Monday, November 24, 2008

The Sea is So WIde, My Boat is So Small...

A few years ago, I heard the quote, "Dear Lord, be good to me. The sea is so wide and my boat is so small." It is the slogan for the "Children's Defense Fund" which is a child advocacy group. There was a song written to go along with the quote.

Oddly, a few days ago I was thinking about that quote because it described how I was feeling. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed with things at school....and my boat feels very small. Then, in a strange sense of coincidence, I noticed that Peter H. Reynolds became a fan of the Children's Defense Fund on Facebook. Wow, would I love to see the "Peter H" art to go along with that quote. I decided that this coincidence must be trying to send me a message.

All of these things have me thinking about something I have known for a while now.... I had noticed that a few kids at school wanted to get a little closer or touch me a little more...then it hit me....Not every kid is happy to have time off to spend with their family. Some family time is unpleasant and some is frightening.

The great thing about being a teacher is that we can have a little impact on the sea that kids are navigating. We can be a warm caring person in a kids life. We can never make up for a bad home life, but we can understand that kids have those types of experience and give them skills to get out. We have learned that education is the key to a brighter future.

I feel especially blessed this year to be a part-time member of the FableVision family. Our leader, Peter Reynolds, has given us a glimpse of a different world where kids can be lifted up by capitalizing on their creativity and demonstrating their intelligence in non-paper and pencil ways. Best of all, we have "The North Star" book which helps us teach kids to follow their star!

Every day I have a lot to be thankful for. Today is a day when I will spend a little extra time appreciating. I get to be a force in some wonderful childrens' lives. What other job can you have that you feel so loved? I get to work part time for the most amazing company who has a mission matches my own.

I wouldn't begin to compare myself with the amazing Marion Wright Edelman who founded the Childrens Defense Fund....But we all have a stake in making sure that kids are successful. I do what I can and I know that many of you share that passion.

What are you thankful for? What ways are YOU reaching out to kids and getting them to see their North Star?


diane said...


It isn't much, but I make a real effort to listen to my students and show respect for their opinions. If I don't agree, I tell them so, but I want them to know that I value their ideas.

When appropriate, I include their comments (without names) in my blog postings and show them their words online.

Some of these young people are almost adults. Some already shoulder adult responsibilities. Respect is the greatest gift we can give them.

Maribeth Bush said...

Terry, you describe resilience in children very well - or at least things we can do to help foster resilience in children. If you haven't already, a great book you might be interested in reading is "The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness" by Edward Hallowell.

One extremely important thing we can all do to foster resilience the children around us is to model a positive, "can-do" attitude ourselves... even if it isn't always easy at times. How we carry ourselves in the world, and what we say about ourselves, and how we navigate our way, helps children see the possibilities for themselves.

There are many other things we can do, of course, but I think people under-estimate the impact of modeling... whether we treat ourselves poorly, or kindly. As educators, I think we often tend to put ourselves last, but we have to think about what messages we send children in doing so. And I don't mean we should be selfish, but... just let kids know it's ok to be good to ourselves.