Who am I?

One question seems to perpetually plague my mind of late.  Who am I?  Or perhaps it’s variation, Who do I want to be? While I recognize this is a lifelong question and struggle, I’m not sure what first began lifting it to the surface and forefront of my mind in this particular season of my life.

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Failure on the Homefront

One of the areas in which I have felt the most inadequate in my parenting journey has been the area of Potty Training.  Despite my early visions of being diligent and following through with all of the early training techniques that the guide books offered me… I failed, time and again.

With my first we followed a guide that suggested trying at, I think, 15 months.  The reason I can’t remember for certain is that it didn’t succeed.  Therefore was irrelevant for my brain to remember.  Oh, he loved sitting on it and reading book after book and getting all of our focused attention… sometimes so long he’d have indents from the seat on him when he got up.  But that didn’t lead to any success.

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Devotional Reader’s Theatre

Working in a Christian school, each morning with our students we begin our days with a short devotional and prayer time. It is a great way to help calm everyone’s nerves and get perspective for the day (just as personal morning devotions can be). When I shifted into a new role working with English Language Learners that were new to Canada and had more limited language skills, I struggled with how to have the deep devotional time I knew we needed with the language barriers.

Around this same time, dual language books were becoming touted as a great solution for encouraging students growth in both their 1st and 2nd languages (or 3rd or 4th or 5th). The difficulty is that we have students from all different language backgrounds so it is costly to get dual language books for each language group. At some point it occurred to me… teaching in a Christian school I have a great asset, the Bible. It is the most widely translated and available dual language book and we can access it digitally for free!

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I used to struggle with the idea of God choosing one people group at the alienation of those around them.  As if God loved them exclusively and more.  Somehow this didn’t seem to fit with His character in the New Testament.  I now realize, what I saw in black and white, He saw very differently — in full color.

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I love my job.  I love working with youth and particularly new immigrant youth.  They are so full of potential and keen to learn.  Watching them move from dog-paddling to keep their head above water in English to making smooth strokes as they confidently swim around in the English language in all its quirks and challenges in a wide variety of content areas is a thrill.  Watching a student last fall go from a K (early grade 2) reading level to now confidently soaring through W (grade 6 level) just a year in a half later, makes me believe in miracles.

I also love my family.  I love my younger son’s heart for others and desire to be with them (and especially our family).  He has a truly giving nature and his first thought upon receiving something is how he will share it with his brother, his cousins or his friends.  I love my older son’s joy at learning.  How at 6 he already struggles to master the intricacies of chess and is loving developing his second language (which he uses whenever he gets the chance).  I love my husband, who is quiet and quirky and…. if I’m very still and quiet and patient… let’s me into the inner sanctum of his mind every once in a while by sharing one of his precious and very private thoughts or feelings.

The problem is… there is not enough of me to be what I need to be in both these worlds.  So I am torn…. between being a great teacher OR being a great mother OR being a great wife (not to mention other roles in my life).  In fact… returning to work today after 2 weeks away, I realized that in December before I left, I was feeling rather ripped to shreds by this ever-present tension and all these demands.  I end up like a frayed rope… unreliable… not enough as a teacher, not enough as a mother, not enough as a wife, etc. Continue reading “Torn”

Clearing the Cobwebs

Decluttering.  Organizing.  Minimizing.  I have a love hate relationship with these currently popular terms.  As I type this post I am in what is supposed to be my home office.  This is supposed to be the serene space that I retreat to collect my thoughts and pursue my creative endeavors.  Instead,  it looks like the aftermath of some sort of explosion.

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New Beginnings

After so many years, I’m not sure why I still get so excited about a New Year.  When I look back at the challenges of the past year and notice the pattern that each year seems to increase in difficulty and complexity with age.  Yet as I face a New Year, those challenges seem underwhelming compared to the immense possiblities of it all!

As I mentioned in my previous entry, Missing Moments, I am a closet opimist that loves the new beginnings each morning brings… so when it comes to a new year that fervor is amped up to an 11 (on a 1-10 scale of course *wink*)!

I love looking forward to how my kids will grow, how my students will grow and even, hopefully, how I will grow in the next 365 days (Lord willing).  As I get older and the years fly by faster in a whirlwind of life activity… I especially enjoy the opportunity at this time of year to slow down… reflect … and dream.

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