If Someone Says You are Amazing – Listen To Them
It’s an average school morning. We’ve managed to herd, feed, brush, pack, clothe and transport the children – and ourselves – with all the necessary bits and bobs and appendages attached and remembered…
(Seriously folks, this just deserves a hero’s mention don’t you think? We all execute an Iron Man course each morning and I say, “It’s an average morning”… )
Anyway, no time for prolonged pats on the back, it’s rush, rush, rush but we get to school on time – sort of. My 3-year-old proudly presses the intercom button for his school, out sings his teacher’s melodious “Good morning” and all of a sudden I feel cheered up. I have a little moment of feeling joyful and that all is well in the world.
This is her magic and she does it so well.
Her voice is high-pitched and penetrating but with a throatiness that adds a surprising richness to it. It’s perfect for children – and apparently for the moms… But it’s the warmth and love and humour that she injects into her interactions with the children and moms that just creates a blanket of joyful, mirthful, warmth in her playschool.
She has magic and she uses it with power and skill. We are all blissfully under her spell
But do you think she can see it about herself? This morning I told her that hearing her cheery good morning on the intercom had suddenly made my world feel all right. She laughed and I could see she didn’t believe me.
Another mom standing near me heard my compliment and enthusiastically joined in the praise. Our beloved golden teacher humoured the two of us for a while, just like she does the little children who babble their half-comprehensible stories to her, but when we told her again that she is amazing she put her hand on my arm and said in an earnest voice, “But I’m NOT really” and our praise-singing ground to an unceremonious halt.
I don’t know why she said it. I can only make assumptions. Maybe it was just social etiquette or maybe she thought our adulation was unrealistic or maybe she didn’t really believe it to be true. I can’t know what was going on for her in that moment – but I know what went on inside me in response. I felt sad and thoughtful because here stood this woman who is FULL of magic – everybody can see that – but she wasn’t accepting my telling her that.
I was originally going to call this post “Ode To My Son’s Teacher” and just sing her praises but then I realised something had been triggered for me by that moment with her. That’s why I was sad – because of course, if we have a strong emotion in response to something someone does it means it’s showing us something about ourselves.
The thing is that I was reminded of myself in that moment and also my friends and so many mothers and fathers out there… I had one of those, “Oh, is that what it looks like from the outside when I do it?” moments.
You know that thing, you get a compliment and your mind jumps to wherever you ‘messed up’ recently so as to disprove it.
But messing up doesn’t mean I’m not amazing – it just means I’m learning. I value learning don’t I? So why do I judge myself for it?
Why do I make myself small?
I wish we could all hear and accept the compliments and positive feedback other people give us about ourselves without having that inner inventory of ‘bad things’ about us to counter them.
I wish me and my mirrors could stop doubting our own goodness so much.
Just because there is also ‘badness’ sometimes doesn’t take away the ‘goodness’ you know?