Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Connection in the Classroom

Together with paw and hand...not paw in hand.
I love teaching...helping people do whatever it is that they seek to get better at.  And for as long as I can remember I have gravitated towards leadership roles.  The roles have not historically been academic, although I did receive high honors in high school and college, but I was never the class president or part of the debate club or anything like that.  I found (and still find) my leadership more natural on the athletic field/court, within a group of friends, at work...even when I worked at McDonald's, in real life situations and when helping people with their dogs.  These environments allow me to feel natural...helping people see what they cannot; and thus helping me see how I can become better at who I am, what I am and what I can offer.  I love that part of being a leader...I'm very unselfish and am not afraid to make a wrong decision if my heart is behind it.  I've fallen on my ass many times, literally and figuratively, and have taken each with a sense of humility that helps me grow into a better learner and teacher.

Last night at the Control Unleashed class I teach, I saw some magical moments between the humans and their canine partners.  True time lapses of connection that left me beaming with a grin ear-to-ear.  I cannot explain the feeling of happiness I felt as I watched each partnership - truly, ultimately, deeply - connected for sequences of training.  It was nothing short of fulfilling for me to watch and I wanted to keep them going...watching them in that beautiful space, dancing with each other.  These were moments that I have longed for with my students and their dogs and to see it actually happen was awesome!  Even if the humans didn't know what was happening (I'm sure some of them were just happy their dogs were "listening" to them when asked to do something), it was clear to me that there was a mutual dance of communication happening that lifted the enjoyment for both ends of the leash.

I look forward to many more moments like this in my years ahead...not only in my students and myself, but for those people who I don't even know.  Having watched these partners succeed in their dance - as a spectator...as a coach...as a humble human - reminds me that life is all about those special moments where two beings become more than separate entities...these two come together and create something magical...a true relationship.

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