Another year of classes has gone by, and here we are, well into the summer season, looking back on what we’ve accomplished this year. Since the baby came last fall, our biggest challenge has been to adapt to the new constraints on our time and energy. That’s involved bringing in new teachers for the class, and working on creating a good team dynamic. We gathered up enough teachers to try to establish a new class in a park at the other end of the neighbourhood. We hoped starting this new class would allow us to address the issue of age gaps, since many younger siblings and cousins are now starting to follow their older relatives into the class, with often chaotic results.
We ran into some problems, though. First were the scheduling hiccups: after no new children showed up for the first gathering of the new class, we ended up having to skip the next two weeks due to other commitments, losing momentum. Then suddenly, my co-teacher for the new class had to drop out due to a change in personal circumstances. I could have continued and taught the class alone, but we all thought it would be best for there to be two teachers, both to support each other in the class and to facilitate relations with parents. With no one else ready to step in, we decided we would put the new class on hold for the time being, and regroup for further consultation.
So here we are, right back where we started—and yet, not quite. Even though it seems like we haven’t made much progress, we’ve actually advanced in our understanding, and in our functioning as a team.
I’m reminded of the very first outreach projects we started in Ottawa way back when. We had so little experience offering children’s classes to the general public, but, armed with guidance from the Universal House of Justice and the International Teaching Centre, and bolstered by prayers and mutual support, we went ahead and offered them anyway—and learned what it meant to be part of a neighbourhood, to help people discover the gems hidden within the mines of their souls, to “bear one another onwards” like wings, and to work and serve together “in serried lines”.
We’re trying things that we’ve never tried before as a team, and we’re figuring things out as we come back together to reflect and consult on next steps. In short, we’re doing what we’re supposed to do. It gets frustrating when we try to focus on generating specific outcomes; less so when we let go of those and seek to learn what our neighbourhood actually needs. The more we strive, the better we learn to read the reality of the place we live in, and little by little, the path of service is illumined for us.
In other words—stay tuned! More will definitely be revealed, soon enough.