In a pedagogy class in grad school, I shared an experience where I was left humiliated in front of my dance class. I was 14 when it happened. 

After I recounted the actions of my former dance teacher, my professor looked at me and said, “Well, you’ve learned a great lesson and you’ll never do something like that to your students.”

True. But – 

It wasn’t a lesson I needed to learn. 

I’m all for uncovering the joy in hardships. I’m all for seeing the gifts in what we’ve been through. 

What I’m not campaigning for is letting abuse, trauma, or anything that doesn’t live with love lead the way. 

Yes, we can learn from bad teachers. Yes, we can learn from past trauma to make sure we never, ever do something like that to someone else. 

But who we should be, how we react to others, how we fight for others – that’s loves’ job. 

When someone shares a negative, heavy experience, whether it was being humiliated by a dance teacher, or it was being told unaffirmative words when coming out, or it was experiencing acts of racism, I know what our first response should not be. 

It’s not supposed to be: 

Wow, what a great learning experience for you. Or – 

You must be so much stronger now. Or – 

Thank goodness for your thick skin. Or – 

You’ll be a better teacher (or insert whatever profession) because of it. 

Those responses are letting the heavy lead the way. That’s not letting justice, kindness, and love be our North Star. 

When love leads the way it looks more like: 

I hate that you went through that. It should have never happened. Or – 

Thank you for trusting me and sharing with me. Or – 

How can I better support you now? 

Let’s let the heavy stuff stay the heavy stuff. It doesn’t live with love and shouldn’t live with pedagogy. Yes, we will learn and grow and evolve, but we will not let the heavy lead the way. 

That’s loves’ job. 

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