to connect: to have or establish a rapport/to put or bring together so as to form a new and longer whole
- Merriam Webster
Back in my teaching days, I would end our first week of school by inviting my students to pick their one little word – a word that captured what they wanted to focus on in their sixth grade life in our classroom. Each student would draw a visual representation of that word, and these would hang in our classroom for the rest of the year, reminders of that early-in-the-year goal.
This practice first began in the virtual teaching community I belonged to – teachers from all over the country and the world, who used Twitter and blogs to stay connected, share ideas, and encourage each other to persevere in our best practices and for our students. It’s a community I miss in this retired-from-teaching life.
Looking back at the vast network I belonged to and participated in so fully, I am amazed that such a thing came to pass. It is hard for me to connect; I am a deeply introverted and solitary person. I’ll never know whether this is because that was always my natural inclination, or the result of a traumatic childhood and young adulthood.
Living as I do these days, in a remote little village and on a farm where four legged creatures outnumber the two legged kind, it is easy to fall into a life of solitude, to be perfectly happy to be as disconnected as I wish to be.
As chance would have it, I have had the good fortune to meet lovely folk who are interested and involved in the work I now do (shepherding) and want to do (supporting sustainable, environmentally ethical small farms). I have the chance to connect, again.
So, my OLW for 2020 is connect. This will mean picking up the phone more often to call or even respond (I am ashamed to admit it, but it’s true, I have a phone phobia that farm life has sadly only intensified and provided excuses for), to propose an invitation for every invitation I receive, and to go out on a limb and initiate connections.