What do you believe? And does it matter?

If you don’t know who Mary Hynes is and have never listened to (and nodded with, yelled at, cried to, and questioned) Tapestry, CBC’s weekly radio show and podcast on spirituality, myth, faith, our connections then hop to it. It is inspiring and regularly leads me to question my own beliefs.

A recent article by the show’s host, however, reminds me that belief ain’t all that.

How do people know what you believe without action?
Cliché –> Walking the Talk
Theory –> Theory in use and espoused theory (Argyris & Schon, 1974)

I’m going to point fingers at myself for the sake of illustration here. As well to remind me how important it is to act and not merely believe. It’ll be a mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I say I believe in relationship-based learning.

It’s on my cv, I recently created and updated some web sites (LinkedIn, about.me, and others) where it was the first thing I wrote down.

A few years ago I used this blog as a venting venue about students and pressed send before thinking about relationship. I did the very opposite of caring for our relationship.

I have been known to end relationships abruptly. I turn silent, I disappear.

I can go for long periods without returning phone calls or contacting people.

I try to listen for/feel the ‘why’ behind a colleague’s or student’s actions and consider my own actions based on that.

I spend my breaks at work with students: talking, listening, and helping.

I get to know my students interests, goals, and abilities before designing learning and evaluation situations.

After uncomfortable, hinky …arguments… with friends or family I don’t talk about it. Time passes, then we drift back to a certain homeostasis.

I feel hurt and angry when I see teachers do things like yell at students, call them out in front of their peers, apply classroom expectations inconsistently, yet I do not know how to approach the subject with them for fear of creating an adversarial relationship.

So. Though I advertise that relationship-based learning is fundamental to who I am and what I do, I do not always take care of relationship the way I would like to. But I do think it needs to be taken care of and I work each day to get better at this. It’s hard work. Which lets me know that it is worth working at, thinking about, improving. But as it stands, some of my actions fall in line with that belief while others very pointedly don’t.

Another So. This morning I wrote a post called ‘I believe..’. Does any of that really matter? They are things that quicken my pulse but unless they are followed through with action, they are merely words. Belief then, is important as much as it provides a context for action but not so much on its own.

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