Mom and three handsome, smiling boys sitting nicely in the church pew, filled with the love of God and basking in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
"The Lord be with you."
"And also with you."
Rewind 10 minutes.
Sunday morning. 9:55 am.
Mom and three disagreeable boys driving to church.
(Dad is conveniently home sick:)
Stop touching your brother!
No you may not take your iPod to church.
Joe! That is not a church word!
Did you even brush your hair?
I said no name calling! God does not appreciate you calling your brother a butt face on the way to church!
Leave him alone!
Oh. My. God! Stop that crap! We are about to enter the House of the LORD!!
It's like driving around a circus full of monkeys.
But we leave the crazy in the car and when we get to that church door - we take a deep breath, put on a smile, and enter ready for what we came here for in the first place. And at the end of the service, we are renewed and ready for the next battle.
Which will probably happen in the car on the way home.
I know you've been there. It may not have been church - it may have been a trip to Grandma's or to the supermarket or cub scouts or whatever. Inside the car, all the crazy in the universe descends upon your family and you start to wonder if the jail time would be worth duct taping them to the hood.
Then, you arrive, shout out the last threat of violence or loss of the xBox, leave the crazy in the car and everyone pulls it together.
Ready to go.
As I reflected on all of this today, I realized two things.
1. I do this everyday on the way to work.
I let go of my crazy. (At least I try.)
My son's last minute 7a.m. panic "I have to print my homework right now and the printer won't work!"
Did I actually put food in Joe's lunchbox.
I hope that insane administrator leaves me alone today.
I swear if I have to fill out one more data sheet, I'm going to...
I need to leave it in the car, take a deep breath, put a smile on my face, and enter that classroom ready.
My crazy will still be sitting there in the car waiting for me when I leave school.
2. My students can't always do this.
Emotion rides in with my students every day - fear, worry, anger, hunger, aggravation, anxiety, excitement, silliness, confusion...
Only they don't leave it in the car. They bring it in with them.
In all it's glory and splendor.
Pressured to ignore all that emotion spilling out all over the place and get ready for that danged test!
I need to stop.
Stop. Take a deep breath.
Take the time to acknowledge the feelings, to help them work through it, to be ready.
And all you legislators and administrators and educational "experts" need to take a number and get in the crazy line.
Your cut scores and NCLB and rigor will have to wait until I sweep these emotions up off the floor and help some kids deal with some stuff.
My kids can't learn until they're ready.
And I am going to help them get ready.