Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Feeling New...

There are times when I'm teaching that I do the wrong things...
but what I've come to find out is that the WRONG things are just little mistakes...
I remember beating myself up about doing stupid things like setting out all the supplies for a project and expecting the kids to listen to the directions before they got started and then beating myself up for that later...not now...now I'm sooo much more gentle with myself and have no problem backing anything up to the point where I went wrong. I love the idea that I can say to my little Kindergarteners, "Uh oh. I did that all wrong. Can we back up and try again? So sorry."
I like the newness. I like that I don't have many expectations for myself, except to do my best, have fun and listen to those little kids. I listen to what they are interested in, and I am able to go with that. The best thing is, is that they are interested in everything, and if I say something is exciting, then they want to do it for SURE!
If I say stringing cheerios on a string is FUN, they all want to do it!
So, luckily, my brain is a wide-open sky... naiveté is pure sweetness right now. I don't even know if I used that form of "naive" correctly, and I'm fine with that. See how blissed out I am?!

Monday, September 20, 2010

love life for its own sake


"We must love life before loving its meaning."
Dostoyevsky


Does there need to be something more? Should there be some higher meaning for loving life? I don't think so. I think that the chipmunks carefully twisting apart pinecones to get at the pinenuts, the breeze swaying the little clapping hand-leaves of the aspens, the inchworm taking a whole day to get to the top of a fruit tree, the reds and pinks in the sunset, the silver in the sunrise, the rain coming down in sheets, a grasshopper springing out before you in an empty lot...this is love of living.
There is no meaning, and all meaning in it.
Nature does not ask itself, "now what must I be happy about today so that I can get going and do what I am supposed to do? What, today, will give me great meaning so I can feel peaceful in this world"
Literally, it goes about its work.
The deer make babies, take care of babies, try to avoid cars, seek refuge under trees, nibble at bitterbrush and garden tomatoes, and love their lives by living them the best that they are able.
The cat looks for food, catches chipmunks, climbs trees, sways precariously on top of chicken coops, finds convenient holes to poop in, curls up in front of fires and feels at peace with itself. Life is good, just in the living of it.

It is not always (ever?) important to know the meaning in what we do, but just to know that we fit where we are, that the life we are living has meaning within itself, that possibly meaning can grow from it when we simply love where we are at at this moment.

I was mopping my classroom, and was thinking about all sorts of other things, when I began to think about the mopping itself. What meaning does it have in the scheme of teaching? I didn't know, but I thought I should learn to love it, because I'll be doing lots of it. It struck me that there didn't have to be any meaning from it. I was doing, it needed to be done, and I felt satisfaction in having done it myself. Just being there, just doing it...that was it.

I have never heard a 5 year old ask, "What is the meaning of this? why are you teaching us about the eyeball? why are we learning about cowboys? Why must we do glitter? What does it all mean?"
No, they don't have to have any meaning, because life is worth living just as it comes to them. Hooray glitter and glue!! Life is good!!
Hooray, rain left water in our sand buckets, let's make soup!!
Hooray, stacking blocks! Life is good!
Hooray, cutting out paper and gluing it on! Woohoo!
Hooray, I get to dust with the little blue duster!
Hooray, I get to wipe off our chairs with this orange sponge!! Life is goooood!
Hooray, inside recess!
Hooray, outside recess!
Hooray, double recess!
Hooray, hooray, hooray!

Life doesn't have to have deep meaning to be deeply satisfying.
We ran out of the lemons that life was dealing us, but we have onions? Make onion dip!
woohoo! Onion dip!!

Children and Nature: Loving what is, simply because it is.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Kindergarten Days

Kindergarten
My days are full... of the simple things...of other human beings' children, of smiles and laughs and giggles, of running and yelling, of hugs and arms around the shoulder, of glue and pencils, of cutting and little tiny paper scraps, of barely legible letters that are so darn cool, of potato-looking people drawn on everything, of lining up and potty breaks, of the alphabet and numbers, of going down the slides and racing up the stairs, of little scrapes and upset tummys, of leaning into my leg for a side cuddle, of picture books read with good voices, of sweet little faces wondering what we'll do next, of finding this supremely patient and kind teacherly-ness I never knew I had...oh my life is precious right now.

Kindergarten by kathrynjolie featuring brown jewelry

Friday, September 10, 2010

Where I've been...

This is how it's been...thank goodness for Anne Morrow Lindbergh for putting words to moments like these in our lives:

"For to be a woman is to have interests and duties, raying out in all directions from the central mother-core, like spokes from the hub of a wheel. The pattern of our lives is essentially circular. We must be open to all points of the compass; husband, children, friends, home, community, stretched out, exposed, sensitive like a spider's web to each breeze that blows, to each call that comes. How difficult for us, then, to achieve a balance in the midst of these contradictory tensions, and yet how necessary for the proper functioning of our lives. How much we need, and how arduous of attainment, is that steadiness preached in all rules for holy living. How desirable, and how distant is the ideal of the contemplative, artist, or saint - the inner inviolable core, the single eye."
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I've been being a Kindergarten teacher this last week, for the first time ever, in my whole life...and I found a new passion. I've been completely lost in the moments. I think of nothing but those little 5 year olds all day long. My mind is washed with white glue and scissors and bright papers. My dreams are full of staplers and laminating and tiny chairs.

I didn't know how much I'd love it...I couldn't have imagined it any better than it is.

I feel like Santiago in The Alchemist, finally finding my Personal Legend...
and so I offer my life a very tired, very honest, "Hooray!"