Monday, August 26, 2013

I have a rant, a rave and a reflection to share but first, I have a little story.  Disclaimer: This story is just that, a story.  I can not stand by the validity of the facts. 

Once upon a time a childcare teacher headed into work.  The night before she had stayed up, completing the final touches on her 242nd fine motor game for all of the teachers at her centers {11 games for each of her 22 classrooms- done by the way, in a week and a half, or so the story goes} On the way back out to her car, she watched a parent share a complaint with another parent.  The parent was FURIOUS that she had to park her car in the back of the parking lot.  She wasn't furious about the fact that the center had an unfortunate parking lot, oh no!  She was FURIOUS, and I mean FURIOUS, that the staff had the audacity to park in the first few spaces.  The teacher was so sad by what she saw and told me all about it with the hope that I could shed some light.

That got me thinking and ranting and yes, raving {although I would never, ever talk to a parent rudely} and so I composed this letter.

Dear Parents of Children Attending Day Care,

I am writing you this letter after completing the second of my monthly staff meetings.  Tonight I met with my infant and toddler teachers for an hour after work to come up with ways to keep our curriculum standards high.  We did this for your child.  Tonight mothers, some of them single mothers, devoted their evening to collaborating on ways to teach your child sign language.  We did this for your child.  My staff are not forced to attend, they choose to attend because they are committed to YOUR CHILD.  Here's what I want you to know about those teachers you complain about parking close to the building where they work for YOUR CHILD.

First, we are NOT a daycare.  We do not babysit your children and color in coloring books all day.  We TEACH your child everything they need to know to become successful in school.  They could not succeed without the tools we give them.  I am not talking about letters and numbers... sure, this is important but, not as important as... sharing, trying hard no matter what, saying their sorry, character counts.  We teach them they are more precious than gold.  We hug them all day long...not because we are paid to but because we want to.  We pick them up when they fall, we wipe their noses when they are sick, we change their diapers and teach them to go to the bathroom.   We praise them when they do well, we lovingly redirect them when they get nutty.  We play with them, make them laugh, wipe their tears, build them up.  We do all of this while still ensuring that YOUR child will pass their Kindergarten exam with flying colors.

We are not referred to as teachers, by you or the public.  We do not have a union, we do not have politicians working for our best interest, we do not get to be called an "educator".  We do not have awards named after us.  Some of our very best teachers will never know the pride of receiving a high honor in her field.  We are referred to as day care workers.   We make less than a garbage man.  Most of you don't even know our first names.  When we have teacher appreciation week only 10 of you {this is a real number} will remember.  Ten of you.

Their are days we all second guess our field.  Days where the bad outweighs the good.  We all know we would get more respect, admiration and acknowledgement working the counter of a McDonalds.  We at least would be thanked when we deliver your food.  But, let me tell you what we would not get.  We would not get to spend countless hours holding your child on our laps while reading Dr. Seuss.  We would not get the squeals on the playground after chasing your child around the swingset for the hundredth time that day.  We would never see the look of fierce determination of watching your child write the first letter of his name or get the look of sweet success after they do.  We would not get to hear our names called in the sweet little voice that your child has attached to our hearts.  Those are things that can not be replicated.

We work harder for your child than you could possibly know.  Tonight as I looked around the room at the 23 women who showed up to make their classrooms stronger I couldn't help but feel extremely blessed to work with these women.  I was immensely grateful that my children grew up in their arms and in their hearts.  I only wish you could see them the way that I do.  If you did, you could never pay them enough, praise them enough.  You would know what I know now, my children are who they are because of women and men like them.  My kids turned out great... yours will too, in part because of the group of nameless women that work tirelessly to make sure they do. 

A Proud Teacher

This week I challenge any mom or dad with a child in a Daycare center to first, introduce yourself and work hard to remember the name of the teacher caring for your child 40+ hours a week.  Second, thank them.  We all love goodies and treats but what we really love is just an old fashioned thank you.  Lastly, look around your child's class and really pay attention to all of the time, energy and money {often their own} that they have put into your child's class.  Not because they have to but because they wanted to... for you... for your child.

End Rant.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lucky in Love and In Family

The gospel the other day was about how God wanted the world to be a place of peace.  But, he foresaw a time when fathers would be at war with sons, daughters at war with mothers and daughter-in-laws at war with mother-in-laws.  As I listened to those words I reflected on the relationship I am blessed to have with my husbands family.  I have never had a time where I warred with my in-laws.  Quite the contrary.  They are my other family that God chose me to be a part of.

I am lucky for that and grateful beyond words.  This family lost a great lady last Friday.  Mary Rachel Hoskins was not just a grandmother-in-law, she was truly an inspiration to each of us.  In the short time I was allowed to know her, I grew stronger in my faith and started to form a picture of how I want to be when I am older.

I want my children to honor me and respect me.  I want them to worry about me and love me unconditionally.  I want them to pray to God for me.  I want them to stay close together and love each other with the same fierce love I have for them.  I want them to model my faith, so that one day, when I pass on they will be confident that I am in a better place and will find comfort in that.  I want them to see me the same way Mamaw's children see her.   

Mamaw raised her 12 {!} children in a one room house with no indoor plumbing.  I am at a near breaking point when my dishwasher breaks!  She did all of this with no complaining.  All of her children tell loving stories of how they grew up.  Not one of them talk about what they didn't have.  They all talk about how much they had and all of the love they grew up knowing.  That amazes me.  That inspires me.  That teaches me lessons I have only ever seen in the bible or in the saint stories from my youth.  Mostly, it makes me want to be a better mom.  Mamaw epitomizes the Beatles lyric... All you Need is Love.  She always gave love.
Mamaw had 23 grandchildren, 33 great grandchildren and 6 great-great grandchildren.  She knew every one of them.  Each time another Hoskins baby was brought to her for a snuggle she would look at that baby like she had never seen a more beautiful creature.  She loved holding hands.  Watching her have a child on her lap and talking in her soft, gentle voice was truly a sight to behold.  Each child would quietly calm in her prescence.  It is hard to articulate how hard it will be to not see one of our babies on her lap or in her arms.  Grandchildren are the way God shows you that you continue to live on here on earth.  If you have been an exceptional Grandparent that legacy will be one that shines forth to all around.     
People say that you shouldn't make saints out of sinners.  That every human being has faults but I can tell you that during the time of my reflection on this great lady, I have not found one.  Mamaw was one of a kind.  She was this glorious definition of how to live the life you are blessed with.  She oozed grace and kindness.  She listened much more than she talked.  She was an amazing cook and reigned in her kitchen like a true Queen Mother.  She never ate first... in fact, she never put herself out front at all.  She was content to sit back and let others take front row.  Mamaw put effort in all that she did.  From raising 12 kids and overseeing the fruit {62!} of all that hardwork.  She did it for the glory of God.
Mamaw was sick for the longest time.  The sweet woman suffered.  You would never know it.  She never told you her aches and pains.  She would shoo away any talk of concerns you had for her.  Her body was covered in bruises, battered to a pulp.  Even as her body was shutting down her unconditional love and kindness was at its peak.  Her last year was spent in a hospital.  You would think this would change her spirit or her didn't.  She went from holding court in her house, to holding court around her hospital bed.  I hope during this time she felt the boundless love each one of us had for her.  
Everyone she met was touched by her grace.  Everyone who knew her talked about that. Life without mamaw means a life without such amazing inspiration.  It means my kids will have to tell stories of their amazing mamaw instead of getting to experience them.  It means there will be an unfillable void in my amazing family I inherited by marriage.  Yes, the world is a little sadder without her in it.  But, I know I am comforted that I got to be one of the lucky ones to know her.  I am comforted mostly, that one day she will be greeting me at the pearly gates.  I can't help but hope she will have a big ol plate of fried dressing and cornbread.  Even angels have to eat!