Saturday, April 19, 2008

more on connection

“Each of us comes to care about everyone else’s children. We must recognize that the well being of our own children is intimately linked to the well being of all other people’s children. After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else’s child will perform it. When one of our children is harmed by violence, someone else’s child will commit it. The good life for our own children can be secured only if it is also secured for all other people’s children. But to work for the well being of all children is not just a practical matter—it is also right!”

- Lilian G. Katz, Professor Emerita of Early Childhood Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

One of my classmates in grad school talks about the "impostor syndrome" -- referring to the feeling of an overwhelmed first-year doctoral student; a "syndrome" characterized by thoughts of: "How long before they figure out that I'm not that smart after all..?" or "I'm not supposed to be here..." Or, my favorite one: "They mistakenly placed my application in the "in" stack and not the "out" stack...."

I go back and forth through periods of self-doubt, moments of clarity, and everywhere in between.

But at the end of the day, I am reminded again about why I do what I do... and how my life's work can reflect my own personal spirituality.

I strongly believe in the fact that we are all connected in some way. Our thoughts and actions have a pay-it-forward effect, whether positive or negative, intentional or unintentional. Will the decisions I make when this child is 2 years old have an effect when he is 10, 18, 21 years old? How will his actions at 21 affect those around him?

I know I've made many mistakes and I've experienced how it is to fall short of my goal of meeting a child's needs. But I've also learned from each child. I've learned from each family, and I stand in awe of these parents who commit and persevere to ensure that their child receives the support and education she or he needs... to move one step closer to their long-term vision and dream of their child one day contributing to society. In reality, however, these children already are.

I've heard educators say, "You are only given one chance to educate a child." And yet, I am given many, many chances to learn from each one I meet.

Childhood happens in a blink of an eye... my hope is to make every moment count. To "make room for the miracle of a child." (Beth Kephart, A Slant of Sun)

photo: my wonderful nephews, baking cookies

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