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.