"When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for us to stand on or we will be taught to fly.” -Patrick Overton
A few years ago, my dormant imagination awoke. Now a little older, wiser, and experienced with things that life sometimes forces upon you, I took a breath and welcomed my imagination back.
I began with a simple question… What if? What if I put aside my fears and tried stuff that was new and scary? What if I stayed up late and prepped for something a little extra? What if I pushed a little harder to learn something new? What if I did everything possible to do different, reaching for something greater, without knowing exactly what the outcome would be? What would happen?
Life gives us two choices. Do something different, or accept things as they are, as they come. I don’t typically sit and accept things as they are. Those options are for me like choosing to live and choosing to be a rug. I imagine myself to be much greater than a rug.
“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” – William A. Ward
I am not a rocket scientist, nor would I dare to try and pretend to be one. I am a learner in the truest form. All I know for sure is that in order to have different, I must do different. I had to imagine more. Carefully, quietly... I began to imagine. The excitement of possibilities flooded my mind. And I couldn’t wait to begin my push for different; my push for what felt like finally living.
I began to do things differently, on purpose.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” -Jake Canfield
Different can be terrifying sometimes. Our minds are wired for “flight” when we experience the slightest discomfort or fear. The decision to push for different must be just that, a decision. Purposeful. Fear tends to lose its power when you’re busy focused on a greater purpose. My want for different needed to be greater than my discomfort or fears. I pushed hard to grow; harder still at times when fear draped its heavy arm on my shoulder. I held on to the… What if? What would happen if I removed fear from the equation? How much could I grow? How much could I learn?
Fear for me can be crippling. It can swallow my every thought and move. In my push to learn more, I learned that everyone fears. The difference between those who do and those who don’t is one basic move. Those who do make a conscious decision to push through it all and reach for more, in spite of their fears.
When trying to reach for something good, I often pushed harder. Each time, each painful effort I survived, felt like triumph. It helped me to see what I once believed impossible, to be quite possible. My mind then freed and filled with possibilities, and my imagination for what could be, grew. I learned much, much more than I expected. I began to picture with clarity my ideal classroom, what it looked like, sounded like, and felt like. I imagined what my classroom could become, and it felt like the discovery of a buried treasure.
“Where do you want to go? How much you want to risk? I’m not looking for somebody with some superhuman gifts, some superhero, some fairytale bliss.” – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
Our students are not looking for superheroes, or someone with superhuman gifts. We are not superheroes. We are works in progress, like our students. We set the path by doing what we want for our students. We are for them living breathing anchor charts.
So push to grow, because your kids deserve it; push to grow because you deserve it.
Pay attention, live, love, laugh, imagine, and learn on purpose. We are all a part of something bigger than each of us… each of us bits and pieces of the stars above, made of the same stardust. Maybe that is what drives us, maybe we are all meant to do more. Maybe we are all obligated to push for more.
We don’t have to be genius to grow genius in our classrooms; we need purposeful decisions to make change. Pushing for different requires imagination. If you can imagine it, stay your path. It is a path, a journey, not a place to be reached. All that is required of us for this journey is… to begin.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein
Marina Rodriguez is a California native, living and teaching in Texas, and a National Writing Project, Heart of Texas Writing Project, Teacher Consultant.