I am an educator, advocate, supporter, mentor, conversationalist, challenger, SA pro, and human. But, I can do better.
It seems as though we can all agree that 2016 had its triumphs and tribulations regardless of descriptors that divide our people. Two concepts that I believe to be true for 2016 that will surely surface in 2017 are the concepts of pain and hope. These are commonalities within the human condition.
I plan to be more intentional with every facet of my life this year.
I want to embody this idea of letting intentions guide my actions and how I support/challenge others and myself to become stronger and better. While I understand that intent versus impact do not always align, I hope to be strategic in developing myself to start understanding the world of others from their perspective when interacting. Then, I can show up for others in the way that they need me, rather than how I believe that I am needed. I will be intentional in my actions.
As cliché as it may be, even outside of the Student Affairs world, people “wear many hats”. Regardless of wardrobe, it is my intent to challenge and be challenged. I will strive for positive change to give rights to those stripped unjustly and give voice to those screaming without being heard. I am learning the importance of hearing out even the most difficult humans. Because when we hear the stories of others, we learn their intentions based on the world in which they live.
I plan to be more intentional with the actions I take to grow and show up for others, including myself.
I have the privilege of being in the batting cage for someone in center field. So, it’s my intention to swing however they need. When the impact is not the desired result for a receiver or sender, I will be intentional in being honest and stepping back to find where the disconnect happened. This way we can at least hear each other even if disagreement remains.
We do not always have to agree or understand one another, but we can all grow when we learn to hear others from their own schema of reality. It is my intent to feel any pain deeply and authentically this year and not stifle the process of healing, however necessary. It is my intent to have those hard conversations with my students who may not have ever been challenged to hear/see people different than them.
Further, I will be intentional on how I challenge each individual. Everyone is not able to process things so far out of their reality. Some people will require baby steps, while others can grow at a more rapid pace. I will hear others with backgrounds I’m unfamiliar with, without devaluing their experience even if I don’t understand.
I plan to be intentional in my own development, as well.
There are areas of growth I must work on. I’ll remember that I will probably be wrong in the eyes of some, while others will say I am right. I will strive to no longer stifle any pain that I feel, as it may be necessary for healing. In the same way, I know that I have no right to tell others how they should respond to any situation.
At the end of the day, we are all creatures of emotion. We all have stories to tell. To live by the wise words of one of my old professors, “different does not mean deficient.” I will be better because I will be intentional instead of reckless in action and in understanding. I will no longer sit by and be passive, banking on hollow hope.
Instead I will be a leader for change, and change starts with intent.
This post is part of our #OneWordSA series for January. Student affairs professionals are goal-oriented, change positive, individuals. One word mantras for 2017 are a great way to create focus in the new year. Find out what all kinds of pros are choosing as their #onewordSA this year. For more info, please see Sabina’s intro post. Be sure to check out the other posts in this series too!