So I went for a run yesterday through a park close to where I live. It was a gorgeous summer-like day, and it felt like the entire neighborhood was out enjoying the sunshine…families having picnics, people fishing in the pond, runners, old men and women doing Tai Chi, but most of all…children laughing and playing. I decided to sit down on one of the little benches to take it all in for a few minutes before I continued on, and I was inspired by something that brought me close to tears. I started to focus on all the kids while I sat there, and the unadulterated joy and happiness that oozed out of them as they were running around flying kites, and kicking balls, and blowing bubbles, and riding their bikes and scooters, and trying to catch butterflies, and playing tag, and all the rest. I was overcome by the beauty and the innocence and the purity of these kids, and I got thinking about how lucky I am, how lucky we all are for that matter to be surrounded by children each and every day. There is nothing in this world more beautiful than a child at play…there is nothing more inspiring in this world than a child learning…there is nothing more profound in this world than the lessons that we can learn from our children…and there is nothing more pure in this world than a child laughing, and imagining, and creating on a warm summer-like day.
Oh to be a teacher…to be able to marvel at this beauty each and every day…to play a part in the learning and growing and becoming of these gorgeous creatures. Oh to be a teacher…to be a searchlight soul for our kids who are looking to find their way in the world, and looking to find their spark. Oh to be a teacher…to inspire and mentor and parent and love these children as they pass through our lives. A more important, meaningful, and purposeful profession cannot be found, and it’s you who have the power to unlock and shape the future leaders of our world. Think about that…the opportunity that we have…the responsibility…the gift! Oh to be a teacher…
As we wrap up the school year and prepare for a well deserved summer holiday, and when you’re finally at home or traveling on a new adventure, I’m asking you to make an effort to slow down and be inspired by the children that you see along the way…the children as they are outside of the classroom and away from a traditional school setting. Blow bubbles with them…fly kites with them…chase butterflies with them…and if you see a child selling lemonade by the side of the road don’t give them 5 cents, give them 5 dollars! Make their day, engage them in conversation, laugh with them, and listen. Let them inspire you and re-energize you and rekindle your educational light that inevitably dims after a long school year. Use the summer break to reflect on why you love teaching, and why you love children, and come back stronger…with more purpose and more energy…come back more worthy of our kids than ever.
I love teaching and I love teachers…I love children of all ages and I love education…and I know you all do too. What a life we lead and what a vocation we’ve chosen. I’m proud to be on this journey with all of you, and I think that the second most beautiful thing in the world, other than a child, is a great teacher. You are change agents and difference makers and searchlight souls, and what you do is beauty personified. Enjoy your summer holiday and come back more inspired than ever…our children deserve that from you. Have a wonderful final full week, and remember to be great for our kids and good to each other. Below is an excerpt taken from Walt Whitman’s beautiful poem, “A Song of Joys”, and I hope it helps you to find your inner child as you head off for your well deserved break.
Quote of the Week……
The soul is healed by being with children – An Old English Proverb
A Song of Joys – Walt Whitman
O the mother’s joys!
The watching, the endurance, the precious love, the anguish, the
patiently yielded life.
O the joy of increase, growth, recuperation,
The joy of soothing and pacifying, the joy of concord and harmony.
O to go back to the place where I was born,
To hear the birds sing once more,
To ramble about the house and barn and over the fields once more,
And through the orchard and along the old lanes once more.