Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Finding Delight


After finishing the first three days of school with an extremely diverse group of first graders, I sat in a coma-like state on the couch until it was time for bed. Many of you can relate.

Then, to kick off a blessed three-day weekend, I headed to my daughter’s house to love on my brand new grandson (see photo…that’s me reading to him when he was four days old).

He is still pretty new, so his schedule consists mostly of eating, filling his diaper, sleeping, and repeating the cycle. Mine, when I’m with him, consists of holding him, smelling his head, and that rhythmic bouncy swing-and-sway thing we get so good at when we are parents.

I take great pleasure in watching my daughter and son-in-law relish their new roles as parents. They are relaxed, good-natured, and completely devoted to this new person who dominates their days and nights. That is as it should be. What inspires me though, is that despite the complete exhaustion they feel from lack of sleep and constant vigilance to meet his every need, they are completely delighted by him. They watch him with wonder, enchanted by every facial expression, physical movement and new advancement.

It got me thinking about my job. I lovingly and carefully prepared a classroom for children I’d yet to meet, much as a new parent prepares a nursery. Then, when they arrived, I launched into the flurry of typical new year rituals and left at the end of the third ten-hour day exhausted. But exhaustion doesn’t have to rob me of delight.

When I think about some of the teachers who have inspired me most, The Two Sisters (Gail and Joan), Debbie Miller, Franki Sibberson, and Rafe Esquith, I realize that this is one characteristic they have in common. They find delight in children. Like them, I want to be fully cognizant of the unique gifts, talents and interests of each child in my care. They are worthy of my eye contact, devotion and wonder. How about you? Are you tired, too? Despite the difficulties and challenges inherent in our days, let’s endeavor to be present and find delight.

cross posted at thedailycafe.com