“I am not a hoarder! In fact, I am quite organized.” I can see your eyebrows rising in disbelief. Yeah, we have an uncontrolled junk room, tons of closets stuffed to the brim, and every drawer and shelf in the house is packed. But that clutter is not hanging over my head, as of a day ago. My dearest friend, who shared her “A-student” story, has inspired me to ignore the whispers of “clutterer.” Those shelves and shelves of teaching supplies? Their days are numbered. Today I filled up 2 bags of clothes for the thrift shop. Whee!
In the past, in a far away land, my cleaning binge radar was firmly fixed on my dearest teaching widower’s clutter. In fact, my own stacks seemed to disappear as I grunted and glared at his piles of paper, pounds of erasers shavings (he writes by HAND), and random books, paper clips, dead staples, and wine-stained napkins. My displaced clutter-righteousness had no bounds, kinda like my own messes. Poor guy. But NO MORE!
The New Me does not need to focus on my dearest widower’s writing detritus. I don’t need to accomplish a clutter-free environment today or tomorrow or within a month. I don’t feel intimidated by what needs to be done. I want to do a little every day. How obvious, you say. It’s not rocket science. But until I heard the A-Student story, I was crushed under the weight of clutter.
With my confident belief and God’s grace, along with a dearest friend to whom I can be accountable, the era of clutter in this house is over. I am so excited! In fact, this will be my “before” photo:
“I am an A student.” My friend told herself that after failing her freshman year in college. She never studied and wasn’t sure what “A students” did. She asked a med student who was frequently studying, one who appeared quite organized with binders and notebooks. That kind med student shared her studying routine with my friend, who went on to earn straight A’s. Teachers remarked that no one else had ever earned 100% on their tests. The college dean requested a meeting with my friend to ask her how she had transformed her grades.
My friend told me that she believed she was an A student. Even while she still had D’s and F’s, she simply KNEW she was an A student. Her past grades didn’t define her. “There was no F hanging over my head,” she told me.
How was my brilliant friend transformed? To me, the power of belief, the power of faith, the power of encouragement, and the power of mentoring all played a crucial role in her success. Today, this friend and teacher continues to share her wisdom and to mentor others, including me.
Successful teachers believe in their kids. They help kids believe in themselves. Successful and ethical teachers do not look at black kids and think, “Oh well, I’ll do what I can, but….” Neither do they promote a false sense of “You can be anything you want!” I don’t think any of us can be whatever we want, even if we are very smart. My dearest teaching widower would agree that I can’t be an accountant, administrator, or statistician. BUT could most kiddos be “A students?” Absolutely.
To my dearest friend, thank you for teaching me more than I can possibly express.
More tomorrow on another lesson she taught me.