About a year or two ago, a friend who was working her way through some tough things asked a simple task of her loved ones, myself included. She asked us to make a list, short or long, of things that we knew to be true about her. For a lot of reasons, she lost sight of who she was for a while, and needed some help to get back to seeing clearly who she was.
I got a little glimpse of that exercise today, as a student came in early to office hours and was laying on the compliments pretty thick. As I quickly dismissed him, reminding him that it’s all part of my job, he persisted, saying that it was how much I actually cared that he was most impressed by. And, well shucks. It really warmed my heart. Sometimes the rhythm of lesson planning and grading and more grading can just be so systematic and calculated. I forget that I’m sharing knowledge and touching lives, that my attitude towards my students shapes their attitude to an entire subject or field.
This reminder, that I’m not just a professor – I’m an advocate for the education of my students – was just so lovely and exactly what I needed today. And while it wasn’t asked for, I’d encourage you to speak up when you need affirmation from your loved ones. We so often forget to express our love and thanks, but I’m entirely certain that if we started sharing kind words lavishly and asking for the support we needed, we would all be able to keep sight of the beautiful truths about ourselves.