When I was in college, one of my favorite quotes was by Socrates.
The unexamined life is not worth living.
To me it was a reminder to make time to reflect upon my choices, how I spent my time, the direction I was headed in order to know how to live my best life possible. In educational circles, I believe they call this being a reflective practitioner. Basically, we act/live then examine/reflect.
So while I know that the summer is my busiest season (made even busier by the fact that I currently have a 3 year old and a nearly 4 month old at home!), I want to do my best to take time to reflect upon what I’m learning or even just catalog some of what I’d call “the wins” in my journey – those moments that make it all worthwhile and remind me why I do what I do.
So in no particular order, here’s a look back at some meaningful moments from Week 1 of my Summer Reading Program Tour:
Audience Members Visibly Moved
While my work is primarily aimed at young audiences, I am continually reminded that there is power in a story no matter our age. This summer I’m telling stories of reconciliation that seem particularly moving to the adults – so much so that I’ve seen lots of folks dabbing at their eyes and holding back tears. I wonder if this is because children tend to be more forgiving than adults – and don’t yet have a lifetime to remember all of the grudges they’ve harbored and times they’ve refused forgiveness or how broken our world is as a result of us building walls instead of bridges.
This week I received a confirmation call before a program. In her voicemail, the librarian said, “We made a lot of wonderful memories the last time you were here. And we’re looking forward to making lots more!” During my visit, she recounted the impact my last performance had made on one family in particular and recalled details from the story I’d shared three years prior. This time around there was a young girl who took on the role of Old Joe in my story. She really got into the character both with her voice and gestures. Afterward, the librarian complimented her and asked if she’d ever been in a play. She said no, but that she would like to. Perhaps another actress has been born!
Leaving a Mark
Over the past year or so, I have visited an early childhood education center on multiple occasions. After this week’s program, the director sent me an email saying how much the children (and teachers!) loved the performance and how the kids talk about my stories “for days and days.” Knowing that my work is leaving a mark on these young minds is such an encouragement!
And that’s just the beginning. I’ll have a few more reflections on Week 1 coming soon!