Leadership Voices

Learning to Unlearn Hurrying

Director, Indigenous Education & Engagement, Dianne Biin 


In October, the Truth & Justice Speaker Series welcomed author Monique Gray Smith, who spoke on weaving love and joy into the journey of truth and reconciliation.

Learning to Unlearn Hurrying

Monique began her presentation with this slide—which comes from an illustration in her most recent publication, an adaptation of Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adultsand she touched on it all day as she spent time on campus meeting with students and Elders. That evening, as she shared the journey from truth to reflection and then to reconciliation with almost 90 people at the Brilliant Cultural Centre, this image stayed in my mind as I remembered my teachings. I will share two of those teachings and re-remembering. 

Unlearning hurrying is being present to hear and listen deeply with respect and humility. Unlearning hurrying is also remembering to give space so as to hold space for others.

Holding and Giving Space 

So many times, in our administrative roles at the college, we have to act quickly to situations and requests to ensure students continue their studies, faculty are supported in their teaching approaches, conflicts are addressed, and colleagues and community are heard. And then there are a few of us, like myself, who are change agents with “all of the answers.” There are many times we are building new pathways, so I need to take the time to hear and listen before a pathway can be identified that may or may not include me. Building pathways and changing old ways has a pace, and can only be achieved when all the elements that are needed come together. This is the teaching from plants as they grow (hold space) and sustain us (give space). 

Dianne Biin

So, take the time to unlearn hurrying. Even if it feels like we are not responding, we are. We hold space for others to come and contribute, and how we listen gives us the requirements to give space to one another.