Reflections

Let’s Not Only Fill Buckets

Social media makes it easy to get caught up in giving each other a pat on the back. It’s easy to call out someone for doing great work, and privately seek that affirmation from others. I do this, and have no plans to apply the brakes. It feels good, or as my wife maintains, it provides a dopamine hit. I agree.

There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the successes and achievements of others and ourselves. If you’re an educator, receiving these accolades is welcome in an environment that can sometimes feel deflating. I also believe that we don’t celebrate our successes as often, or as publicly as we should, if for no other reason than to give others a subtle push by making these achievements visible and transparent. However, we need to be careful. Let’s make sure that we are not just focused on filling the buckets of others, or having our buckets filled, but that we are challenging and pushing others’ thinking, and having these actions reciprocated.

“We do not grow from receiving accolades only, but surrounding yourself with people that will challenge you while supporting, is a great way to grow.” – @gcouros

There’s nothing wrong with surrounding yourself with people who support you, or expressing support for others, but we need those in these mutally-supportive communities to challenge, question, and provide alternative perspectives.

Putting ideas out there to be openly challenged by others can be uncomfortable, but I’m talking about being open to constructive criticism, not criticism for criticism’s sake. This isn’t helpful. If we’re trusting the same people who fill our buckets to critique our work and ideas, remember that it is coming from a good place. If we don’t push each other, we don’t flourish; we plant roots when we need to be growing branches.

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