??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


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Walk a mile in my shoes!

This post is in response to the WordPress  Weekly Writing Challenge

 Leave Your Shoes at the Door

In my FaceBook feed I once saw a poem that is  supposedly (dare I say hoax)  based an old man who died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town. It was believed that he had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions they supposedly found a poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were  supposedly made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

Cranky Old Man….. ( an abridged version)

What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?

What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?

A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,

Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?

The poem then goes on to relate the life events that define him. It ends with  (causing  tear or two)

So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.

Not a cranky old man .  Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!

After reading this I began to contemplate my thoughts on what the author was trying to express. Maybe they were just talking about the aged but my opinion is the ideals within the poem can go much further. How easy is it for us to view others from our own shoes rather than considering those they are walking in?

We see young children around us. How often have you heard people complain they are too loud, moving too fast, breaking something. 

“That would never have happened in my day”,

“I’m too busy I have (insert whatever it is adults / older siblings do) I can’t play with you”

“I haven’t got time to coach a junior team”.

Young children are just opening their eyes to the world. They have so much to offer yet can be overlooked because too often too many see experience as only coming with age. I work with children and I could write a book based on the classic wisdoms that come from their mouths.kids

Not a time consuming child.

Look closer . . . . see … ME!

One full of enthusiasm, zealous, not jaded, maybe loud and fast but there is so much to try!!

Picture today’s youth.

“Too outspoken”

“No manners”

“Spend too much time on electronic gadgets”

“Don’t socialise correctly”

“Life is  too easy ”

“ Too full of self-worth”.

They have grown up in an era where we have moved beyond communication being limited by distance. They live in a world where ‘friends’ may have wider concept than it did before. Their mode of communication may be new but expression of feelings, ideas, beliefs and desires are still important. Having two grown up children I have witnessed their passions for such things as universal well-being of all, fights for justice, desires to conform, desires to be different. They may want different justices etc but they still have the same desire to be heard as did others before them. Does it really matter if they call friends parents by their first name not “Mrs/ Mr”. Should their wisdoms be dismissed and all we see them as are youth dressing different and walking around with an electronic device attached with love to their hand? Can we not learn to LOL , text and share emoticons as we converse, opening ourselves to a wider friendship circle. Dare I admit to having a friend I met via an internet game on an iPad app??  LOL   🙂

photo(2)

Not an obnoxious  youth .

Look closer . . . . see .. .. ME

 The passionate, caring one eager to try new things and    excited that the world boundaries are gone.

Then there’s that time that stretches out into many long years. I’m going to call it mature years though that may only be in namesake ha ha. It takes us along the journey of life from when we leave the technical youth years to become the parents and then on until we reach the old person referred to in the poem, the one who has seen all seasons.  We demand parking spots in shopping centres be it for our pram or our age.

““Don’t understand us youth!”

“Wear clothes that aren’t appropriate!” (the audacity of a grandma in shorts let alone swimmers!)

“”Puts the children in day care so they can work – so selfish”

“Won’t mind the grandkids so I HAVE to send them to childcare – so selfish”

“Don’t visit the aged parents enough”

“Work to have expensive holidays and don’t save for old age”.

Just as others before us have done we want the best for our families, we are just as loving and caring. The world is different. We might have different ideals such as the larger home, more cars and overseas trips but it’s still with the best in mind. Who decides what’s best…does difference have to be graded?study-cognitive-training-aids-older-people-in-L-4_U8lESource

Not an greedy, uncaring mature person.

Look closer . . . . see .. ME

 The one who realises with careful planning you possibly can have it all!

And so to bring my rambles together, I think we need to remember we all bring a bucket full of experiences to the table. They are all valuable to us and can be of use to all if shared. When you observe the actions of another, look first through their bucket. Value them in whole, sneak a few things from them and your bucket will soon be brimming with exciting new dreams and a picture of the world coloured in a way you have never seen before.

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A Letter to Parents

As the clock ticks on, here in Australia, that day of ‘Back to School’ or ‘First day at School’ looms. For most, it’s a day of excitement to renew or begin new friendships, buy new, or prepare the old, school uniforms and shoes as well as filling the pencil case and getting the lunchbox and back pack organised.

