As a teacher, I don't think that I have ever really felt that my classroom was ever truly ready for my kids. My students. I would labor over exactly where to put that bookcase, that lamp, that map. What about the rug? The rocking chair? How about the desks? How should they be configured? It all begins to swirl together.....DEEP BREATH.
And then... When I really thought about it.... When I truly prayed about it... This is what I remembered....
"A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love."
What I always wanted to teach my students was that no matter how they did in my classroom....that I adored them. That I thought that they mattered. That indeed...I loved them and their hearts.
So one of the quotes that I put front and center above the board (and the date, so I knew that they would see it)... was this:
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
~ Mother Teresa
Once that quote was up, I could go on with my planning, arranging, and setting up. They knew that they mattered to me. They knew that they could come to me for anything. And I mean...anything. And they did. Because first and foremost, they were children with huge hearts, not just minds needing to be filled. Confession: I'm not so sure that I do well in the traditional setting of education. I want to play and laugh and run in mud puddles because that is where education starts....where it lives and breathes. Only then, can you buckle down for the hard stuff. So even in third grade I would read silly stories on the carpet. Sometimes ten minutes was all that was needed before I saw the tension start to drain.....their hearts could be refilled.
So now, as I prepare our little school room for Joe, I know that I am also preparing his "heart room". If nothing else this year, I want him to know how much he is loved. By us. By God. I want his heart to be at peace, for I can see the struggle going on inside and it pains me. (Really, when is the heart of a mother not pained?! I look to Jesus' mother for guidance on that one. No way can I do that on my own.) Academically, we are truly lucky that he is on target if not accelerated. The academics of the heart and soul. Well... That's the major focus.
Here is a little glimpse of how things physically are shaping up:
~Joe's desk ~
Prayer chair ~ Joe's thoughtful spot
~ Simple prayer table ~
~ My magical book cabinet ~
~Looking in...towards the piano with comfy couch on the right~
Oh yes, and the Mother Teresa quote will be up as soon as Joe copies it down for us.... And the walls, except for a crucifix and a plaque of Saint Anthony (patron saint of lost things...like my mind sometimes...) are blank canvases ready for artwork, maps, and other inspirations. The cuckoo clock should be up soon, too. :0) We hope that like the walls, our hearts will be filled with love, wisdom, patience, and understanding.
I *know* the job ahead. It is daunting. But oh. I can't wait.