“And it Starts” -Timon (The Lion King)

The Lion King is a Disney classic that is easily paired with Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The structure of the protagonist (young male who should be King) and the antagonist (older male usurper of the crown) are just two obvious comparisons. The conflict also centers around avenging the murder of a King but it is all set in the large expanse of the African plains. What’s not to like?

This morning is my first day back to school. It is a day filled with virtual meetings and conversations interrupted by internet lag time, and the only thing in my head as I woke up was Timon saying, “And it starts.” Yes, it does indeed. I’m not exactly sure any longer what Timon was referencing, but I do know why my dream state was interrupted by the words this morning.

So many things begin today. Today is the first day of a time I have been dreading since I found out we were going to be virtual until the end of September. This the first time in twenty years of teaching that my school year will begin from my couch. I will not be entering the brightly lit halls to the auditorium. I will not be able to sit with my friends/coworkers and ask about their summer and say in a half happy/half grumpy way “Welcome Back.” I will not be able to lovingly arrange my classroom and items for when my students arrive. I am not thinking about what the lesson will look like or how I will rearrange the desks. No, I am trying to build lessons in an unfamiliar platform for students I have yet to meet.

I know this is not ideal for anyone at this time. As a teacher and a parent, I know we would all rather our children be in our schools as opposed to trying to learn in our homes. So many of our homes are ill equipped to handle such a monumental task. There is too little space and too many distractions and not nearly enough time to prepare. But prepare we must. Soldier on we must as well.

And this brings to mind another quote from The Lion King as I prepare this morning:

I love this quote because it is so true, and it is a classic theme in so many pieces of literature. Perhaps it is never really our place to understand why something is happening. Maybe life has never been about having it all figured out. We won’t ever be privy to the bigger picture, but it is what we do in each moment given that matters.

Maybe if I spend less time worrying about the things I cannot change, I can move forward today with an open heart and mind as opposed to dread and fear. I can acknowledge that this is the start of an unprecedented time and know that no one knows what tomorrow will bring.

At the end of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet revenges his father’s death and everybody dies except Horatio. At the end of The Lion King, Simba is also able to revenge his father’s death and everyone comes together to celebrate good overcoming evil.

Who knows what the “end” of this story will be, but I am going to choose to look at favorably because this is the only thing I can control.

Love and Light!