Thursday, November 4, 2010

Buggin' Out!

I call him the "Hulk." (Which works perfectly since I wouldn't use anyone's real name in my blog without their permission.) He's one of my current students and I just adore him. The reason I call him the Hulk is because one minute he's a sweet, charming little boy with a thick Southern accent (that no one knows where he got) and the next minute he's huffing, puffing and turning over chairs. Even his tantrums make me smile. He's all boy and talks about his cowboy bedroom, riding dirt bikes and how he wants to drive a pick up truck when he's older.

Yesterday the Hulk was helping me pass out some math materials during a lesson I was teaching. When he was finished I asked him to return to his seat to complete his work. He did what I asked or started to at least. I turned to write something on the chalkboard and when I turned back around there he was frozen in place with the most horrified expression on his face. He had turned a pale shade white and big, crocodile tears were streaming down his face. He may have a temper but he's definitely not a crier so I was instantly alarmed. "What's wrong?" I must have asked him twenty times in twenty different ways but he continued to silently cry. At this point he was visibly shaking and after what seemed like hours he finally choked out a single word, "b-b-b-b-u-g.

Now being the professional, caring teacher that I am I had no choice but to jump back and command another student to check it out because I am immensely terrified of bugs myself. The other child investigated but said he saw nothing so with all the bravery I could muster I slowly approached the potential bug zone. As I got closer, I like the other child didn't see anything so I asked Hulk to point to exactly where the bug was. He lifted his left leg and cautiously pointed to a small, white, spider-like object. I began to shake and cough not because I was scared but because I was trying not to laugh out loud. There on Hulk's leg was a tiny piece of lint that he had picked up while sitting on the carpet.

I removed the lint from his leg, and then hugged the poor, traumatized child.  Calm was restored to my classroom and I finished teaching my lesson and learned an even deeper lesson in the process. I need to stop buggin' out about the lint in my life.

I tend to be the high stress, high adrenaline type. I feel "everything" deeply, believe in "everything" passionately and do "everything" whole heartedly. Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes it makes all the lint in my life look like big, scary bugs.

I remember in college I would study hours for tests and work day and night on projects weeks before they were due. I would panic that something was going to go wrong and I was always certain that I had failed whatever I had turned in. My roommate would ask me how I'd done and I'd explain to her that my college career was over and I was going to end up as a uneducated, bum on the street. Then I'd go into class the next day my professor would pass back my test with a big red A on the top and my life would settle into a moment of calm.

Looking back all those freak out moments seem so silly now.  I wonder if I'd stepped back and let life go from A to B instead of letting my mind go from A-Z if I could have saved myself a lot of stress, tears and headache. Sometimes the things that seem so monumental in the moment end up just being a piece of lint in the big picture of life.

So... Save the crocodile tears for the real bugs and don't let lint rule your life.