With a Hope to Inspire

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a piece dedicated to those in all forms of child care; from daycare to camps to teachers. I was gifted a brief, yet powerful moment of inspiration, joy, and passion. This is my most earnest attempt to pass it on.

Submitted: April 14, 2015

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Submitted: April 14, 2015

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With a Hope to Inspire (An ode to the pre-spring break lull)

Working in child care is an existence unlike any other
Every day brings new challenges, difficulties, and frustrations that could simply never be foreseen the night before; after all nothing is more unpredictable than a child
I think this is why we lose so many teachers in their first few years of teaching; most people simply can't imagine a career that is destined to be such a roller coaster ride
What gets most of us through each day is the same thing that can occasionally have us dread tomorrow; the children

When a child loves you they do so truly and completely
Nobody is as accepting of an adult as a child; if only because it doesn't occur to them question this acceptance (it would be nice if they would be a little more accepting of each other but that’s another topic)
But no matter, the love is real and it is powerful

And yet there is an unfortunate inevitability to child care and education in that that very same child who made your day, your week, your year, will leave
The frustrations will stay, the difficulties will multiply, and the challenges will renew themselves endlessly
Without question more children will come whose pure love will get you through another day
But what makes a child care worker look forward to tomorrow?
What a makes a new teacher WANT to become an old teacher?

I have worked for a summer camp for the last 11 years, and while to some that may seem the blink of an eye to me it is more than a third of my life

I get the dubious position of seeing kids once a year
They come, we bond, they leave and grow up, they then return a year older, a year stranger, and I have to catch up on all that I've missed
My job at this camp on paper is primarily to facilitate a rock climbing wall and a high ropes course; I receive special training in it after all
But in reality my main job is the same as every child care worker and educator: to foster young minds, keep them safe, and hope when they leave I may have taught them something that will better their lives

Last night I received a Facebook message from a former camper
She is now 22 and about to graduate from Stanford University
Scary thing about Facebook is it showed that the last time she messaged me was in 2008; apparently Facebook never forgets
That message was simply to inform me that she would not be coming to camp that summer, and, as it inevitably happens, she never did again
This means it had been 8 years since I'd last seen her, and it had been 7 years since we'd last spoke
Her message to me read as follows:

"Hi, it's been a really long time. I just went rock climbing and it made me think of you. Hope things are going well p.s. thanks for being an awesome counselor back in the day"

This simple message probably took all of 10 seconds to write, and yet its effect on me is nothing short of profound
When a child thanks you for your time and effort in the moment it will undoubtedly make your day
But when an adult who has a striking resemblance to a little person you once knew goes out of their way, without provocation, to thank you for being you, well...

It makes EVERYTHING alright

Every step you have taken to this point, both solid and wayward, becomes immediately vindicated; even if just for a moment
I truly believe that every human being at some point has the same dream:
To change the world
To feel as if the life you lead truly matters
And when you work with children and you devote yourself to the seemingly foolish idea of bettering others by merely being yourself, you no longer have to worry if your life matters

It matters because YOU mattered in the life of a child

And they will take you with them wherever they go
You have changed the world
It might not be huge and most people will never recognize it, but there is an irrevocable dent with your name stamped right on it

How extraordinary life can be

There is a reason you will never hear a retired teacher say that they regret their profession of choice
It is because they are, in point of fact, super heroes
When it comes down to it, a hero is only really considered to be such by the people he or she has helped
And when you consider the life of a teacher and the hundreds to thousands of young minds he or she helps, I can think of no hero more super than that

So when asked what makes a young teacher look forward to tomorrow, my answer is simple: the past
Only you have to grit your teeth and soldier on in order to create it first
What my camper gave me was not only joy, but pure unadulterated inspiration
Something I hope to pass on to you all
Cheers!


© Copyright 2020 KevinCLynch. All rights reserved.

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