I’ve often heard, “Hurt people, hurt people.” That’s not saying the same thing twice-it’s: adjective-noun, verb-noun. It’s a description and an action. Simple, yet profound.
I know it rings true for me. I am most likely to lash out at someone if I’m angry or upset. I may not be angry or upset at him/her I’m just hurting in general.
The really difficult part of this very simple saying for me is, that I want everyone else to remember that anecdote when I hurt them, but I don’t want to have to remember it when they hurt me.
Two weeks ago, when I met one of my children’s teachers for the first time, the initial impression I walked away with was not a favorable one. I was angry with her for telling me that it was my job to let go of my sobbing child. Yet, through my anger this saying nagged at me all morning. Hurt people, hurt people.
When I went back to school that afternoon for the open house in my son’s class, I was full of fear and trepidation. I was a little intimidated by this woman’s abruptness that morning and I was afraid I would be called out again, this time for arriving late because my other child’s open house had run longer than expected.
I walked in, maneuvered my way to my son’s seat, and sat down as noiselessly as I could, making sure not to interrupt the open house spiel. As I listened to the spiel I began to relax a little. This woman was talking a mile a minute-full of passion for her class and the subjects she teaches. She was telling us how difficult our children’s year may be academically, but that she was prepared to step them out of the depths of confusion and bring them to the high standard she set for them.
The more I listened, the more I realized she sounded Just. Like. Me.
When I taught fourth grade, my open house spiel began something like this:
Welcome to Fourth Grade. It is hard. It is harder and more rigorous academically than third grade. Your child will be required to read on his/her own for every standards test. We will cover four hundred plus years of Virginia history in eight months. Your child will be required to master two digit by two digit multiplication and division in about two weeks time. It’s hard, but I’m here to help and I love Fourth Grade.
As my son’s teacher began to close her open house talk, a question was posed by one of the other parents, “What supplies does my child need for school?” Her response, “Nothing. Not one thing. I have provided for them everything they need this year to excel. School was always a safe place for me when home wasn’t and I want school to be a safe and welcoming place for your children as well.”
Hurt people, hurt people. I still believe this to be true. But I am grateful for the opportunity that day to see how hurt people heal and turn their hurts into a true passion for being of service to others; which reminds me of another favorite saying:
Believe there is good in the world. (Be the good)