Before reading The Desire Map, I often asked my students how their day was going, what they wanted to do after they graduated and what some of their goals were. Sometimes they had an answer, most times, they didn’t.
After reading The Desire Map, I decided to start asking my students how they wanted to feel.
How do you want to feel when you come to school?
How do you want to feel when you’re working on a project?
How do you want to feel when you wake up in the morning?
When you walk down the hallway?
How do you want your life to feel?
It quickly became obvious that no one ever asked them how they wanted to feel, as they stared at me, and repeated, how do we want to feel?
Student: What do you mean how do I want to feel when I come to school?
Me: Do you want to feel excited, free, or energized when you come to school, what do you wish each day would feel like?
Student: Mrs. Kane, why does it matter, I hate school.
Me: It matters for two reasons. 1. If you’re clear on how you want to feel, you can start making small adjustments each day towards that goal, and 2. I want to better understand how you want to feel, as I work to shape the classroom.
Student: Oh… this is hard.
It’s hard because in school students aren’t used to being given an opinion, and they aren’t aware of how much control they have over their emotions.
Since I know that these questions are hard, sometimes I rephrase and ask what makes you feel happy, excited, energized. The first time I did this was near the beginning of the semester, I had the students write their answer on a sheet of paper and give it to me as they headed out the door.
As I read the answers, I wanted to cry.
Student: I feel happy when I get to see my mom, she gets out of jail today.
Student: I would feel happy if I could move back to South Carolina, I don’t have any friends here.
Student: I’m happy when I remember what it was like before my parents got divorced.
Then I asked, what makes you feel afraid:
Student: I’m afraid of failing.
Student: I’m afraid that no one will like me.
Student: I’m afraid that I won’t understand.
Focusing on feelings and desires with students allows them to feel more in control, and asking them pointed questions about their feelings gives them the space that they’ve been searching for to share.
With all of the pressure to pass the test, go to college, and get a job, our students, our children, are feeling lost, unheard, and helpless. The Desire Map gives them a voice and vision of hope.
Amber Kane’s Core Desired Feelings: Freedom; Creative Abundance; Sexy
Something desire-related on your mind? Share/ask/express it HERE.