Thursday, 14 April 2016

Just Listen

What's the positive in this?

I've witnessed a number of situations lately where I've listened to people tell hard stories of things which are happening to them. Abuse. Cancer. Poverty. Angst. Depression. Anger. Hard stories. Painful stories. Sad stories. And this is what I hear very well meaning people say:

What's the positive in this?
I die a little inside when I hear platitudes like this.
I cringe.
And when I think back to times where I have been in pain, or going through difficulty or dealing with pretty heavy shit, I feel ANGRY about this sentiment.
Because its OK not to see the positive.
Because its OK to just acknowledge someone's shitty experience.
Because its OK to just empathise.
Because its OK to just listen.
Just Listen.
Don't fix. Don't counsel. Don't turn it into something it's not ready to be.
Don't ask: "What's the positive in this?"
Just Listen.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Feeling grateful

Today was another day where I got to reflect on how grateful I am to have the life I have. A friend is having difficulty finding a daycare placement for one of her children, probably because the child has a disability. It's a totally discriminatory   practise to deny the child a spot because of their disability, but somehow these businesses are getting away with it. It's something I would fight, like this mom is, if it was me experiencing it. 

What I reflected upon instead was how fortunate we are to be in the position to have a stay at homeparent. To be in the position where we don't have to worry about daycares and discrimination. To have one of our children's parents to be at home during the day to bake cookies, make dinner, organize our house for our renovation and to manage many of the day to day demands of running a household. 

I'm in the unique position that the person doing all of this isn't me, but rather is the kids dad. 

We've had Phoenix in a daycare and in a dayhome in the last and both have been wonderful experiences. When the twins came along money was absolutely the primary factor in having Mike stay home. Child care for 3 kids would be astronomical. Probably around $3000/month. Way more than we could afford if we wanted to keep the roof over our heads. 

So today I was feeling grateful for having a stay at home partner. Having 3 kids who are thriving. Having a mom whom I see every day and eat dinner with every night. Thankful for home cooked meals and cookies that I don't have to make. 

Thankful that I know my kids are  being cared for while I'm out pursuing my passion. 

I'm also thankful for a number of students who have thanked me recently  for the time and energy I've put into them. I don't consider myself overly close to these students, but I have consistently greeted and shown interest in them over the last 3-4 years as they have come and gone as is typical in my school environment. These students both commented how they liked my presence, felt cared about and felt like I took an interest in their lives, which I did and still do. 

As teachers we don't always get feedback about how we have impacted a students life. I know I do make an impact. I know students feel accepted and encouraged. I try my best to help students feel successful and to plan school work students feel good about doing. 

I also know that my role as Phoenix's mother greatly impacts my feelings about my students and how they all have potential to contribute meaningfully in this world in some way. That's not nothing. 

And here's a picture of Phoenix from this past weekend. She's a natural on the tractor.