Joy in the Journey

Imagine being in world’s most successful Pop Band near the end of a storied career. “The winter of discontent” reigns supreme for The Beatles. In an attempt to literally get back to their roots as a band, The Beatles augmented with keyboardist Billy Preston are attempting their first live performance in three years. The band’s journey to this moment was marred by an impending dissolution of their musical partnership. Woes ranging from financial to creative to personal multiplied for The Beatles and they entered the studio in January 1969 attempting to “Get Back” to their Rock Roots. The mindset for these recording sessions was to avoid overdubbing and any of the technical innovations The Beatles had established in the studio. A film was being made to document the sessions which were to culminate into a rare live performance for the band. What was meant as a celebration to their musical roots transformed into the break-up of a band. A culture of sourness and apathy had permeated the band. At one point, George Harrison was so frustrated he briefly left the band. John Lennon later called it “…the most miserable session on earth.”

Flash forward to the end game for these sessions in the return to live performance for The Beatles. It is a cold, dreary January  day in London. The Beatles are giving an impromptu lunchtime live performance on the rooftop of 3 Saville Row, headquarters from their disintegrating business empire known as Apple. Armed with a set list of new music ranging from “Get Back” to “I’ve Got a Feeling” to “Dig A Pony.” Some of the old magic is starting to seep into the marrow of the band. A groove is growing and the past familiarity of being a live band naturally arises. You can see the internal band malaise dissipate into the ether as they progress with their set.

A beautiful mistake arrives within the middle of the set.

John Lennon forgets the words to “Don’t Let Me Down” and begins to sing an inspired melange of gibberish. His nonsense creates a moment of knowing levity within the band. It is evident and The Beatles take license with it and finish the song without missing a beat literally. The moment lasts just a few seconds. The joy in this mistake carries the band through a solid conclusion of the performance.

(Check out the clip here and advance to 1:20 mark. Blink and you will miss it, but it is so worthwhile:

That particular mistake reminds me of the need to tune into the joy in the journey. Even though, the band was heading towards the end of their tenure together, they were still able to find a reminder of their core and prevailed upward in their final live performance. As educators, this time of the year can be difficult to find any shred of joy in the schoolhouse. We sometimes burden ourselves with tunnel vision amidst the season of testing, observations, paper chases. Deadlines become akin to portents of doom in the schoolhouse. Our students and colleagues are viewed as speed bumps forcing us to slow down against our will as we careen towards the end of the school year. We disinvite the essence of joy from the schoolhouse and permit what is seemingly important to prevail. This unfortunately builds a barrier to our Noble Profession and ultimately all of us ending up losing direction on this schoolhouse journey.

How might we tune into the joy along the journey in the schoolhouse? How can we find inspiration in the mistakes and pitfalls we experience as educators? Where are those organic moments of inspiration?

It is vital to remember that there is indeed joy in the journey. Staying in the moment and tuning into the positive is essential within our role as educators. As a Lead Learner, I have to own the modeling and empowering for the positivity in the schoolhouse. Encouraging a collective voice of positivity amidst the mania is crucial. Promoting the positive in the schoolhouse through things like #CelebrateMonday shift culture and illuminate joy. We have to make a targeted effort to dispel negativity in our respective schoolhouses.Many schools have created their own respective hashtags in order to the trend the positive regarding their school via Social Media.

Education itself  is not a beautiful mistake but it is filled with moments which are transformative, uplifting and inspiring. The schoolhouse is a very human institution with flaws and shortcomings. Shifting those mistakes into glorious bridges towards excellence requires an evident positive culture where inspiration, change and growth are valued as transformational commodities. Our kids pick up on the negative frequency from us and the effects are detrimental. We are obligated to listen to the “…better angels of our nature” when it comes to connecting with those we serve and support in the schoolhouse. Tuning into the possibilities we have as educators is a must. Our role as Impact Makers is a game changer for our kids. There is truly joy in that.

The Beatles were masters of eroding negative power in their musical mistakes. As Educators, we are called to that same mastery. Let’s start with tuning into the joy on the journey.





7 thoughts on “Joy in the Journey

  1. Oh, I needed to read this! Joy in the journey, indeed – that’s what we need to hold on to in these last weeks, because that is what they will remember, right?!


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