This is Day Seven in the 31 Days of Small series.
I got a text from a friend yesterday who wanted to come to my classroom. I was so glad because this friend happened to be the retiring music teacher I replaced when I switched schools last year. There has been a large exodus of music folks in my county in the past two years and I miss my colleagues very much, so I'm always ready to see them.
A part of me is always a little nervous when she comes to visit. I hope when she comes she feels like I'm doing a good job with her old program. But, all of that melts away when she comes in--she is truly a team player and never hesitates to jump right in the lesson (and sometimes wrangle the children).
I was very excited to see her yesterday because I've recently started teaching my students how to play the ukulele. This is the first year I've ever tried doing this, and I'm still in the trial and error point in the process. It has been a lot of fun watching the students grin when their fingers finally cooperate and they get a few beautiful strums, but I still question whether or not I'm using the best methods. I knew my friend had ukulele experience and was hoping she'd be there to help troubleshoot as I worked with the students. I'm sure there are many good and valid methods for teaching ukuleles, and I was ready to hear her suggestions.
I know that it's ok to ask for help when you need it. But, for whatever reason I still have a hard time taking that advice for myself because I'm so independent and want to do it all by myself. Usually when someone offers a suggestion, I find myself on the defensive immediately. Like everyone else, I feel like my ideas, my opinions, and my methods are the best because they're mine.
I know I've committed to writing about it for 31 Days, but I admit that I don't always want everyone to see me when I'm small.
This past weekend I had a lengthy conversation with an old friend and we hashed through a few situations going on in our different worlds. Even though we reached the decision this weekend that we have a lot of feeling on the subjects and no valid solutions, she and I are still processing through some issues. I told her last night that I feel like my world has been shaken up and turned on its side and I'm not sure where I've landed.
I've decided that with some issues there can be several right answers and several wrong answers, and sometimes the lines between right and wrong get a little cloudy when our experiences and emotions and people you love the most get in the way.
And sometimes, as much as I hate to admit it, I really don't know the answers at all.
I think that's all part of being small.
Small can be recognizing that our weaknesses and uncertainties allow others to pour into you with their strengths. We need others to breathe into our lives and share their experiences and opinions with us and be willing to listen without going on the defensive and trying to be right. We need to walk beside people and let them talk and think out loud and listen.
We cannot do this alone.
And I'm thankful for those who walk by my side.