“I can’t do Yoga Teacher Training; I can’t do a headstand, and I’m too old.” Three months ago I postulated these reservations as I considered signing up for the upcoming training at Sacred Space yoga studio. A recent Registered Yoga Teacher graduate, older than I am, assured me that yoga is much more than standing on my head, age doesn’t matter, and that I could indeed do yoga teacher training.
So here I am, with two weekends of training under my belt. Saturday my frustration level was pretty high, though, as we finished what seemed like hours of taking notes and listening as Melody White, our “guide” wrote boards full of movements and cues for sequences we had just done on the mat. The mat work was an enjoyable, flowing, feel-good pattern of familiar movements; but when we sat in front of the board for a written analysis of the sequences, that was another story. “You may as well write hieroglyphics up there, Melody. This is so confusing. I just don’t get it.” I got the first few sequences, but after several more, I was lost, as it got more complicated and confusing. Toward the end, my brain just checked out. As we took a break, Melody reassured us, “I’ve taught this for years, and it works. Trust the process.”
Trust the process. Yeah, right. Then I remembered my own days of teaching school, and I knew from experience she was right. After fifteen years of seeing the progress my fourth graders made, nine years of missionary kids at all ages, and eleven years of multi-aged English language learners, all progressed as expected. I always loved seeing how my students arrived as beginners, then grew proficient as they learned so much during the school year, right on schedule, and just as my years of experience told me they would. It does work. Trust the process.
This morning I was thinking about the process, and remembered the first student I taught to read. I say “taught” as maybe the wrong word, since “educate” means a leading out of what is already inside the student. I no more taught Jonathan how to read than we have anything to do with a flower growing and blooming from a tiny seed we plant. The blueprint is already there, in the seed, in our brains and cells, a blueprint for the growing stages, for the full-grown manifestation of completion. Maybe we guide the process, but we certainly don’t control it.
Jonathan’s mother brought him to my little one-room school in the basement that first day in Kenya. At 5 years old, he was an adorable, sweet spirited, shy and gentle tiny little boy with eager big brown eyes. “He knows some of his ABCs, but he can’t read,” his mom offered. My throat closed. “He can’t READ??!!” I kept my thoughts to myself. I had only taught 4th graders in Mt. Airy, and they all could read, write in cursive, and had memorized their multiplication facts when they first came to my class. I had never taught anyone to read from scratch, and didn’t know if I could. I had to pray about that one, and the answer God gave me was, “use your gut instincts.” So we started with learning the alphabet, consonant and vowel sounds, and word families with simple three-letter words. Day after day I read to Jonathan, just for the pure pleasure of reading, but also to demonstrate letter and word sounds. We just kept working on words, sounds, reading.
One day I pulled a book from the shelf, opened it, and we sat side by side to read. Curious, I asked him to read some of the words aloud to me, eager to see how much he could do. To my surprise, he read a whole sentence, then another and another! I reached for his wiry arms. “Jonathan! You’re reading! Who taught you to read?” I thought maybe he had been getting some extra tutoring at home or somewhere. I’ll never forget the loving way he turned his head and eyes up, looked at me, and matter-of-factly replied, “YOU did!” I honestly did not know when it had happened. “When?” When did I teach him to read? Trust the process.
Copyright 2017 Linda Parks. Used with permission.