The Life So Short

Written by Cathleen Norman

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"The life so short,
the craft so long to learn."
~ Geoffrey Chaucer 

I have this quote on a poster in my classroom. We are just about to start our Chaucer unit in my British Literature class. And this quote rang so true as I glanced at it while turning off the lights today. Sometimes you read a quote, and it is obviously profound, but one day its profundity just makes your heart sink.

Life IS short. And it is taking me SOOO LONG to get things right.

As a teacher, I often feel inadequate. I am surrounded by brilliant academics. Why did they choose me? Maybe they made a mistake! Yes, my degree is in English Literature, but my co-teacher has his doctorate! I love literature. I love my students. Is love enough?

And don't get me started on parenting! I was such a better mom before I had kids. I was THE best babysitter! But it is totally different with your own kids. For one thing, I got to go home at night as a babysitter. AND I got paid! And I could say "no, thanks, I'm busy," to the families that were difficult. But as a mom, I am always on. And my kids have challenges that I had no idea would be an issue.

I don't know who Chaucer hung out with for sure, but his Canterbury Tales would suggest that he had a wide variety of friends. And other prolific writers like C.S. Lewis and Virginia Woolf had famous writing groups like The Inklings and The Bloomsbury group, respectively. These groups provided a creative outlet for brainstorming, perhaps a good venting session, and most certainly a good constructive kick in the pants when needed.

As a teacher, one of my favorite teacher quotes came from a seasoned gentleman who casually remarked in the teacher's lounge, "Every November I feel like quitting the teaching profession altogether." It might sound odd, but that was so encouraging - to know that I was not the only one who struggled.

And as a mom... oh boy... do I need mommy friends to tell me I'm not crazy?! Yes. Yes, I do. I need to know that although the challenges may be different, everyone has challenges. I need to learn from other moms' successes and failures. If life is so short, then I need others to help me shorten the learning curve. I want to be the best teacher God has made me to be. I want to be the best mom my kids could ever have. And I need you to help me.

Join my Life Group. Join somebody's Life Group. And as a community, let's build each other up. Let's make this short life count for eternity!