Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Not done yet

I had the privilege of teaching at the same elementary school I attended as a child. Okay, so I didn't consider it a privilege at first. I had left the area saying I was never coming back to my old haunts. But then I graduated from college at a time when teaching jobs were hard to come by. The Good Doctor applied to graduate schools up and down eastern Pennsylvania and into the central portion of the state. We didn't know where he'd end up or where I'd find a job, both of which would dictate where we decided to live.

So I applied to hundreds of schools which wasn't as easy as it would be now. What now takes just one quick internet search, took hours of pouring over school district information - on paper! God and I had a little conversation where I reviewed our situation and reminded Him that I needed a job. Not only did I need one but (even though I never mentioned this in my interviews) I just wanted to teach so badly that I would have done it for free. Except that I really couldn't do it for free because then the Good Doctor couldn't go to grad school and then we wouldn't be here, would we? But I loved teaching that much. Back to the conversation. I told God that since jobs were so scarce, I would gladly accept the first position offered to me. And since my degree was in both elementary and special education, and since there were more special education jobs than elementary, I figured that's the job I would get. Which was fine with me because that's what I really, really thought I wanted to do.

But then the first call came. While I was on my honeymoon, no less! They wanted an interview. Then they wanted to offer me a job. And it was for that school I had attended, saying I was never to return again. Gulp. Never say never. And it wasn't even for special education. Plain old regular education. But it was for first grade. Teaching a child to read or in those early steps of reading? That's special education. And since they knew that was my first love, and because I came with that extra degree, I got most of the "special" students in my classroom anyway. Too many for the front row and corners of my room. But I was happy.

The job also came with the opportunity to teach with men and women who had been my teachers back in the day. There was my sixth grade teacher, now a reading specialist. And my fourth grade teacher, now (guess what?), teaching first grade in the room next to mine. And she had been one of my favorite teachers; one of the people who inspired me to become a teacher in the first place. I highly valued our time teaching together. She is still in the classroom, still blessing numerous first graders every year.

One of her phrases has stuck with me and I use it on my family a lot. First graders are famous for rushing through an assignment and raising a hand to quickly shout, "Mrs. King, I'm done!" Mrs. Miller's famous response was always, "You're not done til you're dead." I don't know if any of those first graders have remembered that phrase through the years, but I have.

It is so true.

I think of my grandfather who said yes to performing our wedding ceremony, even though he knew his cancer was back and he didn't know what would happen in the eighteen months between our question and the actual ceremony. And he did, with a little help up the steps from my brother. It was the last wedding he performed.

I think of both of my grandmothers who used their hands to serve others. One grandmother's hands are now at rest; she is finally done. The other just turned 91 and isn't stopping yet.

I think of my Dad who isn't spending his retirement taking exotic vacations. Instead, he's gone to Haiti to rebuild after the earthquake, and to Alaska to volunteer at a Bible camp. He and my mom spend their weekdays volunteering here, there and everywhere. A spinal cord injury a few years back may have changed his retirement plans, but not all that much.

And countless others. That's who I want to be. Not done til I'm dead.

Michael Hyatt must have been thinking the same way today. Read his blog post here.

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