Seeing ourselves as we really are

My mother was a teacher and she was teaching in one room country schools during the early 1960’s when these schools were being phased out.
I had my first few years of education at one of these schools with her as my teacher.
A few years ago I was able to connect with a girl who had been in grades one through three with me. She had become a teacher and she said that it was her memories of my mother that had made her decide to do that.
I thought that was very nice, but a lot of people think fondly of their first teacher.
This summer my cousin was at an anniversary party and overheard a woman asking about a substitute teacher she had in junior high and she mentioned my mother’s name.
It turns out that this was a girl that I had gone to junior high school with. My cousin got her contact information and I phoned her.
We had a very nice long conversation catching up on all our old classmates.
She remembered my mother being a substitute teacher because she always thought that substituting for a teacher would be a scary thing but she had been impressed with how well my mother handled it.
I was impressed that she had remembered a substitute teacher 50 years later.
This made me think of the Robbie Burns quote that my grandmother used to tell me. “Would the Lord the gift he give us to see ourselves as others see us.”
I had always taken this to mean that we should try and see that we were better than we thought we were, or some might say that we were not as good as we thought we were.
Either way we should look and try to see ourselves as we really are.
Now I think we should expand that to others around us, the ones we just take for granted; our parents, siblings and close friends.
If we look close enough we might see things like inner strength, kindness and intelligence, skills and talents that other people admire and respect.
I bet we would see many things that we had admired in other people but had never thought of in connection with our own family because to us mom is just mom and dad is just dad; and our siblings are just hopeless.
If we really looked we just might see that these are people that we can be proud of, people that we should respect.
After we look we should speak and tell them why we are proud of them, maybe it will help them see themselves as others see them.

by Lois Perepelitz

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