Heart-Centered Teaching: Let 1,000 Flowers Bloom

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts by Nancy Rosenow, Executive Director of Nature Explore. These posts were originally featured in 2013 and are a distillation of key ideas from her book, “Heart-Centered Teaching Inspired by Nature.

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Marianne Williamson

We have “prepared our soil” and gathered “effective gardening tools.” Now it’s time to ask, ‘What would it look like if I let myself fully bloom? How can I harness my strengths and gifts in ways that enrich my own life and the lives of others?’

Teachers who work with young children have for many years spoken of the notion that the process is more important than the product. I believe the wisdom of this saying holds true across all phases of life. What might happen if we gave ourselves this kind of freedom in our personal and professional lives? We could focus our energies on growth, creativity and lifelong learning, without being haunted by the spectres of accomplishment and duty.

I believe one of the most detrimental aspects of our current educational system is the over-emphasis on point-in-time measurements. While these ways of assessing learning have their place, one unintended consequence of their proliferation has been to confuse us into thinking that the real goal of education is to score well on a test. In fact, the real goal of education should be to helps students become motivated and capable learners who will help move humanity forward in positive ways.

Soon enough, this assessment-heavy mode of thinking carries over into our beliefs about ourselves. If we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves convinced that we’ll only be happy when we attain the next big thing: a new car or house, a vacation, a better wardrobe or a better job.

Imagine if we gave ourselves permission to enjoy who we are right now. Imagine if we were excited to become our best selves so we could genuinely be of service to others out of a sense of joy rather than obligation. Imagine if educators led by example. What if children became so inspired by the blooming we allow in ourselves that they can’t wait to bloom themselves? We must endeavor to allow children to be so captivated by the beauty and wonder of our blooming that they can’t wait to grow their own remarkable gardens.

Start blooming!

*Find a place to journal on the prompt, “What would I do if I knew I would not fail?” Write freely and don’t censor your ideas.

*Spend time considering the qualities you most appreciate in yourself. Choose one and contemplate ways in which you could express it more fully.

*Try writing with your non-dominant hand. Ask yourself, “What’s trying to bloom in me now?” Then write your answer with the hand you don’t normally use. It’s amazing how many new ideas we can access with this technique.

Other Heart-Centered posts: Prepare Your Soil; Self-DiscoveryEffective Gardening Tools