Day 17: Using Your Authentic Voice

On Friday, I got to spend the day witnessing mindfulness hip-hop artist JusTme perform to a crowd of preK-8 kids in midcoast Maine. To watch preK-ers rapt with attention for 45 minutes, then turn around and see 7th graders willing to get up and dance in front of one another in the middle of a school day, was quite a sight to behold. JusTme was engaging, charismatic, and attentive, using his skills and beliefs about the world to share mindfulness with these students. I was inspired.

I will never be able to teach mindfulness through hip-hop. That’s not the point. To watch someone so authentically share what I feel passionate about, and do so in a way that is completely different than I might, inspired me to stay connected with the way mindfulness lights me up.

Parker Palmer talks about how teaching should not be prescriptive… that we will all teach best differently, and unless we are free to do so, we will feel stymied and impotent. He says, “In every class I teach, my ability to connect with my students, and to connect them with the subject, depends less on the methods I use than on the degree to which I know and trust my selfhood—and am willing to make it available and vulnerable in the service of learning.”

May we all continue to explore our “selfhood” in service of our teaching.