All summer, I listened as the moms in the neighborhood talked about the teachers at our local elementary school. Many of those moms are teachers themselves and all of them have children in the school already, so they had a lot of context I didn’t have.
Which means I didn’t listen too closely.
But one thing stood out. Of the three kindergarten teachers at our school, one was supposedly the very kind, very nurturing one. One “seemed” kind and nurturing enough, but she was fairly new so there was no consensus about her yet. And the third was known as the “tough” teacher.
Listening in on their conversations, I instantly wanted Willow in Mrs. Nice Teacher’s class and I wanted her nowhere near Mrs. Tough Teacher.
And, something deep inside of me knew she’d get Mrs. Tough Teacher.
I can’t explain that knowing any more than we can ever explain gut feelings. I tried to discount it, but it continued to feel certain in that illogical but sure sort of way.
So there I was in July, my mind spinning about September. Should I call the school and request Mrs. Nice Teacher? On what grounds—that I heard some gossip?
I considered it. But perfectly enough, I was in the middle of leading a class based on a book called The Surrender Experiment, where the author, Mickey Singer, saw that when he set his personal thinking and opinions about things aside and opened himself to what life was showing him, life unfolded in remarkable ways.
We spent 4 weeks in the course exploring how often and how easily we reject the perfection of life in favor of our mind’s opinions about how life should look.
Maybe it was because I was in the middle of teaching that class, or maybe because I had so much proof that life was wiser than my opinions…whatever it was, it occurred to me that maybe I was wrong.
Maybe Willow shouldn’t have Mrs. Nice Teacher.
Maybe the moms in my neighborhood were seeing things through their own biased opinions too. Maybe life had Willow’s back and she’d end up where it was best for her to end up.
So that became my prayer. Instead of calling the school and asking that my kid get special treatment, or visualizing her ending up in Mrs. Nice Teacher’s class, I saw her in my mind’s eye growing and doing well, through whatever means life saw fitting.
I said a prayer of gratitude for the fact that we tend to get what’s best for us even when that’s not what we think we want. I had to acknowledge that I couldn’t know which teacher was best for my daughter.
Mrs. Tough Teacher was already providing growth experiences for me and I hadn’t even met her yet. Why would I assume she wouldn’t do the same for Willow?
I’ve talked with so many people in this exact same place. For one client it’s her grown daughter potentially moving across the country. Everything in her wants her child to stay close to home, but she also intuitively knows that she can’t know what’s best. She’s choosing to trust that life will give each member of her family what they need, not just what she wants.
For another client it’s a layoff that’s feels terrifying to his mind, but that he’s choosing to yield and surrender to simply because it’s what life is handing him.
We all have daily opportunities to acknowledge that we just don’t know what’s best. Sometimes the best way forward is to trust what life is showing us above and beyond what we think we want.
Willow did end up in Mrs. Tough Teacher’s class, as I knew she would. The teacher seems lovely and Willow says she’s nice; she wakes up excited to go to school every day and comes home talking about how much fun she had. If my common sense tells me that something needs to change, I will do something.
But until then, I’m going to trust that life is once again giving all of us exactly what we need.