As a parent, I know how much I love my own child. But what about someone elses’s child?

In my last blog Love for Myals, I shared my journey in realizing just how much parents can love their child. It’s a love like no other. It’s a sacrificial, life-giving, unconditional love that changes you forever. It’s a special feeling. There is knowing OF that feeling, and then there’s LIVING the feeling. I concluded:

“I wonder if any families or parents of students I’ve taught in the last sixteen years felt the same way about their kid(s)? I wish I knew back then what I’m feeling right now.”

No, you don’t have to be a parent to be a great educator, but being a parent has definitely changed me as a teacher. Being a parent has reshaped my perspective on kids in general, including how they’re learning, and what’s really important. Being a parent has realigned my educator focus on the Whole Child.

Now, I have at least some understanding of:

  • The morning routine of preparing [or helping to prepare] a baby for daycare for the day while getting yourself ready for work. Did we forget anything?
  • The long nights for newborn parents where the baby doesn’t sleep well, but the parents are still expected to perform to perfection at work the next day.
  • How having a sick child can change your routine, thought patterns, and priorities.
  • How menial tasks and minor details don’t matter as much when you only get so much snuggle time at home before that stage is over.
  • Why it’s important to focus more on getting to know the child rather than getting to know what the child knows.
  • Why an educator should communicate and over-communicate the learning journey and well-being of children. Beginning an email or phone call by first saying: “Everything is fine, I was just wanted to touch base about…” can immediately relieve parents’ deepest worries that anything might be wrong with their child.
  • How imperative it is to extend more patience and grace to anyone with a newborn in her or his life. There was a deadline missed because some life stuff happened last night? Instead of immediately jumping to punitive measures, perhaps an extension or a favor would better fit the situation?
  • How building relationships with kids who don’t necessarily conform to my first attempts in classroom management or teaching style can be a game changer.

This has been my first-time, newborn parent journey so far.

Zooming out, I’m wondering how crucial my life experiences could be in the total context of how I interact with other people’s kids. What about someone else’s kid?

It’s so clear to me now: Someone else’s child is someone else’s whole world, just like my child is my whole world. That’s a really big deal right there. I always knew it… But now I KNOW it.

The learning journey is a lifelong experience, and–for one shining moment–an educator has the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child. An opportunity so precious demands an unconditional love that celebrates the good times and endures the challenges, a love that can go forever–A love for miles.

One of my favorite blogs ever composed, Protect His Smile, was written by a friend and fellow 2016 ASCD Emerging LeaderSteve Figurelli. Featured in his blog, he said:

“Every child in your class is someone else’s entire world. He’s ours.”

Earlier, I read a similar version of this message in the blog Someone Else’s Whole World, where George Couros quoted Tom Murray in Tom’s blog: “I Just Want To Be Normal, Daddy.”

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