I volunteer to read with an elementary school-age child once a week. This year I’m paired with an absolutely marvelous child (I’ll call her Clara). Due to privacy issues I can’t tell you anything about her, but I can tell you the revelation I had today while sitting with her.
Clara is a good reader and she LOVES to play teacher. She sits in a rocking chair with me at her feet. She pretends that she is the teacher and that I am her student, Clara.
We have a small white board and she sets it up for a “lesson” just like a teacher would. Then she reads aloud to me and asks me the kinds of reading comprehension questions that I assume her teacher asks her. I write my answers on the white board. At the end of the lesson I get a sticker with a note on it like, “Good job!”
Is she emulating her teacher because it gives her a sense of power? Does she watch her teacher each day and think, “I could do that!” Is she indulging a fantasy of being a grown up?
I have no idea, but as I watch her, I wonder if this child – who isn’t even in double digits yet – has already found her true calling.
Years ago, a friend said to me that the best way to retain new information is to listen as if you’ll be teaching it to someone else. I realized that’s what I’ve been doing all my life: I rarely sit through a class without thinking about how I’ll pass the information on.
The people I admire most in the world are teachers – whether traditional or non-traditional, I think that imparting knowledge to others is one of the highest callings. Throughout my life I have watched teachers and thought, “I want to do that!” About eight years ago it turned into, “I CAN do that!” In the last three years it has turned into, “I AM doing that!”
A few years ago, an ex-boyfriend questioned whether this was a function of a big ego wanting recognition. He thought I just wanted to be rich and famous and didn’t really care about people. He repeated the claim so often that for a while I questioned myself.
Then someone asked me, “When you were a child, what was your favorite thing to do?” That answer was easy – even as a child, I liked to be in front of people, sharing what I’ve learned. From my earliest memories I was the counselor for all my friends. I can let go of that fear of ego, knowing that this is the person I’ve been since my earliest memories.
I believe that we’re here to fulfill our greatest desires. Sometimes as adults we forget what those true desires are, so looking back to childhood, before all the adult “should”s got in the way, is helpful to identify them.
Watching Clara this morning, I saw myself at her age. She reminded me that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be, doing exactly what I’m meant to be doing.
Today’s miracle: Watching a child indulging her passion reminded me that I’m doing exactly the right thing by indulging mine.