Teachable moments

Life is scary sometimes. On any given day, there are happy moments and sad moments. There are times when you’re angry and times when you’re truly elated. There are plenty of things in life to be anxious about, like going to a new restaurant and trying new foods, a meeting with your boss, or even a big vacation you’ve been planning for months. Anxiety is normal but sometimes it can be paralyzing, making us not do something out of fear that we won’t like it or worse, fail. 

A couple of weeks ago was one of the biggest nights in all of professional sports. It was the Super Bowl and playing was the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. At quarterback for the Eagles was 24-year-old Jalen Hurts. In the game, Hurts, who was once considered not good enough to be a starting quarterback, threw for 304 yards and a touchdown, and rushed (ran) for 70 yards, and scored 3 rushing touchdowns. This was the most rushing yards and rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in Super Bowl history. This is an astonishing feat considering it was the 57th Super Bowl in the sport’s long history. However, while this was one of the best performances seen, the Eagles still did not win the game. 

In a post-game press conference, Hurts was asked by 15-year-old Giovanni Hamilton, “What’s one lesson that you learned from this game that you’ll take on to the next?” Hurts gave a long, well-thought-out answer but there were a couple of lines that struck me. He said “I think the beautiful part about it is everyone experiences different pains, everyone experiences different agonies of life, but you decide if you want to learn from it. You decide if you want that to be a teachable moment. I know what I’ll do.” 

Hurts’ pain was the loss, but this got me thinking. At the start of any new year, we all talk about our goals and things we are going to try to do differently this year. And, right about now, over halfway through February, we find ourselves sticking to our same routines and habits, usually out of comfort and, sometimes, fear of failure. At the library, this is the time when we are discussing, as a team, our goals for the upcoming year as well as what we want to accomplish and focus on to help the community and each other grow professionally. For me, these conversations bring about a lot of anxiety. Are these goals too high? What if I don’t reach them? What if I fail? Jalen Hurts reminded me that we all experience stress and anxiety and, as he put it, different agonies. Yes, you might stay comfortable, but not trying and not allowing yourself to learn and grow from those experiences of pain and worry mean that you will miss out on the moments of joy and exhilaration and accomplishment that follow. 

I’ve been at the library for over 6 years and, even now, I get nervous when someone asks for a book recommendation in a genre I don’t particularly care for. I also worry when I’m about to teach a tech class or introduce a program. When I was younger, I used to shy away from opportunities like these. But now, I lean into them. I take the opportunity to see what else I am capable of and the outcome is always one of wonder and a strong sense of accomplishment and purpose, but never of surprise. We’re all capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. This year, I’m going to prove it to myself and I encourage you all to do the same. As Jalen said, there may be different pain and agony along the way, but he knows what he will do to make it a teachable moment. Do you?

At the library, there are a plethora of books that can help us overcome these barriers we set for ourselves. These titles offer support, guidance and even lessons, all devoted to emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Need more recommendations? Just ask us. We’re here to help.


Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

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