I’m not a traditionally religious person. My beliefs at this point in my life are a lovely stew of ideas from all around the world. I believe that there is a purpose to it all. I believe that there is a force for good which compels us to love each other and to take care of each other. I believe that nature is filled with power and spirit, and that all human beings are a part of that natural power.
I believe in reincarnation and eternity and endless life. I came to this belief one cold November weekend, when I realized that after almost three years of infertility treatments, my son was conceived on the very day that his grandfather was passing on. The continuity and synchronicity of that timing made me think about life as an ongoing journey, with perhaps more than one stop on this earthly plane.
For quite a while after coming to my belief in reincarnation, I thought about how I would like to return for my next visit. I passed over the predictable ideas about coming back as a movie star, rock star, famous author. I mean, I have had a pretty great ride as a human this time around. Great childhood, great parents, married my first real boyfriend and stayed that way for 34 years (so far). I have wonderful kids and a job I really enjoy. I’m surely not beautiful or rich or particularly talented, but it could be worse. A lot worse! I’ve been to enough places (like Mohegan Sun Casino and Walmart on a Friday night) to see that there are lots of people who are even worse off than I am. I wouldn’t want to take the risk of returning as a different human.
So, I thought for a while that I might like to make my next visit as a dolphin. They always look so joyous and carefree, bounding through the waves. I love the water, and I am mesmerized by the idea of having the power and grace to fly through the ocean with such abandon. I would definitely enjoy the seafood diet, and I can totally see myself basking on the surface and soaking up the rays.
After a few years, though, I changed my mind, and decided that if I could have a choice, I would want to come back as a black bear. Black bears really have a great life! They wander around the woods while the weather is nice, eating, scratching, sleeping in the sun. Their one goal is to gain as much weight as possible to see them through the winter. Now that is a job that was absolutely MADE for me! They eat fruit and nuts and fish and seeds, and they just get fatter and fatter. They have no predators, and they have no paperwork. This sound like Heaven to me. As soon as the weather turns cold, and the snow begins to fall, they curl up in a cozy den and fall asleep. No shoveling, no plowing, no commute in the ice and slush. They sleep until the equinox, and then they wake up refreshed, thin, and snuggling a baby! Sweet.
Lately, though, I have come up with a new plan. It’s been a somewhat trying school year, with a higher than average number of parental complaints. Generally speaking, I do pretty well with the moms and dads of my students. After all, I have been around for quite a while, and I have some street cred. I have taught literally hundreds of kids in my career, and have managed to raise three of my own babies into relatively successful adulthood. I listen to parents, and defer to them when I can. I recognize the fact that they will always know and love their children far better than I ever could.
That usually counts for a lot.
But this year I can’t seem to strike quite the right note with a few of my classroom parents. I don’t know what it is, but I just haven’t been able to make a good connection with them. Whatever the problem is, having me as the teacher just isn’t a good fit for these moms. They haven’t felt comfortable or settled or secure with me. And I can’t seem to shake off the disapproval, no matter how gently it is expressed. I can’t seem to disregard the complaints or tell myself that they don’t matter. Even when they don’t say anything, just knowing that they are unhappy with my performance leaves me feeling bruised and sad.
So I have decided that I would like to come back to earth as a lovely, iridescent duck. That way, everything can just roll off, like water rolls off a duck’s back.
23 thoughts on “Reincarnation, my way.”
A lovely post, as usual. I don’t know what’s wrong with the parents who don’t appreciate you, but there are always people who are going to be unhappy, no matter what. Illegitimi non carborundum.
Practice being a duck in this lifetime and just let it roll…
I want to come back as a fiction writer whose talent matches her ambition.
As long as I don’t end up on the planet where Mitt Romney’s in charge!
I thought of you at 2 AM, when I was tossing and turning and mentally composing a blog about Scott Walker and his ilk! How do demoralize the masses, jeez……
I don’t think that parents have any obligation to approve of everything that a teacher does; the issue is more about my sensitivity than their actions! I just have way too much of the “please everyone” gene!
I think that when a teacher is as bright and dedicated as you obviously are, parents have an obligation to defer to her expertise, to respect her as a professional who knows what she’s doing. With a classroom full of kids, you are never going to be able to please everybody, there will always be a few difficult parents. I suspect those people are difficult in other settings as well, at their jobs and in their marriages, that they’re just unhappy people taking it out on you. It’s enough coping with the kids, having to worry about the parents is an extra and unfair burden.
