Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Nut Doesn't Fall Far

Meeting the parents of kids you interact with everyday answers a lot of questions and confirms a lot of suspicions.  If you've ever wondered if you make an impact on your children, you do.

Take a look in the mirror, mom and dad.  They are you...just littler versions.  Your decisions impact their little lives.  Who you are determines, in a way, who they will be.

Ahhhh!  That's stressful! This is slightly terrifying, but it's life-altering.  Are you joyful or depressed?  Are you full of grace or full of condemnation?  Are you confident or self-conscious?  Are you their cheerleader or their persecutor?  All of these things impact who they are at home, in the classroom and who they will be in 15 plus years.  

Me?  I want to be the joyful, forgiving, confident cheerleader my kids are going to need in this little thing called "life".  Who else is going to be in the corner as much as mom or dad? 

Now the hard part.  "What about when I'm not these things?"  I want them to see that side too.  But I also want them to hear the "I'm sorry"s, and "I'll try better next time"s.  Sometimes, failure is imminent.  This is the grace card.  And this is also life.

No kids?  Not a problem.  Who said they had to be your own?  I have two biological babies and 26 adopted-for-9 months babies (who I carry in my heart for much longer).   There are PLENTY of kiddos in my room I'd love to be a light to, so I'm thankful I have a few more months with them.  Hopefully one day they will remember the joy, grace, and confidence of someone they once knew, whether they remember my name or not.

"Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  To these I commit my day.  If I succeed, I will give thanks.  If I fail, I will seek His grace.  And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest."  ~Max Lucado "When God Whispers Your Name"

What kind of tree are you?  What kind of nuts do you produce?  Just some food for thought...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Little People

Being a teacher is rewarding, fun, exhausting and .......painful.  Let me explain.

This semester I have a student teacher so my time is freed up to do things I normally don't get a chance to do.  Unfortunately, I am learning a lot about myself.  To save you the "our job is so hard", "the State rules our schools", "we have to prepare for the BIG test!" sob story, I'll just say there's usually not enough time in our 9 month year to cover everything we need to.  We rush in, teach, teach, teach and send the little boogers home in a whirlwind of "Remember to study your spelling words!", "Get your planner signed!", "Book orders are due tomorrow!", "PLEASE get on the right bus today!"  I am noticing that the time I spent truly getting to know my kids, without worrying about getting behind in Math, is lacking.

Since I'm not solely responsible for the academic side of planning, teaching and grading I find myself really LEARNING my students.  This year most of my kids desperately need me.  Hopefully I haven't missed the last six years of these same kind of kids.  My kid woes range from family cats passing away to living with foster families or grandparents to being afraid to go home because of people who are in the home that, frankly, shouldn't be there.  My heart has been at my feet more than once this year already and sadly, I feel more times a'comin.

You know what?  It's not just "my" kids.  Little guy crying in the hall because he broke his glasses and mama is going to be mad at him.  A hug, reassurance and he still waves at me in the hall.  Habitual office kid...now I know his name and he knows mine.  I check up on him whenever I can.  Amazingly, my list goes on and on.

Eight year old brothers should not have to protect their six year old sister.  But he does.  Schools should not have to feed kids breakfast, lunch AND supper. But we do.  Teachers should not have to drop snacks in backpacks at the end of the day.  But we do.  Kids that sleep in urine-drenched beds should not have to have their items washed at school.  But we do it.  Dirty faces should not have to be washed by teachers, principals, nurses, counselors and paraprofessionals.  But we do it.  Hugs should not JUST come from those same people.  But I'm glad we get to embrace those little ones.

I consider myself lucky to have such valuable time to spend with such valuable lives.  If we can truly listen to the sad eyes, slumped shoulders and sad expressions of these little people, maybe, just maybe, we can help break this incredibly disappointing cycle.