I write. I like writing. But sometimes writing is a lonely sport. You do it alone, whether it’s sitting at a WiFi internet café, on the beach, or in your living room. When I write, I am alone with my thoughts. That is the good news. But it is also an isolating experience. Then the phone rings. It is my friend Dave, 1000 miles away in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. We talk. We connect. He is writing a book, too. “Email? O.K., send me your draft…I’ll give you my thoughts if you want.” Then back to isolation. A half hour later the phone rings. Chuck? Wow! Did you get my email? 2,000 miles in the opposite direction. Upstate New York. Then a flurry of exchange of ideas. I stop to check my inbox. An email from Julie in Chicago. She’s going to Kona in a few months. Got to connect her to Dave. Their two families would love each other.
So, maybe I’m not so isolated. Maybe it just feels like that until I connect to someone with whom I can share my innermost thoughts and feelings. Otherwise, I feel alone.
I used to feel alone, too, as a child…especially on Sunday afternoon. We had a big family lunch every Sunday and then everyone went off to do their own thing. I remember sitting on the porch steps, feeling the time go by. Unscheduled and not knowing what I wanted to do next. Isolated and bored. As an educator, I wonder how many children feel isolated and alone in school? With no avenue to share their thoughts and feelings…and maybe the lunch yard is not the place…I wonder if they feel what I felt on those Sunday afternoons? I wonder if, during their classroom activities or assignments, they feel isolated and alone? I wonder what would happen if, in some part of each school day, teachers had a share time…a time and a place to create a ‘safe place’ where kids go share their innermost thoughts and feelings? Maybe one-on-one with the teacher, or small groups or just with friends. I wonder have many children feel alone during their day, isolated and don’t even recognize that that’s what they are feeling? I just wonder.