Strolling down memory lane

I am the worst at organizing my apartment. I alternate between stuffing objects in out of the way places to deciding to (sigh) take my apartment apart and re-organize everything that I've hastily stashed away. Usually that process takes hours, and at the end I always vow to keep up my organization so I don't have to do that ever again. I succeed for a couple months, and then the whole process starts over again.

Part of the reason why I take so long to re-organize is because I stop and read over everything I've saved in the process. I save EVERYTHING. Every letter, every yearbook, every essay - well, it's either in my apartment here in Philly or at my parent's house in DC (sorry, Mom and Dad - but I learned it from you!). In a way, I guess my re-organization phases allow me to stroll down memory lane again and again.

Tonight, I was reading student notes to me in a 2011 yearbook. I laughed at the way they, as only 8th graders could, expressed exactly how they felt: 

"Tr. Julie, You mean a lot to me. I deeply respect you although I hated you in the beginning...I love you..."

"Tr. Julie, I will never forget the teacher that I was scared of at first but then turned out to be one of my favorite teachers..."

"Tr. Julie I can remember at the beginning of the year, I did something really rude to you. And the whole year I've been trying to make up for that. Aha sorry...thanks for being awesome!"

In contrast, when reading notes my 3rd graders wrote to me last year, I discovered a slightly different trend:

"Tr. Julie, You were the best English teacher ever!! I love your smile..."

"You're the best English teacher ever..."

"There will never be an English teacher better than you..."

When I taught 3rd grade, they of course immediately loved me. I mean - they loved EVERYONE immediately - it just wasn't even a question. Yet I always had to win over my 8th graders, and I loved/hated the process.

Tonight I started thinking about when in life we stop being completely open to everyone and every new experience. While we're not as blatant about it as middle schoolers, there can be a certain skepticism or cynicism when encountering a new teacher, friend, co-worker, boss, etc. If we embrace the world whole-heartedly, we are considered a bit Pollyanna-ish (which isn't always considered the most practical). Maybe living life like a 3rd grader is something to strive for.

“... there is something about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting long enough to find it.”
― Eleanor H. PorterPollyanna