Thoughts From My Journal

I don’t usually post stuff from my journal on the web.  Even my family members know that they are taking a life-threatening risk by touching my journal.  It’s very private.  But this one is supposed to be shared.  Don’t know why, but here it is.

I am broken.

Sifting feels final.  Fatal.

And I feel stuck in the process.

Hopeless.  Useless.


But that’s the enemy’s goal.

He wants me immobilized.  Defeated.

It is his goal to strip me

Of both purpose and identity.


He will fail.

He has done nothing to shape my identity

So it isn’t his to take.

My true purpose is beyond his power to touch


But that knowledge – while precious –

Doesn’t make it less painful

To work without affirmation,

To have my work belittled.


But only my Abba

Knows my true name.

The name he gave me;

The identity he is refining.


The enemy sifts, hoping to ruin.

Abba allows it, knowing that sifting can refine.

While the enemy seeks my surrender,

Abba seeks to more clearly define my purpose.


So I take the next step, one more breath,

And move through the next moment

Knowing this is only a season

That is ultimately for my good.


Time to Dust Myself Off

Someone once told me that it was okay to pout a bit as long as you admitted you were doing it, ended it, and moved forward.  Indulge me a bit as I do just that right here.

This past April I hit the 40th anniversary of my first piano lesson.  Somewhere soon here will be the 40th anniversary of my first piano recital.  I taught my first private piano student almost 30 years ago and it’s been nearly 2 decades since I taught my first private voice student.

I don’t tell you this to brag.  I tell you this to lay the groundwork.

Three times in the past three weeks, I have heard colleagues make statements like the following –

“I’m glad that the kids will still have music, art and p.e. during the standardized testing.  The real teachers need a break from the stress.”

“Standardized testing gets the kids wound up.  Good thing that they get to go to specials so the actual teachers get a breather.”  

I get it.  I’m a music teacher and according to those statements I am neither “real” nor “actual”.  Apparently I am more accurately described as “fake” or “virtual”.

*sigh*  Three times in three weeks I’ve been told by my colleagues that I am not a real teacher.  My degrees are real.  Both the Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts (major in Music Education) and my Master’s Degree in Education.

I get it.  Being a classroom teacher has unique challenges that I do not face in the music room and I have nothing but respect for those in the classroom.  But four out of five days each week, I go from teaching elementary general music in the morning to college freshmen and sophomores in the afternoon.  That large an age jump brings some unique challenges as well.

The final insult came today when one student said to another “I don’t know why she (meaning me) is so picky about the rules.  It’s not like music is a real class.”  Interestingly enough, that child’s classroom teacher is one of the one’s who has made a derogatory statement recently.  She was number 2.

So what do I do?

I get up tomorrow morning, grit my teeth, and head back into a work place where a handful of my colleagues are willing to belittle what I do and where I get virtually no positive feedback (with the exception some of the parents who spoke to me after the holiday program back in December!) and I do it all again.  I signed a contract and will honor the requirements of that contract because it’s the right thing to do.

More importantly, I will NEVER refer to the work that other teachers do as not being real.  I know from first hand experience just how lousy that feels and would never do that to another human being.

Growing Up

What is about to follow may end up sounding like a rant but I just cannot get this off my mind.

Hubby and I took our youngest daughter on a visit to the college she is planning to attend in the fall.  There were a significant number of students there and they were all being honored for earning one of the academic scholarships that the college has available (they have varying levels based on grade point and test scores).  In the opening session, some introductions were made and instructions given.  As they were getting ready to dismiss the students to their seminars and the parents to their COMPLETELY SEPARATE seminars, one mother just a couple seats down from me, leaned up (we were sitting near the front) and got the attention of the gentleman who had been giving the instructions (he was an administrator of some sort). She said, “It’s okay if I go with my student to her seminars, right?”  Without missing a beat the gentleman responded, “No.  You will need to go to one of the parent seminars.”  The student in question walked away with a smile on her face and the woman turned to her husband and said, “This is ridiculous.  How am I supposed to know if she asks all the right questions?!  There are things that I need to know so we can choose her college!”  I wanted to turn to her and say, “Ma’am, you’re daughter is obviously intelligent enough to win an academic scholarship, I’m pretty sure she can choose her college on her own and I’ll bet she can also figure out what questions she needs to ask!”  I kept seeing this woman all over campus as we went to lunch, toured the residence halls, etc.  And EVERY time I saw her, she was bugging some faculty or staff member with question after question.  I even saw her family walking with one of the tour guides (a current student) and MOM was walking next to the guide asking dozens of questions while her daughter – the potential student – was walking behind saying nothing.  Seriously, lady.  CUT THE CORD ALREADY!!!

I teach as an adjunct professor at a local Community College and I can tell you that the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act means that a student over the age of 18 has the right to expect that their educational information will not be shared with anyone.  Not even mommy and daddy.  This woman is in for a rough year next year.

Sadly, this lady is not an exception.  Colleges are having to take a tough stance with parents because there are many out there like the crazy lady that I saw today.  The intentional separation of parents at visitation weekends is just one step.  Some colleges are also going to a specific “check out” time for parents when they drop their students off in the fall.  In other words, at the time set by the college, the parents are asked to hug their student good-bye and leave!

Why does this bug me?  “Helicopter parents”, as they are not-so-affectionately known, cripple their children.  When we let our young adult or adult off-spring make their own decisions they may make a bad one (or two or three or . . . ).  But they have to make their own mistakes and learn from them.  It would be SOOOOO much easier if we could list for them all of our bad decisions and know that they would learn from our mistakes.  But they have to make their own mistakes.  They have to learn their own lessons.   Don’t get me wrong – I did ask the campus tour guide a question or two (about laundry facilities and mail delivery) and I asked one question in a parents Q & A about financial aid and general academic information.  I am NOT advocating total hands-off disinterest. But my daughter’s choice of college is HER choice.  She will be the one living on campus, taking classes, making friends . . . I’ve had my college experience and it’s time for her to get hers.