Slate

I am the first to say for my first few years at school I hated going to school. Dread filled me as the holidays drew closer to the end. Each day, instead of being enjoyed ,was a reminder of where I was headed soon. I’m not sure why I had this fear. I had an older sister already at school and she enjoyed it from what I remember. My family promoted education and so I know I would have been encouraged to enjoy the place.  In the primary years it got more bearable and I enjoyed learning. Apart from my 2nd grade teacher as far as I know my teachers weren’t evil.

She however lacked compassion. I was in the non-enviable position of having an older sister attend the school and she was one of the extra smart ones. The situation was compounded by having a younger sister two years behind me, who was also of the extra smart group. My 2nd class teacher told me such inspirational things as:-

* My handwriting was like that of a fly walking across the page. I’m guessing it was pretty poorly structured though I must admit I had never watched the path of a fly on a page (we had Mortein in a pump delivery gadget.)

Cervo093

* My younger sister could read and write better than I did. I’m not sure how this was substantiated as my school reports show was at the top of my class. I can only guess my sister excelled the whole grade basically. (Maybe)

Luckily I took these both to heart and now have a beautiful handwriting style and I’m more than happy with my writing and reading ability.

The point this leads me to was, my mum knew I was an anxious child (how one gets to be anxious at 4years and 6 months I don’t know but it happens). I know from my mum telling me when I was older that despite her speaking with the teachers about my school readiness they dismissed her (as was done in that day) and told her I should enrol to keep the numbers right and then not attend as I was anxious. I know my mum and dad could have told the school ways to have helped alleviate my stress but in those days (have they really gone? I think they have in most.) it seemed many teachers felt not valued if they consult with a parent. I would say though, now this is a minority case not majority thankfully.

My post today was written in response to a post I read on Colour My World  – Not just another anxious parent. It was a heartfelt post and as a parent truly felt her frustrations.

As a teacher ,  I would like to pen this response and hope that it will strengthen her conviction (and other parents) to never stop being the voice of children and for parents to  never feel their opinions and understandings are of no consequence to educators. All parents are anxious in their own way as are children and all deserve respect and attention. The opinions expressed here are solely those of my own and in no way reflect those of my employer or other members of staff at my school (though as my school is full of fantastic teachers , where I’d be proud to have my children attend were they still school age, I’m sure they see things this way too ) or all those wonderful teachers out there.

Dear Parent,

As a teacher I am entrusted with the most precious cargo any parent has, that in itself is an honour. To do my best work I need your trust in me that I know my ‘craft’ and I really do have your child’s best interests at heart. Like you, I want your child to reach their true potential and for me personally, the two things I want all the children to leave my classroom with, is a positive sense of self-worth and a love of learning.  I can only achieve this if I have two things from you – trust and support. Both these things are two way streets and so in saying that, I know you need my trust and support just as I need yours.

Remember most of the teachers your child will experience will be dedicated and welcoming of your voice, as am I. The most meaningful interviews I have are those at the beginning of the year, when I ask the parents to tell me enough information for me to help make each child’s transition into my class as easy as possible. Sure, I don’t want to hear everything, for sometimes the children will react differently to me than to their support network (I call this me getting to know them) but as a parent you know so much more about your child than I ever will. Also, unless it’s for funding I don’t even want labels. They don’t define the child nor should they. Tell me instead the idiosyncrasies, their favourite activities, likely responses and triggers for joy as well as stress. This applies to EVERY child in my class. Children are not machines nor do they function identically.

Also remember that your child’s teacher is always trying their best to make the environment good for your child just as you are trying to support us. Let us know if something is going on at home or routines have changed, no matter how trivial they may seem at the time. We’ll let you know if things are going askew at school too.

One more thing to be aware of, is that your child’s teacher may slip up sometime in preparing the day for your child. Haven’t you sometimes forgotten which child eats ham sandwiches or accidentally slipped the wrong juice into their lunchbox sometime? We have up to 30 children to care for and we are not perfect. Don’t chastise us for being human. Support your child to understand that in life these things happen with no malice meant.

Choose times wisely to chat with us, just as we will with you. Entering class is a busy time and we can’t give you the attention you deserve. Make appointments and trust we will contact you if we need to and will never conduct that interview while you are trying to prepare the evening family meal.

