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Aug

22

Reflections on Motivation, Inspiration and Balance in Education and Life

By Francoise Netter

From time to time, I like to include others insights on my blogs. In my opinion, educators are the foundation of our society. Not only do they educate the kiddos that become the future of our society and world, they also often provide the only continuity in many children’s lives.

Our twenty-first century offers us many advanced technological perks, but it also challenges our ability to balance, slow-down and enjoy our lives moment to moment. I hope you will be able to both relate and apply practical value in your own lives as you take in this educator’s reflections and insights.

“Back to Basics” was a useful graduate-level course for me as a teacher, both personally and professionally. After discussing the three keys to learning and the four elements that are essential to our lives and society, we shifted our focus to an essential question: ‘Why should motivation and inspiration be a part of education?’ The class members discussed this topic at length and concluded that motivation and inspiration helps in learning in a number of ways: it enhances learning, helps students to find out more about what they’re interested in, and makes the material meaningful so that students want to learn.

Francoise then posed a thought-provoking question to all of us: What is the catalyst that motivates you currently in your life today, not in the past? The answer cannot be based upon family or heritage, but needs to be internally derived. I really had to dig deep within myself, sit quietly, and focus on my motivator(s). My initial response was that balance was my primary motivator. But, what is balance…really? Balance isn’t a tangible ‘thing’, but more a feeling of harmony and peace within one’s current state of being. Awhile back, I would have focused on more external motivators: money, perfectionism, or praise from others (family, friends, and colleagues). Now, I look at health as a top priority, which in turn motivates me to find balance because it reduces stress. The epiphany that I arrived at from this question is that my number one focus is on health and well-being (physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually). Not only my health, but also my family’s as well. It’s the domino effect; when I feel that my life is in balance, so too are my health and well-being.

In addition to health being a top motivator, I’m also inspired by people who are passionate about what they do/know/say/love/etc. When an artist reveals a painting, when my kids can’t stop smiling about a project they completed, when a friend is describing a book that they connected with, or when someone is giving a speech about something they have a high-degree of knowledge or love for (i.e. TED Talks), I’m inspired and motivated to know or learn more. For example, I’m highly motivated to learn more about the Holocaust because of Francoise’s connection with it and would like to see the film, The Lady in #6, because she speaks of how inspirational it is.

We also discussed the idea of ‘deficits’ in our lives as being motivators.  I have been motivated by deficits – all of the parts of my life that I felt were lacking or needed more of – and still am when I feel that my well is running on empty. I tend to yearn for balance and less stress and think that having more money or more friends or more glasses of wine will be the cure! To my chagrin, I am not fulfilled by external factors such as these. I am better at realizing this when I take the time for self-reflection and meditation. It is then that I remind myself of my life’s priorities (health, family, relationships, security…in that order). These priorities motivate and inspire me to be a better mother, teacher, wife, daughter, and friend.Within the classroom, motivation and inspiration are the conduits to learning. They are the ‘spark’ that ignites learning and are essential to education. Because I teach science, I have to find creative ways to reach all of my students. “–E. Munoz

Today see how balance can be added to your life personally and professionally. Look at what motivates and inspires you and use this transition between Summer and Fall to begin new creative strategies for well-being in every area of your life. You may check out any of our products to enhance this process at www.bodyminddynamics.org/products.

–Enjoy,

Françoise