I think that one of the nicest things about working with young kids is that you really feel like they listen to you as if you know what you're talking about. As we get older, maybe we get more cynical, maybe we get more self-conscious... maybe we just get more self-absorbed.
Either way, i have to say that working with the young children of the 4th grade is one of my great delights here. They're unabashedly open and inquisitive, don't get frustrated with an inability to communicate, and well ... they're just so darned cute!
When i was leaving the school today there were three of the kids from the 4th grade outside talking. They must have seen me leaving through the window, because as soon as i got outside they yelled "Chris!" (I was introduced as Chris, so it stuck) One of the girls ran up and gave me a hug and they all started talking and asking questions.
We talked (ok ok, i mostly said "i don't understand" and THEY talked) for a little while, and then played a little with the snow and chased each other around. Then i tried to leave. I say tried because this proved difficult!
The little girl who came to give me a hug has fairly recently been orphaned, and she's being taked care of by her babushka - her grandmother. (I always thought that was just a cute name for "granny!") So she's very grabby and clingy with me - maybe because i indulge her and don't yell at her like maybe i should. The problem is that 1) i let kids get away with murder, and 2) i would have no idea what to say in Russian. I mean, "Stop" is pretty universal, but how do you soften the blow? I'm not one to hurt a kid's feelings because i'd rather go home than sit and chat.
So anyways, it was difficult prying her off of me, but with the help of the other two kids they all went to her house and i went off to my own.
I really wish i'd taken a picture, but the mental image i'll always have in my head (i hope) of those three kids is way better than any picture would be.
I started thinking today about coming back to Izhevsk to teach again. But at the same time, i think it's easier to come back to the same thing than it is to find something new. There are kids all over the world that need help - need guidance and a rolemodel.
Maybe i can't be either of those things, but i'm sure as hell gonna have to try as soon as LuAnne and i have kids of our own.
It's not that i'm considering being a teacher (any more than i have in the past) but i can't help acknowledging that it's something i think i'd like to do, and something i think i'd be good at. ... well ... eventually. No one starts off as a good teacher, and i'm certainly not under the impression that i'd be breaking that mold.
But still ... i do wonder. The really tough part, i think, is what do you do when you love to do so much? You can't change jobs as frequently as you change your mind, y'know? The real problem is how do you reconcile those feelings? I know that i do my job well, and that i really enjoy it. But what about fulfillment? What about at the end of the road, when i look back? Will i be proud to say "My name was Christian M. Macy. I was a good problem solver for a large corporation. I raised my kids and supported my family by ensuring that product was purchased low and sold high and that the trucks always kept moving."
I don't want that to be my legacy. I think that even though none of us deserve or get a movie-script ending, we at least deserve a plot that keeps people rivited enough to not answer their phone in the theater.
If i will not become the greatest of men to the world, let me still become the greatest of men to myself.