Magazine article Montessori Life

Bringing Balance to Our Lives

Magazine article Montessori Life

Bringing Balance to Our Lives

Article excerpt

In many cultures, the beginning of a new year is a time for self-reflection and planning, including resolutions for actions that will improve one's state of being. For educators, the time for reflection often comes in the hiatus when one school year ends and the other is yet to begin. For me, as for many educators, this time is summer.

David Weinberg (2011, p. 16) wrote that the primary task, obligation, and duty of a teacher is to nurture the psychological health of the child. I would like to expand on Weinberg7 s thesis to include that the teacher must also nurture his or her psychological health. We, too, are on a journey to self-actualization, and we must find a balance between our work and our lives. Work-life balance can be defined as daily achievement and enjoyment, though work and personal activities may not receive equal time. We need to remain flexible as our roles change.

We all know the value of achievement, but do we add in enough enjoyment? Enjoyment does not just mean "Ha-Ha" happiness. It means pride, satisfaction, happiness, celebration, love, a sense of wellbeing - all the joys of living. Achievement and enjoyment are the front and back of the coin of value in life. (Bird, 2012, p. 1)

The duty of an educator is to serve. We provide information, support, and nurturing to those in our care. We have an enormous responsibility both to the children and to the future of our global interactive society. But who is charged with our care as teachers? Ultimately we are. Each role we play, each facet of our lives, has dibs on our time, efforts, thinking, and well-being. Our greatest gift to ourselves is to find balance among many life roles so we are able to achieve maximum satisfaction from all our pursuits.

Some individuals set clear boundaries between work, home, hobbies, and volunteer commitments. Others ask, "What is a hobby?" Some of us have family members, young and/or elderly, who require our undivided attention. Some of us travel extensively, sharing ourselves with other cultures and people. Will you reach for perfection or settle for the minimum, or something in between?

Saying "yes" or "no" too quickly without evaluating the balance of all of our opportunities can lead to double-booking of our time. I, for one, cannot plan without my calendar, which is synced to my iCloud account and available to me on all of my electronic devices. I know I must have some time to be alone. I need time to read, to think, to exercise, and, yes, to escape responsibilities for part of my week.

"Balance is impossible to achieve alone. Allying with others will hold you accountable, and it will help them understand how to support you" (Reisner, 2012, p. …

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