I was initially planning on writing today about Jordan Peele’s excellent film “Get Out”, which I saw for the second time this past Friday. But in conversation with my friend ChiChi, I realized that the well for that piece is much deeper than I would have time for this week. So, expect that to come soon.
Instead of writing about “Get Out”, I’d like to talk about beginnings. The accepted definition of the word/term is: the point in time or space at which something starts (Google). That this is what the term means is rarely up to contention or debate; today I’d like to discuss the actual content of that definition for the word “beginning”.
The primary contention is how we actually define the start. Commonly, people note the start of a cold by sneezes, stuffy noses, sore throats, or intense coughs. For me personally, I usually notice that I have become sick when I get a scratchy or sore throat. However, that isn’t the beginning of the cold. This is merely the beginning of my conscious awareness that I have “come down with something”. It is not the beginning of my sickness.
Similarly, as a teacher, I can often note the beginning of discord and disruption when, to put it frankly, the post-work chatter (or pre-work chatter, or during work chatter) starts. However, the beginning of the chatter is never when it becomes audible to me or the students. This is again, the beginning of me noticing that there is chatter. Even when I can hear a few students, that is the beginning of me noticing, that is not the beginning of the chatter.
The point that I want to address by being so anal about true beginnings is that everything, from our bodies to our classrooms to our country and culture is a macro that is composed of several micros. Our body is a macro-organism comprised of thousands (millions? I haven’t take biology since high school) of micro-organisms, which are comprised of micro-particles and components. My classroom is a macrocosm comprised of tens of students who are effectively the micro-organisms of that environment. The comparisons continue and continue. Often by the time that we note there is a change or dysfunction, we are too late to prevent all of the symptoms. Why? Because we aren’t reacting to the beginning of the disorder or the dysfunction, we’re reacting to the initial symptoms or signs of that breakdown.
Now, I’m not here to find answers to this non-issue. Until science advances even more, we won’t be able to detect the true beginning of colds and other illnesses. This soliloquy in particular isn’t about a solution. It’s simply about mindset. Instead of focusing on when you noticed something, especially in reflection, focus on the time that preceded the event itself. You might not peg down the true beginning, but you will, with time and practice, discern more effective means of “nipping the problem in the bud”.
This isn’t an all-the-time thing. There are times when you want to let life breathe, but this is an effective mindset to have. For the future, you may be more prepared to prevent the problem to begin with. And that my friends, is how successful people continue to get better.
That’s all for now, hope y’all have a good week,