Sixth hour was not enjoyable for me today. All the little, needless battles just kept on coming one after another.
At one point, one girl said to me, “You have a little boy? Ew! I do NOT want a boy.”
No. I am not making this up. This job is by no means all flowers and sunshine. I try to mostly focus on the flowers and sunshine in this blog, because that is what my personality needs. But sometimes I just need to…not.
In this moment, I wanted to hand in my keys, go pick up my son, wrap him in my arms, and tell him how he’s all I wanted and more.
Most days I don’t question my decision to give up time with my kid so that I can invest in other people’s kids. Because most days, I can buy into the fact that we belong to each other, and there’s no such thing as other people’s kids. Just kids. And we all have a responsibility to invest in them.
But today I questioned. Today I just wanted my kid.
In that moment, anther girl piped in and drew me back into the situation.
“Oh, well, I don’t want a girl! Can you imagine? ANOTHER girl…with MY attitude?!”
I thought she was just trying to be funny.
But when I replayed the conversation in my mind, I realized the second girl was attempting to make me feel better. She was looking out for me. She knew what the first girl had said was not kind…and she was reaching out: an invisible yet verbal hug.
In my head, I know things like “hurting people hurt people” and “if a kid is making you miserable, the kid is miserable.” But sometimes the heart is slower, and softer, than the brain.
I know when kids say ugly things, it means that that’s been modeled for them. And that’s really heartbreaking. But that doesn’t excuse their behavior. They shouldn’t roll their eyes at you when you ask them to put their phones up. They shouldn’t huff and puff when you enforce the rules you’ve been asked to enforce. They shouldn’t walk out of the classroom because they want to go to the restroom but know you’ll tell them no, because that’s the building expectation. (All things that happened in the course of an hour, by the way.)
But sometimes they do. And sometimes I just need people to know: this job–this thing we do where we teach kids about calculus and kindness, government and compassion, ecosystems and empathy, Golding and thankfulness–it’s so hard at times.
But your kids are worth it to us. Because they’re our kids, too.
Even the snotty ones.
Even the ones that make me want to hand in my keys.
They’re worth it.
So, if you have kids, join me in raising the children who work to brighten their teachers’ days. The ones who give those invisible–and visible–hugs. The world can never have enough of those kids.