Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Half-day today. Just three hours. Everything went swell.

But I'm mentally tired. I am putting a lot of energy into this.

Obviously I want to do a good job, but I feel a lot of responsibility to do so.

Children are innocent. Even if they do things that aren't nice, most of that stuff is either taught to them (hence not their fault) or an inappropriate expression that emerges because they aren't yet sophisticated enough to communicate appropriately. Which would also be not their fault.

So six-year-old kids get a pass.

I'm trying to figure out my own ulterior motives. This is a sick pursuit guaranteed to have no winner.

Yes, of course, it's about the student. That's the right answer, but also the PR answer. You'd damn sure better say that.

But is there anything else?

Am I trying to compensate for the sometimes shitty job I did as a parent? Am I trying with this child I never met before this week to be a better leader and role model than I was to my own children? Is it guilt?

Am I trying to earn karma points?

Am I experimenting with my own capabilities?

Am I just putting on a good show because I want some attention? Wouldn't that make me no different than the children I see who act out to get attention? And therefore wouldn't that make me an awful person to be in this role?

And about that performance: do I realize exactly how important this job is? I've had a lot of confidence placed in me. The mental health and well-being, as well as the potential academic future of a young child, has been entrusted to me for this five-week period. I remember my first teacher. I am in a position to be remembered forever by this youngster. Am I willing to do everything I can to make that memory positive? Because if I am not, I'm a terrible person.

Ah, the beauty of the self mind-fuck!

In fairness to me, I feel like I have done some terrible, stupid things in my life, but I do not feel like I am a terrible, stupid person. I have done some uncaring things but I am not an uncaring person.

Except for the times I hate myself, I really kind of like myself.

These are the things that people kind of hide from one another. At least I think they do. A few months ago when we were about to move up here and were scouting locations, we visited a community that catered to artists. The woman who was showing us around was an artist and we talked about writing. I told her about periods of extreme self-doubt about my writing, and she said something that felt good to hear. Paraphrasing, she said, "Everyone does that. We always think what we do sucks. It doesn't, we just have to keep going."

I know I can craft a phrase and sometimes write things that are clever, and even good. But I also know that there's always a goddamned battle going on in my head, with one side telling me I suck and the other telling me that I have some talent and that I need to express myself.

I think I am capable of making a positive difference in this kid's life. I really do. But it's too important to fuck off or fuck up. And the risk of that makes me think: What if I fuck up?

It's fuel. It has to be. I have to go in every day thinking about being a good thing for this little guy. He could sure use the help. We've had three pretty good days, with a fairly scary incident on the first, a less-volatile incident on the second, and none at all on the third.

Tomorrow we reset the counter and try and string together another good day. I've got to be ready for it. He's counting on me.

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