We kiss our children goodbye each morning to show up for our students – the children we didn’t carry in our wombs, but occupy a special place in our hearts, nonetheless. We reach out with helping hands, stretching ourselves thin into spaces of immeasurable service and love.
In every youthful face, we see our own children. There is something in the depths of their eyes that makes these children similar to our own – undefiled souls with endless possibilities and untainted hope, discovering both the beauty and sorrow of the world, with each passing day. We hope to be a page in the chapters that make their stories beautiful.
Those of us who have never been called “mom” or “dad” by a child of our own, still play the role of a parent from the moment the doors swing open for morning arrival through the final bell at dismissal – wiping tears and bottoms, giving hugs and advice, building knowledge and character, singing praises and shouting redirections. Our hearts are overjoyed when a child exceeds our expectations and obliterated when a child misses the mark of their full potential.
The young, childless educator serves loyally, acknowledging that one day, they hope their future children will benefit from the selflessness of caring adults in their school family.
The seasoned, childless educator smiles in retrospect as they count the hundreds of kids that they’ve embraced as their own, throughout their career trajectory.
At the center of many of these children’s universes, our faces can be found – faces they look to for security, reassurance, direction, encouragement, approval and love.
When our coffee mugs become empty, our love still overflows. When our pay stubs look unpromising, we still keep our promises. When our calendars become full, we miraculously create a slot in our schedule to love one more child, meet with one more parent, address one more concern, and meet one more demand.
As the school year winds down and summer approaches, our energy is depleted and we wonder if we can endure and survive another year of pouring out an abundance of love with scarcity of gratitude and compensation.
Yet, somehow, as each new school year begins, our renewed hearts create space to love again..and again…and again. Welcome to the heart of an educator. Love grows here.
Remain hopeful. Stay anchored. Refuse to sink.