This week, I learned a lesson in unexpected outcomes. The teachers at my school, like so many these days, are feeling a tremendous amount of pressure to perform in ways we are asked to by administration while trying to balance that with doing what we know our students really need from us. It is a juggling act and so many of us feel that we are one missed catch from the whole thing crashing down around us.
Fall Break thankfully arrived to give us a moment to rest our weary hearts and minds. The teacher across the hall from me has been a tremendous help as I stepped in to a growth position and struggled to get acclimated. In her spare time (insert sarcastic laughter here) she has helped me as much as she can. Knowing she needed the break from the stress and a laugh as much as I did, I gave her a copy of my book Mushrooms in My Head, Dead Lions in the Yard to read.
Not having mentioned that I am a writer before, it took her a bit by surprise that the name on the cover was mine. The next day, I got a message from her on Facebook. She was halfway through the book and in tears. I admit, the reaction I am most used to in response to the book is laughter, not tears. But she saw something in the story of my little girl that I have always seen: Max sees the world and the people in it for what they are without expectations of what they could or should be. That simple truth struck a chord with my friend and inspired her to be who she is and not take on herself what others expect and to be true to her own talent and what she was created to be without apology.
Then, she shared her revelation with her friends and family on Facebook and inspired others to read it and see the world through Max’s unassuming eyes. It was a vivid reminder for me as well. I have been so wrapped up in trying to be what others are insisting we be as teachers even though it makes no sense to us: uniform instruction across the board when our students are as far from uniform as it gets, teaching identical material at an identical rate and style when we are all unique individuals as teachers as well as students. We became educators because we have a passion for it and that passion is being micromanaged away, but we don’t have to let it. Yes, what the admins want drives the culture of the school and they evaluate us which determines our futures, but I have to think that if we are true to ourselves and what we know to do, ultimately, if not immediately, we will succeed in making a positive impact on the world’s future generation. We must learn to see ourselves and our students through the lens that Max sees the world: a lens of acceptance and honesty, even in the face of not understanding it all.
So the lesson in unexpected outcomes is that the book written to inspire others to accept and understand my child with a disorder has led others to be inspired to accept themselves. I am truly humbled and blessed. And inspired.
Get your copy (paperback or Kindle) following the link here: