The first 7 days with students are over. The beginning of each school year is intense with to-do’s – money to collect, physical space to set-up and maintain, new faces to get to know, forms to hand in for the office, never mind planning lessons and staying positive for the new students.
The weekend ahead is packed with things to get done, and yet, for some reason I am feeling grateful. As much as I am hemmed in by things to get done, the broader circumference around me is spacious with love and hope for the coming year.
This summer I came across an article about parenting, and a line stayed with me. A study had shown that a “good” parent is a “good enough” parent. A light went on and the thought came quickly: maybe it’s ok to be a “good enough” teacher. When I mentioned this in our community, Paul, one of the people who knows well my anxious habit of “not good enough” thoughts, resounded with a hearty “YES!”
It has been a guiding mantra as I’ve been preparing and entering the new year. I know that I don’t have all my “ducks in a row” as well as I’d like, but something more true has made its way into my heart and mind. “Good enough”, I tell myself as I walk away from lessons or days that were more bumpy than I wished.
Dare to have joy – Here are the things that have been giving me joy in the last weeks:
- I wish I could describe in full each of the rich and wonderful characters in my classroom. Over the years I have seen so many personalities. Some are easy and some are more challenging, and I see the whole range, but for some reason I am grateful for the whole gamut. I may not be getting wiser with age, but I do notice I feel more grateful for them all, and more accepting of them. Maybe they too are becoming more and more “good enough” – perfect just the way they are, learning, growing, not without a bumpy road, but never without hope. And maybe, just maybe, that’s how God sees me.
- I am grateful for all the staff in our school. I probably appear pretty quiet, so they may not know this, but each person brings gifts. One carries such a grace of smiling acceptance and calm for her students and for me too. Another is always organized and knows how to say just the right encouraging word. Others give good cheer, generous help whenever I or others ask, smiles in the hallways, support without question, big or little.
- I am thankful that after a break from running, slowly but surely I am able to begin again. Maybe I have a few miles left in me!
- I am grateful for my community’s many prayers for and with me as I’ve begun the new school year.
- I am also grateful for the new books on my Kindle bookshelf, forming my thoughts as we look forward to our annual Watershed fall retreat at Falcon Lake. Healing the Gospel and Letters by a Modern Mystic, both accessible, rich books brimming with good thoughts for me.