An Ecosystem of Trusting Relationships

Do you ever feel like the universe is trying to tell you something? You know those moments where it’s a bit like a neon light flashing through the dark night or a billboard you could have sworn you already saw 5 times. At first you are annoyed for the harsh interruption, the repeated message, but after a while it stays with you. You can’t shake it.

For me that flashing light has been RELATIONSHIPS. It seems I can’t avoid it. From keynotes, conferences to workshops, blog posts, news articles to conversations and even readings for my Masters program, the message has been clear that relationships are foundational to learning. I think James Corner said it best:

“No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.”

Seems simple enough. 

To be completely honest building relationships was much easier with 6 year olds.  As I played and chatted with some friends this week in @K5Kinder  I was reminded how children seem to have this blind trust and brutal honesty that makes personal

relationships just that much easier. How do we build that same trust and honesty as professionals? 

As much as I value the role of relationships in learning and change I worry that I am rushing through, letting the busyness of life and work take over. I have always loved Gandhi’s quote “actions express priorities.”  Are my actions expressing my priorities?

  • Am I taking the time to really get to know people?
  • Am I pausing, listening, encouraging, not just rushing to meet learning goals?
  • Am I taking the time to build trust and forgive when that trust is broken? 

In my current support role, I know that if I want to be part of a change moving forward the best investment of my time is in fostering and building meaningful relationships. I also know that as much as I encourage those networks, communities and relationships for others I have to build that support for myself. I need those trusting friends who will tell me when to blog (thanks @MatthewOldridge), tell me when I need to stop and reflect, challenge me to turn off my devices every now and then or just ask if everything is ok.

Then came Bill Rankin’s keynote at #eli2013 and I took away one final piece of learning about relationships, the fear of a mono culture. I not only need to foster meaningful trusting relationships but I have to make sure that the ecosystem of relationships is diverse and vibrant.

So October may have been connected educators month, but November is the month of relationships for me.

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One thought on “An Ecosystem of Trusting Relationships

  1. Once again, you’ve got me thinking… It is easier to have teacher-student relationships because there are easy to understand boundaries. Those boundaries are muted in adult relationships where we often bridge the gap between professional and personal and build friendships. When I think of the professional relationships that are growing through social media and other avenues, I wonder if my definition of a meaningful relationship will have to change. Is it a meaningful relationship when I respect someone and know that I can count on them professionally, or does it have to be more than that?

    Thanks for pushing me to think about this :)

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