My children looked forward to graduation with a passion. And ya... I stood up there and gave them their diplomas with a lump in my throat because I couldn't imagine school without them, yet I was so proud of them and felt so privileged to be the one to hand them out... Because I've watched them graduate for 2 years now... From putting down random answers to understanding how adding and subtracting integers worked. They graduated from thinking South America had a lot of countries to learn to filling in the countries of the whole world. From wanting to do as much creative writing in class as possible to doing it on their own so they could use THEIR ideas. I saw them graduate from hit and retrieve volleyball, preferably boys against girls, to getting 3 hits in on almost every play. They've graduated to being pretty self confident individuals... They gave amazing oral reports, served together on the school social, and were totally natural on the school program instead of talking too fast or shying away from the mike. They wrote amazing autobiographies that were so honest and real. The boys graduated from voices that cracked around to singing pretty good bass, and my songbird girls are so confident learning new songs and singing any of the voices that strike their fancy that day. After revivals, two were baptized, but my whole class changed. There was more thoughtfulness... Opening the van door for a younger sibling, noticing little things that needed to be done around the classroom, more taking responsibility, more teamwork, making sure everyone got a chance to pitch in softball, setting up the not so good players in volleyball, more asking for help, more willingness to apologize. I just hope that with the peer pressure of youth and more responsibility... They keep their curiosity, their soft, teachable attitude, their enthusiasm... Because people like them are what the church and the world needs!!!
Program and play day are so busy, and you are so looking forward to being DONE... And then it comes down to it and you want to slow down time. To visit with each Mom, to watch parents just being relaxed and enjoying playing with their kids. And YOUR kids... They're scattered hither and yon and you're so glad you are free of responsibility and yet you wanna gather them all up in your classroom and shut the door and have one. More. Normal. Day. Where you're the perfect-caring-interested-patient-teacher they deserve. My coteacher said... Is this what foster parents feel like?
And now I'm thinking of all the teachers across our conference that are feeling like their little secure world if last year has been pulled out from under them... Many are saying goodbye to a congregation for the last time, many are engaged or soon will be, and many will go back to coteachers they don't know. We're all going home to youth groups where our places are being filled with, sometimes, people we think should still be in school. And for me, maybe my change won't be as big as some, but when you've lived with an awesome person for two years, it's beyond hard to say goodbye, even when you know that an awesome person is taking their place. When you've had an awesome school board, it's hard to see it change, and you wonder... Will we keep the same open working together attitude we've had? And students... Two years is a long time without getting any new ones. These kids know all my quirks and habits, likes and dislikes, and ways of running the classroom, and they pretty much try to fall in line. Next year, there will be new people to get to know and all the routine stuff won't be quite as routine. I'll have to learn to know new parents... All that stuff makes you feel vulnerable. And sometimes for me I feel like if I learn to love a new normal, that's being disloyal to the old normal... The old relationships and ways of doing things. But right now I'm thinking of it this way. If you're in a change period in your life, and people are leaving and new ones are coming in... You are ADDING new relationships to your life. You're not subtracting anyone! Your heart is just getting a little bit bigger.
Some things that you can have anywhere you go...
~the moon... It shines down, bright and beautiful, look at it and know that anywhere in the world, your friends will see the same one
~coffee, and people to drink it with
~kids... The little ones will always hug you and want you to read them stories, the big ones will tell you things that are important to you... Their easy to make friends with and always real
~nature... There is beauty everywhere... You can take a walk to quiet the voices in your head and be ready to start over
~people... No they are not the same... There are the sit around the fire type, the life of the party type, the leave food in your vehicle type, the talk to you after church type, the tease you mercilessly type, the singing type, the volleyball type, the horse ride type, the deep conversation type, the sensitive type, the never forget a birthday type, the go on a walk type, the laugh till you cry at lame puns type, the create something together type, the syk you up type, the chill you out type, and many other types. (I think I sound like a Dr. Suess type) For me, making friends with new people is the scariest thing... We all have our guards up, ready to judge, to make first impressions, to be sensitive to the things this new human in our life will say and think about us. But someone... One of you... Has to make that first step of being vulnerable to friendship, letting your guard down, being interested in the other person, and most importantly showing them who you are. And if you are willing to be the one to do that, you will find people to connect with everywhere. Some places more than others because more people there are like you, but surely anywhere we go we can have a friend.
So happy summer everyone! I love you all and pray for me sometimes!