Yesterday was one of those days—a dark Monday morning when nothing seemed to go right. I stopped counting the number of kids with tears in their eyes, stories to tattle, and difficulties in the bathroom. These days happen to all of us—some years more than others—but it takes wisdom to know that this too shall pass.
In other years, on these days, I’ve reached for my well-worn copy of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst. It has helped me to relax with an old book friend who believes that life would be better if only he lived in Australia. I thought of that book today, only after I was home, washing the dishes and processing all that had taken place. As my fingers explored the warm, bubbly water, I enjoyed a sanctification of sorts—clearing the detritus of the day and making all things new—as I deconstructed what the problems were and what the potential solutions might be.
It seems to me that days like this happen more often in November and February, when the pressures of assessment weigh more heavily while preparing the term-ending reports. These are also the dark days of our Canadian winters, when even outdoor recess can throw a dirty and damp blanket on everyone’s mood.
My first thought above the soapy dish water of the morning dishes, was to congratulate myself for my incredible self-control in not stopping on the way home to order one of every item on the Dairy Queen menu. I opted instead to channel my frustration into making the ultimate comfort food—apple crisp. As I did, I thought on the blessings of the day and quickly realized that they were there in abundance, almost unnoticed at the time, as I made my foray across the rugged terrain of my Wild West classroom.
Today, I thought, this boy did not try to tackle that one at circle time.
Today, this little girl called me “Mom”.
Today, an older student showed me that one day he will be a dad who loves his kids. I remembered how touching it was to watch him pour out love onto the little ones getting ready in all of their snowsuit chaos.
Today my teaching partner asked if I needed a smile from her pocket. Apparently that kind of “magic” brings a look of joy on an adult’s face almost as quickly as it does on four-year-old children.
So press on, dear and faithful servants. Take the time to wash the dishes, or read your favourite children’s book, or do whatever it is that renews and refreshes your frazzled February heart. But most importantly, if today is also one of those days for you, do not grow weary in doing good and lose heart, for in due season you will reap a harvest if you do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
Take comfort in the knowledge that you do not go into your classroom alone. God knows your name and has called you to be where you are for such a time as this. Know that the Lord your God is with you and that days like this happen everywhere—even in Australia.