Day 13 – Slice of Life Challenge -It’s about the Struggle!

The Real Work –

It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work,

And that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey,

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.IMG_1471.jpg

The impeded stream is one that sings.

– Wendell Berry

Digging through an old journal I found this copied from a web site – I had long forgotten these words of Wendell Berry. At the time I wrote them down I was in the middle of struggles with a hard class of students. They were students who had difficult lives and did not see the importances of learning or the importance of working hard towards a goal. That year was a struggle but it was work where we all learned a great deal.

Now many years later I see this writing again but as it applies to myself and the current writing and work I am doing out of the classroom. I often think the way forward for most people is easy. I wonder why I struggle so much. Then I run across words of a writer, a poet and I am reminded that we all struggle, we all are baffled when authentically working. We learn through the struggle.

We need to push against something in order to move forward. Roadblocks make us think from a different perspective.  We build more muscle when we have resistance.

Here are a few other little notes I found stuck in my journal, literally – they were on little yellow sticky notes.

  • Failure is normal
  • Nobody knows how long it take to learn anything
  • Work until you figure it out
  • Learning is not fun – it is work!
  • You need a just right challenge
  • When learning is the goal there is no cheating

This tells me once again that life is really about learning and learning is about the struggle to understand, to develop new ways of seeing, new ways of hearing, thinking and new ways of working.

What are you baffled about?  What struggle is making you sing these days?


About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Reflection, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Day 13 – Slice of Life Challenge -It’s about the Struggle!

  1. Embekka says:

    What a wonderful quote! I am baffled by my next career move. Not sure what I should do and how I can continue to help children. I will definitely be using this quote as inspiration in the future.

  2. rpolacek says:

    I need to remember this…my struggle right now is classroom management for two of my antsy, boy-heavy classes. Thank you for making me think of this as a chance to grow instead of just a constant struggle!

  3. Liz McKenna says:

    This is just what I needed to read today as I sort through the doldrums of March. Thank you for sharing!

  4. This line: “We need to push against something in order to move forward.” Right there. It kind of encapsulated what I sliced about today with regard to my daughter and her reading difficulties. I think I am going to need to make your post kid-friendly so I can share the message with her. It’s an important one.

    Thank you, Joanne.

  5. Shana Karnes says:

    I love this thinking!! Thank you for sharing it! I am struggling with balancing my mom/wife/teacher/friend identities. It seems I can’t balance them all. If life is a stream right now, it is screaming because there are a LOT of impediments in the way!! I’ll try and listen more closely for the music. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  6. arjeha says:

    All of these quotes are so true.My favorite…Work until you figure it out. So many take the easy way and just give up. Nothing worth having comes easy. One of my favorite quotes was from a CEO but I don’t remember who. “If you’re not making mistakes then you are not trying hard enough.”

  7. Raivenne says:

    You know what? I’m going to grab a post-its and write a couple of those down. Especially, “We need to push against something in order to move forward.” Excellent timing and post. I neeeded this.

  8. Ramona says:

    My favorite quote: “You need a just right challenge.” I’ve been thinking about your other blog and wondering. I have another blog where I share stuff with my book club, but it also doesn’t get comments and that makes it hard to care about it. I liked some of your ideas for possibly expanding what you do, but only if that’s what you want to do.

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