Wednesday, September 4, 2013

More Thoughts on Bats and Education

In my last post "One Story, Two Perspectives" I told two different versions of how I dealt with the bat in my house. The life hack was about how you can change your perspective of a situation and therefore change its effect on you. Instead of being the victim of a scary bat  invasion, I was the rescuer-hero of a lost bat. After writing the post, I realized that another lesson from that experience stood out. Education allowed me to change my perspective.

I was inundated with the scary side of bats--rabies, getting trapped in your hair, biting you viciously--reinforced in innumerable horror movies. When outside, I've never had a problem with bats; in fact, I enjoy watching them swoop up the resident mosquito population. In that regard, bats are my heroes. But in the house was a different story. In the house, close up, that bat was an intruder, invaded, carrying who knows what disease; a threat, a villain, nasty and vicious. From my "experience"--aka scary movies--I had no other way to view this bat.

When I didn't know what to do, I got online an searched for how to get a bat out of the house. I was lucky with the site I found, as it gave a cartoon demonstration of the steps to take. That site helped me develop a whole new vision of this vicious monster in my house. I mean, take a look at this picture from the site. How could you be scared of this little guy? He just wants to go home.

It seemed ridiculous to treat this little bat as anything other than a lost animal. Sure, he had teeth. So do I. He was scared and lost and didn't know how to get out. He wasn't lying in wait to ambush me and my dogs; he was cowering and crying with fear. As soon as I had a way to view this bat as the victim with understanding and empathy for his predicament, I could act heroically. Obviously I wore thick gloves--I wasn't brainwashed into thinking he wouldn't bite me out of fear. But I was in control of my own fear and understood the situation in a way that I could take responsible action that helped us both.

This situation--upon further reflection--made me think of two life lessons. First, education is power. Not just in a commercial, get-a-good-job kind of way, but real-world power. If you take the time to educate yourself, you will have power in the world. At the very least, you'll have power over your own fears and bias.

Second, it's important to see things from others' perspectives. I can view many perspectives of myself and my life, but if I truly want to solve a problem effectively or make the best of a bad situation, it's important to step outside of myself and see the issues from another's perspective. When you do that, you get to see the world differently and ultimately your vision gets broader and more capable of seeing the world in a positive frame.

I tie this last idea to viewing things from your students' perspectives. They attitudes and behaviors they exhibit may mean one thing to you but another thing to them. It's the idea of educating yourself about your students to truly see who they are and what their actions mean that will allow you to help them achieve their potential in the world. Easier said than done, one on thirty, but the lesson remains. Education and vision lead to a better future for everyone. And who knows--maybe it will help you view yourself not as a victim of all that's negative, but as a hero to the lives you change.

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