Part of my teaching practice is reflection; with my students, with myself.
I learned this from my teacher training with an incredible program called Center for Inspired Teaching. Sometimes it is an isolated and intentional practice; I am going to sit, write, and reflect about x, y, z. Or closing out the school day with my preschoolers by going around in a circle, allowing them space to share their favorite part of the day or something that they enjoyed. Often my reflections bubble up more subtly, like when I'm rummaging through the fridge or driving to the store. In fact, some of my more meaningful and profound reflections come that way.
Today my mind wandered to a place of comparison, of now and then. When did I grow into a person who could see the bigger picture, and let small things slide if they didn't serve it. When did I become someone who could hold their tongue, pause, and think about the situation before inserting myself?
As I was coming upstairs for my lunch break, my partner's computer ate some major file or document that he'd been working on for a while. He was upset, and rightly so, and my instinct was to go in and suggest this or that, share a story of when it happened to me, tell him to calm down, suggest he go take a quick walk around the block... something. I wanted to help. But then I paused and thought about who those actions would serve, knowing him and knowing myself. I may feel the need to help/comfort/interfere, but he is a guy who processes internally, who works things out himself. He is the introvert to my extrovert.
So instead of going in to "help", I made my lunch, I ate my lunch, I gave him space. Within minutes he had worked it out and moved on.
Just writing this now makes me reflect on all of his growth, too. He used to be a man with a temper! Not violent or anything like that, but breathing deeply and resetting was not his first move when something upset him. I think of driving together now, and what a different experience it is to be in the passenger seat next to this cool-as-a-cucumber driver. Growth and change are funny things. They don't happen overnight. They build.
I am grateful that I was given some reflection tools because they helped me recognize my own changes and evolution. It never ends, and it's pretty awesome to notice.