As this year comes to a close, I sit here reflecting upon what has been yet another year of unprecedented times worldwide. As people and as educators we have continued to navigate higher expectations, new challenges, and even more to do. It has felt overwhelming, exhausting, and at times, defeating. The ‘never enough’ mentality is easy to come by these days…
As I prepared to send my children off for winter break, I thought about the message they needed most. They know I love them no matter what. They know it’s okay to be different. They know we can do hard things. They know it’s okay to feel big feelings (and they would add “and it’s not okay to be mean about it”). They know it’s okay to ask for help. They know that we are kind and respectful. The books we have read together this year, and the intentional time we have taken after experiencing these books several times, have lead us to learning all of these important things.
I sat looking at my classroom library, surrounded by shelf after shelf of carefully selected books and my eyes fell upon one that was just right.
The Rabbit Listened by Corie Doerrfeld caught my eye and I knew that’s what my children needed to hear. They needed the reminders in this book, and perhaps even more so, I did too.
Taylor builds a block tower and is so proud. The block tower is suddenly ruined and Taylor is distraught. Many animal friends come to “help” Taylor. The animals want to clean the mess, yell and roar, throw it all away, go knock down another child’s tower, and so much more…but none of these animals help Taylor feel better.
Along comes rabbit…rabbit doesn’t say a word and just sits with Taylor. Slowly, Taylor opens up and explains the feelings they are feeling about the tower falling down. The rabbit listens to Taylor process without judgement or interruption. The rabbit shows Taylor that they are important, that they are seen, and that they are valued.
The Rabbit Listened.
Colleagues, may you find the time to listen to each other amidst the chaos and tension we continue to live…and may you find a friend who listens to you as well. Instead of trying to fix things for our students and each other, may we take the time to listen, truly listen to what others have to say. My wish for next year is that we are able to listen, to show each other that everyone is important, worthy of being seen, and has value.