My husband and I have been talking a lot lately about a subject that is so dear to my heart as a former educator and someone who spent a considerable amount of time in her early career developing curriculum, writing IEPs (Individualized Education Plans), assessing teaching models for effectiveness and celebrating diversity. So many of our schools today expect children to learn how teachers teach...rather than expecting teachers to discover how each child learns and explore with those students new teaching and learning models that leave every one in the learning dialogue feeling successful.
My friend Jil, who is a brilliant educator and one of the most creative thought leaders in the field educational diversity has helped me integrate my love for diversity in the classroom experience, more fully into an appreciation for diversity in other areas of my life....home, business, my retail buying experience (i.e. "sorry ma'am but we don't have anyone that can help you at this time - while five associates are standing around talking over coffee at the counter)....I am learning that my model of appropriateness, of how it should be done, when to do it, and whether it fits my comfort zone...is inconsequential....it's all about trusting that each of us may hear the voice of the divine in different ways and operate out from different models...but that there is just one Mind giving each of us the "model" of expression that best serves a more universal, divine purpose...and often, what seems like patterns of learning or living that don't line up with ours, cause us to grow in even more valuable life-enhancing areas like patience, meekness, selflessness, and mercy.
Diversity in learning styles, modes of operation, approaches to reasoning through issues and concerns, communication, and making decisions, make our world a stronger and richer place to live, laugh and love in.
We can trust those differences when, and only when, we are trusting that they have as their source one infinite intelligence that loves and delights in expressing Its creativity in infinitely beautiful and allways good ways.
As Mary Baker Eddy offers in her "Daily Prayer"...we can know that the "Word" of that infinitely good intelligent sources is "enrich[ing] the affections of all mankind and govern[ing] them".....noone needs to fit our model....we just need to appreciate the diversity of His/Her divinely intelligent design.
I had an experience this past weekend that was profoundly helpful to me in thinking through this concept and in discarding old paradigms of operation in my own life...in trusting that I don't need to know why someone has made a decision or choice that may not have been the one I would have made...nor do I need to try to convince them that my way of doing things might be better or more effective...or more "right" than theirs....I only have to trust in their "free moral agency"....that an all-powerful and good intelligent source is acting as an imperative in their heart and in their lives....and that I have no right to interfere with that sacred relationship and Its voice of purpose defining and designing their way of expressing themselves and living those lives.
While we were in Santa Fe we stayed with my husband, Jeff's best friend and his family. The first morning I woke up and while Jeff was in the shower I proceeded to dry my hair and make the bed so we could get a head start on the day.
I pulled off the beautiful counterpane patterned quilt...pulled back the cotton blanket and top sheet...brushed off, smoothed out and retucked the bottom sheet...pulled the top sheet back up and smoothed it over the bottom sheet, pulled up the cotton blanket and since the bottom tucking for the top sheet and blanket seemed intact I proceeded to pull the blanket into place...what a comedy of errors....
As much as I pulled and straightened I couldn't get the woven pattern on the blanket to be straight AND the side edge of the blanket to hang straight along the side of the mattress....I was baffled and bewildered and frustrated....then just when I was ready to simply give up, throw the quilt over the strange lumpy mess and go out to breakfast I gave it one more shot. I pulled the blanket and top sheet off the bed and decided to start from scratch. I carefully placed the top sheet on the fitted bottom sheet, tucked in the bottom and then laid the blanket on top with the bottom edge of the blanket lined up with the bottom edge of the top sheet along the side of the mattress and the top edge along the top hem of the top sheet....and then I started to howl with laughter.
No wonder! The blanket was not woven on a right angle....like a grid....it was woven on the diagonal. or bias....the pattern of the weave cut across the rectangle at a perfect 90 degree angle....no wonder I couldn't get it lined up when the bottom edge was already tucked in... thinking that the tuck was straight and that I needed to get the weave to lie at a perfect right angle to the edge of the mattress.... The entire time I had been looking at the counterpane pattern of the quilt at my feet and that was my only model...No matter how hard I tried to get those two things to match up...the straight edge of the blanket hanging at the side of the bed...with a diagonal pattern to the weave in the body of the blanket it wasn't going to happen...
I had to start from scratch...I had to see the blanket as woven on a diagonal and then I could very easily and quickly make the bed with a resulting straight hem along the side .
There was never anything wrong with the blanket or with my bedmaking skills.....
Once I realized that the blanket was woven in a different pattern and I adjusted my orientation... the bed was made beautifully and when I finally threw the counterpane (a very straightforward gridlike pattern on right angles) quilt onto the bed I wasn't at all concerned that the diagonal pattern of the blanket and the right angled grid of the quilt couldn't exist in harmony on that bed....or that I couldn't operate peacefully and effectively as a bedmaker with those two very different models in from of me.
This was so helpful to me in thinking about myself as a mom, a wife, an educator, a neighbor and a friend...a global citizen....diversity is something to celebrate....and it can result in a beautiful bed...
In fact, if I were to take those two pieces of cloth (the bias woven blanket and the right angle woven quilt) and lay them one on top of the other....and try to rip them it would be impossible....because they are woven differently....the two oof them together are stronger and have more tensile strength...than either one alone or if both were perfectly lined up and woven on the same grid.
So, today as I move through my day of practice, errands, decisions, negotiations, choices, etc.......I am going to celebrate every bias woven blanket I come across....
all with joy and wonder,