This week I was reminded of the simple fact that we have children at our school that have no one else. That we’re they’re only one. The only one who encourages them, celebrates them, believes in them.
I have students come into my office every day for “Hats Off” calls to celebrate them. Friday something different happened. I had called home to celebrate a third grader who struggles with school quite often. He was so excited about his “Hats Off” card. As we called mom (and had her on speaker phone), I told her the great reasons why I was calling home and how proud of her son we were. I then asked her, as I do every parent, if she’d like to talk to her son to celebrate him too. Her response? “No, that’s ok. I can talk to him later if I feel like it”.
Wow. Did I mention she was on speaker phone? And her son heard the whole exchange. I watched this little boy lose all sense of excitement and instead put his head down. It broke my heart.
But it was a reminder. A reminder that our kids come from homes where they aren’t always taught of their worth and value. And socioeconomic status doesn’t always play a part. These kids come from home full of monetary wealth and homes devoid of any material things. Kids are kids.
It was a reminder for me to hug our kiddos a little tighter. To give a few more high fives. To dance a little more. To laugh as much as possible. To celebrate every single moment. For we may be the only way celebrating that challenge and I want to be the pebble in that child’s pond of life where ripples are felt for years to come.
Remember this next week, as we get closer and closer to the Holidays, that the holidays aren’t happy experiences for all of our students. Some dread those days where they have to be at home instead of being at school. And because of that fear and dread they will act out in different ways.
We have to have a big enough heart to love them anyway. To forgive them time and time again. To wrap them in compassion, patience, and honesty. We have to show them we aren’t going anywhere, we aren’t going to abandon or give up on them, and we love them so very much. Because we might be the only one.