OH THE CHILDREN!
Another rejection letter.
I sigh dejectedly as I put down the letter from a book publisher I contacted a few weeks ago for a possible publishing deal, one in which I held the hope of seeing my book accepted and published through them.
“Dear Miss So and so, with reference to the above matter, we regret to inform you that your application to publish with us has been rejected… blah-blah-blah….”
Not enough research? Not enough interesting material? Not intellectual enough or relevant enough to attract readers’ attention? How would you know if you don’t give this a chance?
I fume silently, staring out the opened window in my classroom.
As enthusiastic and eternally hopeful one is, rejection will find a way of causing misery. Repeated rejection almost certainly hit hard, causing all the negative emotions to surface.
I am generally a cheerful person and upbeat most of the time, having a positive outlook on life in its entirety. “Hope springs eternal” and all that jazz, and I always want to make sure people around me share that same enthusiasm for life.
But I will be lying to myself if I say that I never feel hurt or rejected. Sometimes, on a particularly long day, the rejection is especially hard to take. I am also my harshest critic. That does not make it any easier to take criticism from others.
However, when you are hungry, you will not just lay down and die, not if you still have the will and hope. No, you search for food. You learn to survive. You adapt.
And to that effect, I also learn to continue on, and to keep trying.
Keep the faith, so to speak. Keep your eyes on the prize.
It is times like this that I really appreciate the little ones in my life. They serve as instant ‘pick-me-ups’ when I feel particularly dejected.
Now that I have thought about it, that is probably the reason I make sure to open my letters when I have the children around me.
I am a teacher. I teach a class of pre-schoolers in the daytime, and taking night classes of my own. Being a student while teaching? The arrangements work for me.
I always thought of myself as a perpetual student, anyway. I figure that even when I become a full time teacher, get married and have children of my own, that I will always be learning and studying.
Life has so much to teach us, if we are only but be willing to learn, to pay attention. Life is the best natural teacher that we can possibly have.
On this particular day, it is recess time for me and play time for my kids.
A tug on my arm pulls my attention away from my thoughts.
Peering up at me with wide eyes is little Adam, five years old and getting older by the second.
“Miss, they fightin’ ‘gain!” Adam lisps at me, while pointing in the general direction of the play-area behind him.
Adam is a natural-born leader and usually the first to notice when something is wrong in his class-room. Not that he knows to claim the classroom or his classmates as his, but I just rather hilariously always think of it as his with the way the little leader runs everything in his own efficient five-year old ways.
He also tries to take care of situations on his own, bless his little heart, until he can’t and then he know to call on me.
“Who is fighting, Adam?” I ask, although I already know who the culprits are.
“Kenneth and Bin.” is the frustrated reply. He really is too adorable. “Kenneth hitted Bin ‘gain! Bin is crying, Miss!”
Now, for kids like Adam who has a big heart in his small body, the concept of being a ‘tattle-tale” will never occur to him, not when it means that someone is possibly hurting, and he knows that someone does something they shouldn’t have. When he ‘tells’ on one of his classmates, it is because in his own little mind and in his own finite childlike wisdom, he knows that that classmate should not have done whatever it is that he did, and Adam only wants an adult to help correct the situation because he himself can’t.
When I first had Adam as my student, it took me only a short while to figure him out, and that was he cares. That is a rare trait to find in a five-year old.
More than once, I find myself torn between encouraging that trait in him, and not burden the child with responsibilities which are too big for him.
Mostly though, I just try to be a good teacher to him, and give him a role-model to emulate.
“Kenneth HIT Bin, Adam.” I correct.
“Yes, Miss, tha’s what I says.” The look he gives me gives the impression that he thinks I am being dense.
Well, pardon me, young man, I chuckle inwardly.
I decide to abandon the one-on-one English lesson for the time being. That is for next class, anyway.
“Never mind, Adam. Thank you for telling me. Let’s see what’s happening, shall we?” I take his hand in mine and walk us to the corner of the room where a small crowd of his classmates are gathered.
I am getting ready for a full-blown ‘wailing and tantrum’ kind of situation, but it turns out to be simply a matter of children and their wounded pride.
…to be continued…
For previous chapters of this novel go here