I subbed today in a music class. What started out as a sweet group of sixth graders who thought I was the bees knees for having penned a song about their favorite show, Gravity Falls, eventually morphed into a mob of horny, obnoxious, loud eighth graders who walked around their seats, took selfies and thought it was their God given right to pound the drums or bang on piano keys just because they felt like it.
The I-pad wasn’t working, so the regular scheduled programming of Mulan wasn’t an option to kill the time. (Not that a kids Disney movie was going to do much to squelch the angry mob of hormones anyway.)
I had two choices:
- Let them run wild, potentially causing me more grief in the end if a desk gets toppled or an administrator swings open the door, causing me to be fired, my kids not to eat, and us landing on the street (not that I’m dramatic much…) or:
- Educate them the best I could.
I chose Door #2, giving them the background to Hamilton and playing them some of my favorite songs through the speaker.
“What does our hero mean when he says, ‘I’m not throwing away my shot?'” I asked.
“He means, ‘I need to pee. Can I use the bathroom?” one answered, hand flailing like one of those inflatable wobbly men used to advertise gas stations and car washes.
“No,” I said, hedging my bets that they were just looking for a way to distract themselves from show tunes and I wasn’t going to have to clean up urine near the drum sets.
“Why would Lin Manuel Miranda write a musical about a founding father in charge of the U.S. Treasury?” I continued, to which someone else replied, “Because he’s una idiota. This musica suckas!”
This, of course, elicited loud cheers and guffaws.
The inner school girl in me wanted to tell them what idiotas they were being. “Don’t you want to ensure you get an education beyond ‘paper or plastic?‘“ I wanted to scream.”
Instead, I just ignored the naysayers and focused on the kids who lit up the way my eyes would have lit up if a teacher in cat eye glasses, complete with a Hamilton tee shirt and Harry Potter necklace gave me a welcome distraction from the regular scheduled routine of chords and a-hole ring leaders.
Stillness – It’s the New Control Mechanism
Meeting chaos with quiet. It’s a new thing I’m practicing. Some days I actually think I’m managing well. Other days family members ask if I’m depressed. I think serenity on this a-personality type must be akin to if Mother Theresa got decked out in my thrift store overalls. It’s that different.
But, scout’s honor, I’m not depressed. I’m surrendering. I’m tired of fighting windmills. Maybe, while I wait for direction for my next phase of life, I can simply do my best to spread love and education to those that want it, and those that don’t, I can simply let go. It’s not like forcing my way on them is going to do anything but cause me grief anyway.
In the movie Broadcast News, Holly Hunter’s character starts each day crying. It’s simply to get out her angst so she can go on with the madness of her day. One of my favorite lines is:
I can relate. But somehow, the world is going to have to live without my constant opinion every single second.
In closing, I went to the shi-rage (a cross between “she” and “garage”) this evening for a little reading. (I’m going through Present Over Perfect for a second time. I really wish Shauna Niequist would just read this blog and invite me for coffee or to her Sunday night Practice gathering. I’m no rabbi or priest, but I could do a rap about sobriety, writing, Tourettes and Substitute teaching like nobody’s business. I think that qualifies me.)
Stretched out on my recliner, I said a few prayers of thanks first and watched the clouds move across the sky – big chunks of gray with some bright sunlight peeking through. To me, that’s what this season of life is like: A bit fuzzy, but moving… every so slightly… into a glorious light of purpose. I’m not 100% sure yet what that purpose is, but as I always say, God does, and that’s enough.
And, as the God of my understanding always shows up in syncronicities, here’s the quote Shauna used for the most recent chapter I read. It pretty much sums up my feelings on slowing down.
I considered for a brief second reading this quote to those surly eighth graders the next time I substitute teach, but I decided I like my head on my shoulders.
Until next time,
May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.