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Brick By Brick

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“I used to believe my father about everything but then I had children myself & now I see how much stuff you make up just to keep yourself from going crazy.”

Brian Andreas

I am a mere apprentice. Each day I wake up, hoping to become a little better at my craft than I was the day before. Some days I feel as if I laid a brick perfectly. Other days I am aware of the fact that I wasn’t even close.

But here is the thing. Once you lay a brick down and add some mortar, it’s there for good. It may not be straight and it may not be smooth. But it’s there. Alongside the bricks that were laid before it and waiting for the next brick that will be laid beside it.

And I am finally coming to grips with the fact that the foundation that I am building for my children will not be perfect. I am going to make many mistakes along the way. What matters most is that I continue to lay bricks as best I can. There is no off-season. Spring training? Well, sort of. Although some may argue that the first few months of parenthood or the first few months of the school year are the most difficult.

I think the point that I am trying to make is that being a parent/teacher/educator is one of the most difficult jobs there is. You always feel as if you could be doing better. Just like the wall above, you look at your child(ren) and you can see your handiwork.

Or can you?

At first glance, the wall above appears to be the result of shoddy craftsmanship. But is it really? I bet that wall is stronger than it looks. I bet it could withstand a mighty blow. Maybe it already has. Yes, the bricks aren’t all square and some of them even protrude. There even seem to be places where the mortar was just haphazardly slapped on.

Don’t you want to know why the wall looks the way it does?

It is because sometimes life gets in the way of Life. Sometimes folks are doing the best they can. And at first they are even hesitant to lay just one brick. But they know they must. So they take the brick in their hands. Not altogether sure what to do next. Yet knowing they must do something. They lay it down. No mortar needed yet. Then comes the second brick. This time mortar is required. It looked easier in the manual. But the manual doesn’t have hands. And the manual can’t lay bricks.

After a while though. What began as one brick is now beginning to take the shape of a wall. It seems almost incomprehensible. There were days when laying a brick didn’t seem possible. That first night home from the hospital when it didn’t seem like the crying would ever stop. But it did. That brick was a little crooked. Nevertheless, it stuck and it stayed.

Then there was the time he came home with a question you didn’t know the answer to. As a single mom or a new teacher you were doing the best you can. This brick got dropped. But you knew you couldn’t stop and so you added it to the wall. Knowing it would stand. And yet while it may not have matched, it made the wall stronger. Like each brick before it and like each brick thereafter.

Eventually though there comes a day when you allow yourself to take a step back and look at what you have created. It is at this point that you realize that the wall you have created may just be the most magnificent thing you have ever seen.

You notice that there is still room for just a few more bricks.

But you are no longer an apprentice. These last few bricks will be chosen carefully and they will be placed perfectly. But not just yet. Not today. You still have time to admire the wall you have helped build. Brick by brick.




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Jon is currently the assistant principal in Dorchester County, Maryland. This is his seventh year serving as an assistant principal at the elementary level. Prior to becoming an administrator he served as a Math Coach and an elementary school teacher. During his ten years as a classroom teacher he taught first, second, fourth and fifth grades. During his sixth year teaching he earned Nationally Board Certification, which he held for ten years. For seven years he ran a Young Gentleman's Club that was aimed at helping young men reach their full potential.  

Jon received a B.A. from Furman University while majoring in Philosophy. He later went on to earn his B.S from Salisbury University while majoring in Elementary Education. Jon was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to student teach in New Zealand. He eventually received his M.A. degree from Salisbury University in Public School Administration.

Jon lives in Cambridge, Maryland with his amazing wife and two awesome children.

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Guest Monday, 24 June 2019