There are times in your life when a song comes along and just gives you goose bumps and makes your eyes water- I think they’re called tears.
I came across the Zoom video of the Foo Fighters classic, “Times like these.” (fast approaching 4 million views).
I’ve watched it 5 times alone, watched it with my family, and watched it with 83 Grade 10s across a Zoom meeting!
It’s times like these you learn to live again
I’ve learned to live again.
It is petty for me to say this, but much of what I enjoy, live for, has been “taken” away from me. I am realising how much I put my sense of who I am and where my identity is in my love of sport - playing, coaching, teaching, watching, discussing; it doesn’t matter to me. I am that person who has kept their Kayo account going and watching anything I can to stay focused on it, but it’s not the same. You can only watch so many classic matches, documentaries, highlights and memorable moments.
It is so superficial when so many people are struggling and losing their life, hope and self-worth. Mates have been stood down or have lost work. Yet, I am worried about not being able to catch a wave (due to a surfing accident which required surgery 5 weeks ago) or kick a footy?
I’ve spent the last 6 weeks with my family. I’ve spent virtually every night eating dinner with them. We bought a fire pit over a week ago. I think we are up to our 6th fire side chat as a family out the back of our house; eating our dinner, having a drink and chat. I can’t open a computer at night anymore. After numerous teaching stints online, 2 migraines, neck strain and tiredness - that’s enough for me!
I’ve learned to live again!
It’s times like these you learn to give and give again
I’ve really missed my students. I never really say that. I have REALLY missed them. I’ve missed those ex-students walking around the place who would boost my ego and make my day. They’ve moved on. It’s not the classes, the behaviour or dealing with…well, teachers know the “stuff” I’m talking about.
I’ve missed just asking, “How you going?”
“No, how are you really going?”
I want to give and give again.
As one colleague said, “I didn’t sign up for this!!”
I’m trying to find new ways to give to my students and my colleagues, but it is hard. I don’t think there is a teacher alive who didn’t use their holidays to prepare for this term. I did for the first time in…maybe better not to say. And yet, I still wasn’t ready or prepared for what I confronted. “I didn’t sign up for this 27 years ago!!”
I have learned to give more to my family. They are seeing the real Dad or Russell at times and it is not pleasant. I’ve learned to ask Belinda, “Is there something I can do for you? What do you need from me? Are there any more jobs that need doing? Let’s have a coffee and just chat.”
I’ve tried to be that example and role model to my sons. I’ve put that phone down (most times) and listened to their stories. I’ve watched their screen and tried to laugh at the right moments with the latest “whatever” they are trying to show me. Their days at school actually sound mildly interesting as I try to find out how their school deals with “stuff”. My eldest son’s projects and money-making ventures in this current climate are refreshing. He is learning to give of himself, use his talents and make his name and way in this world.
Now is the time to give more of ourselves, without the usual strings we seem to attach to this giving of our time, resources, money or our vulnerability.
I’ve learned to give and give again.
It’s times like these you learn to love again
I’ve learned to love God again. He’s become my anchor, not my crutch. Just taking time out of my day to read the Bible and establish whether following Jesus is worth it - and it is. Acknowledging that He is doing something in me and my family and that we are changing, as the world changes, provides a hope in a time of uncertainty.
I have developed an even deeper love and appreciation of my wife of 24 years. I am talking about an admiration and extreme sense of pride when I see her work or hear about her work or her life. The incredible impact she is having on my life, her sons, her colleagues and students is immense.
My sons have made me appreciate them more for who they are and what they are becoming. More than just those sons who give me joy when they kick a ball, shoot a hoop or snap a goal. I begin to tear up as I desire so much for them to reach their Plan A. There is no Plan B! I want my young sons to pursue their dream and we can pick up the pieces come what may. I want them to pursue, to continue to build on those relationships and friendships that shape them and make them better men. I’ve opened myself up to them and allowed them to see what happens when I am transparent and vulnerable.
My love and admiration for all the students I have taught and currently teaching grows deeper as I have time to reflect on the impact they have had on me. They have fashioned me into something better. I have made many mistakes. I have not got it right at times. Some relationships have never continued. I’ve learned to love again the journey we took together.
Please do not forget the teachers right now doing it tough. We have a regular wage and holidays soon - I get that! I know many are really thankful for what they have right now. Please message your love and admiration to those putting in the long hours just trying to get it right for you, your kids and this system. I honestly don’t know how much longer I will stay in the teaching game, but right now, I love my job and being in the trenches with teachers. I love this profession that I somehow “fell into” 27 years ago. I didn’t sign up for this, but there are many quality classroom teachers out there. #teachersrock
It’s times like these I’ve learned to love again.
It’s times like these - time and time again.
Russell Modlin teaches English and Physical Education at a Christian School on the Sunshine Coast. He is married to Belinda and they have three children.
Russell Modlin’s archive of previous article can be found at www.pressserviceinternational.org/russell-modlin.html