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I Had to Check My Emotions at the Door

One day, I walked into the school of my two youngest children and was rewarded with a simple comment from a teacher that made my day. Honestly, it made my decade. With all of life’s ups and downs of the last few years, I wondered how these events might have impacted the children. In some ways I knew; I didn’t have to wonder because the evidence was clear. One child’s grades would slip below passing and another would find himself in questionable situations because of friends.

As an educator, I constantly saw how the stresses of a family would play out in the schooling of a child. Knowing this impact reminded me of the importance of checking my emotions whenever I interacted with my own children.

I consciously insured that the stress of my day did not spill over into my interactions with the children. I would see, well I would hear about the fruit of this when I made the visit to their school.

While running up the stairs to pick-up my children from after school, I was stopped by a teacher. “Are you Ayo* and Freedom’s Mommy?” I cringed and hesitantly stated, “Yes.” My mind was flooded with thoughts of most mothers’ insecurities, “What did I forget to pay for, what letter did I forget to sign, what did I do wrong, who didn’t eat lunch, who didn’t do their homework, and which one told the teacher that I came home last night and fell asleep on the couch?” I braced myself for the news. The teacher said, “Thank you! Thank you for trusting us with two lovely young ladies. We all wish that other students would model after your girls.”

The story should end here, but it doesn’t because remember all of the negative thoughts I had? So, instead of saying, “Thank you, I needed to hear this,” I said, “Thank you, but are you including Freedom in this statement too?” Perplexed, the teacher said, “Yes. Your girls are sweethearts. Even, Freedom.” At that moment, another teacher walked passed and chimed in. “Yes, they are!” Happy, excited and confused I would give a little smirk of approval and openly thank the teachers for their comments and let them know how it blessed me. Secretly I was thinking, “Boy! Freedom has the skill of code switching at such a young age.” LOL. Although she is dominating, talkative, and always into something at home, apparently, she is attentive, polite, and friendly in school.

I continued to the afterschool class and I saw Freedom out of her seat talking and laughing with another student. She turned from her friend, ran to me, hugged me and told me how happy she felt to see me. I realized how happy I felt to see her too! I spent the rest of the evening telling both Ayo and Freedom how proud I was of them and how happy they make me feel.

I don’t know why the confirmation from the teacher made my day, but it was well worth hearing. My soft analysis of the event is that at that moment the anxiety of the many tough, gut wrenching choices I had to make as a mother no longer weighed heavy on my mind. I took this comment as confirmation that my decision to actively monitor my emotions through prayer and reading God’s word had paid off. There was peace in their lives and they were happy in the midst of the storms.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7

*Names changed

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