Missing Pieces

At the beginning of quarantine, we worked a couple of jigsaw puzzles at our house. A way to pass the time while keeping the brain working. It is always interesting to me to watch how tiny pieces fit together to create one big picture.

The pieces all have different colors and shapes. Each one with its own place. Only fitting together with those directly surrounding. The togetherness grows exponentially. However, if there is just one missing piece, the picture is incomplete. So frustrating.

Each of us is born into a picture. With a family that will love us and helps us grow. Sadly, that is not always the case. And the missing pieces often leave big holes.

Children especially have a difficult time finding their place when these pieces are missing. They do not understand. Whether withdrawing or acting out, they are seeking control. This is sometimes hard to remember as a teacher.

Yesterday, I reacted to certain behaviors with little thought to what was behind them. They were frustrated. I was frustrated. I kept thinking, “If only these friends would listen and follow directions like everyone else!”

This morning, I woke up thinking about those friends. I wanted to find a way to improve the situation. Find a way to encourage appropriate behavior and participation. After all, music class is supposed to be fun!

But how? One word came to mind-connections. I know that is the key. Sometimes I just need a reminder.

Today, I worked on those connections. In the process, I discovered some of the missing pieces. The death of a parent, negative influences from older siblings, family instability. These little ones are dealing with big emotions and don’t know why or how to express them.

Our time together was brief. Leaving me with more questions than answers. However, there was also a glimmer of hope. Little faces, often angry, smiling just a bit. Showing a desire to do the right thing. Even if only able for a limited amount of time.

There is no way for me to fill in those missing pieces. They are irreplaceable. All I can do is recognize and acknowledge. But maybe the edges can be blurred, and a new picture of belonging will emerge. Causing the frustrations of the missing pieces to fade.

9 thoughts on “Missing Pieces

  1. a beautiful post, and a wonderful metaphor for missing pieces. I was a teacher for thirty years, teaching High School English and I came across kids like this; the best we can do, I think, considering all the other constraints upon us, is to make their time in the classroom as creative and happy as we can.WE take the place in our limited way of those missing pieces 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kelley,
    What I heard in this piece is you seeking to understand the why behind the behavior. Seeking to understand with a loving heart. Seeking to make a connection with your students that are struggling instead of being stopped by their behavior. What a wonderful educator you are. Sending you loving strength as you continue your journey with these young ones.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I just shared an upcoming writing circle on my site. I would love to write with you again. Please check it out and let me know if you see any errors/confusions. I have set it up so people can register directly from my blog. I am always learning.

        Liked by 2 people

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