One of the benefits of being a teacher and living in the town that I teach in, is that I get to bump into my students and their families quite often around town. My own family laughs because we can rarely go anywhere without seeing someone I know. Being a Kindergarten teacher is a blessing in itself. The joy that these 5 and 6 year olds find in the simplest things, brings a smile to my face on a daily basis. Children teach us how care for the small things, love unconditionally and to simply laugh.
In the weekly journal writing class that I have been taking we have been focusing on vulnerability. The definition of vulnerable is “exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally” Many people might think that children are vulnerable, but perhaps the people who really are vulnerable are adults. Children laugh, care and love unconditionally. They are giving, compassionate and empathetic. They are tolerant and unbiased. They want to love and they want to be loved. Simple. Maybe this is why being a Kindergarten Teacher is “my calling”. They all just want to be friends!
Being vulnerable is not a bad thing. After talking and journal writing about it for a few days now, I think it is part of a growing process. Vulnerability is necessary to grow and move on. It is a process of change and learning to accept that you can move forward. I am secure in the way my life is right now….but now that my mom has passed, that life is going to be different. I am vulnerable. I have to learn to live without her. I can’t just call her like I want to tonight, to ask her for her corned beef and cabbage recipe that I will be preparing for 20 people tomorrow. I have to rely on other ways and open myself to new possibilities and opportunities. It will taste just fine. It may not be her recipe, but it will be as close to it as I can get it to be, and perhaps be a new tradition for our family.
That brings me back to teaching in town…
Today, while I was at Target, buying all of the ingredients I needed for tomorrow’s meal, at the exact same time, three of my students and their parents and I all wound up in the same part of the store. I got hugs and enormous smiles and in return, I was able to give them one of the biggest, most genuine smiles I have been able to give all week. When one of them told me, “I missed you! Where were you”? I told them, “My mom was sick”. One of them just smiled and said, “She needed you to take care of her right?” My eyes filled with tears and I was able to reply, “Yes. That is exactly what I was doing”. Perhaps I am breaking through my vulnerability and it is my Kindergarteners who will help me to get there.