"Everyone deserves a standing ovation because we all overcometh the world"
The word wonder throws up all sorts of images for me. The school performance of Wonder by Emilee Sande; Wonder by Natalie Merchant; Stevie Wonder- no explanation needed; Elvis - The Wonder of You, and if you add a suffix, Wonderful World by numerous artists explodes, followed by It's A Wonderful Life.; one of my all-time favourite films. It also makes me think of A Matter of Life and Death starring David Niven. Both films have lead characters fighting for a second chance in life.
"You see George, you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?" espouses Clarence the trainee Angel. In A Matter of Life and Death, Peter is missed by his angel and falls in love with a young American radio operator who spoke to him as his WW2 bomber plummeted into the North Sea. Very often I find myself feeling like George Bailey, unable to see the role I have in life and the good that I can do; when I should be like Peter and grabbing my second chance with both hands.
So at this odd time in history, I find myself reflecting on life et al and I think of all the 'wonder' that has filled it. We so often focus on the things that go wrong and the things that we find difficult. In the book Wonder, Auggie says that all he did was get through the Fifth Grade. Well, for some of us getting through every day seems like a struggle and we need to be reminded that what we achieve, as teachers and parents, is wonderful.
RJ Palicio's book is full of fantastic sentiment and is the book I think I will start Year 5 with this year. I think the positive messages and especially the focus on kindness is something we will need in bucket loads as we return. Unlike Augusts scars, which are predominantly visible, so many of the children and staff will return with scars that will be hidden. Therefore, we need to stop for a moment, more than ever, and think 'what is this individual going through?' before we jump in with an opinion or a retort.
Our end of term teachers night out did not happen this year and, luckily, on a sunny Friday last week, we sat on our school field and said goodbye to staff and friends. Parents had ordered us pizza and the vino flowed. Mouths also loosened and a staff member said how she worried about me. It's been a tough year and I do shut up shop and become very self-reliant and tell myself that I can't ask for help. She said I was a wonderful teacher and that I needed to socialise more and ask for help. A small phrase, "You're a wonderful teacher," but it lifted me.
As RJ Palacio says "Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.” I don't aspire to greatness but come September, I can look to the past and feel worthless, or I can look at each new day with wonder and use courage and character to grow, whilst showing kindness and friendship to those around me. No act of kindness is small, as it can lift a day and turn a negative into a positive. As JM Barrie said, "Always be a little kinder than is necessary." That also means being kind to yourself. We can all wait for our standing ovation but doing the things we love is being kind to ourselves and although, despite not always believing it, there are people out there, who think we are wonders.
This popped up on my timeline from two years ago. This is why we do it and why we are all wonders. Ignore the Daily Mailites and go forth and continue to bring wonder into the life of all those in your care, especially after Lockdown.
Happiness is the new rich,
Inner peace is the new success,
Health is the new wealth,
Kindness is the new cool. ( Syed Balkhi)