My senses are heightened. I look more closely at what I see, because now I see more clearly. I listen with an intensity to hear and understand. I smell the roses, their fragrances giving me joy. I taste more flavors, appreciating the range from bitter to sweet. I touch the brows of the ones I love, knowing this is a gift to me. I am more aware of life lived differently, without judgement.
Much of this summer has had me focused on my husband getting better and healthier. But this journey, although painful for all of us has helped me realize that one’s life, even with limitations has meaning and purpose. I am a fighter and an advocate (and not so coincidently, for the underdog, if you will) for those with little voice or choice. As a teacher I have tried to live by example the values and passions dear to my heart. With read alouds we have discussed issues from bullIying, poverty, homelessness, kindness and mindfulness. In our class we have hoped to instill our school core values: caring, inclusion responsibility and honesty. In play the kinders have experienced a wide range of emotions, some resolved independently and others with more guidance as they begin to integrate these core values in their daily lives.
In recent weeks I have been reading blogs and articles about children with differences, from their parent’s voice and at times, from theirs. Above all I read that children want to be respected, to play as all children do, regardless of their differences. This really hit home when I took my grandchildren on a days outing recently. The joy, pleasure and delight in this experience that I observed in my grandkids, I saw in the children who had some difficult limitations and challenges. I watched all the children play for awhile. My heart filled with awe and admiration for the courage and determination I observed! And then my epiphany: one lives a life to the best one can. Who gets to say what is worthwhile?
And now what about those differences. Do we ignore the differences? Do we turn our heads? Do we embrace the differences as a part of life? Do we support and advocate for the opportunities that can be made available for all children? Do we take a stand? Where and how do we do it?
This post is dedicated to the #NPHC (NotPerfectHatClub)