Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Into the Fire

 It's Deb's turn to go back to school and teach. On the morning of her return, she sends a text, "I can't believe I'm about to jump back into the fire."

"Ah, the fire burns, but it also warms," I respond.

Such great advice from someone who's wary of fire, who rarely jumps into the fire.

How I admire people who do jump into the fire, who jump to stay warm but risk getting burned: the people who start schools and colleges, who open up refugee camps. The people who take ideas to store shelves, the people who persist so they can improve lives, save lives. The people who adopt, who foster, who sponsor. The people who get out of bed in the morning and pull on their boots.

The innovators, the inventors, the inspirers. The people we read about; the people we have dinner with.

I've watched my son-in-law jump into the fire. He's been warmed by the heat, he's been burned by the heat. He's had success, he's been blistered, both important to his education, all part of becoming and learning. A way to measure whether the future fire jumping is worth the risk.

We learn from the fire-jumpers. I recently heard my son-in-law teach my students about creativity, and I paid attention when I heard it described in a new way.

"Creativity is simply asking, 'How can I take this one step further? How can I make it better?'"

Sometimes it requires jumping into the fire.

Here is how he jumped into the fire.