CHOOSE A WORD and run with it. What happens?
Tonight I had the word CONSISTENCY repeating in my head. There are many reasons for this, one certainly being the focus I have right now on my role at school as art therapist, confidante, advocate and safe haven. The youth rely on my consistency. And it is the consistency provided by the staff at the school that builds the trust that facilitates success in our students. But there is more to the word for me.
For me the word implies predictability, safety, the need for sameness, loyalty, reliability. It also means the embrace of the constant of change, the strength of the evolving self, the courage to be fully present in the moment. It implies a desire to stay put. To have structure and durability. Constancy. Body. Meat. Substance.
Certainly I provided consistency to my children as they grew up. As they continue to grow up. They required it, and I hope they thrived in it. My colleague struggled today with feedback or lack thereof and I encourage him to look in his heart and see that the consistency he has provided to his student has shaped her success. I think that’s the simplest thing a caregiver can provide.
Consistent love. Without losing oneself.
And as we face changes at the school, that is what we have feared the most- losing the consistency our school provides for our at-risk youth. And as I face changes in my own life, losing, gaining, renewing- I struggle with the definition and need to learn that sameness is not necessarily the desirable consistency I seek. I believe what I seek is inner calm as I walk through the noise and haste.
So what is the dictionary definition of CONSISTENCY?
– condition of adhering together : firmness of material substance, firmness of constitution or character, persistency, degree of firmness, density, viscosity, or resistance to movement or separation of constituent particles, agreement or harmony of parts or features to one another or a whole, correspondence; ability to be asserted together without contradiction, harmony of conduct or practice with profession… Harmony stands out for me.
In logic, a consistent theory is one that does not contain a contradiction.
The consistency principle- I like to keep consistent what I think, say and do, and will change to ensure this is so- implies that when our inner systems (beliefs, attitudes, values, etc.) all support one another and when these are also supported by external evidence, then we have a comfortable state of affairs. The discomfort of cognitive dissonance occurs when things fall out of alignment, which leads us to try to achieve a maximum practical level of consistency in our world…
The youth I work with come from varied backgrounds and those with the most consistent difficulties are certainly the ones that were raised in households that were unpredictable, disorganized, ambivalent, inconsistent. I do hope that seeds for success and growth are planted in our students by the fierce love and consistency we provide.