I’m a teacher and school let out three days ago. My New Year’s Resolutions are being worked on as we speak. Once school begins in January, all good intentions get sidelined by the energy being sucked out of me; from the moment-to-moment demands of teaching, to 60-hour work weeks, to being the sole emotional/physical support for my complex 7th grade daughter. I have this two week window in which to clean the house, do deep soul searching, and, oh yes, prepare for the holidays.
I have an impact on others. This is a big one for me because I’ve had amazing, wonderful people in my life who I’ve let slip away because I didn’t call, I didn’t write, I sporadically responded to them reaching out to me. I’m the one who never shows up with a gift at a wedding, convincing myself that I’ll buy the gift within the year. I never do. I’m also the one who starts the cool, creative gift for a birthday or an anniversary, or a birth of a new baby. I start but rarely finish.
And it’s never because I don’t care about these people and the significant event in their lives. I do care. Intensely.
So part of my resolution is to reach out to these past friends and write letters of apology. The other part is to understand the why. Why do I do this (or don’t do, as the case may be)?
If I were not me, but I was counseling me, I would gently remind me that every inaction on my part has the result of hurting the people I love because they care about me. They love me in return. Not acknowledging their outreach to me, to their events, gives the message that I don’t care or value them.
But I do care. I just never really, truly believe that what I can give them in return has value.
Love has no value?
My realization today (part 2)? This morning, somewhere between waking up and stumbling in the dark to the bathroom, I realized that I became a teacher to help me learn that I have an impact on those around me. It’s one of my greatest joys of being in the classroom–I see how my words of encouragement, comments about the world, the way I behave in the classroom, affect my students on a day-to-day basis.
So why have I been so dense in applying this knowing of my impact in my personal life?
Please excuse me while I go and write a few letters.