My class was doing a science experiment with mini light bulbs
and as we prepared for recess our teacher reminded us...
"Be careful with your light.
If you break it, you will not get another"
I heard him loud and clear and was
determined to be responsible
focused on being responsible
(but then it was time to go outside and play
and just that quickly I forgot about responsibility)
I set the tiny bulb down onto my desk
as it rolled
(in slow motion)
off of the desk and
onto the floor
(shattering into pieces)
My heart sank and I looked around to see if anyone had noticed, but everyone
was already heading out of the classroom so I picked up my shattered pieces
and dropped them into the waste basket on my way out of the room
I was so distraught that I couldn't even enjoy the recess that I had so anticipated
and it must have been written all over my face because my best friend looked at me and asked
I told her everything
(dramatically replaying the scene and expecting sympathy)
but she wasn't moved
and instead just looked at me
"Tondra, it's Mr. Gagan... just ask for a new bulb"
I remembered and
what I had been so worried about
I had the best teacher
who held my best interest
and a best friend to remind me...
that he wouldn't get mad at me
he couldn't get mad at me
I was eight and had simply made a mistake
Once back in the classroom, I walked up to his desk taking a deep breath as I explained
"I'm sorry, I accidently dropped my light bulb"
He looked up at me, and in that defining moment, forever impacted
my future work with children
He simply handed me a new bulb with a smile and said "Be careful, okay?"
and that was it
none of those things
Just a smile... and a provision
It was the perfect light bulb moment
and I have never really known how to express that moment until the other day
I had another light bulb moment
as I paused to reflect over
my work with children
and once again heard this admonition...
"Be careful with your light. You will not get another"
So I ask for grace...
a smile and a provision
and hold onto my mini light bulb
I will not get another