No, not for me… We had a ceremony for the preschoolers who are going to primary next year. I’ve been their teacher since the beginning of 2014. It’s difficult to deliver a speech when you’re overwhelmed with emotions. There may have been more than a few tears yesterday…
Can I get a show of hands for those who have seen the movie “inside out” this year? Keep your hand up if you’ve seen it more than once. Twice. Keep your hand up if you’ve re-watched it 10 times to find quotable moments for a graduation speech. No? For those of you who haven’t seen it, spoiler alert, i may give some of the plot away.
Now there’s a certain memorable character in the movie that would have made everybody tear up. “Who’s your friend who likes to play?” ***Children respond: Bing Bong Bing Bong***
That’s right, his name is Bing Bong, he is Riley’s childhood imaginary friend. For me, he was particularly relatable to early childhood educators. While we may not be made of cotton candy, we most certainly put on different characters and on various days, part cat, part elephant, and part dolphin.
We are here to have fun with the children and make their days enjoyable. But more than that, we are here to nurture their kindness, to build their resilience, to encourage their empathy, to stimulate their curiosity, to follow their creativity, and to support their growth in every aspect… whether it be physical, social, cognitive, emotional, or spiritual.
Most of all, we are here to provide them with a loving, nurturing, safe environment while they are away from all of you. I always appreciate the weight of that trust, when you place your most precious child into someone else’s care. And with that weight, I always look to give children the best possible learning environment while they are here.
Putting the yearbook together was particularly emotional for me, as you know, I’ve been with these children for two years.
Some of you have grown so tall you’re making Emily feel small again. Some of you now have so much to say that Emily barely needs to speak. Some of you are so organised that Emily watches to learn a thing or two while packing away. Some of you are so creative, you inspire Emily to try to draw again. But more importantly, everyday, I see such openness and kindness from children towards each other, that continues to warm my heart and make my world beautiful. I know that I will miss them all dearly and miss every single one of these voices call out “Emily”.
While science says most of brain development occur in the early years, we know from experience, that most memories from these times, fade. I know that the details of these years will fade away, I just hope that as their teacher, I was able to give them all the best things they deserve. And in turn, provide them all the necessary skills and tools for the next stage of their lives. As they go on singing loudly on their rainbow rocket ship, this is where Bing Bong and I hop off.
I’ve had the time of my life with these children. I know they will all go on to have wonderful lives. So as Bing Bong would say, “take her to the moon for me, ok?”
Dressing up in fancy prettiness actually doubles the disappointment when the wearer fails to live up to expectation. You almost feel cheated by the disguise and promise of a gratifying, fulfilling feast. The fact that the first taste of toppings are heavenly divine, just further contrasts the stale, chewy undercooked mess of a failure that’s underneath. No amount of maple syrup can drown out that misery.
A sobering reminder for us to focus on where real importance lie… Work on what’s below the surface beauty; or you’ll always end up being a disappointing waste of potential, no matte how much you appear to tantalise taste buds.
Pressing a few buttons on the phone is such a simple gesture; yet the thought that precedes it requires much effort and intention. It warms my heart to hear your voice. Thank you for the unexpected surprise. I appreciate it, very very much.
Heart-breaking truths that resonate through to the depth of your soul. There are a lot of things that are unjust with the world… As a teacher, to advocate for the children, to let their voices be heard; that, is something that drives me, gives me purpose, and the meaning of life.
Empathy is a crazy thing. As a child, I was naive and unaware of how precious life was. I didn’t understand hardship, I couldn’t empathise with struggles; I guess I had lived a privileged life.
But as I grew to understand more of the world and how much of it couldn’t be under one’s control, I started to change. To even try to put myself in other’s shoes had devastating effects on my emotions. Pain, sickness, suffering… It is understandable that so many of us close ourselves off so we don’t feel it.
Yet it is precisely the depth of pain that moves me. Humans have such capacity to withstand deep, violent emotions; it is incredible, marvellous and so humbling to witness such resilience. And it is precisely the sad greatness that awes me with how much more we must be capable of carrying joy, of spreading love…
So I carry on, let the sadness wash over me, and I keep on sitting with the pain of this world. It is what little I can do.
“As soon as I’m in contact with beauty, the second thing that comes, usually, is pain. And I think it’s almost a conditioned response, from having had that beauty crushed.”
In much the same way, when I experience pure joy, a sense of sadness usually follows, from a conditioned response to that joy dissipating.
In the clip above, Eisenstein mentions how he hurts for the biosphere. For me, I feel pain when I see the beauty in humanity. There is so much beauty in every single one of us. For that to be ignored, denied; for people to think/feel/act in destructive ways either towards themselves or others… It brings me a deep sadness.
Yet, Eisenstein’s openness and compassion made me notice how beautiful it is to experience this sadness. It takes great courage, to allow yourself to be that vulnerable, to feel pain, to grief. Somehow I can see it as a blessing to feel this grief. It is because my heart knows we can do better. So let’s.