I am letting the dust settle.

Some people would rather be strung by their toenails on a clothesline than deliver a public speech. I am not one of them. I owe much of this to Mr. Hyler, otherwise known as Jer, the bod, to the Eastwood Raider Class of 1987. Mr. Hyler was one of those teachers who had something good to say to everyone and he was able to draw the best out of the shy or most unlikely suspect. He saw humor and intelligence in those of us who might otherwise be overlooked and coaxed and prodded and in some cases, flat-out DEMANDED things from his students that many didn't even know existed within them.
I keep him in mind when I teach. I keep him in mind when I parent.
The thing about both teaching and parenting is that each moment can be so raw. No matter how much "practice" you have in exchanges with kids, age 21 or 8, no two are alike. Frankly, it is uncharted territory. A deft hand, a sense of humor, and a willingness to re-examine are useful tools to have, but none of this works if you are like me: I am an emotional beast and I get my energy from those around me. Ask my kids. At the end of the day, when it seems like we have had a similar conversation 6, 429 times before, I want to sit down and bawl. Or at least slink away to a private, padded cell.
These are times when I imagine Jer in the back of the room with his bucket full of chalk-filled erasers. He is listening to me zip through my speech at a breakneck speed for the 200th time. With a bored look, he lobs an eraser so it barely misses my head but emits a nice chalky poof! This poof is full of yellow dust that settles evenly on top of my brunette head and suddenly I am re-oriented to the moment at hand and I.....s-l-o-w- d-o-w-n long enough to slow down.
With kids, the mirror is always on display. Lately, I just don't want to look in it because there will be dust....everywhere.

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