You won’t find beauty in eye liner or push up bras. It’s not hidden underneath a pair of killer stilettos. You will find beauty in the confidence of a girl who knows who she is and what she’s about. The girl who doesn’t really care if you like her because she loves herself. You’ll find it in a mother’s love, covered in spit up stains and yesterdays socks – the mother whose overwhelming passion for her children can shine through the worst hair days and survives temper tantrums that would make your toes curl.
I think it is beautiful to see two people utterly in love. Not the romance novel sweeping you off your feet love at first sight kind of love, because I think that kind of love often fizzles out after time, after the honeymoon pheromones wear off. I’m talking about the love that survives after that – that you’ve probably noticed in the couples you admire who stand together like a rock that cannot be turned. They never tear each other down, but often build each other up, sometimes without saying a word.
I don’t consider myself a conventional beauty. I don’t have pouty lips or a slim waist line. I won’t be spending hours doing my hair or applying makeup before leaving the house. The truth is, I don’t think I own any makeup and my hair styling regiment consists of hoping I remember to brush my hair in the morning. But I do think that it’s important to take care of yourself.
They say you can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself and while I don’t always follow my own advice, I try. I make an effort to buy clothes that fit me – that make me feel good about myself and comfortable in my own skin. I try to strive for quality so that even when I’m covered in spit up stains and can’t see straight, I’m still wearing one of my favorite things.
I want my children to be proud of me and inspired by me. And I want them to be happy and feel beautiful and confident and loved. How will they get there if I don’t provide a good example? If not for myself, I find and foster my beauty for them because they make me happy and they fill me with love and they grow and learn new things and inspire me so constantly that you can’t help but feel confident in their goodness. Motherhood does that to you – you learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible and you love more than you knew you were capable of. It’s beautiful.
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I am not a teacher, nor do I possess any ambitions of becoming one. Don’t get me wrong – I like kids, I am a huge school loving nerd and I have a possibly unhealthy love of school supplies. But the idea of a child’s education being my responsibility? Scary stuff, man. I, unfortunately am lacking in a few traits I think are essential to being a teacher: patience, whatever the opposite of being fickle is, and the ability to think on my feet. I think teachers have one of the most important and difficult jobs out there and I am not ashamed to admit that I don’t think I’m qualified.
But Phillip Done, luckily, is qualified. A veteran teacher with 25 years under his belt, Done has some pretty terrific stories to tell – and you can read them all in his new book, Close Encounters of the Third Grade Kind which chronicles a year inside his classroom and thoughts on teacherhood, children and more. Having never been a teacher, you might think this book wouldn’t have much I could relate to, but I think anyone who has taught, or wants to; has been a parent, or wants to; or even has fond memories of their own childhood (or wants to?) will enjoy this book. It definitely brought back some great memories of my own school days and had me daydreaming about the future education of my own children who aren’t in school yet.
Done breaks his book down into monthly sections so that the book starts in August and ends in June. Some chapters are funny, some thoughtful, and some are even a bit sad like his story of Michael or The Angel. He writes several chapters with lists of things he has learned from his students or universal truths of childhood. Sometimes they feel a bit repetitive but then again, I’d imagine spending 5,000+ days with elementary school kids is probably a bit repetitive, too. So while some chapters were better than others (and really isn’t that true of most books?) it was definitely a nice change of pace for me genre-wise and I looked forward to the time I spent reading it every night. Overall, I found the book terrific and I’d recommend it to just about anyone.
A special thank you to the Family Review Network and Hachette Book Group USA for this review opportunity.
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