Teach Your Children Well

Listen to the mustn’ts, child,
Listen to the don’ts
Listen to the shouldn’ts,
The impossibles, the won’ts
Listen to the never haves
Then listen close to me –
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be.

Shel Silverstein

         I’ve been thinking about teachers a lot lately. And coaches. And our kids who are dealing every day, it seems, with fear and lack of hope. So many suicides. Spoke to my son about a kid at his school today. “Oh that one was an OD, but on purpose… “ he said. Last ‘one’ jumped off a third story. My son texted this evening to let me know he was, “safe in the fraternity house” and not to worry if I got a call from the school. Suspected bomb in the library, full scale emergency measures. Students were alerted to “stay as far away from the library as possible.” (Speaking my nineteen year old’s language…)

         What are these kids’ new norm? And why such hopelessness in our young people? We could go on for hours about all the contributing factors. Is suicide done in anger? I don’t think so, at all. Anger is passionate. Suicide is hopeless. I think often about the notion that the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. And indifference, depression, lack of passion, and apathy seems to be endemic in our youth.

        Why this lack of hope and faith? And can we cultivate it? If so, how? First, in ourselves, and then in young people. Maybe by teaching them faith, and role modeling it. That starts with being mindful, and then cultivating deeper spirituality, connecting something or someOne bigger than yourself. Or as AA refers to it, believing a power bigger than ourselves can restore us to sanity.

         Going there is kinda scary for a twenty year old; heck it’s scary at any age. Probably not something you put on your bucket list for the heck of it. It’s creepy in the deep end, and what if you fall off? If you’ve gone “there” it’s probably because your small little self felt desperate, because who wants to open that big ol’ door and enter the unknown unless they’re out of options? 

But … Just when the caterpillar thought her life was over, she became a butterfly ~ Author Unknown

         We need guides; to have one, and to be one. Broken down, the word Guru in Sanskrit is “gu,” meaning dark, and “ru” is derived from the word that means light, (i.e. someone that takes you from the darkness to the light.) A good teacher, coach, a good spiritual mentor is someone that can relate, that will listen, and encourage you to unlock the door, take the leap, and go in. 

         We all have experience with someone that has encouraged or cultivated a passion in us or someone we love, and ditto the experience of observing someone in a leadership position squelching a curiosity, a talent or an enthusiasm. God bless those that teach, encourage, coach, and mentor well. It’s a gift. Not everyone in teaching and coaching positions has it.

         On the one hand, there is no greater offering or service than to teach and inspire; on the other, what a shame to another human being to stunt their growth. The difference is those mentors that have faith and intend to share it, and those that are afraid to, for one reason or another. In mindfulness we talk about giving, gratitude and compassion. If being mindful, spiritual, meditative has helped you- to sleep, relax, decompress, shift your perspective, enjoy more, then maybe someone else can benefit from that. Let your practice have a ripple effect, and be a source of inspiration to someone else.

Today’s practice is to be. Be a teacher. Be an example. Be curious. Be open to going in a little deeper. Be open to looking back at whose hand you might grab. Be afraid, and “Do It Anyway.” Be strong for someone young. Be strong for someone old. Be real. “Be an opener of doors,” as Emerson says.

I Stand at the Door
By Sam Shoemaker 

I stand by the door.
I neither go to far in, nor stay to far out.
The door is the most important door in the world –
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There is no use my going way inside and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where the door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it.
So I stand by the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door – the door to God.
The most important thing that any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands
And put it on the latch – the latch that only clicks
And opens to the man’s own touch.

Men die outside the door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter.
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live on the other side of it – live because they have not found it.

Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him.
So I stand by the door.

Go in great saints; go all the way in –
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics.
It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in.
Sometimes venture in a little farther,
But my place seems closer to the opening.
So I stand by the door.

There is another reason why I stand there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them;
For God is so very great and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia
And want to get out. ‘Let me out!’ they cry.
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled.
For the old life, they have seen too much:
One taste of God and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving – preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door
But would like to run away. So for them too,
I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door.
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply and stay in too long
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there too.

Where? Outside the door –
Thousands of them. Millions of them.
But – more important for me –
One of them, two of them, ten of them.
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.

‘I had rather be a door-keeper
So I stand by the door.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Great post today, Elinor! Thank you!!

  2. Being an encourager is so valuable and a gift for the receiver and giver.
    Thanks for all the poetry you expose us to on the blog!

  3. So good, and relevant – I hope everyone has success in their attempt to be – I know I’m going to give my intention my attention:) 😘

  4. E-beautiful-such important realizations:)

Leave a Reply

Close Menu