Saturday, July 02, 2011

Being Human

I watch a lot of SciFi shows and there is one now on BBCAmerica as well as on the SyFy channel that has captured my attention in a way I didn't expect. Being Human is about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost who all live together in an attempt to lead a "normal" human life when they are no longer considered human. The higher call for all of them is not to succumb to the appetites of what they've become, but hold onto the ideals and daily living of being human.

They struggle. It is not an easy task. They try to hold each other accountable. They try to support one another. After all, they know what each other's life is like, so they are the only ones they can each turn to when they mess it all up. In particular, the ghost struggles with being seen, being known and finding a way to matter when she no longer has any substance. Don't we all need that?

Right now I'm reminded about how easy it is to forget that we are all human and we all struggle. Each person wants to be treated like they exist, like they are more than a number in this world. We all want to be seen, to be known, and to matter.

As I work with students I know that they crave connection. Even though so many of us are so digitally connected, the warmth that only comes from face to face contact has become this elusive and almost hidden commodity reserved for a select few.

I am at a new university working with students in a graduate program. Every day I meet new students and work with them to plan their programs and make sure their path is secure. It takes sometimes more time than I legitimately have to have these face to face meetings. But I've found that they matter.

I got a thank you card just the other day from a new student who said he was so grateful that he met me and that his situation mattered to me. He was so happy to be "seen" and not be only a student number in my database.

Being human is hard work. It's messy. We're messy. And sometimes we don't handle the responsibility of this state as well as we should when we interact with others.

Just as the vampire, the werewolf and the ghost were all human once and remember clearly what it was like to be human, it's important as I interact with students to remember what it was like to be a student and it's important for students to remember that I am human too!

As always, education is all about relationship!