Having Faith in Beginnings

It has certainly been a week of beginnings. I watched students pour into school to begin their new year. I spent the day with kindergarteners as they experienced school for the first time. I worked with brand new teachers as they began their careers in the greatest profession ever. I saw my son begin his sophomore year in high school and yesterday I dropped my daughter off to college to begin her new life away from home.

I had faith that each of these individuals who stood on the brink of these beginnings would move forward successfully-and they did. For many I stood beside them, available to help if THEY wanted it, being fully present in the moment. I was excited to watch them take these steps, and cautious not to take the lead. For those of us who have made that walk, it is tempting to try and be the guide. We can anticipate the challenges, we have observed common pitfalls, we have experience we’d like to share. We want to help.

I remind myself that it is their beginning, their journey, their turn to embrace the experience. So then I am freed up to observe and marvel at the unfettered enthusiasm and the skillful navigation untainted by familiarity. And if I am open and mindful I will find this an incredible learning experience of my own. That takes faith.

As we welcome new students and new teachers into our schools this year, it is my hope that we can learn along as we observe them maneuver through beginnings and steer uncharted courses. Yes, they’ll veer off track, they’ll hit bumps in the road, they may even crash at times-but how they adjust, correct, and renavigate can offer us all new insights and direction.  We can choose to always lead and we will stay on the same path, or we can share the lead and reach new destinations together.  That takes trust. That takes faith.Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 9.12.30 AM

What’s On My Book Radar?


Rather ironic that as I focus on beginnings, I find this amazing gem that focuses on endings.Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson is one of those books I believe every teacher should read. We can all recall at least one teacher who touched our hearts and will stay with us always-that is what Ms. Bixby has done for her class. After finding out that their teacher is sick and will need to stop teaching to get treatment, three boys  (Topher, Brand, and Steve) come up with a plan to let Ms. Bixby know just how much she means to them. Told through each of their eyes, we witness how much of an impact the kindness and love of a teacher can have on the lives of their students.This was the perfect book for me to read as I begin my 29th year of teaching and strive to make a difference in the lives of those around me.  May it feel you with inspiration and appreciation. Just keep the tissues handy!




3 thoughts on “Having Faith in Beginnings

  1. You are so right Paula! It is so tempting to step in and help before it is needed. Our job as parents and teachers is to become not needed; giving children roots and wings.

  2. I agree with your beautifully written slice. It takes restraint and forethought not to barrel in and lead the way for our children and our students. Loved this!

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