I’m hoping some good will come out of Wisconsin. We’ve had Gilded Ages before, we’ve had the pendulum swing too far against working people, and we’ve fixed it. I’m confident we can fix it again.
I just wish we could have more honest debates. The lies that spew out of Fox News every day make me crazy.
Well, I think that both parents and teachers really have an obligation to listen to and really hear each other. But thank you for your support; it is so needed right now!
And the lies of Fox make me crazy, too, but so do the lies and exaggerations of MSNBC. There is dishonesty on both sides in this “us against them” government…..
I like Rachel. I don’t watch much else on MSNBC. I watch Rachel and Sean every night. You’d think they were living in two different countries.
I think at different times in our lives we wish for different things. There are times I’ve wished to come back as a character on 90210, particularly one who hooks up with Dylan McKay. Then I’ve wished to be a powerful and successful prosecutor who puts away child molesters and rapists, who I’ve decided are the worst criminals ever. I’ve also wished to be a doctor who finds the cure for cancer and helps many families to not lose their loved ones. But mostly I just want to be me, maybe with some different character traits, but mostly me.
Those all sound great, but doesn’t the black bear sound good, too?
I really enjoyed this post and I can identify with your description of your beliefs. Funnily enough just before I read your post when I was having breakfast this morning I stood looking out of the window. We have an upturned boat in our garden beside the pond and there was a lovely duck sitting there waiting for the sun to arrive – was that you?
I’m sorry that some of the parents of your charges have brought sadness and frustration into your life, particularly as there is no real clarity for you as to why this would be so. Your post made me think back to my son’s schooling and other parents. On more than one occasion I witnessed parents who were unhappy and on a level it seemed out of sync with the actual situation. I always felt that there was another agenda and it actually had nothing to do with their child, the school, or the teacher. Does that make sense? Sometimes people fight with the world rather than deal with the ‘thing’ that they really need to be addressing. Anyhow that’s just my thoughts and I wanted to pass that on. Hang in there – from reading your blog it is clear to us that not only are you a good teacher, but your a lovely lady.
Hey! That WAS me! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could really transform for a day or two…?
I know that overall I am a good teacher, but not every personality fits every other. These parents haven’t been rude or disrespectful, and I know that they are operating out of love for their kids and anxiety about life in general.
I think that the issue is mine, which is why I dream of a life as an a nice, non-verbal, instinct driven animal! Like a duck.
Just don’t accidentally say out loud “I’m a duck” when one of the disapproving parents is within earshot. 🙂
Thanks for the warning!
Instead I will just say, “I can’t wait until I’m a black bear.”
What an awesome post! I want to be the bear too. And as far as those parents go…let’s see where their kids are in 8 or 9 years…;-)
Calm and unruffled on the surface, paddling like hell underneath.
Go with it!
Nice image! That is me, so true! Thank you!
Im inspired this morning to think about what I would want to come back as – the answer is right here at my feet: one of my labradors. No one has a better life than our spoiled pups!
Good luck with finishing your school year and have a wonderful summer.
Thank-you! For reading, for commenting, and for your good wishes!
You are so right about the labs….When my Mom read my post, she told me that she wants to come back as her cat!
Happy Summer to you!
I don’t want to yellow your snow, but us brown bears are the bestest. We’re smarter, bigger, and have a more varied diet. We also have a wider range. Plus, according to my daddy, we never grow up!
How can you beat that?
Oooh…..I like that! Ok. Next time around, I’ll be a big old brown bear! I sort of like the fierceness of that, anyway. Fits my Italian temperment!
I’m s’posed to be fierce? I didn’t know that — I’ll have to work on it. I’ll try it on the cat and see if she’s impressed…
thanks for following my blog..i wonder what i was before a cat..cant think of any thing id rather be..life has been good to me. thanks again.
So happy to have found you! Thanks for coming by and checking my blog!
Yours is wonderfully original!
Looking forward to reading more.
Love the thought of the black bear… fattening up in the winter, sleeping a whole lot, and waking to labor and care for young in the confines of a den. It sounds like heaven, actually.
Good luck with the parents – they can be quite difficult. I’m sure you’ll strike a good balance – the year is young and some parents just need consistent displays of dedication and care, while others you’ll never win over. Focus where you know you need to – on the students – and you’ll have peace that you’ve done your best. Great post!
Thank you! Glad that you came by!
This post was actually written last year, during what was a rough patch with a rather challenging class. This year is a very different situation! Great kids, great parents, and I am on cruise control for now (in a good way).
Still want to be a black bear, though!