Tonite as I was thinking about the startup of our school year, and what I am going to share with our teachers, (15 of them brand new to our school), I thought about my mom’s refrigerator soup. My mom has a gift for cooking. She isn’t a fancy cook, but anyone who has ever gone to my parents’ house for dinner knows that she’s a gifted cook. Her food (and her home) is full of love. My mom doesn’t like waste, and is gifted at using what she has, and making it work. I can’t think of any better example of this talent than her “refrigerator soup”.
Lots of cooks have a recipe they love to follow, and with few exceptions they make it the same way every time. However, my mom is different. She looks at what she already has on hand, at what vegetables are past their prime, at what ingredients compliment each other, and then creates her recipe accordingly. I am sure if you sat at the kitchen table and watched my mom, you would wonder how on earth all of the ingredients she pulls out of the fridge are going to work together. But every time, with love and patience, she makes it work. She would tell you that sometimes the results turn out better than others, and rarely does one soup ever taste like others she had put together, but every time my mom manages to make use of the ingredients in our fridge.
There aren’t a lot of smells that I love more than the smell of my mom’s soup bubbling on the stove when I walk through her door. It’s warm and comforting, kind of like a hug. It reminds me of her love and patience, and ability to pull the best out of pretty much anything.
My mom’s soup reminds me so much of teaching. Teaching isn’t a recipe to follow; we don’t get to pick our ingredients. Each year, our classroom fills up with a hodgepodge of ‘flavours’ ready to be incorporated into our classroom community. Just like with my mom’s soup, it’s important to get to know the ingredients before you, you’ve got to understand them, before you can use them well. Each year it will look different and will take some refining along the way. If we follow my mom’s example, with lots of love and patience, we will look at the incredible gift of the students we receive into our classrooms and see what recipe we can create together.