Long ago, my family, myself, husband, 4-year-old daughter and 2 cats, moved from the Seattle, Washington area to Delray Beach, Florida to be closer to his family. It was a struggle since we did not go with jobs. We did what we could through the summer at any jobs we could find and on Sundays we attended the Unity Church there.
One Saturday morning in late August, I got a call from the Unity school that was attached to the church. They needed a computer teacher, could I interview tomorrow after church? I said “Yes,” of course.
The interview was really a “Let me show you the classroom you will be starting to teach kindergarten in tomorrow since we need you there before we get to the computers.” Many people were in the room setting things up so it would look ready in the morning.
I’m not a certified teacher of K-12. I had a child, I had worked with 1st and 2nd graders at church and volunteered at my daughter’s preschool. They were desperate. School started the next day.
I jumped in the next morning, my daughter going to the pre-school down the hallway, and did what I did best, loved the 13 children and pulling in all the Montessori I could. We had a good time learning, the parents were happy and volunteered when I asked for help, we did unusual things.
In December, I was called to the office and told that they were combining the two Kindergarten classes and I was now going to be an aide in the afternoon.
I declined the offer and my last day was the day before the winter break. We had a party and went out smiling.
A month later, I had a new job in a different preschool, with free tuition for my daughter (not the case before that), was given a raise in the interview, and my daughter was moved from preschool to their Kindergarten class within an hour of starting.
Now that’s not the aha moment. It came in June when we opted to return to Washington state. My husband was able to get his old job back and left for a temporary assignment in Ohio. Our daughter and I stayed for her to finish the school year.
I was standing in the back of the church, with daughter at my side, on our last Sunday there when that “moment” that would change my life forever happened.
The church/school liaison came up to me. This woman always intimidated me, she was always put together. She said, “Thank you. I admire how you handled what happened at the school.”
I stammered a thank you and she was gone.
It made me think about all the things we as people do, just being who we are, that others see and find awesome or amazing or admirable or wishing they could do that.
I have worked to thank people for showing courage, bravery, awesomeness, integrity, compassion, goodness, grace in difficult events, and so many other times. I’ve even thanked people just for making me smile because they are singing a song quietly to themselves in the store.
I have been aware that I never know who is watching what I’m doing, so I’d better be doing my best. This is a way of life, always was. Show up each day always doing my best, no matter what that looks like compared to yesterday.
I know I’ve done a good job of it. I’ve had many comments through the years. It was a lesson that was so valuable I will never forget it.