When I think of the word ‘platform’, the image of a railway station comes to my mind. As a child I remember going to pick up incoming relatives from the Pune station. You had to buy Re.1 platform tickets to go right upto the train.
From that context, the platform is the place that allows you aboard or alight a locomotive that will transform you to a new place. The platform exists just to make it quicker and more convenient. Ultimately it’s the train that takes you to a destination of your choice.
As a teacher, a friend, a parent, this is how I now see my role in the lives of my students, friends, and children. I am a platform. Education is a platform. Relationships too are a platform. None of this is our ultimate destination. And ultimately we must hop into the locomotive that will take us where we need to go. We must leave the platform!
As a teacher, I used to have the expectation that my students must stay loyal to me, connected to me, and give me something back. Same thing I expected as a friend and a parent. I see now that these expectations are misleading and actually slow down my own personal growth.
The platform metaphor reminds me that we must all move on. Life is our locomotive. You and I are platforms in each other’s lives. Wonderful, beautiful, exciting and enriching platforms. But platforms nevertheless.
I remind myself often of the purpose and role I have chosen to play in people’s lives - especially when I’m feeling upset about some expectations that have not being fulfilled. Purpose helps me stay focused and clear headed. It shifts the focus from what I expect you to do, to what I must do. It gives me a sense of freedom, strength and gratitude. I deeply value the opportunity I have to play a small role in so many peoples lives.
Let’s enjoy being on each other’s platform for a while. Lets have some popcorn, get some magazines, and make some friends too. But soon, we must hop aboard and get moving to our next destination. Don’t get stuck to the platform!