We are hardwired social beings. As such, our lives are enmeshed with the lives of the people around us. Our fate is only partly in our own hands. Our inner social circle affects not just the trajectory of our lives but the way with live it and who we are in it.
One of the great 19th century American education reformers, Elizabeth Peabody, once wrote in a letter that:
“No being of a social nature can be entirely beyond the tendency to fall to the level of his associates.”
And so, perhaps we do become the average of the people with whom we most associate.
Look around you. In spaces and lounges in which educators gather in our schools, we see the temptation to cling to people who see the world the same way that we do, or who applaud the same things, or who reflect and amplify a shared sense of injustice. And that’s fine. Or maybe it’s not. It all depends on how you are intending to ‘turn up’ every day and who you hope to become.