Newbie: Urban Dictionary defines a newbie as a person new to a game, concept, or forum. Not to be confused with a stupid person. Newbies are just new.
Maybe you're a rookie parent or student or pet owner or dishwasher.
We've all been there and I like newbies. They don’t always know the right way to do things, they aren’t the best at everything, but they ask interesting questions. They bring a fresh perspective and an enthusiasm that hasn’t been dampened by experience. I think it’s why I love teaching kids in grade nine, when they first start high school and are full of fear and awkward fashion choices. Busting with bravado and raucous behavior. Ready to try and fail and figure it out.
Six years ago, when I decided I was going to “become” a teacher, I understood (sort of) that teaching wasn’t just a job; it was a vocation. A weirdly horrible wonderful calling that you are compelled to do. This is why teachers cry at the public opinion and the lack of funding and still show up, year after year (at least most of them). I am growing into the role of teacher but every time I enter my classroom, I still can’t believe how hard and awesome and rewarding and exhausting it is. And wherever I go, I'm now somebody's teacher. The mall. The lake. The doctor's office. I wear the teacher hat.
Then I became MOMMY and I still can't believe how hard and awesome and rewarding and exhausting it is. It's the job that everyone criticizes and comments on and I am reminded every morning as I hug my daughter after a good or a bad night, how much I don't know. I’m growing into the vocation of motherhood. I’ve got the enthusiasm (most days), but, a lot like teaching, I am developing the skills, the instincts, and the patience. I am surrounded by more experienced members of this vocation. My mum. My mom-in-law. Some really really good friends. And some important non-moms too. My incredible sister. My awesome husband. And no matter what I do now, my hobbies, hanging out with friends, travelling, I'm Emily's mom. I wear the mom badge, freshly minted and barely dented.
You may have already achieved pro status in your life roles as you’re sitting reading this, sipping pina coladas on your golf cart. You are amazing. I salute you... but think back to when you were a naive young mother/forensic scientist/bus driver/journalist/dentist/bricklayer. Someone you know is there now. These things were encouraging to me this year and as I think about re-entering the emotionally charged fourteen-year-old newbie zone (my classroom).
Interacting with a newbie:
1. Remember that something was new for you once too.
2. Listen. Let them feel it even if it might seem a tad exaggerated to you.
- Celebrate the successes. At work, there are the mentors who listen and guide gently and the peers who scoff at ideas and take pleasure exclaiming “I knew that wouldn’t work!"
This year, the advice and support from family and friends allowed me to grow as I figure this mommy gig out. I want to be that teacher and that friend and that mom too.
On that note, thank YOU for supporting us and loving us this year as we became newbie parents. Thank you for your example, your prayers, your shoulder to lean on, your food, your time, your laughter and your patience. We are blessed to have you in our lives and excited to look back on this season, see where God was leading us to, and shake our heads and say, "ONE KID? That was the life..."
"The joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10