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As I wrote last week, I am focused on “Reaching” this school year and everything I do is motivated by what cultivates the conditions for thriving, now and in the future.

As a first phase, I’d like to encourage all of us to reach in.  And, here’s what I know for sure, our children are unlikely to do what we won’t model.  It is really important that we practice what we preach.  But, what the heck does it mean to “reach in?”

I consistently laugh with my team and my family because as we gather around the Table, I often ask questions and I have no idea what the answers are.  It is ‘play’ for me because I feel like the answers emerge amidst us.  The answers are found in the community, the paradoxes, and the differences.

So, in that same vein, I wonder, “What does ‘Reaching in…’ mean?”  What if the process is essential for future success?

Here are a few ideas from my own brainstorm.  You could add yours too!

Reaching in to Inquire

Some of the most important inquiries for each of us and for the children in our lives are about identity or selfhood.  These inquiries include questions like, “Who am I?”  or “What is the substance of me?”  or “What is my destiny?”

Photo by DDP on Unsplash

It’s funny, but I never feel finished in this arena.  While I’m further along in my mid-forties than I was 20 years ago, I am still discovering who I am and who I want to be.  I am still discovering how to make my best and highest contribution.  And, it’s exhilarating!

This journey of discovery gives me space to be unfinished, imperfect and still evolving.  It’s a Learn Forward practice that I encourage because it fosters adaptability a key competency required for the future.

Reaching in to Reflect

My inquiries lead me to reflections and they are deeply encouraging.  I am grateful because my reflections weave into my worthiness and faith journeys.

Among many things, I reflect and meditate on how I’m created in the image of God, surrendered to His purposes, and powerful beyond my imagination.  Even when I am visited by the late night demons who taunt me with fear and self-doubt, I can go back to these beliefs.  What are the beliefs you can stir up to encourage you?  They don’t have to be the same as mine but choose some positive ones to conjure up.

I also reflect on the past, which is a wonderful motivator.  I wrote about that last week in “Reaching”.

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

Reaching in to Grow

When I get really quiet and reach inside myself for truth and clarity, I am certain I want to grow.  I can see a path and feel motivated.

I’m sure this isn’t everyone’s experience, but I encourage us all to continue cultivating a growth mindset.  This can be a really intentional journey together with our children or students.  A great resource that I’ve used a number of times is the Big Life Journal.

For educators and parents in the Northern Hemisphere, this time of year represents a fresh start.  So, it’s a great time reach in, dig deep, and push forward.

What does “reaching in” mean to you?  How can we consider our significant inner journeys as fuel for the road ahead?

Parker Palmer writes,

“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”

Fundamentally, reaching in is an essential practice for future success!  We must develop this capacity to adapt and thrive.

For the sake of the children,