healthy living, teaching

The Nature of Separation

Thanks to my article reading over Christmas break in search of brain maintenance information for my high school studentsʼ research papers, Iʼm trying to correct my own negative behavior impacting my brain. For example, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I eat too much sugar. I have little resistance to peppermint bark even though I know itʼs not good for my teeth or my body. Now Iʼve learned that sugarʼs creating a dopamine need for it in my brain, basically causing an addiction. Somethingʼs got to give! So Iʼm back to working out at the gym, getting more sleep, trying (I must be honest here) to stop the candy crush, and eating healthier foods.

I like a cold-pressed organic drink by Suja, called Über Greens. Itʼs lower in sugar than other health drinks. The bottle sports an interesting quote: “Separation is Natural. SO SHAKE THINGS UP!!” It literally applies to the settlement occurring during refrigeration; however, I like it for the figurative lesson it implies. This ties to another quote: “Birds of a feather flock together.” How lovely it is to be with others who think, act, and feel like us. Itʼs reassuring. Itʼs comfortable. Itʼs kind of addictive, and like sugar, itʼs not really healthy.

Itʼs healthy to grow. When we live in a stagnant environment where all our thoughts are the same, and everyone does the same thing, healthy growth is suppressed. Cliques are unhealthy for us. This concept is often voiced, but the advice is difficult to follow, especially when we feel content in our own groups. Teachers try to keep this from happening with students. We teach them to accept each other and appreciate differences, yet I always have classes where like-minded students try to stay together. No matter how hard I try to regroup them, the separation continues during recess, lunchtime, and after school. Itʼs natural.

Separation is naturally divisive, too. It creates sides, leads to fights, and, in extreme cases, initiates war. It squelches creativity and vilifies diversity, so we should shake things up! Truth lies somewhere in the middle where weʼre open to opposing thought, we listen to the diversity of ideas, and we create a place where we all can live together.