I was recently recommended a podcast (‘The One You Feed’) and it’s got me thinking…
There is a parable and it’s about a grandfather walking with his grandson. The grandfather tells the boy about the two wolves that live inside us all and they are always in battle with each other. One wolf represents kindness, bravery and love and the other wolf represents greed, hatred and fear. The boy asks; “which one wins?” and the grandfather replies; “the one you feed” …
In the days since I’ve found myself able to apply its meaning to my approach to work and life. It is now easier than ever to focus on the fear of uncertainty and without familiar friendly faces, colleagues and friends around us, easier than ever to sustain the wolf who feeds on negativity and fear.
I can recall countless days leaving work and dwelling on the negative thing that happened that day frowning and white-knuckle-gripping the steering wheel whilst replaying alternative reactions or decisions that could have changed outcomes and thus completely ignoring the many amazing things, however small, that happened that same day which left the kind brave wolf starving hungry!
How many times have you arrived home and been asked how your day was and provided an automatic negative response simply because you are physically tired? Greedy negative wolf wins again and before you know it he’s getting massive and taking up all the room!
Everybody manages their wolves differently, of course. What works for some would simply be an additional point of stress for others. I recently tried writing three positive affirmations at the end of each day but then only got stressed that I’d forgotten a couple of days which kind of defeats the object! So I need a new plan and I am determined to starve the angry wolf!
The reality of our jobs is that it’s really hard! Physically and mentally we are challenged all day each day. I always tell baby teachers in training that what makes our job amazing is the same as what makes it exhausting and frustrating! The highs are really high and lows can be very low if you are not kind to yourself.
However, we are surrounded by bravery each day at work: brave teachers facing a dreaded class again after a gruelling lesson yesterday – brave students coping with adult worries – brave parents asking for help. We are also surrounded by kindness: we all look to help each other because we really care and because if we didn’t all care we couldn’t do this job. And love – you might not like to admit it but you love teaching because it’s amazing, fascinating, funny and clever!
We should all go to and leave work each day and celebrate by feeding the under-fed brave wolf – we should focus on all that is good and with kindness consider how we will help each other – the big bad wolf can be managed but only if we don’t give him any snacks!