by Rachelle Allen
I have been a teacher of the creative and performing arts for thirty-eight years. These are the lessons I learned from the lessons I taught.
My jewelry of choice one week in December was a pin that had been bestowed upon me in an act of appreciation at the Dollar Store by a man I’d let go ahead of me in line. It was a round, white lapel pin that showcased a green "L" surrounded by a red circle with a diagonal line across it. No "L." Get it? Noel. Very cute.
So I wore it to all my students’ lessons, challenging, "Can you read my pin? It’s a holiday greeting." The kids, regardless of age, saw the "L" for exactly what it was: a letter. They, almost without exception, solved the riddle within minutes.
But nothing could have been further from the case with their parents. To them, the "L" had to represent something, and suddenly, my perky little greeting became a sort of ink blot test.
Two moms, both with workaholic husbands whoI see only on Recital Day, thought the pin said, "No Love." Similarly, one of the dads, a bit of a smarmy, Casanova type, thought my holiday greeting was "No lovin’?" (Eww.)
A psychiatrist mom, with a predominantly female clientele, suggested that the pin I was showing to every child I taught said, "No Lesbians," while a dad who’s a bona fide candidate for alpha male poster child boomed with conviction, "NO LOSERS!"
A couple who’d been living for months under the duress of home renovations both said, independently of each other, "No angles?" while "No Life" was the offering I got from a sleep-deprived mother of four as she removed socks and underpants that had accumulated beneath the piano bench.
But the best guess by far came from an elderly woman I teach who knows I’m Jewish (but lets me come into her home every week anyway). She read my pin, blanched, and gasped, "No CHRISTMAS?"
Lesson: The older you are, the more difficult it becomes to see life in its purest, most lighthearted form.
NEXT: The Dreydl Song