For a brief time as a kid, I wanted to be a teacher. Noble as that career path would have been, I know it was less about a desire to educate and more about being able to write on the blackboard*. My short stint as a teenager giving piano lessons to a handful of neighbourhood kids drove the final nail into the coffin. As highly as I value education, and as much as I love to learn, I am not a teacher.
But back when I entered Year 2, back when 'teacher' was the answer I gave to every well-meaning adult who asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I took to school a set of handmade flashcards that I'd stayed up most of the previous night making. I had thought it through, you see, and I was going to teach my little sister and her kindergarten colleagues how to read. I think it lasted one lunchtime before they gave up on me and headed off to play chasies.
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. One evening last week, this was the scene taking place in our lounge room - a very grown-up six-year-old taking it upon herself to teach her little sisters the alphabet. And perhaps she has more of the teacher's spirit than me, because she turned it into a game, sending them off for an apple from the fruit bowl, a xylophone from the music basket, a plastic horse from a bedroom, to illustrate her lesson.
They fight and argue with the best of them, these three, but it's these shiny bright moments of cooperation and care, the encouragement shown by a big sister, and the adoration of two little girls for one big girl, that lets me know we're doing OK.
* Showing my age, I know.