Outside & Inside

Some coffee dates remind me that I’m just as much as a student as I am a teacher; I learn continuously from GDubbers and was schooled on important topics this morning over coffee with S.

S. is cool.  She projects an air of confidence while being honest about her challenges, pursuing opportunities for independence.  This morning we spent time flashing back to her summer internship, a rock star organization that has the money to back-up their vision.  She wove her way through thoughts on compassion & its power to impact one’s psyche, on daily reflection & how she’s not good at doing it.  And although I listened closely to S., I think she might have been listening a bit more closely to me.  We stood in line for coffee and I expressed doubts that every so often flit into my mind about the work I’m doing and what impact it is (or isn’t) having on campus.

In response, S. shared some thoughts on extrinsic and intrinsic motivations.  She shared that while ideally we’d be driven by our own motivations, we sometimes need a little prompting from the outside world.  Although she might not have realized it at the time, she was teaching Torah; our Jewish texts are filled with discussions on teaching our children and ourselves, on finding intrinsic motivations by giving ourselves a little extrinsic prompting.

What outside forces do you need to motivate you to make internal change?  Is it okay if your motivations don’t come from an internal or “pure” place?

(and would LOVE your thoughts – posted in the comments sections or sent to adena@gwhillel.org – on what type of EXTERNAL motivations can help to engage Jewish GW students to want to feel INTERNALLY motivated to grow their Jewish identities).

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