Monday, March 5, 2012

It's Not Where You Came From..

 "I wonder what I could have become if my parents...?"
     The conversation opener,which on the surface seems incredibly innocent but, WOW! did it open up a whole lotta "stuff". My parents weren't, what I call "classroom" educated. They were hard working people who did what they could with what they knew and from what they had experienced in life. Students of  School of Hard-knocks, they were very young when they got together. My mother was 12 when she met my father. They made a lot of mistakes along the way. I'm not throwing stones. As parents we all make mistakes. They couldn't help me a whole lot with schoolwork. With 6 kids, a husband that was on the road a lot and minimal formal education my mom did the best she could and much of it she did on her own. I don't recall getting assistance with homework and I remember staying up really late to get it done, however, I do remember helping clean, cook, change diapers, feed babies, etc. This too was another kind of education which I am sure I will share later. Stay tuned there's a lot of funny stuff in those recollections!
    "I wonder what I would have become if my parents could have assisted me like I do my own children?" Was how it all started at the breakfast table. I shared how I don't think I would have become a Teacher. For some reason as that comment left my mouth I glanced over at my daughter who was listening intently to the conversation and I felt compelled to stop in my tracks and tell her. "We need to remember that It's not where you came from, It's what you do with it that counts. When I was young I would take blankets and pillows and line the bathtub with them and read and do my homework in there because that was the only quiet place in the the house." She smiled.
   For the rest of the day I had the nagging feeling that what I said was somehow wrong. I couldn't put my finger on it. An effect of the "What if? " way of thinking. Yeah it was guilt. That feeling stayed with me until I I had the recollection of sharing my homework tip with a group of third grade students. They, at that time were the same age my daughter is now.They were having a difficult time getting their homework done and I was enforcing my NO EXCUSES policy. I shared my homework tip. Of course several of them responded with the prepubescent wails of, "Ooh that's gross! In the bathroom! Next to the toilet! Ugh!" However, the next day, as my students were quietly working on a journal assignment, one shy student, who rarely shared anything about herself walked over to me and said, "Mrs. Brookey, last night guess where I did my homework?" As she said this several students within earshot piped in. One with delightful exuberance "Yeah me too, it is the quietest room in my house!" 
The memory of sharing that part of my childhood with students instantly relieved me of the feeling that I was being ungrateful for all I had accomplished in life.
We are who we become with the knowledge of where we came from. We need to take each and every experience and use it to our best ability.

It is NOT where you came from.
It IS what you do with it!
   

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