Teachers have been in the news a lot lately. Some of the press is good and some is bad. Sadly I feel like teachers get a bad rap. The profession seems to carry less respect that it used to – and much less than teachers truly deserve. It makes me sad. Ever since I was a little girl playing school in my room for hours on end – with stuffed animal students and a make shift chalkboard – I dreamed of having a classroom of my own. Now that I am a teacher I can honestly say it is my dream job. I feel so blessed to get to do what I do every single day. Am I tired? Yes. Am I frustrated at times? Yes. Do I feel overworked and under appreciated? At times, yes! But at the end of the day, I know that I carry the responsibility and privilege of making a difference in the lives of children!
Teaching is not just what I do….Teaching is who I am. It is woven into the fabric of my very being. Through the course of my day I do so much more than “teach.” I get to listen to stories of fainting goats and trips to Disney. I get to dry tears shed from missing a dog. I get to love on kids who have worries that kids should not have. I get to share in the excitement of finally “getting it.” This is such an honor and such a blessing in my life. And while not every moment of every day is sunshine and rainbows, and while there is a whole lot of other “stuff” that makes this profession not so glamorous at times, it is all worth every single bit of energy spent. I get to be a teacher….it is who I am!
I am an elementary teacher. I’m fairly accustomed to the constant hum of noise from a roomful of kids. And that’s nothing to the noise level found in a cafeteria with 100+ kiddos. I am momma to 5 kids. Rarely are all seven of us ever in the house – much less the same room – but when we are, there is noise. (This momma loves that noise, by the way).
When you think about it, there is noise in all aspects of our lives. TV’s are often on several hours a day in our homes. Our noses tend to be buried in some sort of screen several hours a day. We are constantly being bombarded with noise…data, tweets, posts, feeds, videos, and on and on. The other day I stepped out of my car to pump gas and there was a screen blaring commercials and music. Constant noise.
For me, the constant noise – the ever-present distractions become almost comforting. When I’m listening to a tv show, or scrolling mindlessly through the same feed I’ve read through already three times I don’t have to think about “the other stuff.” And sometimes its just easier to drown out the hard stuff. But easy isn’t always best.
I’ve recently tried to start eliminating some of the daily distractions so that I can consciously seek after these deeper things. I’m going after peace. When I’m not busy worrying about social media, or Season 5 of Grey’s Anatomy, my mind is forced to really ponder on bigger thoughts. Sometimes I end up praying…talking with God. Other times I’ve ended up worshipping – just me on my own. I’ve also found myself thinking about all of the many things I am so grateful for.
I’m certainly not trying to say that social media is bad or that we shouldn’t ever turn on Netflix…not at all. I think what I’m discovering is that distractions can very easily take up all the space in our heads and not allow any time for us to reflect on what’s really important. These breaks from the noise have been so refreshing for my mind and my spirit. I encourage you tofind your quiet!
I’m pretty hard on myself. Know anyone like that…? I have high expectations for the way I should be doing things each day and when I don’t live up to those expectations I am disappointed in me.
I recently got remarried. We are now a family of 7. My oldest child is 20 and is away in college. My daughter is 17 and a junior in high school. My husband has three girls…11, 9, and 5. I moved into the home he already lived in with his girls. Oh….and did I mention that we got ourselves a puppy to complete our new family!?! Eight is Enough.
I am also a 5th grade teacher. I am passionate about teaching children and love watching them grow and learn. But struggle with the facets of their lives that I cannot change or fix or handle.
I strive to give my all to all of the areas of my life all the time…my husband, children, students, and yes – my puppy. I often feel like I fail miserably (and by often I mean always). I feel overwhelmed most of the time and constantly find myself asking God to help me. Give me strength. Give me patience. Give me wisdom. Give me sleep! Give me a housekeeper! I look around at other women and am so envious at how they seemingly balance it all, while I feel like an elephant on roller skates with my hair on fire. And then to make it even worse, I look to the Bible and see this picture of a Godly woman – in Proverbs 31 – and I feel my shortcomings are glaring. This woman had a family and a home, ran a successful business, cooked (healthy), cleaned, made clothes, was up before the sun and after everyone else had gone to bed. Seriously?!?
After many tears, many prayers, and many rants, I have decided to not beat myself up over all of these things that I am NOT. I recently read a commentary on this passage from the Bible that suggested that while the Proverbs 31 woman is a great example to us, is it possible that she was not ALL of these things ALL at once? Perhaps she fulfilled all of these roles during different seasons of her life…and not all at once all the time. This was a totally new way of thinking about who I am and who I strive to be as a woman. Maybe I can’t be everything to everyone everyday. And that is okay.
I’m in a new season of my life where maybe I’m going to have to focus more on certain aspects of my world than others. Imagine what a relief it is to embrace this truth! I love learning new insights to things I had always had the same perspective on. So what if my kitchen is not Pinterest worthy…and it’s okay if we ate cereal for dinner last night…and who cares if I’m in bed by 8 pm most nights. I get up each day (with God0 and do my best to be the best wife, momma, and teacher I can be. “I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.” And I will enjoy this season!
Here we go. Another new year. Another fresh start. Another blank slate with endless possibilities. Another (insert your own cliche here). I actually do love a new year and the thought that it’s time to start over. But then I also get aggravated with myself that I NEED to start over. Why can’t I just “keep going” rather than always needing a restart!? It’s like the diet I begin EVERY Monday morning!! So I sat down to “restart” another blog with a New Year post about resolutions and inspiration and all that nonsense. But as I ponder on the idea of resolutions it sort of hit me! Resolutions – for me – just don’t work. And here is why…When I make resolutions for myself it really becomes all about me and MY ability (or lack thereof) to follow through and accomplish. I become fixated on my goal and my strength and my willpower and my ability. I rely on ME to make things the way I want them. So this year I’m NOT making resolutions for things that I want to do. Instead I’m going to turn it ALL over to God, because I KNOW that HE CAN work all things out for me. He will be my strength and my will. If and when I become more reliant on Him and completely surrender my will to Him I am certain that He will work through me and in me. My desires and wants and needs become less important when I allow God to work His will in my life. So no resolutions for this girl…this year, its about total surrender!