What am I here to do?
I’m here in this time and space to share light and love with all I meet no matter if it’s for a moment or a lifetime or somewhere in the middle. I’m here to be the best I can be.
Big questions get big answers.
I saw this question in something I was reading recently and wrote it on a post-it note on my desk. This morning I was cleaning up a bit, that’s almost a joke, my desk has many papers and notebooks on it, but I saw the note with this question on it. I was moved to open a new word doc and start typing.
What am I, this body, this mind, this spirit, here on this planet earth, in this space and time, to do?
It is to do what I’ve always done. Be the best person I can be at that time and share my light and love.
Decades ago, I was made aware of how much I affected someone by being my best. That person was a woman who was a member of the church my family attended while we lived in Florida. I did not know her, but I knew she was the liaison between the church and the church run elementary school.
I was hired to work in at the school the day before classes started, literally, I was hired on Sunday after church and class started Monday morning. I was hired to teach computers to the children, but they needed a kindergarten teacher today, so that was my assignment. Other teachers were busy setting up the room when I walked in after the interview.
I was a bit overwhelmed, wait, very overwhelmed. Yes, I had a 4 year old who could already read and do math and was (and still is) very bright, but what did I know about teaching kindergarten? Nothing, but I jumped in with both feet knowing spirit would guide me along with all these wonderful teachers.
I had, and still do, an unusual teaching style to say the least. My daughter had been in a Montessori pre-school and I was familiar with that, so that’s where I started. I let the children, all 13 of them, learn at their own pace which means that some were exceling in math while others were exceling in reading. I did, after about two weeks, get an aide part-time in the classroom. He was an older man with a sweet and calming personality. He was also a big help.
I would bring in weird things to show the children, do science experiments with them, and we went on field trips. They were a wonderful group that bonded together and we did a lot of fun things. Many parents were excited that their child loved coming to school and they were doing wonderfully.
As the holidays approached, I invited one of the Jewish moms to teach all the children about Hanukkah. She brought us traditional foods to try and told us the story and how their family celebrates since they are both a Jewish and Christian family. I painted a tree on one window and a menorah on another in the classroom.
At about that time, the principal, who really liked what I was doing, came and told me that the two kindergartens would be combined in January. I would not be a teacher anymore, but a part-time aide in the afternoon. I was less than happy with this news. That meant that I would have no option but to keep my daughter in the preschool there in the morning then she would have to stay for the daycare which I know she hated since I would not be able to include her in my classroom anymore.
Well, I told the principal that I could not do what they wanted, it would be confusing to the children and it wasn’t fair to them. I could deal with my part myself. I knew I had done a good job, it wasn’t about that, it was about something with them. I finished the last 10 days and then focused on the holiday with my family.
In the beginning of February, I was looking at the want ads in the paper and there was an ad for a preschool teacher not far from home, so I called. I got an in-person interview the next day after talking with the owner of the school on the phone. She showed me around and we talked more. I was hired on the spot and with a raise in pay of $.10/hour. That may not seem like a lot but it was to me. And my daughter would be in the other preschool room with free tuition! What a blessing. So every morning the two of us went off to school and we finished around noon, no day care!
Ok, what does this have to do with the woman from church? Everything actually. In June, my husband and I decided to move back to Washington State, so we would be leaving in mid-June after the school year was over. One Sunday right before we left, she stopped my family as we were exiting the church. “I admire what you did,” she stated. “You stood up for yourself and the children.”
All I could utter was a quiet, “Thank you.”
This experience showed me that you always have to be doing your very best because you never know who is watching and learning from you. It is what I did in that classroom, it’s what I did before then and what I’ve done since. For me it’s a way of life.
What I am here for is to be my best, share my light and love with everyone. To be honest, it’s not always easy when the children are fighting, the drain backs up, the power is out for days, you have a flat tire, your spouse leaves or dies, life happens. But the truth is, that is when you need it the most. Find the good and work to make it better. To keep shining your light.
I’ve been blessed with people telling me that I’ve made a difference in their lives many times and I work to tell others when I admire their courage, strength, integrity, their gusto, or how they handled a tough situation. That they have made a difference in my life.
That woman all those years ago may never know the gift she gave to me, but I’ll keep giving it to others whenever and wherever I can.
So, the question is, what are you here to do?
cc 2017 Barbara Keller