After a rough couple months with a lot of red tape and hurdles in the way of promoting what we know is right for kids to grow and enjoy; today was a day that was absolutely mindblowing and circled back to what Rupert mentioned in his Dream Whisper story that we all often so critically inspect, observe, and eventually without being able to block it- experience it in one way or another- if we put ourselves into the service of others.
On my way to a presentation of Movement Method treasure hunts with OQ codes at a Google Summit in Boulder, Co, about a two hour drive each way, I decided to finish Brene Brown’s audible version of “Braving the Wilderness”. She is an absolutely amazing writer, sincere, authentic, to the point, and certainly provokes and makes you think deeper. I enjoyed her idea of gratitude and remembered a dear friend mentioning that he carries a gratitude rock, which at that time seemed strange and senseless to me. After deep reflection though, and having to brave the wilderness alone for quite a while now, I realized, I needed that gratitude rock more than ever. I needed to refocus whom I was doing all this for, if I was still on the right track for the right reasons, and I realized, when times get rough, and I was tempted to make the wrong choices for the wrong reasons, the gratitude rock could produce pictures of the ideas that were important, the folks that needed me. I could refocus my efforts and help stay bright and not disappear in gloom, negativity, tangled in red tape, but rather freed of conventional restrictions. The saying came to mind: “What if I fall- oh but what if you fly?”
As you can imagine, the drive was quite an emotional one. The next day I taught my regular Monday routine, finished the final chapter on my drive home. Today, I got to school starting my normal day. One of my students came up to me- and this was not one of the students that comes up to me every morning. It was a student, when I met her I thought something might be a little off. When she was asked to bring in a toy one day, she brought in a “Chucky Doll”- wow, scary young lady. When I did my yearly writing piece “What I want and need my teacher to know about me”- she wrote a two page letter to me explaining how she never shared any of this with anybody and how she needed someone to know. This young lady wanted to be goth so bad, but she knew she would be judged by her family, friends, and school acquaintances. She said, she could never really be who she wanted to be, so once every week, she would put one little piece of goth into her outfit, be it make up, a small hat, an earring, something to state who she wanted to be. This letter changed my perspective on this student right away. I knew how it was not to be accepted, to be someone you were not. I understood the suffering she went through, I wanted to be the person who accepted her no matter what. She never chatted with me or made any attempts to connect closer, but today, she gave me a rock, painted beautifully with a mountain, trees that felt alive, and an attention for detail where I would have easily spend money to buy it. She handed it to me and walked away- she could not have possibly known that I was looking for a gratitude rock. Pure Magic and it has been happening since I started the journey with HorseBoy and the tribe.
Magic, right? Oh but it continues…
I will not lie, my class has been a challenge this year because I got the kiddos that needed the ‘more favorable environment’. Today, their enrichment teacher for Spanish was out and they had a substitute- always a reason for concern for me; it usually ends up with suspensions of some of my students, folks in the office, long complaining reports, ahh the joys…
When I had to pick up my class, I strategically stayed far away from the substitute, but here came the dreadful: “Mrs. Rimbach- one moment please!” Oh no, my anxiety level rose, I was frantically searching for the kiddos that are prone for suspension- all right, I was in the green, they were all still there...but oh no, one of my high ADHD bouncing of the wall students stood with her- I could easily imagine what the conversation would be like...The substitute, who is a veteran and is extremely honest, actually smiled, petted my student on the shoulder and mentioned how outstandingly hard he worked to improve his learning, and she continued on, “I absolutely love love your class, please let me know if you ever want me to sub for you, they are amazing!” Mind blown a second time that day- and I shared my feelings with the class, only to see huge smiles, amazing effort to continue this positive journey all day long from all students. They took pride in their learning, pride in their progress, it was teamwork rather than me trying to advance them- we finally became a class.
I am not making this up, but this day, a very dear co- worker of mine- who has not become a friend yet because of time restraints- and probably does not even understand my huge appreciation for her, and I know would be dear and close to my heart, came to me and after she learned so much about Movement Method, she mentioned trying it with her own anxious child and having a huge success- she just told me her story and walked right out- she did not see the tears of joy that finally confirmed we are making a difference! Even though I heard a comment from one of my leaders “I know you want to save the world, but you can’t.” I do feel the painful realization that she is right, and really had to work my way through this comment, but a tribe member, a dearest friend to my heart pointed out- maybe not the world, but one person at a time. In my mind it became clear- for that one person, it will be like saving the world.
After training a few horses, I made sure I had time to meet with my daughter which I had not seen for a few days (yes, we do live in the same house, but life gets in the way for all of us to connect sometimes- so I make it a point to go out for dates with various family members). We had the most connecting talk in a while. She mentioned the only thing that kept her going through her severe depression was a person who accepted her with all the things she went and still has to go through. Her friend, also 16, is in the same situation but without any family support. She is becoming my adopted kiddo- the words were lovely, but to be honest, I am not sure I could be as accepting as I am today without the perspectives of Rupert, Iliane, and some very dear tribal members.
Billy, my dear husband of over 22 years told me that this is why I can not stop teaching- the difference comes with the way we connect to children and humans. For the first time in a long time he confirmed that the difference in students and children is immense and noteworthy- something we cannot abandon because of a few hurdles and throwback moments- this is too important to be stopped. Make sure you have that rock handy when you feel alone in the wilderness, as Brene Brown mentions, you will be amazed how many folks are already out there.