Time Travel. Valentine’s Day.
My kids had to write a narrative about time traveling to the future as an end of unit task.
Me: You will be 36 or 37 in 2050, so what are you going to do as an adult?
Student 1: How old will you be?
Student 2: She will probably be dead. That’s in the future. 😁
Student 3: Yep. 😐
Student 4: NO!😳😧
Me: Um excuse me?! I plan on living to be 130… so there. 🙄
Student 5: As an adult, I’m going to spend all my time at the carnival eating junk food and living my best life. 😬😎
Then we got to today. Valentine’s Day.
It started with flurries and freezing temperatures. My shoulders were tense as kid after kid came bouncing into my room, arms full of gifts and goodies for me and the class. I had three kids who NEEDED me to open their gifts that second or they would clearly explode.
So as I was opening these gifts and thanking the kids, one of my students came in and saw me giving out hugs and admiring the gifts.
I saw worry, anger, hurt, and longing cross their little face in five seconds.
They quickly hide it behind a grumpy face. But I knew that the seeds of comparisons had taken root. I could see the lies working their way into their heart.
I don’t have a gift for my teacher. She doesn’t love me as much as them.
They are better than me.
I wish my mom had gotten something.
I’m not good enough.
I quickly walked over and told them that I was so happy they were there and that I loved them very much. They sighed and fell into the hug I always offer to every kid who passed my door.
Then, in a very small voice, they asked if I thought a kid had brought extras that they could pass out. I looked into their beautiful brown eyes and saw the real questions, “Can you protect me from being left out? Do you still love me even though I have nothing to offer? Am I good enough?
I told them that I would make sure they had something or we could create something together. I told them again that I loved them and that I was so glad they were here. I got a small nod and watched as they walked to get breakfast with shoulders weighed heavy with unspoken hurts and needs.
I got more gifts and hugs and tried to maintain a balance of joy and routine as the kids continued to bounce in excited to present their treasures. As the piles and rows from the other kids grew, I could feel their armor coming up to protect their little heart and pride.
I could feel my own walls as I watched my kid.
How many times have I looked at my feed on Instagram and Facebook and asked God those same questions?
How many times have I allowed the seeds of comparison to grow roots and choke out my excitement and empathy for others?
How many times have I chosen to put on armor instead of letting my Father above surround me in love and comfort?
How many times have I had unspoken questions in my eyes?
How many times have I sulked in isolation instead of reaching out to the big beautiful community that God created just for me?
When we started reading, the walls started to come down as we fell into our daily routine and they got to engage with their friends and be cheered on when they knew the answer.
I took mints from the teacher’s lounge and put them in a bag in their backpack. They got to give a gift and had a blast getting gifts from the class. The class took silly pictures and ate junk food. We laughed and talked about nothing important. That student left my room with a quick hug and was bouncing down the hallway before I could say goodbye.
I am not a perfect teacher. I am not a perfect human. I yelled at my kids multiple times today. I had to stop and take several breaths. I had to choose joy intentionally over and over again.
But a few hours in a safe place filled with an imperfect teacher and other little people and that student left with knowledge in their eyes.
I am loved. I am smart. I am part of a community. I am not alone. I have a backpack full of sugar. I can share this sugar with my friends.
How high would I bounce if I spent a few more hours with the author of love? How many chains and walls would fall if I chased after Him and trusted that he can and will supply my
needs? How fast would I move on a mission to spread that love if I was soaked in it everyday?
What if we all stopped watering those lying roots? What if we took a shovel and dug them up? What if we replaced them with love and hope? What if we reached out and asked for help?
My plan for the rest of my life is to see those questions unfold in glorious ways. Also, I plan on being in bed by 9:00pm and sleeping the weekend away. Living my best life.