Monthly Mentor

Robin Schnur (January)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Robin Schnur is the Director of Youth and Family Programs at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she works with an amazing group of leaders and educators to design and produce programs, resources, learning spaces, and leadership opportunities for (and with) young people and multigenerational families. A deeply held belief in the value of art and of museums to contemporary life drives her teaching and the work she does to create spaces for people to author their own museum experiences.Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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« Giving is a Virtue | Main | Happy New Year! »

December 21, 2017

Feed Your Soul – Finding Balance

From: Heidi O’Donnell
My last three blog posts have one word in common: Giving. It’s one of my favorite things… Arts Educator, Girl Scout Leader, Boy Scout Leader, Swim Team Parent Leader, Department Chair, NAHS Advisor, Workshop Presenter, Accreditation Writer, Webmaster, Mom… are a few of the giving (aka leadership) roles I’ve played in the last year. I’m going to share a personal struggle of mine that I know many may feel empathy toward: finding balance. I addressed balance in my last blog referring to giving and the balance of receiving. But today, I refer to the mindful balance of all that you give and it’s effect on your well-being. 
Not only has being a recent graduate of the NAEA School for Art Leaders provided me with numerous tools to assist in redefining and strengthening my leadership roles, but it has also helped me in creating balance. (I know I’ve put in a plug for this already – but seriously – it’s an amazing and transformative experience. I urge you to consider submitting an application for the program. One of the leadership exercises in the program required that we create circles to represent percentages in four categories of our lives: work, home, community, and self. What I remembered most from the exercise was the serious disproportion between the different categories. Work consuming the largest circle and self the smallest. While looking at these circles, we were then tasked to consider overlap. For example, part of the community circle included work with my National Art Honor Society that connects to my work circle. And so I began making more and more connections. 
Making these connections has lead to some changes and some better understandings. I’ve recognized that my self circle has grown some. However, I’ve also recognized that two of the most impactful parts of my life have fallen off my to-do list in the last several years: exercise and art making. I do both, but not enough. In checking out my overlapping circles, I’ve created more time to fit these into my life. I’ve saved and invested in a treadmill… Oh, the joy! Instead of sitting at my desk, I now run in the mornings (my self circle) while I watch videos or read articles to help in my professional development (work circle) or strategize plans for my Girl Scout or Boy Scout Troops (my community circle). In order to make more room for art making (self circle), I’ve decided to apply for an educator program I’ve wanted to participate in for a while now (work circle.)  The Maine College of Art offers a Feed Your Soul program to arts educators in June as an opportunity to refresh after the school year ends. I’ve already started the application process. Wish me luck!
How will you feed your soul this year? 
Heidi O'Donnell
Past President, Maine Art Education Association


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