In a former life I was a teacher. Wait, that was actually fewer than 10 years ago when I graduated with a business education degree and accepted my first full-time teaching gig. Although I’m undecided whether I want to take up teaching in the traditional sense again when I return, it is something I’ve realized I truly enjoy. So for the past month or two I’ve been teaching a class at our local high school.
It’s just once a week with about 15 students and a lot of fun. It’s not for a grade and I strive to keep the classes interactive and relevant. The first day I had the students vote on topics (from options I provided) that they had most interest in exploring. The winner, and topic we’re still working on is Goals & My Future.
We’ve made short-term goals and long-term ones and explored reasons to have goals at all. We’ve even had good discussions about living in the moment while still having an eye for the future. It’s funny because while many folks in the USA culture, myself definitely included, tend to put too much energy in thinking and planning for the future, my experience with Paraguayans is just the opposite. They’ve got living in the moment down. Hooray! But dare I say sometimes they have it down to a fault, overlooking how what we do today leads to what will happen tomorrow. So these students and I have talked about striking a balance between the two extremes. Cultural blending at its finest.
This past Wednesday I brought a special item: a magical crown that, when worn, advances the bearer 10 years forward in their life. You could say it’s the new take on a crystal ball. With partners, students took turns playing the roles of interviewer and their 10-years-older selves and had to think through answers to what their life would be like in 10 years. Where are they living? What is their job? Do they have a spouse? Children? What has been their biggest accomplishment in the past 10 years?
It was clear that some of the students had already thought through these kinds of questions and had a definite vision for the future while others were doing so for the first time in their interview. Everyone, though, seemed to enjoy the activity and the opportunity to peek into their future.
If I would have worn that crown 10 years ago I’m relatively certain I wouldn’t have answered that I’d be living in Paraguay as a Peace Corps volunteer but I’m glad it’s turned out this way. Here’s to seeing what the next 10 years bring on.
What will you be doing in 10 years?