Do you remember Miss Stacy from Anne of Green Gables? She's the delightful teacher who breathes new life into the Avonlea school after they've suffered a long, boring stint with Mr. Phillips as their instructor.
The contrast between them is obvious. He taught by standing at the front of the school room, droning on and on while peering over his spectacles. She, in turn, took the students out and engaged them in meaningful activities. I especially like the scene where she's leading her class in outdoor calisthenics. Not only is she leading, she's participating.
I have my Mr. Phillips days. I have far too many Mr. Phillips days. I suppose I have my Miss Stacy days, too. But I want to have more. I want to join my children rather than be a stand-up-front-and-drone kind of mom.
Today this meant that I helped paint a Martian volcano.
Usually I let the kids run with their art projects after giving them some initial instruction. I use the time to attack a pile of dishes or toss a loaf of bread in the oven. The kids are old enough to be independent and don't really require my help.
But they like to have my help. And I've noticed that whenever I join them with a paintbrush or blob of clay in hand, the enthusiasm escalates.
So this afternoon I decided to join my smock-covered children at the table as they mixed brown and red paints, coming up with a perfect rust color for their science project, Olympus Mons.
I sidled up to the table, grabbed a paintbrush, plopped myself down and began to dab away at the salt-dough craters. The kids lit up. "Are you gonna help, Mom?" They smiled their approval, and together we painted that rusty terrain.
It was so much better than doing the dishes.
Read more about the thirty-one day challenge.