Be the Change

With all the recent news stories involving race, and events in my personal life, this has been on my mind lately.

When I began my student teaching semester in Costa Rica at the Country Day School (excellent school, I highly recommend it if you’re ever considering moving to Escazu ;)), the president asked the teachers to complete a project for the beginning of the school year to be displayed for all to see. The assignment was to answer the question “why is teaching important to you?” and write, paint, illustrate – whatever – your response on a large piece of poster paper. As an eager teacher-to-be, I wanted to complete the task even though I was not required to. (Also, as a guest in that fine establishment, I wanted to show everything I had!) Although I don’t think I ever completed it, my poster referred to Gandhi’s well-known saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I was so excited to become a teacher and model the behavior for my students that I wanted them to exhibit. It seemed so easy in my field experiences! So many students seemed to LOVE a sub-teacher coming in to interrupt the classroom dynamic to play with them or do a fun mini lesson (WHO KNEW?!). I felt like I could really reach students, gain their respect, and show them a moralistic and gregarious way to be (I could at least model this in the classroom). As it turns out, there is much more to teaching than building good character in students. And my poster never made it to school, just as I haven’t made it in the teaching field…

Although my intentions were good and honest, my lifestyle outside of student teaching was not. It wasn’t that I was a BAD person, I just didn’t know HOW to be the change I wanted to see in others. What was I supposed to do when someone hurt me or pissed me off except react on my emotions? Isn’t that what everybody does? If someone pisses you off, don’t you just yell at them and remind them what they are SUPPOSED to do or say? What other way is there? I certainly wasn’t going to sweep anything under the rug; I have the personality that would have exploded had I ever done that. No, I was the person (still am! I’m a work in progress, here!) who let somebody know what they SHOULD be doing or saying, meanwhile not realizing that I was not living that example. I was judging others for sinning when I myself was a sinner of the same offenses. Hypocrite? Certainly.

So God threw me a little curveball to straighten my ass out. He gave me a child to show me that it is possible to love someone more than myself (although I didn’t love myself very much…but that’s changing now, too). He put me in a recovery group at the same time that allowed me to see what REAL caring was about. He gave me a *FABULOUS* sponsor to show me that -GASP- there could be a different way to handle my opinions on how I thought others should act/speak rather than just to tell them myself. Through her, He has shown me that perhaps if I change MY ways, it might trickle down and influence how others react. Maybe actions really do speak louder than words. Maybe practicing what you preach really can change things. Maybe you really should be the change you wish to see in the WORLD, and not just in the classroom.

Now. Just because I have seen the light and fully understand HOW to change myself and impact others, doesn’t mean I am always capable of doing it. This change is a s-l-o-w process. And that’s often difficult for me to accept, living in this society of instant gratification, and my background of always wanting to be perfect RIGHT NOW. Also, I’m human, just like everybody else, and I sin, just like everybody else. But I’m not giving up. Change doesn’t happen overnight. I’m slowly getting better, and if I have a set back, that doesn’t deter me from the main goal of bettering myself. Get off your high horse, Brittany, APOLOGIZE (AHHHH THAT’S SO HARD!!!!!!), and try to BE the example instead of correcting or condemning someone else.

Blake and I feel strongly about this in our parenting, too. We realize that William will imitate his parents’ behaviors, so…we need to SHOW him how to be the best person he can be with our attitudes, actions, and words.

So…Momzilla needs to COOL IT.

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