Posts Tagged With: answers

To understand the living, you got to commune with the dead.

On my way home from the doctor’s office this morning, I went to the cemetery where my beloved Grandaddy is buried. I wrote about the cemetery in a post called memories. But today it wasn’t about the cemetery itself. It was about talking to Grandaddy.
It’s been a while since I was there to spend time. The last time I was there was to reattach the broken angel statue quickly before it began to rain.
Today I went for advice. To talk about how I feel and see what it might mean.
I’m fully aware that no “real” or tangible answers come as I’m sitting in the grass while the sun warms my body and the granite of the headstones.
But somehow I get what I’m searching for for.
Today was no different. I felt what I needed move through my body like a wave, and I had my answers.
Does that mean what I’m searching for is already inside of me?
Why do I have to go to the cemetery to talk with my Grandaddy to access it?

You know what Minerva said, “To understand the living, you got to commune with the dead.”

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

wishful dreaming

I had a curious dream last night. Curious because I suspect it was a waking dream. Meaning that it may (or may not) have taken place in that ephemeral place between asleep and awake.
I don’t suppose that actually matters…but I have that nagging feeling that it just might.

I don’t remember how or when it began, or even what actually “happened”. But I do know I was given the opportunity to make three wishes.
Did I rub a lamp?
Was there a genie in a bottle?
Was I listening to Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge for too long?
Was it just wishful…dreaming?
I have no earthly idea.
But I remember what I wished for.

My first wish: the ability to facilitate healing with the touch of my hand.
I wish this because I’d love to be able to help people who are truly struggling. With physical illness. With emotional illness. Wouldn’t that be an amazing gift to give? AND, I’d like the ability to heal my own brain, please and thank you.

My second wish: to always have the exact purchase price of anything I wanted to buy.
This could mean anything from sending my kids to college to new appliances, from new shoes to a pack of Trident. (spearmint, natch) To always have enough “change in my pocket”.
I would absolutely use this to my advantage, first and foremost to eradicate my dreaded student loan debt. But I would also use it to help and gift the people I love. And most likely, people I hardly even know.

My third wish: for every question I have to be answered with the absolute truth.
I’m talking about the whys and wherefores of things, not questions like, “Does this make my butt look big?” (I’m not sure anyone really wants the truth to that kind of question.)
If I could get answers to my age old questions, perhaps it would help me grow.
What if I could get answers that would help someone find their truest self or potential?
I can see where this wish could be more than I bargained for, I will undoubtedly get answers that would be hurtful. But I could learn from every single answer I get…the good, the bad, the indifferent.

I’m not sure about the first wish, but the second and third wishes are absolutely selfish. To be able to purchase what I need or want as I need or want it would be spectacular, though I suspect the novelty would wear off sooner rather than later. But to help the kids get set up in their lives would be the greatest gift! There are weddings coming, and they’ll need places to live. If I could start them out with what they need for the first year and then let them sort it from there on out. And shoes for me! Think of the shoes!
The third wish is selfish too. I’ve spent my life asking questions with precious few answers. But would answers to my old questions make any difference now?
But what if I could use this ability to help others? I could ask seemingly simple questions and help someone figure out what’s in their truest heart.
That feels more like a ‘using your powers for good and not evil’ kind of situation.

I don’t guess it really matters. There was no lamp. No genie came to me. And I’ve listened to that Pierces album more times than I can count.
Perhaps it was really wishful dreaming.
But isn’t that the best kind?

I’m curious about you and your three wishes. Would you be willing to share them with me?

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What are you?

I have a friend who is a veterinarian.
I have friends who are educators.
I have a friend who is an educator of educators.
I have a friend who is a dental hygienist.
I have a friend who is an engineer.
I have a friend who is a small business owner.
I have a friend who is a retired Naval officer.
I have a friend who is a hair stylist.
I have a friend who is a nurse.
YBW is a DBA.

Though I am an educator, when this question comes at me I don’t answer it with that label.
I answer like this:
I am a girl.
I am a mom.
I am a writer.
I am a photographer.
And then I say I’m an early childhood educator.

Why is it: What are you?
Why is it: What do you do?

Why do we identify ourselves this way?
Why isn’t it:
Who are you?
And I don’t mean the answer should be: I am Robynbird. I mean it should be who are you in your thoughts? Who are you in your heart? Who are you in your passions?

I believe the question should be: What are you passionate about?
Wouldn’t we get so much more from that answer? Learn interesting and important things about a person? Make a connection?

Next time I meet someone I’m going to ask that question. I encourage you to do the same.
Actually, I’m going to ask you: What are you passionate about? Please share your answers in the comments. I want to know interesting and important things about you that I may not learn from reading your writings.

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Just you wait, Henry Higgins. Just you wait.

I haven’t written anything in a while. I just haven’t been feeling well…or feeling like writing. It’s not an excuse…it just is.
Monday starts my last two weeks in my classroom. While I’m sad to say goodbye to my babies, I’ve never been happier to leave a job in my life. And that’s saying something. I used to run the nursing department of a home health care company. Every day on the way to work I would fantasize about being in an accident. Not enough to be hurt, enough to not make it to work.
It’s not the kids, I adore them. Even the ones I don’t actually like. It’s the way the administrators (None of which have any early childhood experience.) never bother to ask the most important question.
What’s best for children?

I ask that question every single day. And I do my damnedest to answer it.

It disgusts me that they are treated like chattel with dollar signs on their chests. Is that what’s best for children?
If parents knew how decisions regarding their children’s care and education were being arbitrarily decided would that be acceptable?
But some parents don’t care. Their careers, their lives are more important to them and they’re content to believe the hype as long as someone looks after their children all day long.

No one gives a damn about emergent curriculum. Or learning through play. Or brain development.
Is that what’s best for children?

I’ve never been truly satisfied at this school. I’ve had moments of great joy. But I’ve always known it fit me ill.
It’s made me question my passion for early childhood education. It’s made me question my love for young children. I’ve been wrestling with “hanging up my spurs” for quite some time. It fascinates me that something beyond my control made the decision for me. Is the stress from this job really creating the sickness in my brain?

Perhaps I’m just a whiny crybaby? Perhaps I’m just lazy? Perhaps I simply don’t want to have to go to work everyday?
I’ve asked myself these questions. With the exception of the first one, the answer is no. (The answer to the first question is: occasionally.)

It’s occurring to me as I write this that as bad as that other job was, this one goes against my personal beliefs. That just might be why it feels so much worse. I care so passionately about young children and their beginning education that I absolutely cannot participate in the degradation of the most important time in a person’s life.
From zero to five years is when everything we need for our entire lives starts being built.

I was discussing with a couple we know, the brain situation and leaving my job under medical advice. The husband (Who is an engineer.) said something to the effect of: But all jobs are stressful. The wife (Who is a teacher at an elementary school.) replied something to the effect of: Teaching is so stressful. It’s not like other jobs. You can turn your brain off occasionally while you’re working. But we never can.
I agreed and said: I am almost constantly engaged with my kids. My brain works even harder than my body does. When a child comes to me with a question or is excited about an accomplishment, I have to be ready to go! I have to give that child my undivided attention while being completely aware of the others.

Most people have no real understanding of what early childhood educators do. It’s not quantifiable but it lays the foundation for every single moment of learning.

I’m going to step down off my soapbox.
I’m going to enjoy the last two weeks with my babies before they move into the “junior kindergarten program”.
I’m going to walk away with my head held high.

It occurs to me in this moment that I haven’t been writing because I was filled with all this poison. It was making me fell unwell. It was making me cranky.
Well, I’ve just spewed the poison it onto this page and I actually feel a great deal better.

Am I crazy?
Am I cutting off my nose to spite my face?
Are personal beliefs and principles so sacred that to go against them makes one ill?
Don’t we skew our principles a teeny bit just to make it through each day?

I don’t know the answers to those questions. Well, I’m pretty sure I’m not crazy…

I am going to take time in September and October to heal my brain. (I’m extremely stubborn so I plan to do that through the sheer force of my will.) I’ll take that time to finish wedding planning. I’ll spend a good deal of that time with my own precious Thing 2.
And when YBW and I come home from our honeymoon, I’ll find a new job. One that suits me and that I suit.

I’m reminded a little bit of Eliza Doolittle: Just you wait ‘enry ‘iggins. Just you wait.
My brain is Professor Higgins. Life is Professor Higgins. And just like Eliza Doolittle, I plan to show my brain and the world what’s up!

Categories: education, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

on the advice of Nick’s father

Whenever I begin to compare my life to that of someone else, I’m reminded of Nick Carraway’s line at the beginning of Gatsby: In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages you’ve had.”

I’m using the concept rather loosely, less in the way Fitzgerald intended and more along the lines of considering each of us comes from a different place. It has nothing really to do with having, or the lack of “advantages”, and everything to do with point of view.
Each of us is raised with a certain set of values based on our environment and the life experiences of the people who raised us. We take those values and adapt them as we gain our own life experiences. We raise our own children based on these values we were taught and modified for them to continue the process.

I sometimes fail to remember, or perhaps simply take into account this very important advice. I think about the people I know and, I think rather naturally, compare myself to what I see of them. Of course this is futile as we seldom see the reality of an individual, but what they choose to share with the world.

We each behave based on that initial set of values we learned as children, even though we’ve changed them here and there to fit our new world view.

I am accused of being extremely judgmental.
I am a little…to deny this would be a bold face lie. But I’m nowhere near as judgmental as get accused of being.

I question everything.
This can be misconstrued because I ask questions in a way that may not always reflect my desire to understand. I question everything partly because I was brought up in an environment in which questions were ignored or left unanswered and I have a life-long compulsion to have answers. Partly because I’m curious and want to know and understand. I especially want to understand motivations for behavior.
This creates a goodly bit of friction between YBW and me. I ask to know and he hears my question as criticism. Occasionally I ask to criticize, again this goes back to what I experienced as a child, which is no excuse. It is however, the truth. I ask to understand the motivation, the thought process behind it…whatever the “it” is.

When I look at other people and see the differences I have nothing to base my opinion on other than the “advantages” of my upbringing. So I don’t understand why they do or don’t do things. I don’t understand what motivates them. I can only compare it to what I know and understand, what motivates me. I don’t think that’s judgmental.
The stubborn part of me doesn’t feel I should have to rephrase my curiosity so as not offend. Perhaps it’s not stubborn, perhaps it’s that bit of me that was stunted in my childhood. Perhaps because I couldn’t ask questions and get answers, I’m much more inclined to question everything? (The question mark at the end of that sentence is not lost on me.)

I am, have always been, interested in human behavior. The whys and wherefores of the way we behave, make choices, socialize, raise our children. I’m still learning everyday what motivates my behavior, some aspects I accept, some I realize need improvement. But I’m still asking questions. I’ll most likely go to my grave asking questions.

I must remember that I was brought up very differently than some of the people I know. That we will function in completely different ways.
I must remember that though I’m curious to their whys and wherefores I have to be mindful in the way I ask questions.
I must remember that I did have “advantages” that some people didn’t have.
I must remember that I am capable of many things and needn’t compare myself to anyone else.

Will I remember these things? Will I always act upon them?
Most likely not, but if I simply pay attention…I’ll make progress.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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