“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”
Students learn so much from the way a respected teacher goes about their life as an educator. Of course, we need to keep our eyes open for any signs that a student might need overt support. But in living well, in role-modelling wellbeing, we help define and create a culture that illuminates a pathway forward for our students.
Their wellbeing is directly affected by our wellbeing. There will be cloudy and foggy days when we’re not quite as bright, but it is our obligation to shine.
There’s a slightly quaint quote that appeared on a banner at the World Anti-Bullying Forum in Dublin last week:
“Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you.”
The quote is often attributed to the poet Walt Whitman, sometimes to the social activist Helen Keller, and occasionally to English poet Charles Swain. No one is really sure who first said it or wrote it.
But it has endured because it’s profound. It’s a reminder that in amongst the buzz of our lives, we continue to make fundamental choices that shape our experience.
Even when we are at our best and going well, we can’t escape the shadows. But when we immerse ourselves in what really matters to us, our lives feel brighter, and the shadows fade.