At 32, I’ve thought often in the last 10 years about having children of my own. It has not, as of yet, been a leap I’ve been comfortable enough to make. I love my students. After being on summer vacation for 2 weeks, I miss them! Having children of my own, however, is a completely different ballgame.
My partner (There needs to be a proper word for committed relationships in your 30s and beyond. We’re not married, but “boyfriend” just feels ridiculous.) and I did just get two Labrador puppies. Now, when people say that puppies are a practice run for kids, they are not kidding. In many ways, raising puppies is very similar to dealing with my students. Of course, dogs are animals, and kids are humans. I get it. It’s not a strict comparison, but there are some parallels.
We now have two living, breathing beings that rely on us for food, shelter, love, companionship, exersize and discipline. And, reason? Puppies don’t have reason. Just because it’s your chaco flipflop that you’ve had for 6 years, and that are more comfortable than shoes, does not mean he will set it down gently and say, “Woof, of course I won’t chew that. I can tell it means a lot to you.” Just as one of my favorite students (yes, I’ve admitted to having favorites) will not stop moving, bouncing, or wandering around because it starts to get on my nerves or because he has work to do. Also, being someone who values sleep highly, puppies do not, as it turns out, necessarily conform to your sleep schedule. Especially when they’re hungry.
Consistency. That’s it isn’t it? Both puppies and children need consistency. I know this isn’t a new concept; however, it is harder to put into practice than words, isn’t it? It isn’t difficult because it’s hard to remember the routines or the rules. It’s difficult because, ultimately, we just want to give those adorable faces whatever they want. Even if what they want, will not benefit them in the long term. I have noticed too, that teachers and some parents are better at it than most.