Sunday, March 8, 2015

Word Vomit

My Sunday Slice of Life.

Sometimes I have this uncontrollable urge to "enlighten" people. Most recently, I have done this to my students. What this translates into is the crushing of hopes and dreams. I know I am crushing some poor kids sky high, crazy insane, pie-in-the-sky idea and I can't stop the words from tumbling out of my mouth. I am aware that this generally comes from some personal experience that was heart-wrenching, either for myself or someone I know/love. My ex-husband is an excellent guitar player, very talented. He never could break into the music industry. But he's good enough, he has the talent. He never had the freedom to pursue it at the break-neck speed and with the dogged persistence required to break, to me discovered, to become an overnight sensation. But he's no slacker. He is very, very good. I know this experience is related to not being able to just say "Rock on my little friend" when one of my little learners talked about how he is going to be in a rock band and play guitar when he grows up. He is going to be a rockstar. And vomiting out of my mouth were words that were anything but encouraging and I could see his shoulders drop and his head slump and he realized that his teacher did NOT actually think he could be anything he wanted to be. I hated me at that moment. I have done this to my own children too. Knowing that it is my job as their mother to be their biggest fan and head cheerleader, sometimes I fail miserably because I am afraid their choices will lead to even more heartache and they will continue to know the crushing pain of rejection. In trying to spare them future pain, I crush their spirit and their hope. Hope killer. This is not a title I wish to carry. So why does this happen? Why can I not just continue to encourage?

When I was a freshman in high school I had this English teacher who encouraged me to write. She taught us to write poetry. And I fell in love with poetry. I wrote poems as a freshman, as a sophomore, and beyond. I continued to go back and visit Mrs. Penner over and over again. Every time I went back she would read my writing and smile and say.... "Keep writing!" She never once said... "Maybe writing is an unrealistic goal for you." Mrs. Penner is a teacher that I emulate. If I can be like her, my students will fall in love with what I teach them and they will know I am their biggest fan. That is my goal. So I know that I have to overcome the word vomit and keep their trust and build on it.

Cheerleading 101. Cheer. Leave the gloom and doom at home. Sometimes I am overcome by that urge. But I hope I can stay focused and remember what teaching is REALLY all about. Hopes and dreams. It will never by my job to crush them.


  1. There is a fine balance between reality and dreams. Our job is to build dreams and help to show them what they need to do to get there. They will run into the reality on their own. It is so hard to remember that when in the middle of a busy day.

    I love the thought of Cheerleading 101 - keep cheering - they need all the cheers they can get!

  2. We all have slipped and said something we regret. At least you are aware of doing it and have taken steps to change. Your use of words...hope killer...and word vomit are strong and tell me that you feel deeply about this....and I sense that you have experienced (as we all have) someone being a hope killer to you. So glad you had a Mrs. Penner.

  3. As they say, the first step in changing a behavior is recognizing it...or something like that. Anyway, be kinder to yourself. It's a tough job and someone's gotta do it. Better it's us since we reflect upon what we're doing wrong..and reflect and reflect and reflect. And the beauty is, we get another chance to do it better tomorrow! Thanks for your honest...we all feel this way at many times or another.

  4. I've had the same challenge with my own children, with nephews and nieces...I find it helps if I don't sum it up for them but instead ask, "What do you love about it?" and engage them in telling me more. It is so hard!! But, it is their journey. (I am also blessed with teaching preschoolers - many of whom want to drive trash trucks when they grow up! I feel they may outgrow this dream.) Very honest slice - loved it!