Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sorta Self-Sufficient

In our home, growing up, self-sufficiency carried the day. Our religious beliefs nurtured this ideal. My parents encouraged it. We were taught to be independent, and to try to do as much as possible on our own. For most of my life, this has served me well. I live on my own, and I manage to do much to support myself and to survive.

But, I am starting to loosen my grip, to allow others to help me. This is NOT easy. It requires humility. My new school is a parent participation school. Parents are required to donate two and a half hours of labor each week. This is incredible to me. I watch parents pick up trash, serve yard duty, work with students, grade papers, and perform maintenance on the school building. For weeks, I have watched a parent who arrives at school after his regular job, to immediately start cleaning up the playground with a leaf blower and a broom. He always has a smile on his face.

These parents are eager to help and to give. It has been a blessing for me to have this time donated to me and to my students.

Today, I had a student stay in from P.E. because she is recovering from a bad bout with the flu. Generally, my philosophy has always been to do everything in the classroom, to control everything. In the past, I rarely let kids genuinely help. I thought that it was more important for them to play and to enjoy being kids. Today, I asked this student to help me with some tasks. So, we sat side by side, and worked together. I could tell that it made her feel great to be useful. I thought back to my favorite teachers in elementary school. Each one of them let me help in the classroom, and after school. And, it's one of the reasons that I loved taking part in their classes. My effort was needed.

What sad lessons for me to learn so far along in life! But, at least I'm finally understanding a bit about how to receive service gracefully.

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