Does your heart have feet?
Last year, the headmaster ended our first faculty meeting with this thought:
“Making a decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” — Elizabeth Stone
“When you meet with parents to talk about their children,” he said, “remember that you are talking about their heart.”
We conduct a set of parent-teacher conferences before school begins — a chance for the teacher to simply listen as parents talk about their children. I like these meetings. Future get togethers will likely center on my reflections about a student — homework habits, test score analyses, social interactions. As if the parents haven’t been living and breathing these children for twelve years . . .
Last week in Relief Society someone lamented that today’s parents didn’t put family first. This is my ninth year of teaching — one year inner city public, five years middle/lower-middle class public, three years wealthy independent. With only two exceptions, each parent I have met has truly madly deeply loved his/her child. (And with those two fathers — men I had to report for abuse — well, they had wives whose love was painfully deep even as their selves were painfully weak.) It’s good for me to remember this when my inbox is filled with message after message from anxious parents.
My best to all parents as you send your child off for another year. And thank you for your wild devotion to your children, in all its stripes and ilks.
(And the subject of maternal love, this article appeared just after I posted this week’s Oases — but it is one of the more lovely entries I’ve read in recent weeks. Do yourself a favor . . .)