This post by author Jo Knowles resonated with me. I too believe deeply, strongly, absolutely in the power of small moments. That every exchange with have with someone is an opportunity to make a connection. Or not.
This power is something I try to remember every moment – big or small – that I am at my job. Although I used to be a teacher and have studied writing much more extensively than anything medically-related, I work in school health offices. It’s a bit random, a job that happened along the way and has somehow grown.
Usually, if someone comes into a health office, there’s a problem. It’s often not health-related, but it’s still a real and valid problem. It’s important that I make that person feel heard. It’s within my power to greet others and set a certain tone. As Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
To be honest, I spend a lot more time doing this job than I’d like. There are plenty of days that I’d rather be home writing. But, this job also informs my writing.
I meet many many children, in all shapes of sizes and colors, with all kinds of strengths and weaknesses and feeling all kinds of moods. I hear what matters to them. See how they react to certain experiences. I hear real live kiddos (who’ve often had experiences I’ve never been through) speak real live dialogue. I interact with a lot of adults, too. I meet school office staff, teachers, aides, counselors, and nurses. I talk to a lot of parents.
Other wonderful things about my job:
- There is no preparation required. It’s important in the moment, and then I leave and forget it all. (Unless I’m scavenging for my writing.)
- There are quiet moments that allow for daydreaming.
- It’s part time.
- School vacations are awesome.
We all have to balance life – whatever it looks like – with this writing obsession. So try to be where you are when you’re there. Then come back to the words that much richer.
Sarah Wones Tomp
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK