“There is no security in life, there is only opportunity.” Mark Twain
I have made decisions and I have made mistakes.
I have started boldly and I have fallen sharply.
Starts, steps, mistakes. . .
If I commit to start – to take even the smallest of steps forward – there is always risk. There is always nagging fear. I might make a dangerous miscalculation. I might make a series of blunders. I might fall and land squarely with my face in the mud. It would certainly be so much safer not to not start at all. “
Yet possibility lies in front of me. Calling me in. Smiling at me. Playfully tempting me with things not yet known.
Fear and courage. Both parts who I am.
Fear prefers safety. The known. The sure thing. No risks. She likes to know exactly what to expect. She tries to warn people of the danger. She just wants us to be secure and comfortable. No stress. No worries. Control.
Courage, on the other hand, sees possibility. She wants to explore and discover and create. She wants to make things even better. She trusts that the rewards are worth the risks. She is ready to jump into the murky water and swim.
Courage and fear. I can hear them now. Arguing loudly. Both pleading their case within me. Their banter keeps me stuck and unsure.
Fear argues for safety.
- What if you attempt this thing and you totally flop?
- What if you take the first step but can’t figure out the second? The third? The ninth?
- What if you reveal to the world how much you really don’t know?
- What if the people in your life find out that you are even more imperfect than they’d already thought?
- What if moving forward creates less, not more, certainty?
- What if it’s harder for you than it is for everyone else because you’re somehow just not enough?
- What if they snicker, or laugh, or talk about you behind your back?
Courage argues for possibility.
- Believe in yourself. You can do this. You’ll figure it out as you go.
- Believe in the people you love. They’ll do whatever they can to support you if only you ask.
- Believe in the universe. Good things happen if you set yourself up to receive them.
- Believe in the power of learning. We live in the age of information. Resources abound.
- Believe in the power of effort. By rolling up your sleeves and getting going you’ll create energy.
- Believe in the power of reflection. You can humbly learn from your blunders. Every one of them.
- Believe in the domino effect. One small, but brave, step followed by another starts things in motion.
The debate goes on. Each of them begging in earnest. Each of them hoping that I will see things their way.
Ultimately, I must say NO to one in order to say YES to the other.
Fear or courage?
Safety or possibility?
It’s time to decide.
If you’re an elementary literacy teacher, new to reading workshop you may want to check out my book, Simple Starts: Making the Move to a Reader-Centered Classroom. It’s packed with tools to help alleviate your fears while you turn possibility into success, one simple but courageous next step at a time.
Other Posts You Might Want to Explore:
5 Courageous but Crucial Actions for Literacy Leaders – Leading for literacy takes courage. Stop apologizing. Invest in people before programs. Name what matters and work to make it happen. Avoid the easy excuses. Surround yourself with literacy warriors.
A Call to Courage. What makes you wake with worry. Listen to that wise voice. It could be a call to courage.
Possibility Awaits – This is our moment. A blank slate. A fresh start. Nothing but possibility awaits.