For #WorldReadAloudDay, a fellow first grade teacher and I used Skype to invite author, Elizabeth Roach, into our classroom. She wrote and shared her story How Carlos Became Brave. This story was about a young man who was afraid to go down a tall slide, but his older cousin helped him overcome his fear by sharing with him how he was able to overcome his own fear, first. Afterwards, our students had an opportunity to share with our class and Ms. Elizabeth about things in their lives that caused them fear and how they overcame it. Ms. Elizabeth shared with us that her inspiration came from her own fear of heights as a child and overcoming them as an adult, and her characters seemed to be born from her many years teaching in Peru. Ms. Elizabeth is a very loving and caring woman, I could gather that with her patience for her antsy audience and her lifetime devotion to teaching young and older people.
This experience had us conversating about all the different things we have been afraid of. I shared about my experience about climbing up a high-dive as a child, only to turn back around and go back down the ladder, all the while being laughed at! When I was a little older, I climbed a high-dive to conquer my fear, jumped off and repeated this five times in a row, but it never felt fun to me! It always felt like I was jumping off a building, and I decided that I gave it my best shot, and I didn’t let my fear cripple me, but jumping off the high-dive was not going to enrich my life! One little boy drew and wrote about his fear of tornadoes and storms, to overcome this, he started to learn how to enjoy the rain. Other kids wrote about slides as this was a common fear many had to overcome, just like Carlos!
We finished the day by reading Junie B. Jones: Toothless Wonder. Junie B. had to overcome her fear of the tooth fairy! It was hysterical and we all had a great laugh, but overcoming fear was the only thing I could think about as I fell asleep.
This past week, I put in my resignation and gave a three week notice. My husband’s job is relocating us to Anchorage, Alaska as soon as we can get there. We’ve thought and prayed about this for months, moving to Anchorage. We want to give our kids an adventure and a life outside of what is normal to them now! This opportunity to see life differently is priceless, but it doesn’t come cheap! The idea that I will get to stay at home, home school, and take care of our youngest children has been a goal for us as we have a large family. I did re-enter the workforce a few years ago out of financial desperation and we’ve always hoped I’d be able to return to staying at home with our children and home schooling….
But now it’s here. The time to put our dreams into action has come. My last two weeks of working as a first grade teacher at a school I helped open over ten years ago is upon me. There is excitement and wonder, but also a lot of sadness and FEAR. A good friend told me last week that if I wasn’t afraid it wouldn’t be an act of faith, and I whole-heartedly agree with this. I feel certain that this is exactly our next path in life, my faith is everything to me, and I know God is ordering our steps. It’s just… now it’s here, the action part is being required of me, and there are so many things I’m afraid to leave behind: my community whom I love, my first graders, my home, my career (it feels like it is just taking off), my family and friends…. We are leaving so much behind. I even had the thought last night Lord, what was the purpose of me growing in the way I have if I’m just leaving it all behind? This is FEAR.
There is so much promise in our future! There is being together as a family, and there are new life experiences waiting right around the corner. There are new places and faces waiting for us to meet. Did I mention we will all be together as a family? There is a slower pace to life that is necessary for us as my husband still heals from heart surgery. There is writing and authoring books, there is going back to school to earn another degree, there is snow—so much snow that my children are desperate to play in! How can I be so positive that this is where we are supposed to go, and yet, feel so much fear about leaving everyone and everything I know behind?
Well, I guess that is truly where faith begins and grows. This past week, my family read of Abraham, his son Isaac, Jacob & Esau, Rebekah, Rachel, Hagar, and Joseph! The Bible is full of people stepping out in faith, leaving their lands, even in fear, but then being blessed more than they could ever imagine! Can I see where I’m going now? Can I see how God used this entire week to show me that He has been with so many before my family and He will continue to be there for us as we take this leap in faith?
Carlos conquered his fear using three steps: go up the stairs, learn how go to down little by little until he went down the entire slide, and practice landing! Then he could be like his cousin and help others conquer their fears and enjoy something that is thrilling!
My first step is to enjoy these last couple weeks of school, work with all of my heart with the little ones God put in my life for a reason. My second step is to just keep going. Keep the big picture in mind, knowing that my family will be together and that grieving is okay, but keep going and moving forward. When we get to our new place, we will be exhausted, I’m sure. We will miss our family and friends, I’m certain. But we will also be so excited for this new adventure!!!! I’m positive!!
I will face fear and sadness, but I will be brave. And I’m going to keep singing about it, too. Hope you’ll join me for the ride.