Summer Break 2013

blue springs lake

Ian, running around Blue Springs Lake.

After three long years of underemployment, I am extremely thankful for my current job. Because of this, it occasionally feels wrong to complain or just be honest with stress levels. (I’m no workaholic, but I don’t want to be whiny, either.)  I have paperwork of two regular education teachers. I have students from multiple grade levels in the same classroom. I have to be a quasi-social worker and parent to my students. I get punched in the face…you get the picture.  It took me a while to realize that, while a learning curve that comes with any new job is natural, it’s okay to be tired. Fortunately for me, the joys of summer couldn’t have been more of a contrast to the stress of the school year.

Dinner at Morgan Street Brewery in St. Louis, en route to visit family in Dayton.

Dinner at Morgan Street Brewery in St. Louis, en route to visit family in Dayton.

We finished summer school on July 11, and my dad encouraged me to treat each day with my son “like a Saturday.” I took this to heart and found a daily adventure for Ian.  I did something I can never do during the school year and  occasionally met my wife for lunch.  I attended about a zillion concerts with friends. I helped a friend move. We traveled to Dayton with my brother-in-law. I reconnected with an old friend. I took some wonderful naps. I packed as much into each day as possible because I know that life will get crazy in the fall.

Tomorrow starts my second year at Gillis, and I’m happy to work with such a supportive staff. We’re all in the same boat; we all have crazy jobs. Hopefully they will return as refreshed as me.


Summer stretching on the grass.

It’s been a difficult, yet somewhat encouraging, week. The best part is that I have some great friends who won’t allow me to stay down. We have breakfast, make silly trips to Cargo Largo, text about absurd church signs, listen to records over lunch and watch Ren and Stimpy together. Oh yeah, we also talk.

I think it’s tempting to sometimes think of people’s role in our lives only as a convenient pick-me-up. God has obviously placed them in my life and they serve occasionally in this capacity, but as I mulled this over, I began to realize just how selfish and utilitarian this thinking is. Sure, I have no doubt these friends and family try to lift me up, but I think our exchange is far more rich than that.

Are my friends here to serve me or am I here to serve my friends? I’d like to think that I still have much to offer, that I can help them be better people, as well. This is what keeps me going and can get me out of the house when I just want to close the blinds and take a nap.