Your Worst Nightmare

It was a long week. I lay awake at 3am Wednesday morning. I wept on my drive home. I was so angry my fingers shook. I sobbed in my upstairs hallway.

But Thursday was different.

I realized yesterday that I’m your worst nightmare.

  • A woman
  • Well-educated, with multiple degrees
  • Minority
  • Non-religious
  • Feminist
  • Pro-Choice
  • Liberal
  • Anti-racist, equality seeker
  • Opinionated
  • LGBT ally
  • Informed
  • Voter
  • Unafraid
  • (and what the heck let’s add this one, too) Animal loving vegetarian

And I am your child’s teacher.

I am that list (and more) and I get up every day and teach your kids how to question, think, and read. I don’t tell anyone about the list of things that I am. I demonstrate a lot of it without saying a word. I am teaching your children how to write well and research but I’m also teaching them how to respect and understand people, to be a kind and tolerant human, because that’s what I demonstrate every day, quietly, in my classroom.

Some of your kids will grow up and adopt your same dying and narrow-minded beliefs. But just as many will learn from the kindness, love, and tolerance of teachers, mentors, friends, and communities and then, and this is the scary part for you, I know, there will be more people who have a list just like mine. I know that’s why this is happening now, this week, and for the next 4 years. I know that’s why you made the choices you did, voted the way you did, even if you don’t know it yourself.

But the truth is: You can’t change my list of things. You can’t stop me from being what I am. I can’t be scrubbed out. I don’t have to be loud to make a difference. I’ll still be teaching your kids in a year, in 5 years, 10, 20, and 30 years. There will always be hatred and intolerance but, just the same, there will always be people like me.

I’m your worst nightmare and I’m not going anywhere.

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Why do Evangelical Christians care about “showing christ” to the world?

"Friend"Asking for a friend…

 Why do Evangelical Christians care about “showing christ” to the world? And by world I (think) I mean non believers and maybe people of other  denominations/faiths?

I grew up Catholic. Raised an eyebrow at that whole transubstantiation  thing. Gave a suspicious side eye to other beliefs that seemed just as  magical. Followed that line of thought to, hey, you know, I’ve never agreed that gay people are bad or wrong or shouldn’t fall in love and get married. Which led me to other revelations like: maybe there isn’t a sometimes mad, sometimes kind all being, all-seeing white man chilling in the cosmos watching us like a Sims game on high free will.

In the last 3 years I’ve become horrified? intrigued? both? by the proselytizing christian scene. Especially since learning about my husband’s background as a southern Baptist and hearing stories about his evangelical writer, blogger, speaker ex wife who doesn’t exactly practice what she preaches. I really have no framework for the beliefs and ideas I keep coming across. When I try to read or understand more I feel like I’m watching a bunch toddlers let loose in an empty room. No harm meant with that metaphor, really, it’s just the best way to describe the feeling.

I searched "crowd of toddlers" and this is what I got. Still scary so I think it works.

I searched “crowd of toddlers” and this is what I got. Still scary so I think it works.

Because I keep thinking, what are you doing? Why are you doing that? And now you’re fighting! Why are you fighting? Oh my god, why are you climbing on me now? Why are you forming a circle around me? No, no, don’t grab my nostrils! Please stop trying to choke me with your well-meaning love! HELP HELP HELP-

Sorry. Got carried away.

So, yeah. That’s my question: Why do Evangelical Christians care about “showing christ” to the world? 

Belief is a Five Foot Two Deoderant Free Child

SchoolI am not a religious person. Every now and again, I am faced with the question “what do you believe“? It is not a difficult question to answer, though it could be for lots and lots of tricky reasons that people like to get mad or sad about. But this is not a post about labels or lack of belief.

In fact, it is about belief.

I believe in people. Sometimes that’s hard to hold firm and to affirm. I believe and know that people are good.  Some days my faith in people is shaken, because I also believe and know that people can be bad. On those days, if you were to ask me what I believe in, I would say that I always, always, aways believe in kids. Always. That is one reason I teach, because above all else, I will always believe in my kids, your kids, the kids in the one room school-house, the kids who skip school, the hand raisers, the grade skippers, the ones who hate to read. I will always believe in them.

You probably think I am crazy. Kids? Middle schoolers? You rest your belief in something five foot two that hasn’t discovered deodorant yet? you ask. Yes. Yes, I do, and let me tell you why.

I believe in their potential to change the world in small, everyday ways. I believe that they will discover things that will change they way we live, save lives, encourage one another, change systems that are broken, and stand up for what a generation before them could not, tried to but failed to. I believe in them because the world hasn’t had the chance to try and turn them into “people” and they have yet to make choices that might weigh them down or might, someday, shake my faith in humanity.

I believe in them because when I teach, I see them thinking, creating, and wondering and they are so brilliant it makes me want to cry and hug them and shake them by their shoulders and tell them that the world is theirs, do good, work hard, you are my hopes and my dreams. And they are. They give me hope, especially when I start to lose my faith in the rest of the people.

They give me hope because they wave hello, they open doors for one another, they say thank you, or they don’t, but I catch the gratitude in some other way on some other day. They give me hope when they make me laugh, and even when they test my patience, when they talk too much or throw a standing ovation temper tantrum at 12 because I think, this is just the beginning, and you have so much more to give.

They give me hope when they are kind, as no one else but a child can be, when they put a hand on a friend’s shoulder and say, “Hey, buddy, you look down today. Are you doing ok?”

How can you not believe in the potential of people when you see that a foot in front of you?

So, I believe in kids and because of them, I believe in people and all of the goodness that they can do. And some day they’ll figure out the deodorant thing, I know it.