The Little Engine That Could

I had a paradigm shift this evening as I was reading my son The Little Engine That Could.

Usually when I read this book I identify with the Tired Old Engine. He has been working hard all day and he just doesn’t have anything left to give to the kids on the other side of the mountain. As a teacher it’s so easy to feel this way, especially once we get bogged down in the school year.

But tonight, I was reading about the Little Blue Engine, and I really identified with her when she said, “but I am just a little engine”. I feel like I’m only one little teacher. How can I pull that train all the way over the mountain? But she says “I think I can.” And so she tries.

And this is what got me. “She tugged and pulled, and pulled and tugged, and slowly, slowly, slowly they started moving.”

What if I am the Little Blue Engine, but I’m just not at the top of the mountain yet? Things move slowly at first, maybe I’m still just at first. But if I keep pulling and tugging we’ll go faster and faster and faster until we’re at the top of the mountain!

This sweet little book that I’ve read a million and a half times has really inspired me to keep working and keep trying, even if as the school year goes on things start to get hard. It’s not easy pulling a whole train filled with dolls and toys that are apparently incapable of walking up the mountain themselves, but if I think I can and I persist, I CAN DO IT. And teachers, YOU CAN DO IT TOO.

“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”

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