Am I a hard-arse?
No seriously. I want to know. Do I come off as a bit ‘edgy’ – a bit strict?
I got that reflection from a student of mine the other day. We were in a small group, and they cracked a joke. Then they looked at me a bit startled and said, “Sorry”.
It wasn’t a great joke, but that wasn’t why he was saying sorry. He looked like a boy who had just been busted with a spit-ball in his hand. “Sorry miss.”
And now I’m second guessing myself. Am I really that much of an authoritarian? Do people think I don’t like telling jokes?
I know I sometime rouse on people from time to time. Ok… maybe a lot.
But I only do it if I know they can hack it, and I often get a very strong sense that they’re begging me to rouse on them. They’re crying out for someone to come along and give them a good kick in the pants.
Sometimes we all just need a good boot in the bum.
But just because I’m called to play that role (fairly often), doesn’t mean I don’t like a laugh. It doesn’t mean I don’t know the value of a good joke.
In fact, I know it’s essential. You’ve got to laugh. You’ve got to have fun. You’ve got to be having the time of your life.
And for every student I have that is goofing around and not taking it seriously enough, there are five who are taking it too seriously – who are wound up tight trying to do everything right.
It’s like that funny quote from Aldous Huxley. He was the author of Brave New World and one of the pioneers in dystopian fiction. Fascist governments, hostile technology, the collapse of morals – Huxley worried about it all. He literally made stressing about the future his day job.
But towards the end of his life, he reflected to his daughter:
“I have been preposterously serious most of my life. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly, my darling . . . Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.”
I love this idea of walking lightly but feeling deeply. I think this is something we can all aspire to.
Yes, be earnest. Yes, be committed. Yes, give it everything you’ve got.
But don’t lose sight of the fact that we are here to have fun. We are here to enjoy ourselves.
And it is possible to enjoy yourself, whatever you are doing. (Yes, even your tax.)
So as the year ramps up, I really wanted to throw this message in here too.
Get motivated. Make 2019 your own.
But don’t forget to have fun!