Kids are sometimes the best teachers. Today, I had the opportunity to teach a science class to about 20 homeschool children. And I'll tell you it ended up being a wonderful, positive experience. But it didn't begin that way.
The day started off late. That is, I woke up late. Way late. I had to get ready, get my son ready, get my materials together, and drive to the location within an hour and a half.
In my rush, I forgot to bring some of my son's artwork, which was going to be included in an "art walk" starting that afternoon. That's when the I went from feeling rushed, to feeling disappointed and frustrated. I was mad at myself for forgetting the art because he had made it special for the event.
After that, my stress level grew. You see, I'd done a small test of my experiment earlier in the week. But I needed to make a large amount of ooze that needed a certain consistency. While there is a recipe, it isn't an exact process. I started mixing during the first session of classes (mine was in the second half). Forty-five minutes passed. And I was still mixing.
As I worked to get it just right, I found out that my class went from 14 to over 20 children. That meant I didn't have enough materials to do the experiment as it was planned. So I was panicking a little bit, and trying to come up with a "plan B".
And then a few of the kids came and started asking me what I was making. They were so excited about the ooze and the eggs we were going to break!
Their excitement was contagious. Once I knew I had the ooze at the right consistency - even if I didn't have enough - I started to relax a little and enjoy the experience.
To start the experiment I had a slide show and a mini-movie to show them. They loved it!
Then we started the experiment. It was total chaos with so many kids, but the parents jumped in and helped distribute supplies. Some of the kids didn't mind sharing, so it all went really well. Several of the kids thanked me - multiple times - for such a cool experiment.
After the clean up, I started to reflect on the day. I felt so grateful to the children for sharing their time and enthusiasm. Just a few hours before I felt like a big stressball and a failure. But I was focusing all wrong. Instead of looking at the things that I did wrong, or went wrong, I should have kept my focus on what was going right. It took the kids, their smiling faces, and kind words to remind me of that.
As it turned out too, my son's painting arrived in time for the art walk thanks to my parents dropping it off. The day turned out to be a smashing success on all counts. And once I focused on the good things, I felt really happy about it. I can't wait to do it again!
Has there ever been a time when you thought everything was a disaster, but the wise words of a child turned it around?