Today I was in church and my preacher said something that has been on my mind lately. He asked
What is your identity?
I had a conversation about this with a member of my PLN that I look up to and learn from the other day. And being asked that question took me back to that convo.
You see when we introduce ourselves to others or when describe ourselves how do we do so? Do we give ourselves titles? Do we automatically name our job? Is this OK? What’s wrong with this?
When we give ourselves titles, does this hurt us? Many of you are classroom teachers. I hate hearing ‘I’m just a teacher.’ If that is how you describe yourself, does that stop you from making progress, taking a stand, or making a difference beyond your classroom? Titles can hold us back. They can also cause us to miss a learning opportunity if we have an intimidating title. Someone with a lesser title may not feel like they can share the one thing you’ve been wanting to learn. Last week I went to Edcamp Sand Mtn and Michael Fowlkes the organizer was very adamant about leaving titles at the door and just be learners. I think we should do that more often.
Another problem I see it when define ourselves as too many titles and they don’t mesh. Many times we define ourselves by job as well as family status. So we are parents/spouse and teacher/administrator. That’s great bc means you’re more than your job but those two things always don’t go together. So now you can feel as if you are living two lives. Living one life is exhausting, don’t try to live two. You can’t. I wonder if that’s how teacher burn out happens sometimes. Or how we drift away from our families. When that’s how we see ourselves we miss all the inbetween.
None of those things are really defining us. It’s what we do or responsibilities we have but that’s not you or me. And what happens when your job changes or your children grow up and start their own families? If that’s how you define yourself, then who are you now? No one wants to be a nothing. Or have to spend years trying to ‘find yourself.’ That’s precious time you could be making a difference.
So who are you? The real you? Over last 6 months I’ve been figuring this out:
Hi I’m Amanda, the beach lover. I’m a learner. I love to learn new things. I’m always hungry for new things. I love to laugh, I find humor in most situations. I’m also creative, I have a brain that never stops so not all of that creativity makes it out. I’m kinda messy but don’t lose things because my mess is organized. I love watching sports, my children, and having fun.
What you do and your responsibilities do not define you. Don’t let them.