A Good Conversation

Today, Reshan and I spoke with an artist whose work I greatly admire. At one point, in a portion of the interview that probably won’t make it into the published article, he digressed to tell us about a parent-teacher conference — the first of his life as a parent — that he had recently attended.

The teacher presented reams of information and data about his son, who was still very young. She showed him standards and data and reports. She was energetic and on task and seemed to really understand the academic program through which she was moving this tiny human, this artist’s son.

He said he bit his tongue until she stopped talking. And then, when she stopped and he breathed to calm himself, he simply said, “thanks, that all sounds interesting, but what I really want to know is . . . is my son happy? Is he kind? Is he making friends? Does he seem to be okay? That’s what matters to me. All that . . . and not what’s in your binder.”

You talk to artists and you expect to learn to become more creative; you don’t expect to become a better human being. I got lucky and both things happened for me today. Plus, Reshan told some stories about Poland. I look forward to sharing the rest of the interview soon.

An Interstitial Blog Post

Interstitial moments are:

  • waits at airport gates
  • Uber rides
  • taxi rides
  • time in the waiting room at a doctor’s office or barber shop
  • i.e., those slices of time that happen between scheduled events or during transitions / pauses.

Lately, I’m hearing more and more people talk about how they (or we can) use interstitial moments to consume programming or education . . . or to practice mindfulness or some other creative act. I’m not suggesting that any of those choices are good or bad, but I do intend to start noticing the interstitial moments in my life and to see how I naturally fill them. If I’m being honest, I think I’m in one right now. Maybe you are, too.

Or maybe this would be better classified as interstitial space?


A Tweet that Stuck with Me

Keep your easy days EASY and your hard days HARD.

Too many people never have the confidence to take it really, truly easy and as a result they are never able to go really, truly hard. They get stuck in the murky middle. The murky middle is associated with stagnation and burnout.— Brad Stulberg (@BStulberg) April 7, 2019

I’m currently reading Brad’s new book — The Passion Paradox — and it’s messing with some of my certainties, which is why I keep picking up books. I really hope for that. I’ll try to type up some notes in the future.

Saturday Summary

Last week’s thinking, all in one place.

Last week’s summary.

I Hear You

Tomorrow’s a day off from work, so I’m looking back at my calendar to try to re-collect the week before heading into an extended weekend. As usual, I attended a lot of meetings this week, but I feel really lucky because, in many of these meetings, I had the chance to hear from passionate people.

I heard a science teacher argue passionately for a new Physics course, one that would give students access to a broader swath of the discipline.

I heard a group of students argue passionately for an improved approach to bias incidents in school and society.

I heard a colleague argue passionately for the importance of sharing one’s creative work.

I heard a student argue passionately for his particular interpretation of a complicated book.

I heard a colleague argue passionately for an inclusive approach to developing next year’s calendar.

All of these people were respectful; all of them were insightful; all of them had done their homework; all of them showed me different ways to see and value and care about the world. I am thankful that there are so many ways. I am thankful that so many people around me care enough about me, and about the work we do together, to try to help me see things from their point of view. I am thankful that my education, both formal and informal, taught me how to listen — and that I have so many opportunities to practice. Listening is obviously a gift to the heard. It is also a great gift to the hearer.