The One Thing


In my work, there is one thing still missing after more than twenty years in the field, patience. Not with the children, but with the pace of my work. My first work experiences were in retail where I learned time is money and speed is important. These ideas may be influencing my work to this day.

Often, I am attempting to get through my work quickly without any real reason for it. Working quickly may have been useful in my previous jobs, but my work today consists of researching and writing. Still, I get an internal feeling that whatever I am working on is not moving fast enough and I need to move quicker, even though when I begin a project the intention is to explore information and ideas in a thoughtful manner. 

As I contemplated the origins of always wanting to move quickly I realized that the retail space and the classroom environment are very similar in energy and motion.

The early childhood education environment is an active space filled with materials, people coming and going, and children who are often in a state of movement or transition. As educators, maybe our brain becomes wired to the movement and speed of the classroom environment and cannot slow down

Thinking and reading about this subject I came to a few conclusions. One is that being an educator, writer, or whatever we call our vocation is a journey. Most of us do not work in a factory and our work is a path of discovery, accomplishment, failure, learning, and application.

Our skill in work is defined by our degree of understanding, how we take a certain knowledge base and craft ideas or solutions that match the situation we are in. The key is collecting continuing knowledge in our field and then applying that knowledge as necessary to move forward. 

Employing past experience and self-evaluation I realized that I have always been an active person. When I was young I never slowed down and to this day in my spare time, I choose activities that are physical and require plenty of movement.

Applying this to my work I need to help the active person inside of me by practicing skills that balance out the urge to move quickly. Taking time to journal, some solitude breaks, or time to meditate may help balance the feeling that I am not moving fast enough. Trying these new practices is an adaptation to the challenge I am currently working on.

This is the key for all of us in our work. Find the area you want to improve and break it down to its elements. Inside of the elements are clues to the real nature of the problem and a path for moving forward. The path is a process of trial and error until we find a solution that moves us forward. By taking small steps forward we will arrive at our chosen destination.