I Can’t See You … I Can’t Hear You
The first day of school always proves to be an interesting one. This particular year I was assigned to roam and be of assistance as needed since I had my administrative degree and my intervention caseload had not yet started. Not surprisingly, I was called to a Kindergarten classroom early that morning. As I walked into the room, I saw the issue immediately … an exasperated Kindergarten teacher with hands on hips and a frown on her face looking at a round little boy sitting cross-legged under a table with eyes squeezed shut and his pudgy hands over his ears singing as a five-year-old does … “I can’t see you … I can’t hear you … “. Trying to maintain my professional appearance and be respectful to the teacher, I choked back my laughter.
Funny how that image returns to me frequently after all those years. And though I didn’t recognize it at the time, how Buddha-like that image was and how deep the message a stubborn little five-year-old was presenting to me!
How many times does the action of another influence how you feel and how you act? Well, years of experience has taught me that we can not control the actions of others, for we only have control over ourselves. And when we let the action of others influence our response, we are not as strong as we think. Hard? Absolutely! But peace comes with inner control. And if closing your eyes and covering your ears helps, so be it!
Peace … It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. Author unknown.
A teaching career can not go without the yearly parent-teacher conference and in my district, we had many migrant families. Most migrant parents do not take the time to leave the fields to attend a conference. However, this particular year the migrant parents of one of my second graders dutifully scheduled an appointment.
My student was new to the district and would probably only stay until the local crops were harvested. Not surprisingly, he was struggling to keep up with the curricular demands and I felt it was my duty to encourage his parents to help him with his studies by supporting his academic efforts at home. After explaining their son’s difficulties with the curriculum, they seemed quite calm and unconcerned. I proceeded by asking them if they would like their son to be able to benefit from the education we were providing so that he might be able to secure a good job as an adult. The father assured me that it was not at all important to him. He was happy that his son was able to attend school with us, but the goals I set for my students, was not in line with his.
I always recognized and respected diversity among my students, but I always set my goals according to the established curriculum. This was my first encounter with parents who had goals that did not align with the districts … or at least were strong enough to politely let me know that the second-grade curriculum was not important to them. Imagine that! A happy life is more important than New York State curriculum! And a happy life need not include a high paying job at the end of a school career! I pondered over this conference for many years before I recognized its value. Life lessons are so important, and I am glad I did not miss this one.
Holistic Wellness ... putting it all together
I am Reality Therapy certified through the William Glasser Institute. William Glasser developed Choice Theory and Reality Therapy as a result of his innovative thinking as a psychiatrist and his dismay over traditional thinking regarding psychiatric issues. It took me many years to complete this training and it has shaped a large part of who I am.
The main premise revolves around the idea that between stimulus and reaction is the ability to choose knowing that you can only control your thoughts and actions, not those of others. How hard is it for one to fully understand and accept this premise?! And how hard is it to live without regards to the conditions ever present in one’s life?! But then once achieved, how easy is life?!!! Ahhh, discover the peace within!!!