"We come to see and understand ourselves and others - in and through relationships" (94). I have always thought of relationships as both windows and mirrors - they provide us an insight (window) into someone else's world, while allowing us to look inwardly at our own worlds (mirrors). When I think about understanding myself through relationships, I think about the relationships that have forced me to think about what I truly believe, what I think, and what I know. These are not the "easy" relationships. These are not the simple conversations in which we will all agree on everything all of the time. The way our class is set up - a safe place to share our thoughts and disagree with one another, respectfully - is a perfect example of Margaret J. Wheatley's "Willingness to be Disturbed," in which she (much like Duckworth) eloquently states, "what might we see, what might we learn, what might we create together, if we become this kind of listener, one who enjoys the differences and welcomes in disturbance?" What might our students see, what might they learn, what might they create together, if they learn to become listeners who enjoy differences and welcome disturbance, allow themselves to be vulnerable?
How am I pushing my students to become listeners, thinkers, creators - and how do I emphasize these concepts through their relationships with each other, and they relationships with me? How do I incorporate a space for students to be "disturbed" or put into a state of disequilibrium, in order to enhance their growth and development of identity? These growth-promoting relationships are "characterized by connections in which each person's needs are considered and enhanced, where each person's identity is known and actualized as the self they understand internally" (95). Slowly, I've been finding a balance between taking the time to get to know them and share a lot of things out loud, but there are also times that I've had the students do some things in small groups that feel a little new, a little different, and a little uncomfortable. There are several students in which I have noticed a slight push from peers will lead to a greater internal push - an adolescent developing understanding of himself through a relationship.