I recently spent a few days in Ocracoke, NC while I was involved in a session at NCCAT (seriously, any and every NC teacher should figure out a way to go).  The session centered around teacher leadership and the many ways we can lead in our classrooms, schools, and communities.  It was beautiful and encouraging to spend a few days with teachers from around the state interested in improving the state of affairs in our schools.

One of the main questions we kept coming back to in the session was "defining your why"--why do we teach?  Why do we return to the classroom each day?  Why do we do the things the way we do?

I must admit that it's not fun to dig a little deeper and try to determine your why--because sometimes the whys are not glamorous or noble.  We examined our personalities (always so intriguing to me), and reflected on ways our strengths and weaknesses impacted our choices.

I am an internalizer and I love thinking about what makes someone tick.  I love analyzing personality types and discussing methods.  I love looking at an overall issue and searching for issues and solutions.

But sometimes it's really hard to do that for yourself.  

Because sometimes it's really hard to look at yourself. 

A few years ago I attended a conference at Baylor with some of my music students and we were frequently asked the question, "Why do we sing?" and were encouraged to respond.  I remember reading all of the responses--some thoughtful, some predictable, some funny, and I remember thinking "I sing because I breathe."  Music just a natural part of my life.  My emotional response to music is something I was born with and have studied to improve my craft for many years.  I cannot imagine my life without music, and I'm so thankful my husband and girls love it as much as I do.  

I love words.  I love reading and writing good words.  My heart pitter patters over meaningful phrases and I can turn song lyrics over and over in my head for days.  I get teary looking at the signs at Hobby Lobby (even though I've seen them time and time again), and I can get lost in the dreamy words in liturgies.  Some people imagine relaxing on a sunny beach on a tropical island--I daydream about a sunlit temperature-controlled screened-in porch or room overlooking a beautiful pond/wooded area with a perfectly-aged wood table, a cup of coffee, and time to read and write without distraction.  Bonus points if I have a fireplace, pretty rug, and it's clutter free.  

I love Christmas.  
And snow.
Coffee with good conversation.
And systems and schedules and plans.

But why does all of that matter so much to me?  
This is what I'm trying to figure out. 

As the ferry pulled out of Ocracoke at the conclusion of our week, I was thankful I had about 3 hours in the car to myself to sit and think.  I need time to process information and sort it in my head.  But here I am 3 weeks later and I'm still wrestling with my whys (and whats and hows).

When I turned the page in my journal two months or so ago and wrote January 1, 2018, I jotted down my goals for this year.  I'm not motivated by the word resolution, but I am motivated by the end goal, because the pleasure of achievement will motivate me to systematically approach it and get things done.  I'm already taking care of things, taking care of myself and the precious things in my life, and trying my best to take care of this year.  Right now I'm wrestling with ideas and have things I'd like to accomplish, and some fuzzy shaped dreams are keeping my brain occupied.

I'm choosing to approach this season by asking myself over and over why I'm doing the things I'm doing these days, and then trying to make sense of those answers.

to be continued . . .  

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