When I was younger, I enjoyed spending the night at my grandmother’s. Many weekends would include a Saturday trip to my grandmother’s house, usually for lunch. Before we left home, I would quietly pack anything and everything that I might need and slip it into the trunk of the family car. I had learned that when we arrived and my grandmothers and I asked about spending the night, my mother’s typical answer was, “I would let you, but you didn’t bring any clothes” or “You don’t have your toothbrush.” I had learned that I needed to pack for every possible response. I learned to be ready.
Unfortunately, this habit of overpacking extended way into my adult years. Over time, I have learned the art and the importance of traveling light; however, I still struggle at times with the urge to pack more than I might need. In the last few years, I have come to enjoy spending time in the woods. My time backpacking and traveling in the backcountry has taught me many important lessons. One of the most important is that overpacking has heavy consequences, especially deep in the woods. Experienced hikers understand the importance of lightening their load and only taking those items that are essential. The heavier the pack, the less enjoyable your trip will be on days two, three, and beyond.
Carrying around excess baggage is just as unhealthy for us mentally as it is for us physically. Mental health issues can be amplified by social isolation. Social media and the news influence the current environment for many of us. It is a struggle to stay optimistic and continue to believe that good things are about to happen. We must be careful not to allow the fear and fatigue that so many of us are feeling to weigh us down.
The excess baggage that many families are dealing with during this time is not limited to adults. Our children carry baggage as well. As we continue to deal with changes that are associated with a very different lifestyle, I encourage you to respect the importance of managing your mental health. While the craft of education is still crucial in this season, educators must also remind themselves of the toll that the added weight takes on our students. Students can not be expected to engage in critical thinking when they are struggling to have their basic psychological needs met. Students must feel safe, secure, and loved before they can focus on their education. If you or someone you know is struggling in this season, help is available, and we encourage you to reach out. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need support to lighten the load you are carrying.
Be simple, don’t carry the baggage of the past,
open your hands, and let it go.
– Debasish Mridha