I maintain a pretty uneasy existence between two major dogmas in my life. What I have learned from this is that I am a pretty decent juggler. But occasionally, I drop the ball.
I am a liberal Christian. You can imagine how this can make for somewhat precarious dinner party conversation. I drop the ball at times when these two worlds collide– which is anytime anyone asks me why I do what I do, or what I want to do ultimately.
I have two different answers to these questions: not that I hide my politics or my religion from anyone– but I’ve been assaulted by plenty of Conservatives and atheists in my day, and don’t feel like alienated any of my friends or family.
Also…. with respect to religion, I find that the best way to be a witness for God is to not be a douche bag. And as a liberal, I’ve found that the best way to grow is to learn from other people…. which also entails not being a douche bag.
Plus, have you ever had an argument with someone who really honestly believes something completely opposite of you? It’s like chasing the wind. And, as you know via my brother, RUNNING IS FOR EMERGENCIES ONLY.
So here it is.
What I do is teach children, to be more specific, I teach very young children. I tell people all the time, “I do this on purpose.” And they usually laugh a little, because they don’t understand what I mean. What I mean is that I didn’t just fall into this career. It was not a fall back. I chose this career. On purpose.
When people ask me why, I usually have some cop out answer about how much I like kids and how good it makes me feel. And all that is true, but it’s really only part of it.
What I feel is that I was given a certain set of talents. As Christian I believe in God’s plan, and I believe that I am clay being molded for God’s purpose. To that end, MY particular set of talents, and my temperament, and my interests, have always pointed at being a teacher, even when I was a little girl.
And here is my bleeding heart liberal answer: I dealt with a lot of things as a child that I don’t think children should deal with. I don’t really want to go into here, but just want to point out that I decided about 20 years ago that what I wanted to do with my life was make sure that other children didn’t have to deal with what I dealt with. And– even though it’s a LONG haul– I decided, and believe, that the best way that I could help that happen was by teaching.
Now please. Don’t misunderstand me. This is MY story, savvy? I DO NOT believe that you have to be a Christian to be a good person, or to feel like you have a purpose in life, etc. Two people that I look up to a LOT spend the majority of their lives trying to promote the arts, and last I checked, neither of them claimed any religion whatsoever. Two of the best people I’ve met, with definitely an incredible purpose.
And also– I don’t think you have to be a liberal to want to give back to your community or to have a philanthropic heart, or anything like that. One of the gals that I admire most in the world is a conservative and has dedicated a substantial part of her life to working with the March of Dimes.
I’m just saying that– for me– those are the two ideologies that have grown to be a part of me and the way that I am explaining myself based on those morals that I have chosen.
I started out in college as a secondary education major. This is because most of the powerful and profound moments of my own education happened in high school, and I can say for certain that the path I was headed down was drastically altered by some of my teachers.
So how did I end up teaching two year olds?
Well. THAT part kind of was an accident. I got a job teaching toddlers and I really liked it. And I was really good at it. And then like… seven years went by. And in those seven years, I discovered research that would suggest that suggest that by the time you get to high school, you are kinda done cooking. In fact, a lot of research suggests that by the time you are in elementary school, you are kinda done cooking. I started to pay attention to the growth and changes that occur in a child between birth and age five– and man alive. If you guys could all have the opportunity to observe a group of children go from 6 weeks old to learning to read, you’d see what I mean. The growth there is STAGGERING. The potential for learning there is AWESOME.
And the implications for the people who choose to be early childhood educators? Profound.
Even though I had kind of coasted through about four years of college, changed my major about five times, took a year off here and there, once I put all of this together and buckled down, it took me one year to finish a two year degree, and I’ll turn that into a Bachelor’s degree in the next 18 months.
Anyway. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, probably because I’m getting ready to go back to work, and probably as a result of some extra pontificating time I seem to now have, as every three hours I have to sit down for at least twenty minutes to feed my child.
Today I would like to hear from y’all: What do you do with your life, and why? Are you doing it on purpose?
I started my post today with one of my favorite quotes, and will end it with another one:
Are you ready to die for what you live for?