Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Now and Forever

I admit that I am not the best writer. I suppose it depends on my mood. There are often times where I will begin to type a letter, a chapter, a journal entry or a blog and get no further than the second or third line. There are times, however, where something strikes me as thought provoking, and the words crash upon the page like waves pound the shore. Today is one of those days.

I find it interesting that I am constantly wanting things. I want a bigger house. I want more land. I want a fancier car. I want to take fancy vacations and wear fancy clothes while dining at fine restaurants...put simply I want things that I cannot always have and I want them NOW. Interestingly enough, I am certain that many of these things would not make me happy and I only want them because I can't have them.

Friendships however are different. Recently a friend of mine was having some difficulty in school. She is a fantastic teacher. Everyone knows it. Her room is well stocked with a wealth of reading material. There are crayons and markers, pencils and erasers. There are scisssors and glue, construction paper and bins for journals. It is a wonderful classroom environment, yet still the social climate is not the best mixed. It could be the year; it could be the mix of children, lack of parental involvement--the list goes on. What it is absolutely not, is my friend's teaching. I have told her this but she continues to beat herself up. Perhaps the best compliment I could give her is to tell her, if my children attended our school, they would be in her class without hesitation. Now that is truly saying something.

Yet still, my friend Lisa, is uncertain. And so I asked if I could read a book to her class. I knew that they would not understand the message I was sending. But perhaps, a few of them might remember it in years to come. After reading Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree, I had each of my students help her students write about what she has given them. A smart brain and marhsmallows were popular answers. Here is the interesting thing. My students were explaining how lucky they were to have Mrs. Collins. I heard comments like, "She makes you feel good," or " "She smiles at me in the morning and that makes me happy." Litte things, that are easy to miss.

And so I did my activity. I did not do it for anything materialistic. I did not do it because I needed it NOW. I did it because I wanted to help a friend. I wanted her to know what an important teacher she is to these chldren and what a special friend she is to me. Maybe I don't need the big house or the fancy car because I got lot of joy helping out a friend and giving her a little break. Isn't that what life is all about? And so maybe I won't dine at the fanciest of restaurants, but you know what, as long as I get joy out of doing things for others...I am always going to be one of the richest people I know--and I don't want that feeling now, I want it forever.