Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Through a Child's Eyes

Note: If you ever want to get over an addiction to reading and posting blogs, teach first grade. It is the ultimate and most rewarding time suck ever.

This weekend, my mother and I took Lily to see Peter and the Wolf at the local performing arts center where my step father works. It was a ballet put on my a teen dance troop and Lily loved it! I love watching my kids see something that thrills them. Her face was glowing and she would pause every once in a while to give me the thumbs up. Thumbs up is Lily's highest form of praise.

She got to get autographs after and as we left she paused to hug and kiss the sculpture that is outside of the theater. She does this every time. This theater has come to be the symbol of Grandude for her. She loves it and everything she gets to see there. When my mom shared this with Chris he was touched and chuckled. As adults we often forget that what is mundane and drudgery to us is magic to a kid. I bet he looked at the statue differently on Monday morning.

I think that is why I choose to spend so much of my time with children. They take you out of your head and show you the world in a different way. Sometimes it's magical and moving. Sometimes it is a grim reality that you had chosen to gloss over as you bustle through your day. Both are valuable.

Caroline gets such a charge out of helping me stuff homework folders. She babbles away about what her first grade class room will be like if she teaches first grade. Now I look forward to what is a very boring task. On the flip side I work with children everyday who face hardships that I could never imagine. I had one little boy bring in school supplies a month late. It was obvious that they had been gently used and donated, but he was as happy as if it were Christmas. I helped him carefully unpack everything and exclaimed over his new crayons and pink eraser. That joy carried me all day. I have another student who is an amazing artist, but had never seen water colors. When I showed him how to use them and explained that he had his own set just for him he was in awe. I'll admit, I teared up that time.

It isn't always a Hallmark moment. Both my students and children are quick to call me on bullshit. When Lily was asking about how our dog died, I started explaining with the circle of life loving spirit info that I gave Caroline at four. Lily's response was "no, Mom, tell me for real." Rob took over and gave her the scientific details down to cremation and showed her Sierra's urn. Lily was satisfied. I'll send her to Rob next time.

I really can't imagine a time in my life without kids around. People are quick to praise me for patience or sainthood when I tell them I teach, especially when they find out that I often work with kids with special needs. Sainthood should not be awarded for doing something that I love. If you want to nominate me, do it for trying to stop swearing, especially when driving in traffic.

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