What Do You Do?

7:45 a.m.  Fifteen minutes later than I like to be.  Eight things on my to-do list when I get there.  Two kids in the way back seat slowly driving me the rest of the way to crazy.  And I hear one quick story on the radio that snaps things back into perspective.  It went something like this:

A man looking for a new job was in the habit of asking people he met, “What do you do?”  One day he met a woman who told him, “I give people hope.”  When he inquired further, turns out she was a supermarket clerk, but she viewed her real job as hope-giver.  She tried to find the grouchy or sad person each day and give them a little extra attention.  Hope, even. 

Oh.

So I, of course, had to imagine then how I might have responded to the same inquiry…

I teach.
I write lesson plans.  I stay up too late searching for the next big idea.
I carry a bag of papers home each night.  On weekends I grade them.
I assess.  I record my assessments, and then I try to figure out what to do about it.
I often fail.
I write emails.  I write more emails.
I plan field trips.  I fill out three different pieces of paper with the exact same information.
I form stacks of paper that I never end up filing.
I make videos.
I dance.  I write songs.  I sing.  Often.
I run to the bathroom, holding my breath, hoping that I will be fast enough.
I teach self-centered little people how to be a little more other-centered.
I find missing pencils.
I bandage boo-boos.
I mediate.
I call parents when kids miss the bus.
I comfort kids.  I comfort their parents even more on some days.
I fix computers.
I use both sides of paper so we won’t be wasteful.
I hoard staplers and tape and pencil sharpeners and glue sticks.

And then there are the moments that I’m never proud of…

I yell.
I make kids feel bad for something outside of their control.
I shame.
I forget to do things I promised I would do.
I choose not to forget and move on.
I get short with my teammates.
I complain.

So what about the lady at the supermarket?  Something tells me that if she stepped into my shoes, she wouldn’t describe her job in any of these ways.  Her answer would be way better.  So after putting on my perspectacles and thinking about this today, here’s what I hope I do…

I inspire.  I cheer when I see them go home and keep digging for more.
I challenge.  I don’t let them give up on themselves or each other.
I connect.   Math to them, them to each other, them to the world.
I apologize.  I forgive.  I try to be an adult that’s not afraid of those words.
I love math, and I love learning, and I’m learning to love the kids even more than the math.

I love.

What do YOU do?

 

 

Recipe for a Perfect Spring Saturday

Ingredients:

3 flat miles of creekside trail
5 tiny seedlings of mixed variety (Roma tomatoes, sweet peppers, basil, etc.)
6 classic children’s books on CD
2 dozen pieces of toddler boy clothing (YardSale brand preferred)
3 free market-fresh tomatoes
1 sweet conversation with a finally pregnant friend
6 cubic feet of potting soil
5 hideous orange buckets
4 bowls of ice cream on the porch
2 new pairs of kiddie shoes
6 clean-out-the-fridge quesadillas
80 photographs with a new camera
4 chapters of a Flat Stanley book
2 100-piece puzzles
600 papers to grade

Directions:

  1. Awake late and run three fast miles with a delightful friend. Talk non-stop about school and summer and everything in-between.
  2. Collect seedlings from Master Gardeners, in-laws, Home Depot, and the market. While these are waiting, peruse the library, childless and slowly.
  3. At the yard sale, gather a mound of 4T and 5T clothes for less than the price of one item at the store.
  4. Spot the pudgy belly of a friend while scoping out the first of summer tomatoes. Throw caution to the wind and ask. Celebrate because the fourth time’s a charm for this blessed mama.
  5. Take the whole family to Home Depot to complete Project Bucket Garden. Move quickly to combat the grumpiness that comes with no lunch and no nap.
  6. Soak in the perfect day while eating chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and willing the tiny seedlings to grow.
  7. Catch another whim and take both kids to get summer shoes. Pray your kid will follow through with soccer camp while buying tiny cleats, shin guards, and socks.
  8. Eat dinner with no yelling. Whatsoever.
  9. Practice with the new camera while the little people fight the tree in the front yard, David & Goliath style.
  10. At bedtime, read a book that both mom and baby girl enjoy. Work a puzzle together to fight the I’m-not-tired complaints.
  11. Leave the papers in the car. Don’t worry about them until tomorrow.
  12. Serve it up with joy. In Joy.  Enjoy.

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