We are always enacting a story. It is more than just living a life. To say one is enacting a story implies a sense of purpose. To enact a story means that what came before on the journey is connected to the now of the journey, as well as the next footsteps on the journey. It implies connection between past, present, and future. But this is not just a journey of self. This is a collective journey. I enact my story, but in no way is the story that I enact isolated from those around me. We enact our stories.
We make the road by walking. This is the title of a recent book by Brian McLaren about finding, and making one’s spiritual journey. Prior to that, Myles Horton and Paulo Freire published a book consisting of their conversations about education and social change with the same title. “We make the road by walking” is actually an adaptation of Spanish proverb by poet Antonio Machado that reads, “se hace camino al andar,” or “you make the way as you go.”
I began walking the road of my career in education with a simple aspiration. I wanted to teach biology because I understood the world through that lens. I wanted to coach because I (thought at the time) it was through the collective battle of competition I made connection to my fellow athletes. Quickly, my road forked and the path I walked no longer involved coaching athletes. Soon I found myself leading discussions about changing the way we educate. I found myself leading other educators. And then I found my footsteps slowing. More education. More writing. New characters to the story. And then new doors opened.
I came to my current location on my road because it was the door that opened. I was excited to enter a new education ecosystem of higher education. I would be the immigrant into a new ecology of thought and observe and learn and find my niche. With new colleagues, and new students, I would explore what it means to be a teacher. What it means to be educated. What it means to teach science.
We make our roads by walking them. But we never are walking them alone. This is our community. As we enact our story, we learn with and from the other characters in our story. And it is within a learning community that our most profound discoveries are made. So, what is the story that you are enacting? How will you enact that story—the story that is your story and no one else’s? And who will walk the road with you?