Monday, March 05, 2012

The Only Way Things Get Better

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to have breakfast with Janet Lansbury for the second time in two weeks. I'm living right, baby! I hope she doesn't mind my sharing that among the topics we discussed was the stress parents (and teachers) often feel about not always living up to all those ideals we read about in books and blogs, and how we all "fail" every day, if not dozens of times a day, and despite those failures we're still damn good at what we do. I spent the rest of the afternoon turning it over and this is what I got . . .

Physicists will postulate a frictionless universe in order to better understand other dynamics within a system.

Novelists create fictional worlds in order to enlighten readers about the real world.

Lawyers will stipulate to untruths in order to prove the greater truth.

And early childhood education bloggers imagine perfect children, parents, and teachers in order to illustrate points of pedagogy.

Yesterday, I wrote about how our youngest children were beginning to experience the
"expansive joy of we." And here they are again, doing a great thing together.

Our minds like to wander amongst ideals. They help us understand, they enlighten, they prove, and they illustrate, but we cannot eat them, we cannot touch them, and we must not love them because they are not real. 

Life is messy and unlovely and imperfect. It's full of high, sharp elbows, irrational fears, rage, and pure accident. There is friction here, the plot is just one damn thing after another, even loved ones sometimes lie, and people just won't behave the way our theories predict they should. 

They took the wagon up the hill and all the way around the upper part of our
 outdoor classroom. It must be the greatest joy, this joy of we.

Ah, but at least this is something we can eat, this we can touch, and yes, yes, yes, this we must love simply because it is all that we have. And it's only through love that our ideals, however briefly, are brought into the world. This is the only way things get better.

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Mary Boyle said...

I know you are busy, Teacher Tom, but I must know this: have you read "The Call to Brilliance" by Resa Steindel Brown? Your writing often reminds me of hers.

Anyway, if you haven't, you must. You can thank me later:-)

Also, you should write a book - a compilation of what you have on your blog. I read every one of your posts and you have such amazing insight with regard to children and how they learn and grow.

Mary Boyle

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

This was lovely to read!