11 November 2008

JellyBelly Remembers

I'm feeling a lot more reflective and grateful this particular Remembrance Day. I was always taught to be ponderous and quiet during the moment of silence and I've tried to instill this respect to all of the classes that I have taught.

It was an especially big challenge teaching my class about Remembrance Day. Since the students in my class have the propensity to be violent (Not just ruler throwing, I've had pencil stabbings, spitting in one another's faces, pushing, and punching! Needless to say, I have a direct line to the principal's office!) I was nervous about talking about war. I was surprised that my students had never heard of Iraq or Afghanistan, and when I asked them about places where there was war, they had no idea. I explained to them that there are places where there are people that don't want peace and that there are bad people in the world that think that fighting is the best way to solve problems. I also told them that we had to remember all of the soldiers that fought and are currently fighting since they are helping protect our country.

It was very, very hard not to get too political.

I also told my class about visiting Normandy this past summer and seeing the rows and rows of headstones at the American and Canadian cemeteries. It wasn't until I stood on Omaha Beach that the war became real to me.

The north of France is absolutely beautiful -- as is the rest of the country, but that's besides the point. It was very important to Mr. JB that we visited the D-Day landing beaches when we were planning our trip, and it was an easy concession to make since I had never visited Normandy before. The day that we visited Omaha, Utah and Juno Beach was a beautiful, cool and windy day.

Now I've seen "Saving Private Ryan," but being on the very beach that the allied forces landed on was very, very powerful. I can't even imagine the death that happened on that beautiful beach, or the fear that the soldiers felt as they landed.

Today my class took part in the school's Remembrance Day Assembly. My kiddies sang O Canada and said the Our Father in French. It was all very, very cute. They practiced so hard and I was so proud of them. The majority even sat through all of the presentations patiently and some of them even paid attention! My principal's dad is a World War II veteran and he spoke to the school as well.

I've spent the past couple of weeks having the feel-me-sorries and right now I'm feeling quite guilty. I live in a beautiful country with all of the opportunities possible. Although I have been struggling to become a mother for more than three years, at least I have the resources and the freedom to seek out a solution. I've been looking too long at the things that I don't have, but not at the things that I already have in my possession.

I am blessed to have a strong faith that guides me through the frustrating and sad times. I have a husband that cooks, cleans and is so incredibly patient. I also have a doctor that is working very hard to help us achieve the family that we so very badly want. I also have a body that is behaving a lot better -- no more 14 day periods, woohoo!

So I leave you with one of my favourite photos from our trip to Normandy. This rock was at one of the Canadian cemeteries close to Juno Beach. I found it really touching to see the Canadian and Euro coins on the emblematic maple leaf. I don't know who left it behind or how long it had been there, but it's an image that has been the wallpaper for my computer for quite a while.

So tonight while I say my prayers I will definitely be praying for peace in our world and that God keeps all of the soldiers fighting for peace safe. For them I am forever thankful.


  1. You share a lot of the same feelings about Rememberance Day as I do. I guess Australia and Canada both being Commonwealth countries, we would have had similar upbringings.

    I think it's great that you were able to talk to the kids about war in the world. It's so important that people don't grow up apathetic about these things and care about what is going on in the world.

  2. Good for you teaching the kids about these important issues, and also about respect for those who do fight for our freedoms.