The screams of copious kindergarteners alerted me to the fact that some form of attack creature was nearby and presented imminent danger. On two occasions, dreaded spiders had entered our classroom and were brazenly climbing up the classroom wall.
As authority figure and solitary adult, I knew immediately that it was my responsibility to protect my children. Leaping up, I fearlessly approached the area of occupation and eliminated the threats. Later it occurred to me that doing away with scary critters was a metaphor for my presence in the room.
In addition to having no fear of small invaders, I find it important to let kids know that for as long as they are in my world, they need not be afraid of anything. Isn’t this the prerequisite for learning? In all arenas, in all contexts, our children need to feel safe for as long as they can enjoy that existence.
Far too soon, these children will be middle schoolers, high schoolers and adults. From there, they need to slay all their own dragons and face the endless frustrations and challenges of adulthood. And yes, they will ultimately be responsible for exterminating their own killer insects, for their own sake and the protection of their dependents.
As mother, grandmother and educator, this represents an opportunity for me rather than a misfortune. Having led a rather difficult and complicated life, what better role model than I to teach kids about controlling their destinies? Because I am always cautioning students to eliminate barriers or limitations, teaching them confidence is the logical next step.
And so, I will face adversity or crisis with bravery and determination. For as long as I am able to do so, my students will fear no spiders or impediments to their growth. How very fortunate for me. Shalom.