Hope

Three days ago I wrote a blog post on a research education blog I have slowly been cultivating over the last year or so. It is a space for me to reflect on my reading and research for my PhD. I rarely connect The Jester Flys with this humble little 7mouths2feed because I know my audience is quite different. But today as I sat in Church, I was overwhelmed by the connection between my life and that blog post.

I had written about hope, the hope that teachers hold close.

“Hope that we can  make a difference. Hope to support young people on their learning journey. Hope that they will understand. Hope that they will grow in independence and knowledge. Hope that will unlock something and that it will usher in a lifetime of learning.”

There it was … hope. I realised that I needed to see and remember and recall the hope I have in faith in God. The assurance of His Love, the peace that I experience in this life, the comfort, the hope in future grace. But to say I got there because of something that happened in church alone would be inaccurate. I share this now because I have connected the dots and want to be frank about the way I see God at work, in spite of my hard heart and incapacity to hope.

In the last week, in the midst of busyness, flu and a house full of sick kids my man and I watched this talk from Tim Keller about identity.

It offered me a new framework for thinking about my life, my purpose and my identity.

Then an overdue phone call from a close friend reminded me of my need to be in relationship with people who will encourage me, support me, challenge in my faith. Not in how I will spend my money, how I will advance my career or what Netflix series I should watch. But how I should live my life and be real. I needed more of God’s word in my life.

I then flicked through my Shereadstruth app and was reminded of Proverbs 1:7 – the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Finally, my man shared with me a great presentation from The Austin Stone Community Church. The Stone’s teaching has been a source of regular encouragement for us, but their home and their missional life is far away in Texas. You can get a sense of these stories here.
I was moved by people sharing their story, sharing their hope in the midst of pain and loss and suffering. This story  in particular.  I was moved by the way people responded to those needs. They offered hope, they showed love and they served.

Reminding myself that I was a part of something bigger than me and that God had a plan for me that was larger than anything I could ever imagine, reminded me that there is hope. Hope in a future in which I am loved, assured and forgiven.

I see Hope in a new light today. Hope underpins all that I do, all that I am. As a wife, mother, daughter and friend; in my role as educator, researcher, coach and counselor. Hope is something I want to hold on to. Hope.

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The Word

What words can you see in this word target? I am too lazy to find as many words as  I can. I prefer to find the 9 letter word. But it has been years since I looked at these crazy language games.

This term I have returned to the classroom. That is right that fabulous space where I play teacher and a group of students come along to learn. Together we enter into this journey to learn about our subject, about the world and about ourselves. I had forgotten how amazing this job is, how complex, multifaceted and demanding. My head is spinning with stories, ideas and experiences. And somehow I have come alive, again.

I am thankful for work that challenges and energizes me. Privileged to be working with young people and delighted that my own little people have risen to the challenge of the new school routine with their Mumma around. Life is busy. Life is good.

If you have been reading this but secretly also calculating what the 9 letter word is, it is wallpaper. Enjoy. x

World Peace and other 4th Grade Achievements

What do you want to do?

Imagine if as a teacher your principal, superintendent or department leader asked you this very question. What do you want to teach your students? Would you know how to answer?

What is your passion as a teacher? I have been in the teaching game for some years. My heady, youthful zeal for teaching has at times been given over to assessments, new policy, curriculum changes and national directives. But if I stop and think about it I know what I am passionate about. I love seeing students grow in their love of words, their ability to read and reflect, critically analyse and make meaning from texts. To discuss, debate and create texts of their own that challenge my thinking. And so the process starts over.

This Ted Talk from John Hunter (2011) inspires us to grapple with this question again and again. As a young graduate teacher he asked his superintendent what she should do as a teacher and the superintendent responded: What do you want to do?

What has evolved is an amazing career answering that question. There is now a film that documents his work aptly titled “World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements”.

What do you want to do?