Above all though, NEVER stop being the voice of your child!! You will always hold the key to our learning in that regard. Good teachers are easier to find than mediocre ones. Don’t give up on one unsatisfactory experience. In my mind there is no such thing as “just another anxious parent”.  Support other parents, they may have anxieties, but like your child, they too deserve respect and understanding from others as well as the teachers of their children. “

Thank you for listening,

Your child’s teacher


3 Comments >

Facebook is renowned for circulating urban myths and legends. Always one to not want to be fooled, but don’t want to miss the truth if it’s out there, I often make reference to www.hoaxslayer.com

This poem was on my newsfeed today. Something about the photo caught my eye and so I read on. Sure the scenario turns out to be fake, but it got me thinking…something I have lots of time to do on a wet , cold first day of holidays.

FACEBOOK FEED

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when t…he nurses were going through his meagre possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Melbourne .. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

 

 

Cranky Old Man…..

What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?

What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?

A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,

Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.

When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’

Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.

And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,

With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?

Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?

Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,

As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.

I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,

Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another

A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet

Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.

A groom soon at Twenty . . . ..my heart gives a leap.

Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.

Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.

A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,

Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,

But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.

At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,

Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.

I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.

And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.

I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.

It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.

There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,

And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells

I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.

And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.

I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.

And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.

Not a cranky old man .

Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!

After reading this I began to contemplate my thoughts on what the author was trying to express. Maybe they were just talking about the aged but my opinion is the ideals within the poem can go much further. How easy is it for us to view others from our own shoes rather than considering those they are walking in.

We see young children around us. How often have you heard people complain they are too loud, moving too fast, breaking something.  “That would never have happened in my day”, “I’m too busy I have (insert whatever it is adults / older siblings do) I can’t play with you”, “I haven’t got time to coach a junior team”. Young children are just opening their eyes to the world. They have so much to offer yet can be overlooked because too often too many see experience as only coming with age. I work with children and I could write a book based on the classic wisdoms that come from their mouths.

Not a time consuming child .

Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME (one full of enthusiasm, zealous, not jaded, maybe loud and fast but there is so much to try)!!

Picture today’s youth. “Too outspoken”, “No manners”, “Spend too much time on electronic gadgets”, “Don’t socialise correctly”, “Have life too easy ”,“ Too full of self-worth”. They have grown up in an era where we have moved beyond communication being limited by distance. They live in a world where ‘friends’ may have wider concept than it did before. Their mode of communication may be different than it was but expression of feelings, ideas, beliefs and desires are still important. Having two grown up children I have witnessed their passions for such things as universal well-being of all, fights for justice, desires to conform, desires to be different. They may want different justices etc but they still have the same desire to be heard as did others before them. Does it really matter if they call friends parents by their first name not “Mrs/ Mr”. Should their wisdoms be dismissed and all we see are youth dressing different and walking around with an electronic device attached with love to their hand? Can we not learn to LOL , txt and share emoticons as we converse opening ourselves to a wider friendship circle. Dare I admit to having a friend I met via an internet game on an ipad app??  LOL   🙂

Not an obnoxious  youth .

Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME (The passionate, caring one eager to try new things and excited that the world boundaries are gone)

Then there’s that time that stretches out. I’m going to call it mature years though that may only be in namesake lol) . It takes us along the journey of life from when we leave the technical youth years until we reach the old person referred to in the poem, the one who has seen all seasons.  We demand parking spots in shopping centres be it for our pram or our age. “Don’t visit the aged parents enough”, “Wear clothes that aren’t appropriate” (the audacity of a grandma in shorts let alone swimmers!) “Won’t mind the grandkids so I HAVE to send them to childcare – so selfish”, “Don’t understand us youth”.” Puts the children in day care so they can work – so selfish” “Work to have expensive holidays and don’t save for old age”.  Just as others before us have done we want the best for our families, we are just as loving and caring. The world is different. We might have different ideals such as the larger home, more cars, overseas trips but it’s still with the best in mind. Who decides what’s best…does difference have to be graded?

Not an greedy, uncaring mature person.

Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME ( The one who realises with careful planning you possibly can have it all)

And so to bring my rambles together, I think we need to remember we all bring a bucket full of experiences to the table. They are all valuable to us and can be of use to all if shared . When you observe the actions of another, look first through their bucket. Value them in whole, sneak a few things from them and your bucket will soon be brimming with exciting new dreams and a picture of the world coloured in a way you have never seen before.