22 May 2016

Forgiveness - #100DayProject - Day 052

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Today in church a member of the congregation was giving a talk or speech at the pulpit and was discussing an incredibly difficult and yet important subject. She was discussing forgiveness. As she was telling her story about how their family was challenged with not one, but two different head-on collisions with drunk drivers that changed their lives forever, not by death, but by serious debilitating injury. And even with those obstacles, she and her family were able to forgive the drunk drivers and move on with their lives somewhat. What a powerful example of forgiveness even when you don't really want to forgive.

Listening to this good sister made me stop and think about my class and the end of the school year. Did I have any experiences where I felt issues arose that weren't possible to work out and find peace? Did I come across any situations where I felt I have been pushed so far to one extreme that I needed to either forgive or be ask for forgiveness? While this year has been amazing for me, I can't help but think back on past years where there were experiences that caused great pain and suffering on my end and yet, I'm still here teaching.

Then I stopped and thought, were there any issues this year where I made a bigger deal out of something than needed to be made? Now that's the question that got my brain spinning and really caused me to stop and realize I need to make some adjustments. I try to be calm and collected in my day-to-day dealings in school, but I have been known to overreact on occasion and afterward I often feel really bad. One of the first things I've done is pull the student(s) aside and let them know I was wrong and offer an apology and I'm always shocked by the shock these kids have because they haven't had that experience before. I am the first to recognize that I'm human and make mistakes so I also try to right my wrongs whenever and as soon as possible. How many of us do that with our students, though? If my experiences are any kind of example, I fear too many of us don't take that time to tell our students we're sorry and that we've wronged them.

I'm the teacher who levels with my students daily as we discuss the good, bad, and the ugly of our class. We talk about what is working and what's broken. Does it take time? Yes. Is it worth it? I think so. Do I have to cut some things in order to take this time with my students? Yes. While we don't sit around in a circle when we have these discussions we still get some of the benefits of a class meeting. I'm hoping to take even a few more minutes next year each day as we discuss the important topics of the classroom feeling.

Although, as important as it is to take the time to discuss these issues, I have to remember to share the importance of forgiveness. The longer we hold grudges the worse life gets and the less we are able to accomplish. And that advice goes for us adults towards our students. We need to be the example of forgiving and forgetting. We need to show the students that it's possible to work with others who don't really want to work with us and that we can be successful. May we all take a couple extra minutes to determine if there's anything we need to forgive others for before the summer comes and takes our classes away from us.

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