lie.)  I then lay her down, and with a very, very few exceptions over her two years, she sleeps soundly until the morning.
  • I’m trying to get better at committing that time for just the two of us, and for asking people to watch Abby for a night so we can get out from 4:30 to some irresponsibly late hour (like 10:30) without being interrupted by computers, tests, or emails.

As a final exercise, I put the entire response into a Wordle just to see what would happen.  I got this:

Take from it what you will.

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