Over the winter, I ran a short course with a group of alternative education teens at a local high school. It was a guarded crowd, and they had lots of different ideas about how they would like our time together to look. When it was over, I anonymously asked them what they thought of it. Four said it wasn’t for them. Seven said they liked it and/or they thought it was useful (not always both). There were a number of others who never attended. The teachers decided not to move forward with another round, as they felt it was not serving all of their students.
I have been reflecting on that feedback, and my reaction to that decision. I have wondered if there was something I could have done to make it more accessible, or if it could have made sense to serve those students who saw the value. Either could be true, and it is worth reflecting on for my next program. But when I catch myself stuck in a cycle of unproductive thinking, I come back to this:
All I can do is offer what I know to the best of my ability. All I can do is get the best training I possibly can, go in with the right intentions, and be reflective of my practice. I truly couldn’t have done better knowing what I knew, being who I was, in those circumstances. This is not a defensive stance, but a statement of what is true.
What might it be like to believe that we do the best we can given the circumstances of any given moment? Might we have more space to forgive ourselves? To grow rather than shrink? To learn?
BONUS: What if we also believed that of those around us?