Learning from pain…

So it’s the first week back at work after the holidays.

I am a preschool teacher and the first week back is hard. Everyone is tired. The kids are tired and out of routine. I have grown unaccustomed to the sound of my alarm clock. The coffee isn’t working.

When I walked into work on Monday morning the first thing my assistant said to me was “You look very, very tired. Not good.”

Thank you so much I thought (but maybe not with the word thank).

But instead I agreed. I had not been afforded the luxury of sleep ins and walks along the beach because when I’m on holidays from other people’s children I have my own full time.

So I took her honest observation in the way it was intended… as an honest observation.

The lady I work with is 15 years older than me and very lovely but we have a slight culture clash from time to time. Every now and then she says something and I think before I speak (partly because she is constantly talking over the top of me) but mainly because I know in her heart she means well.

(FYI Thinking before you speak is not the same as not thinking it at all.)

So today when she told me that my pants were ugly and that they made me look fat I smiled… on the outside.

She grew up in a country that was engulfed in a bloody civil war for most of her life. When she talks about home she says “in my country”.

She has lived here for over 20 years. She is married with a daughter who is nearly 9. She has strange customs and uses the most beautiful expressions.

When a colleague of mine was rude to me not long ago this lady cornered me in the kitchen, rubbed her fist up and down her sternum (is that the bony bit in the middle? I’ve series linked Grey’s Anatomy but don’t have time to watch it) and said to me “It’s paining you what she said isn’t it?”

And it was.

So I don’t let her words pain me because her actions are kind.

I didn’t let it pain me today when she said I looked fat because she didn’t mean it.

Just like the time she bought the wrong colour hair dye at the supermarket because she forgot her glasses and dyed her grey roots blue. The image of this is the kind of thing that I think about at funerals when I’m trying (and failing) to be stoic.

Some people mean well all the time.

I aspire to be one of those people so if I ever “pain you” please let me know.