The beginning of the school year is emotional. Parents seem to be either overly excited or overly depressed (or both!) about summer ending. Children are nervous, but meanwhile these miraculous human beings that decide to teach our children put on brave and cheerful faces for the first week of school no matter how they are really feeling about the new year beginning. Gratitude hit me in full force at drop-off this morning. My crafty 4 year-old tried to talk me out of leaving her at school today during our drive and when we got to school she started showing signs of a meltdown as we passed through the doors. But as we approached her classroom, we found a sweet little girl standing alone with her face pressed up against the glass looking in at my daughter's room. This exchange followed:
Me: Do you know who that little girl is?
Daughter: No, mommy, who is that?
Me: That's your teacher's little girl and she looks really sad.
Daughter: I bet she misses her mommy.
We walked into the room as her sweet teacher calmly retrieved her daughter and returned her to the appropriate classroom. As we put my daughter's things away, we had a quick discussion about compassion and how the beginning of school is hard for everybody, even our teachers because they have lives outside of school just like us. This made her stop, think and then move on with our goodbyes. Meanwhile, her teacher had returned to the room, effortlessly switching back to teacher-mode from mom-mode. The moment made me bow with gratitude to all the teachers out there who graciously said goodbye to summer 2016 in order to continue the most rewarding and important profession in the world. A great lesson in compassion is to talk with your children about their teachers lives outside of school. As many kids do, I once thought my teachers lived at school and was astonished to see them out at the grocery store, or the like. Remind kiddos that teachers are people too - people with families, homes and non-work-related obligations, just like everyone else. Showing your gratitude for these crucial members of our tribes may encourage your kids to do the same. Thank you, teachers!