Got up and took a hot shower this morning and gave thanks for small blessings-
Did everyone enjoy the recent long weekend? We, my children and I, spent the time from June 30 through July 4 without electricity due to a fault in the power line. Amazing what we take for granted like the use of a stove, fridge, tv, internet, washing machine, dryer, phone numbers on phone, light in the evening and early morning, and yes, that wonderful hot water. My kids being younger and imbued with the spirit of adventure took cold showers for the first two days, then accepted a neighbour’s generous offer and showered next door. And we camped in the city filling a large picnic hamper with ice to chill small items like milk and cheese, and discovered a new use for tea lights when I placed twenty tea lights in a cake pan and by lighting all made a hot plate that really did slowly warm items. We even experimented with a bar-b-que kit purchased at a Shoppers’ drug mart for just over $6.00! But I won’t even pretend that it was fun.
Now though, when I think of power and what it means to flick a switch and have something/anything turn on, I know the beauty of peace- it works. I can imagine how ridiculous I must have sounded to the phone operator when calling our energy company to say that our air conditioning unit was controlling our home! It was! The air conditioning unit had somehow become the home’s main power switch and the only way to keep the power running was to continuously turn down the thermostat- at 14 degrees were freezing; I called the company to send out a technician and he put in writing that he had never experienced anything like this before. Hmm- but didn’t know what to do. Enter a real electrician and four and 1/2 hours in the hot sun later and a rewired meter box- but- this being the long weekend no hydro inspectors were available to connect the newly wired box to the main line. And so we waited, giving me plenty of time to contemplate the word “power” and all that it suggests.
We as teachers do have a form of power- and like any type of power this must be handled carefully. As I work with summer students and prepare for the new school term I am extremely aware of the expectations students have and the pressures they encounter. Like my current home’s formerly blocked power system, (now in working order) often a student will benefit from having the pressure turned down to low to allow for new ideas to circulate. Sometimes the student may benefit the most when learning is begun anew, with a focus on the here and now, and fresh connections being formed – so that a student may experience his/her own power surge through mastery and control of the process. A flick of the switch? No- but well timed intervention to encourage growth and renewal.