“Mr. O! Mr. O! I was ra ra running to tag Sarah, and Billy pushed me!” -Johnny
“Why did Billy push you, Johnny?” –Me
“I don’t knowwwww” -Billy
“Billy, did you push Johnny on purpose?” -Me
“Are you sure?” -Me
“Johnny is always laughing at me in class!” –Billy
“Yeah ’cause you laughed at me when I dropped the ball!” -Johnny
Teaching P.E. at an elementary school sounds pretty chill but it definitely comes with its challenges. It can drive your patience and overall emotional control to the brink. The littlest things become your everyday issues. In a time of my life when I feel like I am supposed to be figuring out the big picture, dealing with why a 4th grader is upset about a light push in a game of ultimate frisbee feels trivial at times—especially when you need to address it dozens of times per day. However, as cheesy as it might be, it’s the little things that I have come to realize as my big picture.
I think we all know this, but one little thing can domino effect into more and more until it is one big mess of poor experiences and bad feelings. Although being more seasoned than kids at getting out of them, adults find themselves caught up in this mess too. I’ve seen it in my own community whether the first domino is washing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom. It happens to us all.
However, I have also seen a single, good little thing overpower a line of bad ones. I’ve seen kids put everything behind them with the help of a simple, “sorry.” I’ve seen changing the radio to 97.3 KSON country radio or a small, handwritten note flip a friend’s day right side up. I’ve seen the gift of a chocolately snack create a lot of joy during a long week. I’ve seen a kind gesture and felt a casual, “thank you,” make a world of difference.
Personally, I feel like I’m usually not good at the little things. I tend to look past them in favor of a larger project or in search of a bigger picture. I have tried but I’m not sure if I’ve gotten better at them over the course of this year either. Nonetheless, through my community at home, the teachers, and the kids at St. Pat’s, I’ve realized that these little things are what it’s all about.
I set upon this year in an attempt to “figure it out.” I had graduated from climbing a ladder placed in front of me called school, to a vast landscape with limitless possibilities called “the real world” where I must somehow form something worthwhile. Where do I begin? How do I make sure I get it all as right as possible?
It all feels a little bit like first world problems now. But I begin right now, and it’s ok if I don’t get it all right. Just try to do the little things, and hopefully, the rest will fall into place.
“Johnny, did you know Billy didn’t like it when you laughed at him?” -Me
“What do you think you should do” -Me
“Sorry, Billy.” -Johnny
“It’s okay, Johnny. I’m sorry too.” -Billy
“Alright, now go back out there and have some fun” -Me
Thanks, Francis, for making everyone feel special with a handwritten (and addressed) note.
Thanks, Martha, for sending so many birthday cards and thank you letters.
Thanks, Patty, for saying the little prayers.
Thanks, Nicole, for the 7:30am (or more like 7:45am) saying of “have a great dayyyyyyyy.”
San Diego, CA 2015-2016