Thorny Doubts and Tangled Angers

I remember
the first day,
how I looked down,
hoping you wouldn’t see
me,
and when I glanced up,
I saw your smile
shining like a soft light
from deep inside you.

“I’m listening,” you encourage us.
“Come on!
Join our conversation,
let us hear your neon certainties,
thorny doubts, tangled angers,”
but for weeks I hid inside.


I read and reread your notes
praising
my writing,
and you whispered,
“We need you
and your stories
and questions
that like a fresh path
will take us to new vistas.”

Slowly, your faith grew
into my courage
and for you—
instead of handing you
a note or apple or flowers—
I raised my hand.

I carry your smile
and faith inside like I carry
my dog’s face,
my sister’s laugh,
creamy melodies,
the softness of sunrise,
steady blessings of stars,
autumn smell of gingerbread,
the security of a sweater on a chilly day.
~Pat Mora, “Ode To Teachers” from Dizzy in Your Eyes.

School is back in session for some and will be soon for others. We cross our fingers it can remain in person, masked face-to-masked face, rather than via screens.

Students and teachers will find their way back to one another – learning each other’s stories and how to transform one another through sharing those stories.

Two of our children are school teachers – one at elementary level and the other in high school, while the third spent two years teaching high school math on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. They were transformed by their own teachers, inspired to do what had made such a difference in their own lives. They have become the teachers who I wish would teach me.

Some of my own teachers helped transform me in those early years, encouraging me in my shyness to raise my hand despite my thorny doubts, tell my story despite my tangled angers, share something of myself when I felt I had nothing of value to give.

I think of you and thank you – Mrs. Neil, Mr. Duffy, Mrs. MacMurray – for helping me break out of my broken shell in my grade school years. You taught me to wholly trust to this day those who love enough to push me to become a better me.

Looking for a book of beauty in photos and words? Consider this book available for order here:

4 thoughts on “Thorny Doubts and Tangled Angers

  1. Looking at the classroom displays you’ve pictured here
    reminds me of my many years teaching second graders.
    I loved creating bulletin boards with new information.
    I loved displaying the students’ artwork and writing endeavors.
    That was a rich time of learning and growing for the students and for me.
    Every summer I took several classes…
    In Celebration of Reading. In Celebration of Children’s Literature, etc. etc.
    That was a wonderful time.
    Linda

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOVED LOVED the song. Had to send to all my grandchildren because I to think of them as I GO. AGAIN thanks for the great blog.

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i, too, LOVED this sweet song!! i admire their ability to sing and clap at the same time!!! wonderful song, wonderful clapping, and wonderful message!!!!! thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

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