Take heart, oh weary wanderer

and god saidI remember being very little and dreaming about what it would be like to be a young adult. I remember wishing my life away and wondering, “Will I ever get there, to where I want to be?” I can remember wishing, oh so many nights, about growing up to be a teacher. I can remember the pride I felt knowing that I would help others in this pursuit of happiness for myself. I believed I would make it. I just didn’t know what I’d have to face to get there.

There is a quote by the first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, that has continued to stick with me throughout my short life. She said this, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

I believe. I still do, but sometimes God entrusts you with a task that you don’t want simply because He knows you’ll grow while you’re there. Sometimes He places you in schools you wouldn’t necessarily have chosen for yourself. Sometimes, God even asks you to put your life on hold. He tells you to wait. He tells you to love. He tells you to take heart.

In my particular case, He told me to be a parapro. He told me to set aside my dream of having a classroom of my own to support someone else’s classroom. He told me I’d meet children. Children who needed to be loved. Children who needed support. So I took the job.

Here is where I should stop myself for a second just to say that I am not perfect. I did not want to take the job. I wanted a classroom. I wanted my dream to become a reality. I did not want to be a Special Ed Para in a Middle School and I didn’t really want to move back in with my parents.

But I took the job.

And today, eight months after accepting the job I didn’t want, I realized why I took the job.

I took the job because I care. I took the job because I am passionate about education whether I am the after school care provider, or the support personnel, or the teacher.

Tonight, as I sat by the fireplace crying and venting to my parents about what else teachers could be doing, I realized that God placed me at this school during this school year in this particular teacher’s classroom because He knew that these kids would need to be loved. He knew I would care for these kids because my heart, like the Grinch, has grown three sizes in one day.

I realized that it doesn’t matter where I teach, or what position I hold. God has called me to love both teaching and the kids I teach. He has called me to support students when they aren’t being supported at home, or at school, or by their peers.

First year teachers, or 3rd year teachers, or tenured teachers – whoever you are – LOVE where you are and what you do, but most importantly, love who you do it for. We are only given these precious children (whether they are age 5 or 18) for a short little while. Teach them all you can and set them up for success while somehow still preparing them for failure. Love on them while you have them. We only have them for a little while.

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!” – Psalm 27:14

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