This post was last updated on May 6th, 2020 at 10:31 pm
My journey as an educator and human has always been centred around joy, even when I didn’t realize it. The more I reflect, the easier it becomes to see. Admittedly in my early years of teaching, I didn’t seem to have the time to reflect both and articulate that I was always seeking joy. Joy was somewhat of the antithesis to the prevailing narrative of education which was and perhaps still is focused on achievement and results. Joy is an afterthought in many instances.
So I wrote a book. I shared those ideas in presentations and talks. Occasionally I think, “Well, you’ve exhausted that topic, maybe focus on something else.” But then I remember it’s not a trend, it’s a life long pursuit that requires our attention and effort. It’s also one of those things I have to practice daily. I appreciate that I can’t avoid thinking about and working towards joy. I look at the things I read and notice that in some form or another they support that pursuit.
One such book is Ross Gay’s Book of Delights. It’s one man’s quest to document daily moments of delight.
Delight is to joy as a microscope is to science. It allows us to dive deep and be specific. Delight is about specificity. Describing in detail something you may have missed or glossed over. Sometimes it’s obvious but when I hear someone use the word or talk about something that delighted them I get a sense they are a person who pays attention to detail.
Comedy is about specificity. I love hearing comedians talk about crafting a joke. They labour or exact phrasing until it comes out just right. The podcast Good One invites comedians to break down one of their most popular jokes and share its origins but also how important it was to use the words they used. Song Exploder is another podcast asking musicians to talk in detail about a song, the notes, the chords and just nerd out on things that you may not have thought of even if it’s a song you’ve heard hundreds of times.
Delight is about gratitude. The book Thanks a Thousand is AJ Jacobs’s journey to build more gratitude in his life by trying to thank a thousand people who in some way, shape, or form contribute to making his morning cup of coffee. Even reading that sentence quickly you might gloss over that idea and not consider that your morning coffee isn’t just about the barista whipping up your java with a few machines and tools but really goes all the way back to the farmer who grew the beans and the truck driver that pick up the beans and all the thousands whose work lives are dedicated to making sure you get to enjoy that coffee every day.
So I want to think more about delight and I’m going to challenge myself to a delight project. I’m going to try and share something daily that brings me delight. I’m going to try writing here but it may be a tweet, video, audio clip, image but share something that brings me delight. Every day might be ambitious but I’ll try. Maybe you can hold me accountable. Remind me if I’ve missed a few days. As well, maybe you want to join me? I’ll take your thinking about delight and post it here if you like. I’m going to try and think about delights with an educational lens but no guarantee. Delight pushes me to pause, reflect, linger, wonder and just drink in things that make me smile and bring me joy.