We interrupt this blog post for a happy announcement: My kid is learning to read! (My youngest – my older kids are learning fun things too.) It’s amazing. Just seeing that expression when a kid realizes that the letters in a word can be put together into words and the words can be put together into a story and stories are fun and there’s so much that she can do now that she couldn’t before and…it’s magic.
Mostly, the world has a lot of ordinary stuff in it – tasks to do and things to clean, people to take care of and children to teach and I do them and then there’s more of them and life goes on. Magic is rare. It wakes up a part of me that mostly, stays a sleep. It could be a kid that actually gets something I’ve been nattering about for days. Maybe I’m enjoying a beautiful summer day. Possibly, I’ve mastered something new, or completed something difficult. These are all possibilities for magic moments.
The ones the kids bring – well, they’re my favourite. All the crustiness of the everyday melts away, to be filled with tenderness, with hope, with excitement and wonder. Kids see more magic, they know it better and they are the ones who make it happen. Especially when they learn. That’s the reason I teach, you know – to allow the magic that is learning to happen. You can see it. Their faces glow, they speak faster, the excitement is huge, and there’s no stopping a kid who’s in that learning groove, gaining ideas one by one. Something complicated becomes simple, something that held no meaning becomes clear, something impossible now seems not only doable but fun.
When they do, my body responds – I get hugely excited, I glow, I speak faster. It’s happy making and I know that magic just happened.
It doesn’t happen all that frequently. There’s a lot of head pounding, explaining things again and again, looking at it from other perspectives. There’s the pain of failure, and frustration and the desire to give up. (This is a bad one. It’s hard to fight the “I can’t, I won’t and I don’t wanna” goblins. I hate that more than any actual difficulty. I fight it with all that I have – prizes and treats, stickers and smiles, force and determination. I say, whisper, scream and push “you can, you will, and someday, you’re going to wanna”. ) The pace is slower than molasses in January. Mostly, my teaching is a lot of hope balled up together with positive thoughts and wishes. I think up of new and creative ways to present concepts. I give examples and practice opportunities. I ask questions, I show things, I explain, and I hope like crazy they get it. If they don’t, I cope with that and smile a bit and do it again, hoping that this time…
And then they do. They understand a thing and all of a sudden, my hopes get fulfilled, the lightbulbs go off, magic happens. I love that.