Sit Right Here

Love and belonging are irreducible needs of all men, women, and children. We’re hard-wired for connection – it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The absence of love, belonging, and connection always leads to suffering.  

Brene Brown, Daring Greatly 

Amongst the pages of Daring Greatly (subtitled How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead), Brene Brown expounds upon the concept of shame; outlining both the power of shame, as well as how vulnerability and other forms of “shame resilience” work to combat shame.

My copy of the book is laced with blue ink; ballpoint parentheses and brackets around significant lines, such as the one above. Underlines tracing short phrases; curling, half-way-legible notes tucked in the space between text and binding. I read the book last spring, some six months ago, but lessons I learned, notes I wrote, ways to apply the text still come to mind; nuggets of truth rising to the surface whenever applicable.

I’m more mindful now of the language I use when correcting my students. Shame thrives when labels are placed on individuals, rather than behaviors. Is my child rude, or did he say something rude? Is she a disruption, or is she acting in a disruptive way just now? Seven hours a day, five days a week, I hold the souls of children in my hand; I dare not shame them into submission, even less into conformity to whatever my preferences happen to be.

Yet there is another kind of shame; a more furtive, perhaps self-serving variety that can wend its way into the classroom unannounced, unnoticed. It’s the shame of isolation. The shame of your mistake has made you unworthy of interaction just at this moment. 

It’s easier, of course, to send the loudest child across the room. To tuck him in a corner, or to correct him from afar. It’s easy to snap when I’m just tossing words into the air anyway.

Hush. Stop talking. Sit still. Move away from them. 

But I can feel the shame trickling in, collecting in small pools around me feet- and his- even as I scold and order, pushing him further away in my annoyance, or my eagerness to no longer be inconvenienced.

Its ineffective, too. Distance from authority, from positive peer interactions, from reconciliation, can do very little to reinstate the small noisemaker, the over-energetic learner. How can she do better when she has no more chances to even try? How can I guide her when she’s so far away that my voice must be raised just to speak to her across the crowd?

No, I’ll not send them away anymore; to the far table, to their own corner, to the back door. Instead, each correction comes with a beckon, drawing him in, motioning her closer. Come here. Come talk to me. Come sit by me. Come towards me, just as I reach out to you. I don’t give up on you, I don’t push you away. 

You’re worthy, you’re important, and just now, you’re sitting right beside me.

~Natalia

Advertisements

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bbgreatblueheron@gmail.com
    Sep 15, 2017 @ 04:09:16

    Really thoughtful, lovely post. May Jesus give you the moment by moment power to follow through on it. Blessings to you, Natalie

    💜Brynn

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Reply

  2. Tammy Shull
    Sep 15, 2017 @ 07:17:25

    Well then, my dear, that was fantastic❤️ and😢. Shall I by the book?

    I love you, Mom

    And, not to distract from the sensitivity or seriousness of the post, I did want to mention that I was called Tamster, thank you very much…

    >

    Reply

  3. alison
    Sep 16, 2017 @ 09:17:02

    I love this <3 Brene Brown is on my list of authors to read, and this post gives me added encouragement to dive in (at some point, in my few spare moments!).

    I am constantly fighting this battle with my own kiddos – the temptation to send them away when they're having a hard time, because ohmygosh, it is so much easier, but knowing they need presence, they need love, they need reassurance, they need help, they need to learn. This is such important stuff and yet so hard to put into practice, day in and day out. I love your encouragement to persist at it :)

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: