Friday, September 23, 2011

Paving the Way

It is hard to believe it has been over a year since my last blog! So much has let me just share the main event. Not only do I have a positive influence on my grandchildren - but they have one on me as well. For quite some time, several of my granddaughters would ask me - why, if I was a teacher, was I not teaching? I once held a teaching certificate in NY state, but long since let it expire when I chose to home school my children. At first, my reasons seemed quite logical - after all I would have to return to school and I knew it would become my life since teaching always meant so much more to me than a job - it was more like a calling or vocation. No matter how many times my girls asked me this question, I gave the same answer.................however, the more I heard myself repeating my reasoning the more I realized these were not reasons but excuses. I had to go back to school first myself -- and??? I had always said if someone would pay me to go to school I'd go the rest of my life because I would LOVE what I was doing. Well, isn't that what teaching really is? At least for any teachers worth their lot - don't they learn with (and even from) their students - and the experience? As for giving my life to it - well, I began to look at what I was giving my life to in place of teaching and shocked myself into reality. I had traded my life-long dreams and goals for a weekly paycheck to work a job - a real job - one that the main reason you continue to show up is to get that paycheck. I couldn't advance any further - which meant there was little to challenge my intellect - and I could not make life-changing impacts on anyone's lives; such as happens when you plant within children's hearts an insatiable desire to be life-long learners and to strive to reach their full potential - rising above the crowd!

So, then, exactly why was I not teaching? I could no longer give the same answers as they had become limp rags of no use to me at all! A new resolve had been conceived within me; waking dreams from their lingering slumber to arise and be born with passion. I took the challenge head on and enrolled in a Master's Degree program in Elementary Education and resigned from the prison to which I had enslaved myself with excuses based on monetary values alone. I realized I was at a crossroads in life; one which would always lie behind me no matter which path I chose. It was time to turn now - or never! I heard once that "risk must be evaluated not by the probability of your success -but by the value of the goal. There were two risks. On the one hand, I risked losing the apparent security of a decent paycheck if I chose to reach for the golden ring and pursue my passion. On the other hand, I risked losing perhaps my last chance at fulfilling my life's purpose - and my opportunity to leave behind a legacy in the lives of a few hundred children! The biggest question loomed over me - which decision would leave me with the least regret? Once I saw the issue from this light the answer was easy.................. I took the turn in the road - and I am already thankful I did!

I am half-way through my degree program, with only three courses and student-teaching left to go. I am not getting paid a dime currently - instead I am paying to do what I love. The course work is challenging and causes new sprouts of growth to spring forth in every direction. Old ideas mix with new information, slowly working together to create my future classroom. Every single practicum experience is a joy and treasure. I just finished working with first graders and their good-bye hugs said it all to me. I had somehow touched their lives in just four short weeks - they were glad to hear I would be able to substitute soon :)  There are times I wonder how we are going to make it financially through the next month. But, God has continued to provide our daily bread quite faithfully - and sometimes in the most unexpected ways. I think had I chosen to stay on the same path I would always be looking back, straining to see if the crossroad was yet within my sight. How glad I am that I chose that path from which I never even feel an urge to peek behind me to see that old familiar road which I left behind!

And, that influence...................well, it keeps coming around just like the itsy bitsy oldest son has now returned to college in order to have a career he enjoys rather than working for a living.........and my granddaughters are now making college plans of their own (three of them are in high school). Let's keep making a difference in the lives of our precious children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, that little next-door neighbor - whomever --- you just never know what effect they will in turn have on you!!