Saturday, March 12, 2011

Love like a kindergartner

Working at an elementary school, I meet with with all kinds of childish silliness and seriousness. In third grade we have a student that is a behavioral monster. I'll call him M. He is often violent and rude to other students and teachers, which he somehow manages to do while smiling wickedly, as if it were the funniest joke in the world. When teachers and administrators try to reason with M., he often answers with a fervent "I can do whatever I want!" Predictably, his behavior often lands him in the office.

Upon returning from such a trip to the office, M. and I encountered a curly-headed kindergartner in the hallway. The boy stopped upon seeing us, flung out his arms to their fullest extent, and cried, "I love school!" His face shone, and I think it would be impossible for any person to express more joy than his little voice contained.

I glanced at M., knowing that he was anything but happy to be at school. "Why?" I said.

Curly-head answered expressively, "Because, I get to go to recess!" You'd think he had just won a million dollars.

I smiled, M. grimaced, and the kindergartner skipped away to enjoy his playtime. Walking down the hallway, I fervently hoped that M. learned something from that kindergartner. That was months ago. Curly-head still loves school, and M. still ends up in the office every day for making trouble. Instead, I'm the one who learned from Curly-head's example.

Joy like that, love like that--simple, yet intense--makes us come alive. Our hearts need to experience that kind of joy every once in awhile, to keep us alive and strong. I forget that a lot. I get caught up in the dullness of doing what I'm "supposed" to do, and I stop seeing the simple things that can impart that joy. Things like sunshine, new shoes, mint ice cream, reading Jane Eyre for the tenth time, my husband's smile, a healthy son growing inside me--how sad it would be to miss the opportunity to love these beautiful things in life!

That is the reason I created this blog, to help me recognize and love those sources of joy more. Every time I do, I feel a little bit more alive.

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
~Howard Thurman

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I'm still alive...and so is my blog.

So I realize that it's been over a year since my last post...I kind of forgot about it for awhile, but now I've remembered how fun writing those two or three blurbs was, and I decided I should try it again. Besides, it challenges me to think harder and make all these little pieces of thought floating around in my brain work as a coherent whole. Allow me to philosophize on why this is useful:

1. Sometimes my more brilliant and useful thoughts are hidden in a crazy pile of junk. Writing is like housekeeping. If you don't clean something out and put everything back into its orderly place every once in a while, it just piles up in the corner. When you finally go to clean the corner out, you realize there are lots of things in the pile you just don't need--that movie ticket to a film that wasn't so good, or an invitation to a baby shower that took place three weeks ago, or the blue striped sock whose partner disappeared on the trip to Disneyland last summer. Doesn't it feel liberating when you attack the junk corner and throw all that useless stuff away? Conversely, you also find important things to keep amongst the invitations and socks, such as your birthday money, or the Social Security card you thought was lost. Now that you know where it is again, you can put it back in its orderly, findable place. Things are always more useful when you can find them. Writing helps me put useful thoughts from my brain into one place, where I can conveniently forget about them until I need it again.

2. Studies show that social networking improve one's feel-goodness. Yes, scientists have studied this, and KSL aired the results on the radio a few days ago. They put a bunch of people in a room with computers, half of which were turned on and open to FB and Twitter. After about an hour or so, they asked the people what they thought about themselves, and guess what? The people who got the socialite computers gave a higher opinion of themselves than those stuck with a boring computer that they couldn't turn on.

Believe me, I laughed when I heard this on the radio, since my average social networking consists of posting on this blog less than once a year and clicking "like" on someone's Facebook status every once in a while...I don't really consider myself the social network type. Besides, who needs shallow computerized socializing to make them feel warm and fuzzy? Certainly not me. Laughable, just laughable.

However, after making a few posts on Facebook the other day, I noticed that I felt more positive. Even now, writing this silly little blog post about nothing important, I find myself smiling inside. Those darn scientists were smarter than I originally gave them credit for.

3. Writing is the brave thing to do. Let's face it, putting a tiny piece of your thoughts on a web page for all to see, from your husband to some unknown person browsing blogs because he's bored is a gutsy thing. I mean, at least for me. It makes me get past the "what will people think?" factor.

Now that I've given myself three good reasons to pick up blogging again, I can't think of anything else in particular to say...time to post this and go.