After 3 years and almost 200 classes, I have decided to take an indefinite break from my seniors jewelry making classes. I have enjoyed teaching them and have really learned alot from them, but I am in need of a serious break, both physically and mentally.
During the last 3 years, there have been hundreds of stories that I have wanted to share, but haven't, because I wanted to be respectful of the people I was working with. I wouldn't want someone else talking about my family on the internet, so I have refrained from sharing details out of respect for them and their families. I would, however, like to give you the highlights of what I learned during my 3 years of teaching.
1) Every person has worth. Even the ones that push your buttons and drive you to the brink of your sanity. Those are usually the ones who need to be loved the most. And its usually the hardest to love them. But when you do, and they realize that you care, amazing things happen. I have seen some of the crankiest people come out of their shells and become some of the sweetest, most wonderfully caring souls when they realized they were loved and that I would make time for them. Alzheimers and Dementia are terrible diseases that take lots of things away from people but treating them with dignity and respect is an amazing way to give some of that back to them.
2) Every person has some kind of (physical) limitation they are working with. Learning how to work with it is half the battle. Learning how to adapt and work past it is the other half. Treating someone with dignity and respect despite their limitations makes all the difference. Just because a body part doesn't work, doesn't mean that the mind doesn't work. And just because the mind doesn't always work, doesn't mean a person has lost their worth (see #1 above).
3) It is imperative to learn how to "work on the fly." Some of my best, most creative work came from learning to use what I had on hand to create a masterpiece. I am a better designer and teacher because of it. I feel like MacGuyver would be proud of me.
4) It is also imperative to learn how to handle emergency situations...and right hooks. I took more punches than you would believe during the last three years, but I wouldn't trade one of them for the experience I gained. Life has a way of coming at you fast and you have to learn to deal with it.
5) You never know when you will be entertaining angels in disguise (Hebrews 13:2). You never know who you will meet, or where your path will take you. Never pass an opportunity to be nice to someone, or to extend kindness to someone. You will never regret it.
6) Everyone has something to share / teach. I learned as much (if not more) about life from my students than they learned from me about making jewelry. For example, I now know the hierarchy of bling and glitter (glitter is the highest form of adornment, bling is at the bottom...who knew?!)...all about Ralston cereal (it was the bee's knees)...which gang belongs where...all about Tiffany windows...and so many more things I can't even begin to tell you about. People love sharing their story and I love listening to them.
Thank you my dear girls for sharing your time with me and for allowing me to be a part of your world.
I am looking forward to the next chapter of my jewelry journey, and I hope you will stick along for the ride.